Getting from port-puerto quetzal, guatemala to antigua, guatemala

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Spokane, Washington, USA
1,614 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
There will be all kinds of people wanting to sell tours and transportation from the pier to Antigua. I don't know how much they will cost.

The bigger issue is "Are they reliable?" Or more specifically, is the one you happen to pick reliable? How would you know?

Antigua is about 85 km/90 minutes away from Puerto Quetzel. In most ports I am happy to hire local transportation, knowing I can always get another cab back to the pier if mine has a breakdown. But with Antigua being 90 minutes away, you might want to consider the ramifications of a break-down. You just might miss the ship. This is one port where I am choosing to use a cruise line provided tour for the peace of mind.

I recommend picking the cheapest cruise line trip to Antigua that fits your needs. See my blog posting on Guatemala for some ideas:
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Spokane, WA, USA
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9 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
There are many tour operators in the main building who are selling tours to Antigua. There were 10 of us in a vac and it was OK. The pricing was $ 40 each for the adults and $ 20 for the children. There was a couple from Oklahoma that actually took a local bus for $ 3 each ( they are called chicken buses there ) . I wish I had done this or taken the Antigua on your own tour. There is alot to see there. A lovely place really. The drive is OK - similar terrain to Costa Rica - fairly dry though and there was an activie volcano. What I do not like is when they drop you off to "shop" on the way - or at a craft market. We had enough information to go on our own. There are many small restaurants that are great for having a cerveza or snacks that are around the square or on the street with the arch. We had very little time - about 1 hour - due to the "shopping" schedule. I really had zero interest the Jade Museum.The hotel/ monastery/ convent is a lovely place to visit though. The local beer is Gallo but there are other good ones as well. It would have been $ 150 for a taxi for the four of us for the day if we had wanted. There were many taxis outside the port area. Lot's of shopping at the port as well for those that wanted to shop. Very nice square in Antigua - many local vendors and thousands of pigeons.
San Diego,CA
248 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
That is great information, going next month and cannot decide what to do. How long ago were you there? Really do not like taking ship tours, because for the "shopping" issue. Do you know if there was any transportation at the port to get to the beach? I believe it is about an hour away? Thanks in advance!
New Zealand
36 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Like you I don't necessarily like taking ship tours - we are going to Puerto Quetzel on Holland America Zuiderdam in April - but if one passenger in a van is $40 and the ship tour for "Antigua on your own" is $44 that seems to be pretty good value.
9 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
This time the arrangement with the ship was better - for the Do it Yourself tour. You can walk to everything easily from the main square. I felt we wasted time getting the group together as well. The map the tour gives you is easy to follow - everything is aroung the square. You can choose to rest on a park bench , eat, shop etc... We were there the first week of February. There is quite a big craft area at the dock area as well.
3,694 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
I detest ship tours but am doing Antigua on your own fo $39 on Celebrity. They just drop you off.Its really a long distance so would avoid taxis and the Chicken bus. I was on a Chix bus in Mexico yrs. ago,even had a chicken on.
537 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
We were on the Statendam in March and did the HAL tour, Antigua on Your Own. It was $49. and well worth it. It was a direct ride to Antigua and we knew it was reliable (Think peace of mind). We were dropped off at the Jade factory and there were plenty of guides inside to hire. It was $10. per person. We hired Gerardo and he was terrific, guiding us around the city. Antigua is very worthwhile and we did what we wanted to do, ie; sightseeing with a guide, and got back to our bus and HAL transport back. It was seemless!
San Diego, California
5,330 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
Is anybody interested in reporting back after their visit to update the above posts?

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42 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by zoncom
I detest ship tours but am doing Antigua on your own fo $39 on Celebrity. They just drop you off.Its really a long distance so would avoid taxis and the Chicken bus. I was on a Chix bus in Mexico yrs. ago,even had a chicken on.

Has anyone done Antigua on your own? How is it? Lots of walking?
Vancouver, BC Canada
1,134 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Originally posted by mpbmark
Is anybody interested in reporting back after their visit to update the above posts?

