Transport in Guatemala

Transportation in Guatemala includes roads, waterways, and airports. It formerly included railways.

A Guatemalan Chicken bus. Chicken buses are repurposed American school buses.

Ground transportationEdit

Chicken buses, recycled and often colorfully painted former US school buses, are popular within cities and for short-distance trips. There are a number of Guatemalan bus and van transport companies that most travelers use to get from the airport in Guatemala City to Antigua, Lake Atitlan in the Western Highlands of Guatemala and Monterrico on the Pacific coast.

Some first class bus operators (such as Litegua between Guatemala City and Puerto Barrios, Fuente del Norte between Guatemala City and Flores, and Monja Blanca to Cobán) run safe, modern air-conditioned buses for longer distances. In some parts of Guatemala City passengers on public buses are vulnerable to crime therefore it is not a good idea to take public buses in Guatemala City nor chicken buses from Guatemala City to other destinations. Shuttles and taxis (often tuk-tuks)are the better option. There are no passenger trains.


Guatemalan streets tend to be one-ways to ease congestion and move traffic.


  • Total: 14,095 km
  • Paved: 4,863 km (including 75 km of expressways)
  • Unpaved: 9,232 km (1999 est.)



narrow gauge: 884 km 3 ft (914 mm) gauge (single track)

Railway links with adjacent countriesEdit

  •   Mexico - currently closed (since 1996 or before) - break-of-gauge 3 ft (914 mm)/4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)
  •   Belize - None
  •   Honduras - none in use - break-of-gauge 3 ft (914 mm)/3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) (?)
  •   El Salvador - currently closed


260 km navigable year round; additional 730 km navigable during high-water season


Ports and harborsEdit

Atlantic OceanEdit

Pacific OceanEdit

Merchant marineEdit

None (1999 est.)


Ferries are available in certain regions, such as Sayaxché or around Livingston. The best way to get to the various Mayan villages around Lake Atitlan is on one of the ubiquitous "shark" boats.


450 (2006 est.)

Named airportsEdit

Airports - with paved runwaysEdit

  • total: 11
  • 2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
  • 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
  • 914 to 1,523 m: 4
  • under 914 m: 2 (2006 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runwaysEdit

  • total: 439
  • 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
  • 1,524 to 2,437 m: 8
  • 914 to 1,523 m: 111
  • under 914 m: 319 (2006 est.)

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit