Car Travel

To reach Antigua, drive west out of Guatemala City via the Calzada Roosevelt, which becomes the Pan-American Highway (Carretera CA-1). Signs direct you either to "ANTIGUA" or "ANTIGUA GUATEMALA." At San Lucas Sacatepéquez, exit right off the highway and drive south to Antigua. The last several kilometers before Antigua entail a steep descent. Note the "FRENE CON MOTOR" warnings ("engine brake")—use your lowest gear—and the "RAMPA DE EMERGENCIA" signs for the three emergency off-ramps for vehicles whose brakes give out. If you're coming from the highlands, head south to Antigua near Chimaltenango.

All nonresident drivers must pay a daily Q10 fee to park on any city street. The permit takes the form of a tag (marbete) you hang from your rear-view mirror. (Parking meters would be, of course, considered an eyesore in the colonial city.) They are sold at police checkpoints at the main entrances to town, or by officers roaming the streets wearing blue vests that say "control de estacionamiento" (parking control). Tags change color each day; you must buy a new one. The rules are strictly enforced. We recommend avoiding the need for all this and leaving your vehicle in your hotel's lot, assuming it has one. (Off-street parking is exempt from the daily fee.) Better yet, don't bring a vehicle into Antigua at all.

If you want to rent a car to explore Antigua, it's a good idea to do so in Guatemala City's Aeropuerto Internacional La Aurora. In Antigua, reputable local agencies are Ahorrent and Tabarini.

Local Car-Rental Agencies

Ahorrent. 2332–7744; www.ahorrent.com.

Tabarini. 7832–8107; www.tabarini.com.

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