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How to get from Panajachel to Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Rio Dulce is well connected with Panajachel. You can get from Panajachel to Rio Dulce by coach bus, shared shuttle, private transfer, or rental car.

The Central American country, Guatemala, has a variety of cultural, historical, and geographical treasures to explore, and Rio Dulce is just one favorite among many!

Located between Guatemala’s largest lake– Lago Izabal and the Caribbean Sea– is the river known as the Rio Dulce. Measuring just 27 miles long, this little stretch of water provides serene scenes of cascading natural beauty and diverse wildlife along its shorelines.

Its geographic isolation from the rest of Guatemala means it gets far fewer tourists than Antigua and Tikal, making this “other” natural wonder much more special!

Rio Dulce is still a popular tourist attraction for budget-conscious backpackers, high-end eco-tourists, or anyone seeking unique adventures! 

It’s also home to several cultures, including indigenous Mayan tribes and the Afro-Caribbean Garifuna people.

If you’re looking for something off the beaten path but still want access to some major attractions, consider planning your trip around Rio Dulce and exploring the Caribbean coastline!

Traveling between Panajachel and Rio Dulce is easy, and you can choose between a coach bus and shared shuttle, a private transfer, or a rental car.

Check our guide for the best options to travel from Panajachel to Rio Dulce.

How far is Rio Dulce from Panajachel?

The distance from Panajachel to Rio Dulce is 246 miles or 396 kilometers. Depending on your transport type, your journey can last either eight to 14 hours.

Transportation Options from Panajachel to Rio Dulce

The following table outlines all transportation options from Panajachel to Rio Dulce:

MethodTravel timePrice
Coach Bus + Shared Shuttle from Panajachel to Rio Dulce14 hours 20 minutesUSD 99
Private Transfer from Panajachel to Rio DulceCustom Time
Rental Car7 hours 20 minutesUSD 20+

Getting to Rio Dulce from Panajachel

1. Coach Bus + Shared Shuttle from Panajachel to Rio Dulce

Journey Duration: 14 hours 20 minutes

Since there is no direct connection between Panajachel and Rio Dulce, the first and best traveling option is to combine a shared shuttle and coach bus

Including the waiting time and transfers in Antigua, this journey takes a little over 14 hours, but if you want a quick solution for your trip, then this is it!

First, you will be taking a shared shuttle to Antigua from the Atitrans office in Avenida Santander Anexo Hotel Regis in Panajachel.

Then, at 11:00 AM, you need to transfer to another shuttle to Zone 1, and finally, take the 02:00 PM coach bus that will take you to Calle Principal in Rio Dulce.

The price for this is USD 99, including all the transfers. 

Since it is a day-long journey, you need to be comfortable during your trip. Thankfully, Maya De Oro provides comfortable vehicles with air-conditioning, bathrooms, and reclining seats, so you can easily sit through those 14 hours!

There is one departure daily, so make sure you know the schedules and don’t encounter any problems!

Panajachel to Rio Dulce Maya De Oro Coach Bus + Shuttle Schedule

  • 05:00 AM to 07:20 PM: 05:00AM Shuttle + 11:00AM Shuttle + 02:00 PM Coach Bus to Rio Dulce from Panajachel

Total price: USD 99

GuateGo

On GuateGo, you can check all available transportation options from Panajachel to Rio Dulce. It is a reliable and easy-to-use platform for comparing prices & schedules and making a booking online.

Panajachel To Río Dulce Universal Traveller
How To Get From Panajachel To Rio Dulce, Guatemala

2. Private Transfer from Panajachel to Rio Dulce

Journey Duration: Custom Time

If you don’t like spending time on public transport and long trips, and money is no issue- you can hire a private driver to take you from Panajachel to Rio Dulce!

Services like this are easy to find online or through a local Guatemalan agency in Panajachel.

It is a bit pricey, but if you’re traveling with a group and decide to split the cost, this option might be worth it!

You will get a comfortable and shorter ride, tons of luggage space, and flexibility regarding schedules. 

And the best part?

You will arrive directly at your destination without making any transfers and detours!

GuateGo

On GuateGo, you can check all available transportation options from Panajachel to Rio Dulce. It is a reliable and easy-to-use platform for comparing prices & schedules and making a booking online.

How To Get To Río Dulce Universal Traveller
How To Get From Panajachel To Rio Dulce, Guatemala

3. Driving with Rental Car from Panajachel to Rio Dulce

Journey Duration: 7 hours 20 minutes

Go on a Guatemalan adventure from Panajachel to Rio Dulce by renting a car!

Driving with a car is the fastest and most direct way to reach Rio Dulce from Panajachel at an affordable price!

Car rental prices in Panajachel are ridiculously low and worth paying for to get the most out of your trip!

You have complete freedom to explore the Caribbean coast and still get to your destination in no time. You must follow the map directions and take the CA-9 route, the shortest and best way to travel between Panajachel and Rio Dulce

Plus, an extra advantage is that you can stop along the way as you wish, depart and arrive at your own time and take multiple breaks to stretch your legs or grab a bite!

So, what are you waiting for? You can hire your car online today!

How To Get From Panajachel To Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Best day tours in Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Get Your Guide helps you find the best tours wherever you are heading to. It’s usually the first website I check when I plan a trip to a new place.

The following widget shows some of the best tours in Rio Dulce, Guatemala.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cheapest way to get from Panajachel to Rio Dulce?

The cheapest way to get from Panajachel to Rio Dulce is to drive with a rental car which costs approximately USD 20 per day and takes 7 hours.

What is the fastest way to get from Panajachel to Rio Dulce?

The fastest way to get from Panajachel to Rio Dulce is by car (either a rental or with a private driver).

How do I travel from Panajachel to Rio Dulce without a car?

The best way to get from Panajachel to Rio Dulce without a car is to take the shared shuttle and bus via Antigua, which takes 14 hours and 20 minutes.

How long does it take to get from Panajachel to Rio Dulce?

Getting to Rio Dulce from Panajachel takes between 7 and 14 hours, including transfers, depending on your transportation type.

Can I drive from Panajachel to Rio Dulce?

Yes, the driving distance between Panajachel and Rio Dulce is 396 km via CA-9, the fastest route available.

Is there a direct bus from Panajachel to Rio Dulce?

No, there isn’t. The Maya De Oro transport first stops in Antigua and continues to Rio Dulce later. Alternatively, you can take a vehicle from Panajachel to Rio Dulce via Antigua Guatemala, Litegua Antigua, Ciudad Guatemala Calle 15, and Guatemala City and later make a transfer to continue to Rio Dulce.