How to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan with Kids

Looking to book transportation from Antigua to Lake Atitlan with kids? Choose the one that fits your budget and family needs best! 

If you are planning a family vacation to Guatemala, visiting Lake Atitlan should definitely be on your itinerary. The scenic beauty of the lake and the surrounding towns makes it a perfect destination for families with kids and is arguably one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. If its not on your Guatemala Itinerary already, it needs to be!

However, getting from Antigua Guatemala to Lake Atitlan with kids can be a bit challenging. In this blog post, we will discuss the different ways to get from Antigua Guatemala to Lake Atitlan with kids, including an option to avoid

Lake Atitlan Sunset, Guatemala

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links that may earn me a small commission should you decide to click through and make a booking (at no extra cost to you.) Thanks so much for your support! 

How far is Lake Atitlan from Antigua?

The distance from Antigua in Guatemala to Lake Atitlan is 54.3 miles (87.4 km), and the ride will take you just over 3 hours. If possible staying for a few days would be ideal, but if you are crunched for time you can also see a lot in a day if you need to!

Tip: Since we were traveling with kids, we asked our private driver to stop for lunch and he was more than happy to and picked a great place along our route and it was nice to get out and stretch a bit.

The journey is often directed to Panajachel, which is the largest city along the lake however your airbnb/hotel may be an additional drive from here! With the winding roads make sure to accommodation extra time for this drive. 

Chicken Bus Transportation, Guatemala
Courtesy of Unsplash

First, what NOT to do

Maybe you have heard about the bright and colorful chicken buses in Guatemala, and while they make look fun and inviting, I’d avoid them especially if you are traveling with kids. They are the most inexpensive way to get around ( a ride to Antigua will cost under $5), however the buses themselves are not well maintained and don’t have the best reputation for safety especially when the buses become crowded and pickpocketing becomes an issue. 

While it may be a unique picture into Guatemala life, we’d suggest you opt for another way of transportation if you are able. 

How to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlian with kids?

Private Transportation

While private transportation is the easiest and most convenient way to get from Antigua Guatemala to Lake Atitlan with kids, it’s also the most expensive. However if you can afford it, you can hire a private shuttle or a car rental service to take you directly from your hotel in Antigua to your hotel in Lake Atitlan. 

This option allows you to travel at your own pace and schedule, which is perfect for families with kids. Additionally, you can stop at any point along the way to take pictures or explore local attractions, or grab lunch! I will say that there are no carseat laws in Guatemala so unless you bring your own, you will need to either buy one in country or make sure to confirm that upfront prior to booking. Do NOT assume they have them.

Public Transportation

Public transportation is a more affordable option for getting from Antigua Guatemala to Lake Atitlan with kids. You can take a bus from Antigua directly to Panajachel, the main town on the lake. From there, you can take a boat to your final destination. 

One thing to note is that public transportation can be crowded and uncomfortable, especially if you have young kids. It can also be challenging to navigate the bus and boat schedules, and you may have to wait for a long time for the next bus or boat. So keep that in mind when choosing what best works for you!

Woman Carrying Flowers, Guatemala
Courtesy of Unsplash

Private Car Rental

If you prefer to have more control over your itinerary and don’t mind driving, renting a car is a great option. You can rent a car in Antigua Guatemala and drive to Lake Atitlan. This option allows you to stop and explore different attractions along the way. However, driving in Guatemala can be challenging, and the roads can be rough, so this option may not be suitable for everyone especially if you do not have experience driving internationally.

Tour Operator / Day Trip

Booking a tour with a reputable tour operator is an stress-free way to get from Antigua Guatemala to Lake Atitlan with kids. Many tour operators offer packages that include transportation, accommodation, and activities. This option allows you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenic drive to Lake Atitlan without worrying about the logistics (stress free, sign me up!).

Central Park Fountain, Antigua

So there you have it! There are several ways to get from Antigua Guatemala to Lake Atitlan with kids, each with its unique benefits and drawbacks. Choosing the right transportation option depends on your budget, itinerary, and personal preferences. Whether you opt for a private shuttle, public bus, car rental, or tour operator, you are sure to have an unforgettable family adventure in Guatemala!

Have any more questions about getting your family from Antigua to Lake Atitlan? Leave a comment below, I’d love to help! 


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