A tuktuk driving though the yellow Catalina Arch - one of the must-things to see in Antigua Guatemala

How to get from Antigua Guatemala to Lake Atitlan

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Choosing how to travel around Guatemala is never a straightforward process. There are no bus companies or other official transport such as trains. So it can be a bit confusing knowing which transport to book. But luckily we stayed 3 months in Guatemala and will share all the best ways to get from Antigua Guatemala to Lake Atitlan with you!

Short on time? Book a shared shuttle (most popular option) here πŸš

The 7 Ways to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan are:

  1. Shared Shuttle
  2. Private Shuttle
  3. Private Driver
  4. Uber
  5. Tour
  6. Chicken Bus
  7. Rental Car

How far is Antigua Guatemala to Lake Atitlan?

The distance from Antigua Guatemala to Lake Atitlan is 105 km or 65 miles. It is not long but the journey will take 2-3 hours. This is because of traffic and windy roads so get your pills ready if you get motion sickness!

Read here: This is Lake Atitlan’s most colorful town 🀩

A map showing the distance from Antigua Guatemala to Lake Atitlan
Shores of Lake Atitlan with San Juan La Laguna and San Pedro Volcano

1. Shared Shuttle

πŸ’° 20 USD
πŸ•‘ 2.5-3 hours
🚐 Book a shared shuttle here

Traveling around Guatemala by shared shuttle is the most popular way for those on a budget. Because there are no official bus lines between Antigua and Lake Atitlan shuttles operate in place of buses.

If you book a shared shuttle you will be placed in a can with other travellers. It is good to be picky about which company you choose because some are much better. Some have uncomfortable vans with crazy drivers and loud music.

One company I can recommend is Xocomil Tours. They have good reviews and departures at 5:30 am, 8:00 am, 12:30 pm, and 4 pm for 20 USD.

Another option is to book via GuateGo. They have an easy-to-use website where you can book shuttles for 25 USD.

If you want to go to San Pedro book a shared shuttle here or here πŸ‘‡

A man standing on top of a colorful wooden lookout at the San Juan La Laguna Mirador on Lake Atitlan Guatemala

2. Private Shuttle from Antigua to Lake Atitlan

πŸ’° 120 USD
πŸ•‘ 2.5 hours
🚐 Book a private shuttle here

You can book a private shuttle if you would like a more comfortable and faster journey between Antigua Guatemala and Lake Atitlan.

This will be more expensive but much more comfortable as there will be fewer people. Private shuttles also do not have to stop to pick up other travelers so they are much faster.

You can book a highly-rated private shuttle on Viator for 60 USD per person. This includes pick up from your hotel and the journey should take 2-3 hours.

Book a private shuttle here or here πŸ‘‡

A private car driving through the yellow Santa Catalina Arch in Antigua

3. Private Driver

πŸ’° 165 USD
πŸ•‘ 2.50 hours
πŸš™ Book a private driver here

Another comfortable way to get from Antigua Guatemala to Lake Atitlan is to hire a private driver if you don’t mind spending more.

You can book a private driver on Daytrips.com or Welcome Pick Ups. Both websites are international companies that will connect you with a local driver. Your driver may be a taxi driver. But they will be vetted by the website in advance.

I have never used either service but they have good reviews online. As with any service like this, there is a slight chance of things going wrong. But the vast majority of customers seem to be very happy.

Book a private driver here πŸš™

A woman overlooking Lake Atitlan

4. Uber 

πŸ’° 130 USD
πŸ•‘ 2.15 hours
πŸš— Book an Uber here

It is possible to book an Uber from Antigua Guatemala to Lake Atitlan. However, it is probably not the best option.

It can be hard to get a driver to accept long trips in Guatemala. So if you are on a tight schedule it may not be a reliable option. However, if you would like to give it a go the ride should cost around 130 USD.

Book an Uber here πŸš—

A colorful street in San Juan La Laguna full of art

5. Book a Tour (Antigua to Lake Atitlan Day Trip)

πŸ’° 125 USD
πŸ•‘ 10 hours
🚐 Book a tour here

If you are short on time you can also book a day trip from Antigua Guatemala to Lake Atitlan. It will be a long day as it will take over 2 hours to drive there. But you will get to see a lot within a short amount of time.

Viator has a day-trip tour from Antigua that will allow you to see all the highlights of Lake Atitlan in one day. The tour takes 10 hours and includes pick up and drop off from your hotel in Antigua. You will visit multiple towns around Lake Atitlan and all water taxis are included in the tour price.

