Lake Villa Guatemala is located on the tranquil south shore of beautiful Lake Atitlán, Guatemala. What means of transportation is best?
We are between the towns of Santiago Atitán and San Lucas Toliman. The closest village is Cerro de Oro, a quiet Mayan village rarely visited by tourists.
Lake Atitlan’s beauty is worth the time and effort it can take to get here. Flying into Guatemala City is easy enough. But after you arrive in Guatemala City, how do you get to the lake? Especially to the less populated south shore?
Please note: if you are arriving in Guatemala after 2pm, stay in Antigua or Guatemala City that night and come to the lake the next morning. Traffic in Guatemala City can be terrible after 3pm and road conditions make driving at night inadvisable. Also, we do not run our boat after 5:30pm and public boats stop running around 4:30-5pm.
Here are some options, listed in order of ease and cost.
If you are booking a personal retreat with us, your package includes private transportation from the airport area of Guatemala City or from Antigua. Depending on the weather and traffic, the drive all the way to Lake Villa Guatemala is 3.5 hours. Weather permitting, the van will take you to Panajachel (about 2.5 hours) and we will pick you up in our private boat for the 20 minute ride across the lake. The cost for a private van depends on where you’re coming from and whether you’re going to Panajachel or Santiago, but are typically about $90-$125.
I’ve had guests come by taxi. They arrive in a tiny car with little room for luggage, and are charged about as much as a private van. Also, taxi drivers from Guatemala City are often unfamiliar with the Santiago side of the lake. If you really want to take a taxi, take it to Panajachel and come the rest of the way by boat.
Public Shuttle and Private Boat
Public shuttles run to Panajachel from the airport and nearby hotels, and from Antigua, several times a day. Shuttles typically cost $25 per person. We have had good experiences with Atitrans. Public shuttles from Guatemala City take an extra hour or more because they stop in Antigua to pick up passengers.
From Panajachel, we will pick you up in our private boat. Please contact us in advance for reservations and pricing. You will need to call us when you get to Sololá so we know when to pick you up. Have the shuttle drop you at the “playa publica”—this is where the boats to Santiago leave.
Public Shuttle and Public Boat
Follow the instructions for Public Shuttle and Private Boat, except that when you get to the playa publica, get on a public boat to Santiago. Boats leave when they fill, and a typical wait is 30 minutes. Cost is about Q25 per person.
When you get to Santiago, we can pick you up for $10 or you can take a “tuk tuk” (motor taxi) for around Q40. Let us know that you’re doing this and we’ll give you additional details to get here.
You can rent a car in Guatemala City and drive here. We do not recommend this unless you’re comfortable driving in conditions common in the developing world. Roads are often poorly marked and are in poor repair in some areas. But if you really want to, we’ll send you driving directions.
Some guests ask about the “authentic Guatemalan experience” of riding a chicken bus. We do not recommend this.