You’ve landed on this post because you are wondering how to get from Guatemala City to Lake Atitlan. Lake Atitlàn is one of the most popular destinations in Guatemala, therefore it’s well connected to all major towns in the country by public transportation and tourist shuttles.

In this article, I’ll go over how to get to Lake Atitlan from Guatemala City, Guatemala City Airport, Antigua and any other major town that is located close by. And at the end of the post I’ll add any useful tips that will aid you in a trip to Guatemala and the Lake Atitlan villages that surround the lake.

How to Get from Guatemala City to Lake Atitlán

For full transparency, I have sprinkled some affiliate links in this post which gives me a small commission at no extra cost to you if you decided to make a purchase. As always, I would never recommend a product or service that I didn't truely believe in. If you find this post useful, you can also treat Jess to a cup coffee by clicking the icon on the bottom of the page. This will allow me to continue to create more content for you to enjoy ☕️. 

But first, are you in a hurry? The easiest way to get from Guatemala City to Lake Atitlan is a on a shared shuttle. When booking transportation to Lake Atitlan, you will first arrive to the largest town on the lake Panajachel.

From Panajachel, you will take a public boat/ water taxi the Lake Atitlan village of your choice – San Pedro, Santa Cruz, San Juan, San Marcos, Santiago, etc. You can prebook your shuttles online here if you don’t have time to read the whole article or are trying to book transportation to Lake Atitlán at this moment.

Book a Shuttle to Lake Atitlan →

I'm Jess Traveling in Lake Atitlan

Guatemala City to Lake Atitlan Distance

The distance from Guatemala City to Lake Atitlan is about 75 miles in a straight line. However, travel distance can vary deepening on the route taken and mode of transportation used.

Driving from Guatemala City to Lake Atitlan takes around 3-4 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions. The route involves navigating through winding mountain roads and passing through tiny villages along the way.

An hour into the drive you’ll pass through Antigua (one of the best places to visit in Guatemala), so consider stopping here for lunch or coffee if you are driving yourself or hire a private driver.

Things to do in Antigua Guatemala
Charming streets of Antigua Guatemala

Ways to Get from Guatemala City to Lake Atitlan

🛵 Okay, let’s get into the details of the different ways to get to Lake Atitlan from Guatemala City and the towns that surround the lake.

  • Tourist Shuttle
  • Private Shuttle/ Private Transfer
  • Uber
  • Public Bus
  • On a Tour

Everybody has different priorities when it comes to transportation and traveling around a country. My top priorities are to get somewhere safely, swiftly and for a good price.

The transportation options through this Central American country is sometimes grueling, sweaty and very bumpy but all the major towns are well connected. If you’re willing to be patient, you’ll be able to explore the entire country via tourist transport and/or public transportation.

Bus Travel in Guatemala

Shuttle from Guatemala City to Lake Atitlan

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to reach Lake Atitlan from Guatemala City is on a Shared Shuttle. These shared shuttle services run frequently from the Guatemala City to Lake Atitlan and should take about 4 hours.

Expect these mini-vans to be packed, trust me all seats will be accounted for. That means your bags will be strapped to the top of the van with rope.

I never ran into any issues but if you carry a lot of important electronic equipment like me, the experience is always a bit unsettling. If you are traveling Guatemala during rainy season make sure you bring a rain cover for your bag.

Any tourist office in a major town or even your hotel or hostel will be able to book you transportation throughout the country. Or you can save yourself the time and prebook your transportation ahead of time here with my friends at Guatego.

It costs about the same price if you were to book in person and saves you the time trying to shop around for your ride. That means more time for eating and activities 👍.

Book Shared Shuttle to Lake Atitlan →

How to Get to Lake Atitlan San Marcos

Private Driver to Lake Atitlan

The most comfortable and convenient way to get to Lake Atitlan is with a private driver, but that means it’s also the most expensive. Guatemala is infamous for being late, so don’t expect for your ride to arrive on time even if you book a private driver.

We took a private car from Chichicastenango to Panajachel and they were still 15 minutes late to picking us up. The ride was much more comfortable as we had room to spare and I didn’t have anxiety about my bag being tied down on the roof as it sat next to me.

There are many knowledgeable and reliable drivers that are winning to make the drive as it’s such a popular destination in Guatemala. I would pre-book a driver online that will pick you up from your hotel in Guatemala City or from the Guatemala City Airport and take you to the door of your hotel in Lake Atitlán.

Book Private Transportation to Lake Atitlan →

Views of San Marcos from the air

Uber from Guatemala City to Lake Atitlan

I love when a country has Uber and Guatemala has Uber. It takes the potential for miscommunication out of the equation and you know the payment isn’t going to be inflated, because it never fails – I always seem to get ripped off by cabbies no matter what country I’m in.

Uber is very affordable and easy to use in cities like Guatemala City and Antigua. They will charge an extra service fee if traveling outside of districts.

For example we took a cab from Antigua to Chichicastenango which cost $100 total for a 3 hour ride but $30 of that was an out of district service fee.

