Yes, Uber does work in Guatemala. However, Uber does not work in the whole country. So, the most useful question to answer would be: where does Uber work in Guatemala? In this article I detail the places where you will find Uber in Guatemala and the transportation alternatives you have.
Where does Uber work in Guatemala?
The cities where Uber officially works are:
- Guatemala City
- Antigua Guatemala
- Quetzaltenango (Xela)
However, in several places you might find Uber drivers that are working close to where you are. Actually, it is a matter of luck because sometimes they come from other cities on a long trip and stay in the area for a few hours. Although due to the low demand in certain destinations (Panajachel, Coban, Escuintla, Peten, Retalhuleu and Huehuetenango), this rarely happens. I mention these places because they have tourist attractions that you could visit, but you should be prepared to use another transportation service.
Uber alternatives in Guatemala
There are several alternatives to Uber in Guatemala. Some are safe, but others are better avoided. Below I explain each of them:
1. InDriver in Guatemala
This is another mobile transportation app service. It is of Russian origin and has been officially working in Guatemala since 2018. It has gradually gained popularity, especially in Guatemala City. InDriver differs from Uber because the passenger is the one who proposes the fare and the driver directly accepts or negotiates the price of the trip.
You may find InDriver a good option because of its passenger-centric approach. However, I advise against it. You had better avoid it. Even though the drivers are verified and rated, there are many stories of robbery and express kidnapping, forcing you to go ATM’s.
2. Public transportation in Guatemala
This is the cheapest option to travel around Guatemala. However, it is not the safest or fastest. Below are the different types of public transportation:
These are found all over Guatemala City and in the suburbs. They are chicken buses painted blue. In Guatemala we call them camionetas. Depending on the time of day, a 20 km (12 mi) trip can cost between 1.25 GTQ (0.15 USD) to 10 GTQ (2.50 USD) at peak hours. Catching them can be a bit frustrating. A lot of people use them and when the bus is full you will have to wait for the next one. If you manage to get on a bus, arriving at your destination you will find there are no fixed stops. Just walk towards the door and shout to the driver: Parada! The driver will stop at the most convenient point for you to get off quickly. This experience will baptize you as a true Guatemalan!
This is a much more organized and safer public transportation than the urban buses. They connect the main avenues of Guatemala City through 8 lines that go to and from the Historic Center. You pay with a recharge card that you can buy in the electronic machines located at the Transmetro stations. At peak hours the queues at the stations can be long. But the buses are totally safe and generally in good condition.
Chicken buses, the modified U.S. school buses
This is the public transportation for traveling around the country that most Guatemalans use. In Guatemala we call them: camionetas, burras or canasteras. It is the most authentic transportation in Central America and popular with tourists. Traveling in them is an adventure. Make sure you are well-prepared and allow for plenty of time. The routes, stops and departure times are a total chaos. Fares are not fixed either and the chances of being overcharged are high. If you want to live the experience, I recommend you take a popular chicken bus from Antigua Guatemala to visit the nearby villages. This region is safe to travel. Click here to read my post on how to ride chicken buses in Guatemala, you will find prices, routes and safety tips.
3. Shuttle in Guatemala
This is the tourist transportation par excellence. Routes, departure times and rates are established by various tour operators throughout the country. There are collective and private shuttles. You can book them at various hotels and official websites. The main shuttle destinations are the tourist spots and the three international airports of Guatemala (La Aurora in Guatemala City, Mundo Maya in Petén and Quetzaltenango International Airport).
4. Coach buses in Guatemala
The coach bus companies in Guatemala are:
Most of these buses have air conditioning, toilets, spacious and comfortable seats and Wi-Fi. On long routes they make overnight trips. This is convenient if you do not want to waste a whole day in a transfer from one place to another.
5. Rental car
This is, without a doubt, the most comfortable, safe and independent option to move around the country. You will not be tied to schedules and delays. Far from what is rumored, in Guatemala the main roads are in good condition and Waze and Google Maps work quite well.
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