Ins and outs
The airport is in the south part of the city at La Aurora, 4 km from the Plaza Central, T2331-8392. It has banks, ATMs, internet, bars and restaurants. A taxi to Zona 10 is US$8, Zona 1, US$10 and from Antigua, US$25-30. Shuttles from outside airport to Antigua meet all arriving flights, US$10. The Zona 4 chicken bus terminal between 1-4 Avenida and 7-9 Calle serves the Occidente (west), the Costa Sur (Pacific coastal plain) and El Salvador. The area of southern Zona 1 contains many bus offices and is the departure point for the Oriente (east), the Caribbean zone, Pacific coast area towards the Mexican border and the north, to Flores and Tikal. First-class buses often depart from company offices in Zona 1 . Note that some companies have been moved from Zona 1 and Zona 4 out to Zona 7 and 12.
Flights to Flores with Grupo Taca 0820, 1605 and 1850, and TAG at 1630 daily.
Aero Ruta Maya, Av Hincapié and 18 Calle, Zona 13, T2339-0502.
Aerocharter, 18 Calle and Av Hincapié, Zona 13, T5401-5893, to Puerto Barrios. Phone for schedule. Aeródromo, Av Hincapié and 18 Calle, Zona 13, T5539-9364, to Huehuetenango. Phone for schedule. Aerolucía, 18 Calle and Av Hincapié, T5959-7008 to Quetzaltenango. Phone for schedule. Grupo Taca at the airport and Av Hincapié, 12-22, Zona 13, T2470-8222, http://www.taca.com. Tag, Av Hincapié y 18 Calle, Zona 13, T2361-1180, http://www.tag.com.gt.
American Airlines, Hotel Marriot, 7 Av, 15-45, Zona 9, T2422-0000. Continental Airlines, 18 Calle, 5-56, Zona 10, Edif Unicentro, T2385-9610. Copa, 1 Av, 10-17, Zona 10, T2385-5555. Cubana de Aviación, Edificio Atlántis, 13 Calle, 3-40, Zona 10, T2361-0857. Delta Airlines, 15 Calle, 3-20, Zona 10, Edif Centro Ejecutivo, T2263-0600. Iberia, Av La Reforma, 8-60, Zona 9, Edif Galerías Reforma, T2332-7471/ 2332-0911, http://www.iberia.com. Inter Jet, T1-800-835-0271, www.inter jet.com.mx. Mexicana,13 Calle, 8-44, Zona 10, Edif Plaza Edyma, T2333-6001. Spirit Air, http://www.spiritair.com. Taca (includes Aviateca, Lacsa, Nica and Inter). United, Av La Reforma, 1-50, Zona 9, Edif La Reformador, 2nd floor, T1-800-835-0100.
Buses operate between 0600-2000, after which you will have to rely on taxis.
In town, US$0.13 per journey on regular buses and on the larger red buses known as gusanos (worms) except on Sun and public holidays when they charge US$0.16.) One of the most useful bus services is the 101, which travels down 10 Av, Zona 1, and then cuts across to the 6 Av, Zona 4, and then across Vía 8 and all the way down the Av La Reforma, Zona 10. The 82 also travels from Zona 1 to 10 and can be picked up on the 10 Av, Zona 1 and the 6 Av, Zona 4. Bus 85, with the same pickup points, goes to the cluster of museums in Zona 13. Buses 37, 35, 32 all head for the INGUAT building, which is the large blue and white building in the Centro Cívico complex.
goes from the 6 Av, Zona 4, to the Tikal Futura shopping complex – a good spot to catch the Antigua bus, which pulls up by the bridge to the complex. Buses leaving the 7 Av, Zona 4, just 4 blocks from the Zona 4 bus terminal, for the Plaza Mayor, Zona 1, are gusano V21, 35, 36, 82, and 101.
Watch your bags everywhere, but like a hawk in the Zona 4 terminal.
There are numerous bus terminals in Guatemala City. The majority of 1st-class buses have their own offices and departure points around Zona 1. Hundreds of chicken buses for the south and west of Guatemala leave from the Zona 4 terminal, as well as local city buses. However, there was a plan, at the time of writing, to redirect all buses for the southern region to leave from Central sur, Col Villalobos. International buses have their offices scattered about the city. (The cheaper Salvador buses leave from near the Zona 4 terminal.) The Zona 4 bus terminal has to be the dirtiest and grimmest public area in the whole of the city.
