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Public Transportation in Guatemala City

Mastering the public transportation system in Guatemala City is a crucial aspect of adapting to life there. This article provides a detailed overview of the available local transit options.
|-Public Transportation in Guatemala City

Public transportation in Guatemala City is diverse and vibrant, offering a range of options for both locals and expats. The city’s public transportation system includes the Transmetro bus system, the Red Buses, and a plethora of taxis and tuk-tuks. For those who prefer a more active mode of transport, cycling is also a viable option in certain areas of the city. With such a variety of options, it is entirely possible for an expat living in Guatemala City to live comfortably without a car, relying on public transportation and walking.


The Transmetro is a bus rapid transit system that serves Guatemala City. It is a popular choice for many residents due to its efficiency and affordability. The buses run on dedicated lanes, which helps to reduce travel times. The Transmetro is generally safe to use, even at night, and is used by a wide range of people, including women traveling alone and children going to school. The cost of a ride on the Transmetro is Q1, which is equivalent to about $0.13 USD. The system has several routes that cover a large portion of the city, making it a convenient option for getting around.

Red Buses

The Red Buses, or “camionetas,” are another common form of public transportation in Guatemala City. These buses are privately owned and operated, and they cover a wide range of routes throughout the city. However, they are known for their aggressive driving and lack of safety standards, which can make them a less appealing option for some people. The cost of a ride on a Red Bus is typically Q1-Q3, depending on the distance traveled. Despite their drawbacks, the Red Buses are a ubiquitous part of the city’s transportation landscape and can be a convenient option for short trips.

Taxis and Tuk-Tuks

Taxis and tuk-tuks are also widely available in Guatemala City. Taxis can be hailed on the street or booked in advance, and they offer a convenient and relatively safe way to get around the city. Tuk-tuks, on the other hand, are small three-wheeled vehicles that are commonly used for short trips within local neighborhoods. Both taxis and tuk-tuks operate on a negotiable fare system, so it’s a good idea to agree on a price before starting your journey. As a general rule, a taxi ride within the city should cost between Q25 and Q50, while a tuk-tuk ride should cost between Q5 and Q10.


For those who prefer a more active mode of transport, cycling is also a viable option in certain areas of Guatemala City. The city has been making efforts to become more bike-friendly, with dedicated bike lanes and bike-sharing programs being introduced in recent years. However, it’s worth noting that traffic in the city can be chaotic, and cycling is not recommended for the faint-hearted. If you do choose to cycle, it’s important to always wear a helmet and follow the local traffic rules.

In conclusion, while the public transportation system in Guatemala City has its quirks and challenges, it is entirely possible for an expat to live comfortably in the city without a car. Whether you choose to take the Transmetro, hail a taxi, or brave the Red Buses, there are plenty of options available to help you get where you need to go.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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