We woke up in Guate dazed and confused, still tired after the long trip from the Petén jungle to the highlands. We packed and jumped into a taxi. Direction: zona 7, from where all the buses to Antigua leave.
Nowadays—am I talking like one of these people?—lots of travelers prefer the relative comfort of direct shuttle buses, that run frequently between Guate and Antigua. But these are minibuses, and I hate minibuses. Plus they cost 80 Quetzales per person, ten times the price of the regular bus.
In Guate, each company has its own terminal and they are scattered throughout the city. Además, to make things even more confusing, they don’t really have a name. “How am I supposed to explain the driver which terminal we want?” I asked Feng. “Just tell him we want to take the bus de pollo,” he deadpanned. Unfortunately, “chicken bus” doesn’t translate as easily. I settled for “bus regular”.
The taxi dropped us off in a busy street where colourful chicken buses lined up, bumper to bumper, burping dark fumes. Standing at the opened front door, the driver’s helper yelled the destination. “’Tigua! ‘Tigua!”
We climbed in and braced ourselves for the fun but bumpy one hour ride in the mountain.
Antigua hasn’t changed much, we spent a lot of time there in 2001 and 2003, mostly because it’s quiet, relatively safe and very picturesque. The city is in the highlands, stuck between Volcán Agua and Volcán Fuego. The colourful façades reminds me of Italy… but for the Mayas!