The main destinations with companies operating from Guatemala City are:
Antigua, every 15 mins, 1 hr, US$1, until 2000 from Av 23 and 3 Calle, Zona 3. To Chimaltenango and Los Encuentros, from 1 Av between 3 y 4. Calle, Zona 7. Chichicastenango hourly from 0500-1800, 3 hrs, US$2.20 with Veloz Quichelense. Huehuetenango, with Los Halcones, Calzada Roosevelt, 37-47, Zona 11, T2439-2780, 0700, 1400, 1700, US$7, 5 hrs, and Transportes Velásquez, Calzada Roosevelt 9-56, Zona 7, T2440-3316, 0800-1630, every 30 mins, 5 hrs, US$7.
Panajachel, with Transportes Rebulí, 41 Calle, between 6 y 7 Av, Zona 8, T2230-2748, hourly from 0530-1530, 3 hrs, US$2.20; also to San Lucas Tolimán 0530-1530, 3 hrs US$2.10 San Pedro La Laguna with Transportes Méndez, 41 C, between 6 y and Av, Zona 8, 1300, 4 hrs. Santiago Atitlán, with various companies, from 4 C, between 3 y 4 Av, Zona 12, 0400-1700, every 30 mins, 4 hrs, US$4.
Quetzaltenango (Xela) and San Marcos. 1st-class bus to Xela with Transportes Alamo, 12 Av “A”, 0-65, Zona 7, T2471-8626, from 0800-1730, 6 daily 4 hrs, US$7. Líneas Américas, 2 Av, 18-47, Zona 1, T2232-1432, 0500-1930, 7 daily, US$7. Galgos, 7 Av, 19-44, Zona 1, T2232-3661, between 0530-1700, 5 daily, 4 hrs, US$7 to Tapachula in Mexico through the El Carmen border. Marquensita, 1 Av, 21-31, Zona 1, T2230-0067. From 0600-1700, 8 a day, US$6.10, to Xela and on to San Marcos. To Tecpán, with Transportes Poaquileña, 1 Av corner of 3 and 4 Calle, Zona 7, 0530-1900, every 15 mins, 2 hrs, US$1.20.
To Santa Cruz del Quiché, Sololá and Totonicapán, buses depart from 41 Calle between 6 and 7 Av, Zona 8.
To Biotopo del Quetzal and Cobán, 3½ hrs and 4½ hrs respectively, hourly from 0400-1700, US$6 and US$7.50, with Escobar y Monja Blanca, 8 Av, 15-16, Zona 1, T2238-1409. Zacapa, Chiquimula (for El Florido, Honduran border) and Esquipulas with Rutas Orientales, 19 Calle, 8-18, Zona 1, T2253-7282, every 30 mins 0430-1800. To Zacapa, 3¼ hrs, to Chiquimula, 3½ hrs, to Esquipulas, 4½ hrs, US$6.
Puerto Barrios, with Transportes Litegua, 15 Calle, 10-40, Zona 1, T2220- 8840, http://www.litegua.com, 0430-1900, 31 a day, 5 hrs, US$6.80, 1st class US$12 and Río Dulce, 0600, 0900, 1130, 5 hrs, US$6.20.
El Petén with Fuente del Norte (same company as Líneas Máxima de Petén), 17 Calle, 8-46, Zona 1, T2251-3817, going to Río Dulce and Santa Elena/Flores. There are numerous departures 24 hrs; 5 hrs to Río Dulce, US$6.50; to Santa Elena, 9-10 hrs, US$12; buses vary in quality and price, breakdowns not unknown. The 1000 and 2130 departures are a luxury bus Maya del Oro with snacks, US$18, the advantage being it doesn’t stop at every tree to pick up passengers. Línea Dorada, 16 Calle, 10-03, Zona 1, T2220-7990, www.tikalmayan world.com, at 1000, US$16 to Flores, 8 hrs and on to Melchor de Mencos, 10 hrs. To Santa Elena ADN, 8 Av, 16-41, Zona 1, T2251-0050, www.adnautobuses delnorte.com, luxury service, 2100 and 2200, returns at 2100 and 2300, US$19, toilets, TV and snacks.
To Jalapa with Unidos Jalapanecos, 22 Calle 1-20, Zona 1, T2251-4760, 0430-1830, every 30 mins, 3 hrs, US$2.50 and with Transportes Melva Nacional, T2332-6081, 0415-1715, every 30 mins, 3 hrs 30 mins, US$2.50. Buses also from the Zona 4 terminal. To San Pedro Pinula between 0500-1800.
