Sunday, August 28, 2016

Chicken Bus From Panajachel to Antigua

Just a quick post for travelers about how to take a chicken bus from Panajachel to Antigua in Guatemala. A few pics of Antigua as a bonus at the end.

I had to go to Antigua because my sister was visiting from Canada. She was flying into Guate City late at night and it was recommended to us that she stay overnight in a hotel in the city or in Antigua and travel to Pana the next day. We chose to get a hotel in Antigua so that we could spend the next morning exploring the city before catching a shuttle to Pana. (So glad we did! Antigua is lovely!)

I had asked for advice from the helpful folks in the Panajachel Facebook Group. I was expecting to hear that I would have to take several chicken buses to get from Pana to Antigua but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there was a direct bus leaving Panajachel at around 10:45 am and it would cost only Q36. And I was even more pleasantly surprised to find out that this information was actually true! :D

I arrived at the parada de autobuses (bus stop) on Calle Principal at 10:40 on a Saturday morning and noticed several gringos hanging about. The helper asked for my destination and told me to wait for 10 minutes. Very shortly, a green and cream Rebuli chicken bus pulled up and everyone scrambled onto it, including the majority of the white people waiting. It was the most gringos I'd seen on a chicken bus!

Then the fun began. The bus drove to the north part of town near the market to see if there were more passengers. Then it drove back south past the bus stop and stopped on the side of the road 100 meters down to drop off some big parcels off the roof. Then we did a 3-point turn at the fire station and went back to the original bus stop to see if there were more passengers. Went up to the market a second time, circled back past the bus stop a third time, and finally left Pana at 11:05.

Moral of the story: if you're late for the Antigua direct bus, just wait and it will come 'round!  :D

The ride was beautiful, as usual, but was basically a giant blur as the driver was going insanely fast. Like LUDICROUS speed. Pretty much every time I get on a chicken bus, I imagine that it's my last day on Earth. It was pedal to the metal the whole way, with very brief stops to pick up passengers.

Departed Panajachel 11:05 am
Tecpan 12:15 pm
Chimaltenango 12:45 pm
Arrived Antigua 1:40 pm

TOTAL TIME 2 hr 35 min

If you can't make the direct bus from Pana, you can do the more complex route.
Pana -- Solola -- Los Encuentros -- Chimaltenango -- Antigua
Estimated prices are Q3 -- Q3 -- Q20 -- Q10
As always, don't be afraid to talk to the ayudantes (bus helpers) to make sure you're on the right track. Buses run very frequently during the daylight hours.

The Rebuli chicken bus that took me to Antigua. Rebuli is the company name. All the buses in their line are painted the same colours.
The bus station in Antigua is huge! So many pretty chicken buses.
Antigua chicken bus station. It's not far to walk to the Central Square.
After arriving in Antigua, I checked into our hotel and then went walking. It's a lovely city. I'll write more about it in the next post. My dinner? WENDY'S!! Oh, it was sooooo good. And a really pretty restaurant too, with two floors and lots of comfy seating. A single hamburger combo cost Q43, or about $7.41 Canadian. Pretty expensive, actually. But then again, I'm always comparing everything to local prices in Pana like three tacos for Q10! Spending Q40 on a meal is a lot for me now. :)
The sign inside the Wendy's at the Central Park in Antigua, Guatemala
One of the many half-destroyed buildings in Antigua. A fascinating city. I highly recommend a visit.
More blog posts to come, as soon as I can get them up. The six days with my sister went by so quickly! I've managed to upload the videos to my YouTube channel so head on over there to get a sneak peek of all the fun we had.


  1. Hello! This post was very useful. Did you take the Rebuli bus back to Panajachel? Do you know about what time it leaves Antigua? I will be traveling to the Antigua area to visit my in-laws in February and we'd like to make a trip to the lake. It would be soooo convenient to just pick this bus up on the carretera as it heads up to Chimaltenango.

    1. No, I didn't take the chicken bus back. My sister and I took a shuttle (minivan) cuz she had luggage and stuff.

  2. I found your post very useful when I did research to see how I can travel by chicken bus from Antigua to Panajachel. I saw that there is a lot of confusion between travelers if this bus is still running or not and at which hour and from where it leaves Antigua so I made a video about my journey (end of September 2017):