We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

private rent a car

Albuquerque, New...
1 post
Save Topic
private rent a car

Our plan is to rent a car in guat. city then drive to panachael and later to Pac coast for a week long timeshare.... why dont I see many doing this on the blog..

Lake Atitlan
Destination Expert
for Lake Atitlan
Level Contributor
1,079 posts
241 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: private rent a car

I suppose the reason you do not see many people doing this is the challenges of driving in any Central American country. Many find the cost of shuttles (either private or shared) to be less expensive, and easier on the mind.

There are plenty of rental car agencies available if you choose to go that route. The roads are relatively easy to navigate outside of Guatemala City, and in good condition. A locally owned company I like is at www.tabarini.com.

It looks as though you would be letting your car sit for an entire week while visiting the Pacific. You would want to compare cost and decide from there.

nyc
Level Contributor
319 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: private rent a car

The part of your trip in Panajachel won't require a car. Getting there from GC is easy enough by private van or bus. And, once you are there, you will travel by boat to visit the other towns on Lake Atitlan.

I think most travelers to Guatemala consider the rides between towns that are shared with others part of the adventure (and definitely a way to save money).

Edited: 15 May 2011, 16:49
Mentioned in this post
Lake Atitlan
Lake Atitlan
Solola Department, Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala
Central America
The Dalles, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Guatemala, Belize
Level Contributor
12,944 posts
329 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: private rent a car

In Belize and Honduras the options aren't as great but in Guatemala you can find share shuttles for around $10 for a 3 hour trip. Taking into account the risk to the car and its contents (needing protected parking which limits your hotel options) and the hassle of navigating, most of us just don't find it worth it.

Mentioned in this post
Belize
Belize
Central America
Honduras
Honduras
Central America
Guatemala
Guatemala
Central America
Panajachel...
Level Contributor
742 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: private rent a car

I have to disagree with the others' comments. I find the shuttles to be crowded, uncomfortable, unreliable and an all-around a drag. Driving in Guatemala is a challenge but the freedom offerred by having your own car is well worth it. You can come and go as you like, stop whenever you like, explore on your own, etc. If you are in a shuttle you cannot see a bunch of wonderful sights much less stop and take a picture.

Having a car on the coast means you can easily explore areas away from where you are staying and will not be limited as to where you eat. Unless you are going to Monterico you will have to change shuttles - the trip will be longer. Personally, I don't think they are any safer than the chicken buses - bald tires and scary drivers.

The only thing I like about the shuttles is that I often meet interesting characters. I met my best friend on a shuttle. We got drunk, spilled beer, puked and the driver almost threw us out. I have also been left on the side of the road in the middle of the night when the shuttle driver decided he actually didn't want to go to Panajachel but straight to Xela instead.

If you do take the shuttles, kick, scream, lie about physical ailments to get the front seat.

Sorry for the rant - just mho.

Mentioned in this post
Guatemala
Guatemala
Central America
Pleasanton, CA
1 post
Save Reply
5. Re: private rent a car

It is safer not to have your own car. Chicken buses are crowded and the seats are not comfortable (in most of them) and the drivers are mostly really crazy (in down hills, specially!) but you can go with shuttles and private taxis (at just a bit more expensive).

we just came back from Guatemala and we were so pleased with a guy called Ricardo Mondova with Eternal Springs in Panajachel. For example, we asked him to send his driver from Panajachel to Chichi to take us to Antigua! It only cost us $10 more than a shuttle! so, you need to shop around.

Driving your own car, we were told by many many Guatemalans, is not safe and if you get in a wrong place, you might seriously get into trouble. Just the week before we come back, two taxis were taken away by thieves at gun point right in the middle of Antigua! In the center of the city.

But if you really like to do that, then it is your choice. You really might have a different experience altogether from everyone else.

Best

Mentioned in this post
Guatemala
Guatemala
Central America
B.C.
Level Contributor
10 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: private rent a car

Hello,

we need to get transport from guatemala City to Panajachel. Unfortuantely we cannot leave until 6 p.m. You had a good experience with a private car and driver. We would like to travel in the same method (driver with car) can you recommend anyone?

The Dalles, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Guatemala, Belize
Level Contributor
12,944 posts
329 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: private rent a car

I arranged private transportation for a group of 15 in 2009 through Adrenalina Tours. The vehicles were very nice and the drivers prompt, safety-conscious, friendly, and helpful. I got estimates from 3 or 4 companies and Adrenalina had the lowest bid.

www.adrenalinatours.com

That said, I wouldn't make that trip at night, especially with kids. It would take 3 or 4 hours at best and it would be dark the whole time. I'd stay in a safe area of Guatemala City or in Antigua for the night and head to the lake the next morning. Just my 2 quetzales' worth. Have a memorable, safe trip, whatever you decide!

Alabama
Level Contributor
758 posts
150 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: private rent a car

Coyoteman....Here are three private drivers I have used before:

Airport Taxi Guatemala - Taxi #1197 - Israel Romero - (502) 5426 - 8478

Atitours Servicios Turisticos - Cristian Azurdia - (speaks fluent English and has 2 cell phone numbers) - (502) 5462 - 8643 & (502) 5775 - 3189

Raul - (I forget his last name) - (502) 5375 - 8741

Port Richey, Florida
Level Contributor
2,546 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: private rent a car

I agree with Goucho about the advantage of having your own wheels vs riding on uncomfortable shuttle vans. And that's the reason why I pick up a rental car or ride first class buses on my trips to guatemala. I've also read many testimonials from people that hae had bad experiences with shuttle drivers driving like chicken buses road maniacs. And god forbids you try to say something to them because they can be rude. But if I had to hire a shuttle company I'd ask upfront to make sure they use a safe driver because of comments you've read before. On the other hand there are many reliable and honest rental car companies including international franchises as Dollar Rent a Car or local companies as Tabarini and several others that can give you good deals on weekly rates. And keep in mind asking a local about rental cars would be the same thing as asking them about recommending a good hotel. Because they live there, and they never use those services. And they see things from a different point of view. I check guatemalan papers on line every day I've never read of rental cars being targetted by criminals. So the bottom line is I feel much safer with myself behind the wheel. And most hotels around the country have secure overnight parking. On the roads you can also enjoy stopping to buy fresh tropical fruits. And there are plenty of gas stations with clean rest rooms and food marts. But beware some of them don't take credit cards and the ones that do, may take Visa only and charge you a 6% surcharge because that's wht they're charged by their bank. Good luck.

Port Richey, Florida
Level Contributor
2,546 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: private rent a car

I need to add that I also have to agree with mayaruisonly because I always keep the business cards with cell phone numbers from friendly cab drivers that've given me excellent service in GC. So, using a recommend driver it's another option in guatemala.

Get answers to your questions about Panajachel