💳 Travel Hack:  If you own the American Express Platinum Card, you get up to $15 dollars of cash credited towards your account each month when you use Uber. This goes a long way in Guatemala.

chicken buses in Guatemala

Chicken Bus to Lake Atitlan from Guatemala City

I’m sure you’ve heard of the infamous chicken buses that make up Guatemalas public transportation system. These old refurbished US school buses are called chicken buses because it’s not uncommon to see locals on the bus holding a basket full of chickens.

This is by far the cheapest option, but not the most convenient as it makes many, many stops. It’s more of a novelty experience for the travelers like myself.

If you have any large bags, you’ll have to secure them to the top of the bus. You will pay directly on the bus and only with cash. These buses will not have air conditioning, so if you’re traveling during the hottest months, be prepared for a sweaty journey.

I would not recommend this option but if this is the option you choose, I’d love to hear about it so let me know in the comments below.

How to get from Guatemala City to Lake Atitlan

Visit Lake Atitlan on a Tour

Another way to get to Lake Atitlan is on a tour. There are many tours that depart from Guatemala City and Antigua that will take you to this magical lake and to the surrounding towns that dot the lake.

Here are some of the best rated tours to Lake Atitlán to check out:

Join the Newsletter

Subscribe for Hawaii Travel Tips, my Latest Content and Much More.

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

    How to Get to Lake Atitlan Guatemala FAQ’s

    Guatemala Travel FAQ's

    Can you Fly to Lake Atitlan?

    Lake Atitlan does not have its own airport, so you cannot fly directly to Lake Atitlan. The closest airport to Lake Atitlan is Guatamela City Airport.

    How to Book a Shuttle from Guatemala City to Lake Atitlan

    Shuttles from Guatemala City to Lake Atitlán run multiple times a day and cost around $40. You can pre-book a shared shuttle here to save time.

    Book a Shuttle to Lake Atitlan from Guatemala City →

    How to Book a Shuttle from Antigua to Lake Atitlan

    Shuttles from Antigua to Lake Atitlán run multiple times a day and cost $25. You can pre-book a shared shuttle here to save time.

    Book a Shuttle to Lake Atitlán from Antigua →

    How to Book a Shuttle from Lake Atitlan to El Paredon

    If you are looking for onward travel from Lake Atitlán that isn’t Antigua or Guatemala City, El Paredon is Guatemala’s “surf” city and a great place to kick back, soak up the sun, and catch some waves.

    Shuttles from Lake Atitlán to El Paredon run once at day leaving Panajachel at 1pm and arrive in El Paredon just around sunset. Check out the vlog above to see what the shuttle ride looks like.

    Book a Shuttle from Lake Atitlán to El Paredon →

    What Luggage to Travel Guatemala With

    I travel the world full time and I use this Carry-On Roller Suitcase and this Travel Backpack/Camera Bag and I absolutely love these brands.

    No, I am not sponsored (not yet at least 🙌🏼, Goals) but these pieces of travel gear have withstood me rolling, dragging, carrying, stuffing, and banging them around for two full years of travel all over the world. Still haven’t had to replace them.

    Pepian a traditional dish in Guatemala
    Breakfast in San Marcos Guatemala

    Guatemala City & Lake Atitlan Travel Blogs

    10 Adventurous Things to do in Lake Atitlan – Get the adrenaline pumping with these epic things to do on the lake.

    San Marcos Travel Guide – Find out what to do, where to stay, eat and more.

    Where to Stay in Lake Atitlan – These are the best places to stay in Lake Atitlan in all towns.

    Best Day Trips from Guatemala City – These are 10 of the best day trips from the capital of Guatemala City.

    How to Get from Guatemala City to Antigua – Find out all the ways to get from Guatemala City to Antigua.

    30 Guatemala Tips for Traveling Guatemala – Learn 30 essential tips to know before traveling to this vibrant Central American country.

    15 Unbelievable Places to Visit in Guatemala – Read about 15 of Guatemala’s most beautiful destinations.

    20 Epic Things to do in Guatemala – If you need more reason to book that ticket, check out these 20 awesome things to do in Guatemala.

    Guatemala Travel Vlogs

    Would you rather see what traveling Guatemala is like? Joe and I spent 7 weeks in Guatemala eating, exploring ancient ruins and hiking volcanos. It was an epic adventure.

    Check them out after you read this post and please subscribe or give us a thumbs up. It doesn’t cost you anything and really helps us be able to continue creating free content for you to enjoy 🙂.

    Final Thoughts on How to Get from Guatemala City to Lake Atitlan

    Those are the best ways to get from Guatemala City to Lake Atitlan. It is straightforward and as you can see, there are multiple ways to achieve the same result.

    If you found this article useful, let fellow travelers know in the comments below 👇.

    Guatemala Travel Guides ↓

    📍 Planning a trip to Guatemala? Guatemala is a hidden gem and full of history, culture, and natural wonders. Check out the guides below for more inspiration and aid in planning your travels to Guatemala.

    How to Get from Antigua to Semuc Champey 

    Tikal National Park | Tips & Tricks to Know Before you Go

    Hiking Acatenango Volcano | Sleeping atop a Volcano

    Best Ways to Get to Tikal

    Enjoy this Post?!?! Pin in for Later ↓

    How to Get to Lake Atitlán
    How to Get to Lake Atitlán from Guatemala City
    How to Get from Guatemala City to Lake Atitlán