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Guatemala has no passenger trains and only the rich few can afford cars, so nearly everybody travels by fume-filled, overcrowded and very colourful 'chicken buses'. Westerners tend to travel most by tourist shuttles and the odd internal flight but it is worth taking a chicken bus for an authentic experience of Guatemala.

  1. BY BUS: By far the most common method of transport internally.
  2. Chicken Bus click on the image to enlarge
    CHICKEN BUS: easily identified by gaily painted bodywork and noxious fumes, these tend to leave when the bus is full. Travel can be slow and uncomfortable, but never dull with all ages clinging on as the driver hurtles round corners. Catch them at bus terminals or by hailing one along the road.
  3. EXPRESS BUS: quicker with fewer stops and more punctual, these vary hugely between companies, but are your best bet for travelling longer distances along main routes e.g. Guatemala City to Rio Dulce.
  4. SHUTTLE BUS:increasingly popular, these fast, non-stop buses conveniently collect passengers from their hotels. More expensive, geared to tourists, these services connect main tourist centres.
  5. PRIVATE TRANSFER:your hotel or tour operator can arrange these for you in a minibus on request.
  6. Tikal Jets click on the image to enlarge
    BY AIR:The most common internal flight is from Guatemala City to Flores and or back again. This 50 minute flight (rather than 8-10 hours by bus) costs from US$75 one way and from US$123 return. You can book your flights through any travel agent in the country, or via your tour operator - Taca owned Inter and Tikal Jets are the two main carriers. You can also fly to several other destinations internally but the distances are not great and cancellations frequent. Charter airlines fly to outlying airstrips given sufficient demand.
  7. BY CAR:Driving around Guatemala is certainly possible with relatively empty (although patchy) roads and friendly locals, but bear in mind it is expensive, and parking and security will be your biggest concerns. A good working knowledge of Spanish will help your cause. Petrol stations are scarce outside the main roads and fuel is cheap by European standards but double that in America. Car hire is around US$50 per day; make sure your insurance covers damage to your vehicle. The usual hire car operators exist in Guatemala City and Antigua - Avis, Hertz, Americar, Tabarini or Thrifty.

  1. BICYCLES:are quite common in Guatemala, and cycling a popular sport. Chicken buses will carry bikes on the roof, most towns have a repair shop, and its a great way to see the country if you have the energy to climb through the highlands. You can also rent them in Antigua and Panajachel.
  2. MOTORBIKES:are less common and locating parts and mechanical expertise can be a problem. You can rent them in Guatemala City, Panajachel and Antigua.

  1. FERRIES:operate between Puerto Barrios and Livingston on the Caribbean coast and connect Puerto Barrios with Belize.
  2. BOATS:are useful in Peten along rivers, as well as on Lago de Peten Itza between Flores and villages on the opposite shore. Unmissable boat trips are down the Rio Dulce gorge between Livingston and Rio Dulce, and across volcano-encircled Lago de Atitlan.
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