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Public Transportation in Antigua

Learning how to get around using public transportation in Antigua is an important step in adjusting to life in Antigua. In this article, we cover the local public transportation options.
|-Public Transportation in Antigua

Antigua, a city known for its well-preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture and vibrant cultural scene, offers a variety of public transportation options for both locals and expats. These include the local bus system, known as Chicken Buses, Tuk-Tuks, taxis, and shuttle services. With these options, it is entirely possible for an expat living in Antigua to comfortably live without a car, relying on the public transportation system and walking.

Chicken Buses

Chicken Buses, or “camionetas” as they are locally known, are the most common form of public transportation in Antigua. These are brightly colored, repurposed American school buses that provide a unique and authentic Guatemalan experience. They are named so because locals often bring livestock on board. Chicken Buses are cheap, with fares typically under 10 Quetzales (about $1.30), and they cover most areas of the city and surrounding villages. However, they can be crowded and have a reputation for being somewhat unsafe, particularly at night. It’s also worth noting that they don’t operate on a fixed schedule, so patience is key when using this mode of transportation.

Tuk-Tuks

Tuk-Tuks are small, three-wheeled motorized vehicles that are a popular mode of transportation in Antigua. They are quick, convenient, and perfect for short trips around the city. Tuk-Tuks are generally safe and are often used by locals and tourists alike. The cost of a ride is usually around 15 Quetzales (about $2), but it’s always a good idea to agree on the price before starting your journey. While they don’t offer the comfort of a taxi or shuttle, Tuk-Tuks provide a fun and unique way to get around Antigua.

Taxis

Taxis in Antigua are plentiful and provide a more comfortable and private alternative to Chicken Buses and Tuk-Tuks. They are typically safe and reliable, and many drivers speak English, making them a good option for expats. Fares are usually negotiated before the trip and can vary depending on the distance and time of day. A typical fare within the city is around 40 Quetzales (about $5). However, it’s worth noting that unlike in many other cities, Antigua’s taxis are not metered, so it’s important to agree on a price before getting in.

Shuttle Services

For longer trips, such as to the airport or other cities in Guatemala, shuttle services are a popular option. These are typically minivans that can carry up to 10 passengers and offer a more comfortable and direct route than Chicken Buses. Shuttle services are generally safe and reliable, and many companies offer door-to-door service. Prices vary depending on the destination, but a shuttle to Guatemala City’s airport, for example, typically costs around 100 Quetzales (about $13).

In conclusion, Antigua’s public transportation system, while not as structured or predictable as those in some larger cities, offers a variety of options that make it possible to live comfortably without a car. Whether you choose the colorful and bustling Chicken Buses, the quick and convenient Tuk-Tuks, the comfortable and reliable taxis, or the direct and efficient shuttle services, getting around Antigua is an adventure in itself.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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