Getting around

November 17, 2009 at 10:11 pm Leave a comment

If you’re not in a car, getting around in Guatemala is not very difficult. The most common form of transportation would walking. Enjoy your walk, but watch where you’re going; the cobblestone streets are far from forgiving.

The second most common form of transportation would be the tuktuk. Tuktuks are three-wheeled Bajaj taxis with the driver in the front, and a small bench seat in the back. Although they’re not very safe and the ride is VERY bumpy, the price is aimed to please: $1.20 to anywhere within city limits. Traditional taxis are available at Central Park almost any time–day or night. A trip anywhere in the city costs $3 to $3.50. They are much safer and smoother than the tuktuks.

Another form of inexpensive transportation would be the “chicken” bus. Chicken buses are retired North American school buses which have found new lives in Guatemala. Buses tend to be pretty cramped, but you can’t beat the price if you’re not going too far outside the city–about 35 cents. If you see a black bow on the front of a bus, it indicates that the bus driver is in mourning. Antigua has its own bus station, which is comprised of a big sand-paved parking lot next to the open market. This is a very convenient location for locals and others. People can go right from the busy market to the bus station with all their goods.

If you’re going to visit a location farther away from Guatemala, vans are an option. Although they tend to be very crowded, they cost about $10 for a two-hour trip. It is possible to travel to the city of Tikal (Mayan ruins) which is about 10-12 hours away. Another option for a trip to Tikal would be by air.

Horses and horses with buggies are another option. It is a common sight to see horse riders around town, and horses with buggies around Central Park.

Photo: Rudy Giron/AntiguaDailyPhoto.com

There are probably more motorcycles and scooters than cars in Antigua. Some are privately owned, while others are delivery vehicles. Dominos Pizza and Pollo Campero seem to have the largest fleets. Probably the strangest thing a North American will see is the sight of entire families on motorcycles or scooters–without helmets. Although I couldn’t get a photo, the photo below was taken by someone else in Cambodia. Even the tiniest of babies ride in their mothers’ arms.

Photo: www.spraguephoto.com/

The least convenient mode of transportation seems to be a truck. People are loaded like cattle in the back of a truck. It seems that the Mayans are the only ones who ride these. It is very sad to see. I don’t know how far they have to go, but is it likely anywhere from 1/2 hour to a couple of hours.

This concludes my Antigua transportation roundup. I hope you learned something interesting.

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Beauty all around

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