Book a Lake Atitlan Day Trip here or here πŸ‘‡

A man standing next to a large cross enjoying the view at the cerro de la cruz in antigua guatemala

6. Chicken Bus (Antigua to Lake Atitlan Bus)

πŸ’° 50 Quetzales (6 USD)
πŸ•‘ 4 hours

🚌 4 buses

Taking a chicken bus is always the cheapest way to travel around Guatemala. This is the primary form of transport for locals and also the most adventurous.

Chicken buses are old American school buses that are bought by Guatemalans and used as public transport. The drivers of the buses pimp the buses up by making them super colorful and covered in decorations.

A colorful chicken bus driving down a cobblestone street from Antigua Guatemala to Lake Atitlan

Each bus has its own character as it is up to the driver how they decorate them. They also get to choose the music so some will be playing music very loud!

Some drivers also drive like maniacs so it can be a hair-raising journey. But if that sounds like fun to you below we describe how to catch the Chicken bus from Antigua Guatemala to Lake Atitlan as we did it too!

How to Catch the Bus from Antigua Guatemala to Lake Atitlan

You will have to change bus a few times to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan by Chicken Bus. The first bus you will need to take is to Chimaltenango.

To catch the bus head to the Chicken Bus Terminal next to the Antigua market. There should be a sign next to a bus saying Chimaltenango and if not ask one of the guys next to the buses. The buses to Chimaltenango leave regularly approximately every 15 minutes.

The chicken bus workers are usually very helpful and will point you in the right direction. On board, you will pay the helper once the bus has started towards Chimaltenango. This ride should cost 10 Quetzales or 1.3 USD.

If you tell the helper you are going to Lake Atitlan he will most likely take you to the next bus at Chimaltenango. The ride to Chimaltenango should take about 45 minutes.

In Chimaltenango you will be dropped on the corner of a busy highway. You will have to cross the highway where the next bus will take you to Los Encuentros. This bus will take about 1 hour and cost 30 Quetzales or 4 USD.

At Los Encuentros the helper on the bus should take you to the next bus which will take you to Solola. This bus will take about 25 minutes and cost 5 Quetzales (0.60 USD).

In Solala you will have to walk down the road to the other side of the main square and catch your final bus for 25 minutes to Panajachel for 5 Quetzales (0.60 USD). Then you have made it!

Tip: Try and get into the back of the Chicken Bus. There is space behind the back seat for your bags which means you can keep them closeby. You can also leave from the back doors which may be a lot easier if the bus gets packed πŸŽ’

A man walking through the ruins of an old church in Antigua Guatemala

7. Rental Car (Antigua to Lake Atitlan Drive)

πŸ’° 15 USD per day
πŸ•‘ 2.15 hours
πŸš— Book a private car here

If you like to have your own transport then the best way is to rent a car. But I only recommend driving from Antigua to Lake Atitlan if you are confident.

The roads of Guatemala are chaotic and there are some crazy drivers. But if you are confident it will give you the ultimate freedom to explore the country.

The cheapest place I found to book a car in Guatemala online was on Economybookings. You can rent a car for 15 USD per day and pick it up from Guatemala City Airport.

Book a cheap rental car here or here πŸ‘‡

Two boats sitting next to some wooden docks with two volcanoes in the background

Lake Atitlan Water Taxi

Once you arrive in Panajachel you have made it from Antigua to Lake Atitlan. But if you are staying in another town on Lake Atitlan you will need to take a water taxi.

There are two areas on the waterfront in Pana where you can catch a water taxi. They are marked here and here on Google Maps.

We caught water taxis from both locations multiple times and as far as we could see both charge the same prices.

Tip: There are public and private boats leaving from these areas. So make sure you get on the public boat as a private boat is much more expensive.

A parked water taxi on Lake Atitlan

Safe travels from Antigua Guatemala to Lake Atitlan!

Antigua and Lake Atitlan are magical places and we loved our time in both locations. They both offer so much culture and natural beauty that it is hard not to fall in love with them.

Hopefully, this guide makes your journey from Antigua Guatemala to Lake Atitlan smooth and stress-free. Although in Latin America that is never a guarantee πŸ˜‰

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Hi, I am Allan, a travel, health and fitness fanatic from New Zealand. I'm a former lawyer who turned into a full-time nomad in 2020. For the last 4+ years I've been traveling the world. I'm always on a hunt for good food, activities on a budget and workouts on the go. I hope you find my tips helpful and get inspired to travel more!

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