I took the Antigua & Casa Santo Dominga tour on our panama cruise which included a nice buffet lunch. I don't regret it but I would take the suggestions of some on this board and pay for the "explore Antigua on your own" and take a local guide at the drop-off spot. BTW, The "Jade Museam" is just shopping infomercial.

Our bus was late so I was glad I took the ships excursion.
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3,488 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Due to go to Guatemala this coming Oct. and was also wondering how to get there and how long of a ride it is. All of you just answered that for me. Many Thanks!

Also ...was it a "safe" environment?...did they hassle you to buy their stuff?...was it a big market? ( like in the Bahamas, a straw market? )

Never been there, so I am wondering.
St. Paul MN
3,283 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Guatemala is not anything like the Carribean. It is a Central American country that had the longest civil war, 35 years. It is a beautiful country with vocanos, cloud forests, Mayan ruins. It has over 75 languages spoken by the indigenous peoples, descendants of the Mayans.
I have been there twice. I would never take a private tour or taxi. I plan on taking a DIY ship tour. The 90 minute drive might be delayed due to construction, broken down trucks, pre planned workers strikes. We had all these things happen at least once in driving by private transport from Gautemala City to Coban in the highlands.

Antigua is recreated/restored first capital which was destroyed years ago due to eathquakes. It is perfectly safe. Yes, you will be approached by street vendors and in any market. Say no if you don't want to buy anything. Gautemala has some of the worlds best coffee, fine cotton textiles, folk art.
The people are very friendly but reserved in most social situations.
I am so looking forward to my day in Antiqua on our Celebrity Panama
cruise in December.
Fairbanks, AK
5,023 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
We were in Antigua last month and took a DIY ship tour. While we frequently do our own tours, given that it a ninety minute drive we opted for the DIY ship tour.

We did not find the street vendors to be overly aggressive, and thoroughly enjoyed our day in the city. Antigua has a number of lovely shops and I bought a number of items (and I am not much of shopper).

Puerto Quetzal is an industrial port, but there is actually a nice shopping area at the port.
511 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
Usually, I never take ship tours but in this case I would.Two years ago my husband and I spent a week in Antigua. It is a lovely city and we felt absolutely safe. The problem is getting to it. When we checked into our hotel, there was another couple whose cab had been involved in an accident...involving a 2 hr. delay. Once you see how they drive down there it is amazing more accidents don't happen. In a cab from Guatemala city to Antigua we hit rush hour...a real mess...everything came practically to a halt. As for a chicken bus, we heard from several local sources that they are not only dangerous, but a target for thieves. We personally saw an individual trying to get on one being practically dragged down the road.
St Ives, England
2,204 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by lamchops
I took the Antigua & Casa Santo Dominga tour on our panama cruise which included a nice buffet lunch. I don't regret it but I would take the suggestions of some on this board and pay for the "explore Antigua on your own" and take a local guide at the drop-off spot. BTW, The "Jade Museam" is just shopping infomercial.

Our bus was late so I was glad I took the ships excursion.
Hi Lamchops

This (which I did with HAL) seems very similar to what you did

I agree with all you say - and our bus was late too.
All the best, Tony
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St. Paul MN
3,283 Posts
Joined Dec 2007

Thank you for the video of your trip to Antiqua.
I look forward to our day there in December.

We plan to hire a local guide for a walking tour.
Crown Isle, BC & Fort Mohave, AZ
26,725 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Just two thoughts on Antigua, we were on a ships tour when one of the buses did break down on the way back to the ship....boy were they were ever glad they were on a ships tour. The other would be that the streets are cobblestone, the round kind of cobblestone which don't work well for people in wheelchairs or with walkers.

We don't normally take ships tours but I must say the for Antigua I would advise it.
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20 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
The trip to Panajachel has a lake as part of the trip on Celebrity excursions. Bus/boat launch and lunch included -has anyone heard any good things about this? I was avoiding Antiqua because it seems like just walking around a city - is it that worthwhile - perhaps I will pick this.