To Chatia Gomerana, 4 Calle y 8 Av, Zona 12, to La Democracia, every 30 mins from 0600-1630 via Escuintla and Siquinala, 2 hrs. Transportes Cubanita to Reserva Natural de Monterrico (La Avellana), 4 Calle y 8 Av, Zona 12, at 1030, 1230, 1420, 3 hrs, US$2.50. To Puerto San José and Iztapa, from the same address, 0430-1645 every 15 mins, 1 hr. To Retalhuleu (Reu on bus signs) with Transportes Fortaleza del Sur, Calzada Aguilar Batres, 4-15, Zona 12, T22230-3390, between 0010-1910 every 30 mins via Escuintla, Cocales and Mazatenango, 3 hrs, US$6.80. Numerous buses to Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa go from the Zona 4 bus terminal.
Reserve the day before if you can. Taking a bus from Guatemala City as far as, say, San José, is tiring and tiresome (the bus company’s bureaucracy and the hassle from border officials all take their toll).
To Honduras avoiding El Salvador, take a bus to Esquipulas, then a minibus to the border. Hedman Alas, 2 Av, 8-73, Zona 10, T2362-5072, http://www.hedmanalas.com, to Copán via El Florido, at 0500 and 0900, 5 hrs, US$30. Also goes on to San Pedro Sulas, US$45, and La Ceiba, US$52. Pullmantur to Tegucigalpa daily at 0700 via San Salvador, US$66 and US$94. Ticabus to San Pedro Sula, US$34 and Tegucigalpa, US$34 via San Salvador. Rutas Orientales, 19 C, 8-18, T2253-7282 goes to Honduras at 0530 via Agua Caliente, 8 hrs, US$28.
To Mexico with Trans Galgos Inter, 7 Av, 19-44, Zona 1, T2223-3661, www.transgalgos inter.com.gt to Tapachula via El Carmen, 0730, 1330, and 1500, 7 hrs. Línea Dorada, address above, to Tapachula at 0800, US$24. Transportes Velásquez, 20 Calle, 1-37, Zona 1, T2221-1084, 0800-1100, hourly to La Mesilla, 7 hrs, US$5. Transportes Fortaleza del Sur, Calzada Aguilar Batres, 4-15, Zona 12, T2230-3390 to Ciudad Tecún Umán, 0130, 0300, 0330, 0530 via Retalhuleu, 5 hrs.
To Chetumal via Belize City, with Línea Dorada change to a minibus in Flores. Leaves 1000, 2100, 2200 and 2230, 2 days, US$42. Journey often takes longer than advertised due to Guatemala–Belize and Belize–Mexico border crossings.
Shuttles are possible between Guatemala City and all other destinations, but it’s a case of reserving them first. Contact shuttle operators in Antigua . Guatemala City to Antigua, US$10, Panajachel US$25, Chichicastenango US$25, Copán Ruinas, US$35, Cobán, US$26 and Quetzaltenango, US$21.
Avenidas have priority over calles (except in Zona 10, where this rule varies).
Car hire companies
Hertz, at the airport, T2470-3800, http://www.hertz.com. Budget, at the airport; also at 6 Av, 11-24, Zona 9, http://www.budget.co.uk. Tabarini, 2 Calle “A”, 7-30, Zona 10, T2331-2643, airport T2331-4755, http://www.tabarini.com. Tally, 7 Av, 14-60, Zona 1, T2232-0421, very competitive, have pickups. Recommended.
If possible call a taxi from your hotel or get someone to recommend a reliable driver; there are hundreds of illegal taxis in the city that should be avoided.
There are 3 types of taxis – Rotativos, Estacionarios and the ones that are metered, called Taxis Amarillos. Rotativos are everywhere in the city cruising the length and breadth of all zones. You will not wait more than a few mins for one to come along. They are numbered on their sides and on their back windscreen will be written TR (Taxi Rotativo) followed by 4 numbers. Most of them have a company logo stamped on the side as well. Estacionarios also have numbers on the sides but are without logo. On their back windscreen they have the letters TE (Taxi Estacionario) followed by 4 numbers. They are to be found at bus terminals and outside hotels or in other important places. They will always return to these same waiting points (good to know if you leave something in a taxi). Do not get in a taxi that does not have either of these labels on its back windscreen. Rotativos and Estacionarios are unmetered, but Estacionarios will always charge less than Rotativos. The fact that both are unmetered will nearly always work to your advantage because of traffic delays. You will be quoted an inflated price by Rotativos by virtue of being a foreigner. Estacionarios are fairer. It is about US$8 from the airport to Zona 1. From Zona 1 to 4 is about US$4. The metered Taxi Amarillo also moves around but less so than the Rotativos, as they are more on call by phone. They only take a couple of minutes to come. Amarillo Express, T2332-1515, are 24 hr.