Bus from Lake Atitlan to Xela (Quetzaltenango)

Lake Atitlan is one of the most visited places in Guatemala. It’s relaxing atmosphere, chill vibes and volcanoes available for climbing is what attract tourists. Some people travel to Xela (also known as Quetzaltenango) after spending some time near Lake Atitlan. This is the short guide how to do that.

Direct bus from Panajachel to Quetzaltenango (Xela)

Bus from Lake Atitlan to Quetzaltenango
Direct chicken bus from Panajachel to Xela.

Your best option is to catch a direct chicken bus which leaves from Panajachel to Quetzaltenango (also known as Xela). This is the fastest option and almost the cheapest. You might save some cents while taking different buses, but it is not really worth the effort.

Bus leaves from 14.74614 91.15376 every day. I heard that the buses run every hour, but you might want to check that information. I am sure that I took this bus at 1PM.

Bus from Panajachel (Lkae Atitlan) costs Q20 per person. Bus ayudante might want to charge Q25 or Q30 from you, but the price is Q20.

It took us 2 hours and 15 minutes from Panajachel to Xela Bus Terminal where we changed bus to San Marcos. We climbed volcano Tajumulco there.

Lake Atitlan to Xela by chicken buses

If you cannot find a direct bus to Xela you might try to go there by changing different chicken buses. They go something like this:

  • Bus from Panajachel to Solola – Q3/person, 20 minutes.
  • Chicken bus from Solola to Los Encuentros – Q2.5/person, 20 minutes.
  • Los Encuentros to Xela (Quetzaltenango) – Q20/person, ~2 hours.
Chicken bus to Lake Atitlan
Inside bus – packed like chickens.

If you are not lucky from Los Encuentros you might take not a direct bus to Xela. Then you will need to change once again somewhere in the middle of the road. Make sure that the bus you are getting into is going all the way to Xela.

Chicken bus from San Pedro la Laguna to Xela (Quetzaltenango)

I heard that there is a direct bus from San Pedro La Laguna to Quetzaltenango. It might be the cheapest and fastest option if you are staying at San Pedro.

It is hard to find exact schedule and price for this bus. You might want to ask around your hostel in San Pedro. I am pretty sure that I saw a chicken bus in Xela with a sign of San Pedro la Laguna.

If you have any information about bus route from San Pedro la Laguna to Quetzaltenango let me know in the comments! I would be happy to update the post.

Afternoon bus from Lake Atitlan to Xela

Joseph Andrews commented that it is possible to catch a bus at Panajachel where Calle Santander intersects with the main road heading up to Solola. He mentioned that buses leave every thirty minutes from six or six thirty and they stop running at eight AM. If you need to take a bus at afternoon there is a bus leaving at 2PM. And as far as he knows it is the only afternoon bus.


Hey! Thanks for reading. I am Joseph - young guy from a small country called Lithuania. Haven't heard about that? No surprise for me, we are only 3 million people. I am sports addict, mountains climber, travel blogger, adventurer and digital nomad, making my way around the world while building successful online businesses. Are you looking for more travel advice? Check other articles!

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12 Responses

  1. KP says:

    Helpful info – thank. I am looking to travel the opposite direction (Xela to Panajachel). Where do I catch the bus in Xela? Any other description of your return trip would be helpful. Thanks!

  2. Mjen says:

    Yeah, it’s not like chicken bus companies are going to have websites to post schedules on. That would take away from the excitement of the whole venture.

  3. larraitz ventoso says:

    Hello, sorry the coordinates dont work for me. Could you give some other information of where the vus is taken?
    Thank you! Great article!

  4. Erica says:

    I took a direct chicken bus from San Pedro today! The bus stop is opposite the big white church in downtown (uphill) . Note-someone has marked it incorrectly on maps.me

    I got there for 10am, someone told me it would be here in 25minutes.it was, however we sat on the bus for 1hour till it left. 1125 we were on the road, a few people picked up and dropped off but never had more than 2 people on the seats! Arrived just before 2pm and was 35q

  5. Joseph Andrews says:

    Catch the bus in Panajachel where Calle Santander intersects with the main road heading up to Solola. Traffic cop I talked with said buses leave every half hour or so starting at six or six thirty and ending at eight am. I will see about afternoon buses tomorrow and let you know.

  6. Joseph Andrews says:

    The afternoon bus from Pana to Xela leaves at two pm. As far as I know, it is the only pm bus.

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