Need an easy way to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala?
Look no further than this blog post!
There are a couple of ways to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan – some are easy and some are difficult (involving multiple stops and transfers).
If you’re looking for the easiest, most convenient and smoothest way to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan, keep reading!
Lake Atitlan is one of the best places to visit in Guatemala. It’s a popular place for locals and foreigners to flock to this magical lake to relax, rejuvenate and take in some nature.
From the beautiful blue waters, the small town feels and vibrant culture all around the lake towns, Lake Atitlan must be included in your Guatemala itinerary!
QUICK ANSWER: How To Get From Antigua To Lake Atitlan
The best way to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan is by booking a shared van shuttle. Why?
- It’s easy to book via WhatsApp.
- It’s less crowded than taking a chicken bus.
- It’s still very cost-effective.
Most hostels, hotels or Airbnbs can recommend various shuttle services. There are so many companies to choose from – it’s pretty easy to find one and they are all relatively the same price.
We booked with Benjy Travel Tours and it cost us 100 quetzals ($13 USD) per person to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan. It was an easy journey and they pick you up from your hotel/Airbnb. The best way to book a ride with Benjy Tours is via WhatsApp and this is their number for bookings: +502 5696 6252.
What’s The Journey Like From Antigua To Lake Atitlan?
As Antigua digital nomads, it’s such a normal thing to escape to Lake Atitlan on the weekends to enjoy nature, completely relax and live life at a slower pace than Antigua. Thankfully, it’s so easy to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan – after you’ve made the journey once it’s a piece of cake to do it again and again!
However…Guatemala isn’t known to have the smoothest roads. What do I mean by this?
While driving from Antigua to Lake Atitlan, you can expect a bunch of bumps on the road and insanely crooked roads like the one pictured below! I know it can get pretty crazy and we definitely recommend packing some Dramamine in case you easily get motion sickness.
Apart from that, the journey from Antigua to Lake Atitlan is pretty easy (especially if you go with any of the options below). Whichever option you go with, they will:
- Pick you up from your hostel or Airbnb
- Simply hop in and sit tight for the drive and
- Drop you off at a specific town around the lake
That’s it – you’ll be at Lake Atitlan!
3x Easy Ways To From Antigua To Lake Atitlan: Transportation Options
There are several ways to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan but I won’t bother sharing the difficult transportation options that could give you a headache, stress or even worse get you lost!
No one wants that when you’re destination is meant to be a relaxing and rejuvenating place. Here are the 3 best options to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan with ease.
- Duration: 3-4 hours
- Cost: 100 Q ($13 USD)
- Type: Shared
Taking a shared van shuttle is the easiest, safest and most convenient way to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan. We personally chose this transport option for ourselves and highly recommend every person to take a shared van shuttle.
Why book a shared van shuttle service?
- You can easily book most van shuttles via WhatsApp. If you don’t already have an account, I suggest creating one because most businesses in Latin America and Asia use it for booking.
- It’s the cheapest option on this list. For our direct shuttle from Antigua to Lake Atitlan, we only paid 100 quetzals ($13 USD) per person at the time of writing.
- The booking process is quick and simple. All you have to do is message them via WhatsApp. The good companies usually reply within the hour (usually faster).
- You don’t have to book too far in advance. Have the sudden urge to go to Lake Atitlan? With the shuttle service, you can book as late as the day before you leave!
- It’s a direct journey. If you don’t want to have multiple stops and make transfers – the shuttle service will get you from your hotel/Airbnb to the top towns around the lake. No need to get on or off the shuttle, just sit back and relax! Note: While it’s a direct journey, there will be a short potty break at some gas station in case you need to go in the middle of the journey.
Most shared van shuttle services only go to specific towns (other towns are just too hard to drive through). The most popular drop-off points are Panajachel, San Pedro or San Juan. If you’re not staying at any of these towns, you can easily catch a lancha (boat taxi) from any of these places.
The Shared Van Shuttle Service We Recommend
We booked with Benjy Travels because our local host on Airbnb recommended them. We had a great experience with them – they pick you up on time and you just have to wait for a blue van to come by. It’s usually a 12-14 seater van and there’s enough space for your luggage (we had 2 suitcases so you’ll be fine). You don’t need to pay in advance but instead, it’s easy to pay cash once you arrive at your destination. Through this method, you don’t even need to go to an official store – it’s all done through WhatsApp!
Benjy Travel Tours have several different routes including:
- Antigua to Lake Atitlan
- Lake Atitlan to Antigua
- Antigua to Aurora International Airport
- Aurora International Airport to Antigua
- Lake Atitlan to Aurora International Airport
- Aurora International Airport to Lake Atitlan
Once you’ve got their number, it’s easy to just keep re-booking them for travel around Guatemala. Their daily schedule from Antigua to Lake Atitlan (San Pedro drop-off) runs from:
If you’d like to book with Benjy Travels, their WhatsApp number is +502 5696 6252. You can easily use the Google Translate app to write a message and/or read their messages in Spanish!
Popular hostels like Selina Antigua or Tropicana also offer daily shuttles to and from Antigua to Lake Atitlan. You can simply go to their location and request to book shuttle transport.
If you want a cost-effective, direct and less-crowded transport option to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan, the shared van shuttle is your best option!
2. Hire A Private Taxi / Driver From Antigua To Lake Atitlan
- Duration: 2.5-3 hours
- Cost: 600-1,000 Q ($80-$130 USD)
- Type: Private
This is another easy way to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan, directly. You won’t need to stop along the way (unless you want to) and you can tell them whichever town you want to go to.
This is the most expensive way to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan. We were shocked at how much they charge for a private car with a driver in Guatemala. We got several quotes and they were all over $80 USD. Granted – you do get the driver for the day which is best for a roundtrip journey but if it’s a one-way journey, it’s simply not worth the money.
The Private Driver We Recommend
We booked a private driver to pick my mom up from the airport to Lake Atitlan and it cost us $120 USD for the day. This driver (Tony) was recommended by our friend and here’s the number if you want to book with him: +502 5870 9747.
You can simply post on one of the popular Guatemala Facebook groups and ask for a private driver. Many people will recommend their trusted drivers and some drivers will also respond directly to your post.
3. Take An Uber From Antigua To Lake Atitlan
- Duration: 3-4 hours
- Cost: 300-500 Q ($40-$65 USD)
- Type: Private
Ordering an Uber from Antigua to Lake Atitlan is probably the easiest option on this list, however…
It’s a hit and miss whether you’ll get a driver that’s willing to go all the way to Lake Atitlan. You might struggle to get a driver to accept the request and if they do – they also tend to negotiate with you before they actually take you to Lake Atitlan.
If you do get an Uber to take you from Antigua to Lake Atitlan for the price given by Uber without any troubles – lucky you! It’s fairly straightforward and a pretty safe option for people.
Uber is widely used throughout Antigua – whenever we got lazy to walk across the city, we took an Uber and it costs us less than $2 USD to get around Antigua, Guatemala. That’s why it’s so common for people to just use Uber to also get to Lake Atitlan.
The travel time for all 3 options are fairly similar and as I said – I’m not recommending any complicated transport options (that can often take longer than the usual time). It’s important to always account for traffic because it can get clogged along the way.
How To Get Back From Lake Atitlan To Antigua?
Just take any of the 2 options:
- shared shuttle
- private driver
Uber is not available anywhere throughout the lake villages which means you’re not likely to get someone to pick up the request.
You can use the same shared shuttle service to get you back to Antigua from Lake Atitlan. It’ll cost the same around 100Q ($13 USD) and they will pick you up at your hotel/Airbnb then drop you off at the main plaza in Antigua, Parque Central. You can pay cash once you get off the van in Antigua.
The private driver is much more expensive but if you prefer it – simply book with the same person that took you from Antigua to Lake Atitlan. It might be more expensive than your original journey because the driver will likely need to drive from Antigua to pick you up and then head back!
Bottom Line: Take The Easy Journey From Antigua To Lake Atitlan
There are many ways to travel from Antigua to Lake Atitlan but that doesn’t mean you’ll have the smoothest, most convenient trip!
The easiest way to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan is to take a shared van shuttle. You can simply book via WhatsApp as late as the day before your travels and pay in cash. No need to worry about transfers or bank payments! It’s also the cheapest option on this list at only 100Q ($13 USD) per person.
Lake Atitlan is the deepest lake in all of Central America. With 12 different Mayan villages surrounding this lake, it’s easy to spend a weekend or even months soaking up the nature and slow pace of life. The travel is fairly easy from Antigua and that’s what makes it a must-visit on any Guatemala itinerary!
Frequently Asked Questions – How to Get From Antigua to Lake Atitlan
Got a few more questions about traveling from Antigua to Lake Atitlan? Here are some answers and tips to the questions we asked ourselves when trying to get across.
How Far is Lake Atitlan From Antigua?
Lake Atitlan is around 2.5 to 3 hours away from Antigua. The fastest drop-off point is Panajachel and it takes a little longer (maybe 30-60 mins) to get to San Pedro La Laguna.
Depending on the traffic, you might take longer around 4 hours but usually, this is the duration you can expect if you travel in the morning.
When Is The Best Time To Travel From Antigua to Lake Atitlan?
Always travel in the morning!
We recommend traveling from Antigua to Lake Atitlan early in the morning because it’s easy to get to other towns during the day and gives you ample time to explore and get across to other lake villages if you need to. It’s also safer during the day, you can begin to be aware of your surroundings and actually see what it’s like.
We don’t recommend arriving at night if you can’t get a direct shuttle to your specific town. This means you shouldn’t take the afternoon shuttle service. Here’s the thing:
The lanchas (boat taxi) stop going across the lake from around 5pm because it’s too dangerous with the waves and wind conditions. We came from San Cristobal de las Casas to Lake Atitlan and we got dropped off at 9pm in Panajachel. Thankfully, we booked one night’s hotel in Pana because there was no way to get across to San Pedro La Laguna without paying over $60 USD for a scary (possibly dangerous) lancha ride!
Antigua To Lake Atitlan: Which Are The Popular Villages To Get Dropped Off At?
The most popular villages to get dropped off are Panajachel and San Pedro. From these two towns, there are lanchas every 15-30 minutes to take you to the other towns.
It’s important to note: The journey from Antigua to Panajachel is much easier for people that are sensitive to motion sickness. The drive from Antigua to San Pedro La Laguna includes one of the windiest roads we’ve ever ridden on! One of the people on our shared shuttle almost (maybe he did but I didn’t want to look) puked from the drive. Again – take some Dramamine if it really affects you! Or just take the shuttle to Panajachel and take the lancha (boat taxi) across.