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Transportation Overview

Apart from infrequent shuttle buses traveling between Antigua and Monterrico, there are only three ways to get around the Pacific Coast – hire car, local buses or some incredibly long and expensive taxi rides. Realistically most trips will be by bus.

The bus routes, while bumpy, appear to be more daunting than they actually are. The highway is long, straight and much faster than the one running parallel to it on the other side of the mountains. However, for most of the coast, it is not possible to travel next to the ocean because of the mangroves and canals. Cutting out to the coast from the highway can take from twenty minutes to two hours, depending on which coastal town you wish to visit.

Traveling on the Pacific Coast may involve up to four bus changes and a boat ride but invariably the last bus will deposit you at the door of the next one or a paltry two minute walk away from it. Always tell the ticket collector your final destination so that he knows what crossroads to drop you off at. Often this will result in a speedier journey with less back-tracking.

It is rare that the buses are so full that you don’t get a seat, although on occasion it might require waiting ten minutes. Trying to squeeze in your luggage can be tricky so the smaller the bag, the better.

As the entire length of the Pacific Coast is covered in canals and mangroves, the last part of the journey is frequently by boat, easily the best way to arrive in any village. Except for a couple of secluded hotels, it is not necessary to charter a boat unless the ferries have finished for the day. The ferries generally run from sunrise to sunset. Last buses back from costal towns tend to finish at around 3pm though, as they are used to serving a day tripper crowd.

Don’t forget on your bus trip to take a look out the window. Most of the fields on the coast are for sugar cane. It is the fences that are far more interesting. The ground here is so here that the farmers can take a log or branch, plant it in the earth and it will grow roots and turn into a new tree, creating these amazing ‘living fences’ that you can see all over Guatemala.

By Kathryn
Independent and optimistic, I believe in following your dreams and have been doing just that, traveling the world for the last 9 years. British by...
09 Mar 2010

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