Shuttle from Rio Dulce to Lanquin
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Nov 30, 2012 8:05 AM Last Post By: Delmonte
Nov 27, 2012 12:15 AM
Shuttle from Rio Dulce to LanquinHi there,
Has anyone taken the shuttle from Rio Dulce to Lanquin? My research shows that there's one that leaves from the sun dog cafe in Rio Dulce everyday at 1:30pm (and that this is a fairly new shuttle route..?).
My question is- how crowded is the shuttle ride? Unfortunately I'm pretty claustrophobic when it comes to crowded transportation and I really don't want to get myself into a 5 hour trip that's going to cause me to have a massive panic attack! I don't mind bumpy rides or less-than-ideal road conditions, but I DO mind being wedged in with a bunch of other people for longer than 30 minutes (and by wedged in I mean every seat is full or more). Can anyone share their experience?
For those who might be wondering, the only other transport I'm planning in Guatemala is from Flores down to Rio Dulce for which I believe you can get a pretty nice bus with 1st class since it's a major route. After that it would be the shuttle to and from Lanquin, and then a lancha ride from Rio Dulce to Livingston. All of which I feel pretty comfortable with except the shuttle to Lanquin.
Any help or input would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!
Nov 27, 2012 8:22 AM
1Hello there. You may find this old post helpful http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=1991512
They're probably referring to the same shuttle that leaves from the SunDog cafe at 1PM. I've
never seen any feedback talking about about how comfortable the ride is. But for Q150/US$19 I wouldn't' expect any locals to be on it. IMO they take the route via Fray Basrtolome down to Lanquin which nowadays should be paved most if not all the way because that's part of the new construction project going on. Here is a road map http://www.cobanav.net/map_av.php Good luck
Nov 27, 2012 4:12 PM
2Thanks so much for the info! That certainly helps. What are the tourist shuttles like in general in Guatemala? I hear they pack them pretty tight! Do you think there's any other options if we really want to go to Lanquin but don't want to do the shuttle (like a taxi or private ride? Or would that be exorbitantly expensive?)
Nov 27, 2012 8:20 PM
3If you watch the first 8 seconds of this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOYsnpPYQ1g you'll see a micro-bus and have a pretty good idea of how crammed you can expect to ride on those shuttles. And hopefully there is only a few fares for the ride.Based on the distance I'd guess a taxi could probably set you back about US$60 but you'll ride in comfort and you'll have the freedom of telling the driver if he is going too fast for you. Because let me tell you, from what I've read some of those shuttle drivers are road maniacs. But the route via Fray Brtolome is the best route to take. Because the route via El Estor is another way to get to Lanquin but that roasd is in bad shape. Of course you're not saying where you'll be staying in Rio Dulce. But if you stay at Bruno's they might be able to fix you up with private transportation.
Nov 27, 2012 9:59 PM
4Thank you so much Delmonte, you've been extremely helpful. I'm finding it difficult to get a good grasp on the travel logistics here and feel like I'm missing things! I think I'll wait until I get there and see how adventurous I'm feeling. That video sure made me wish we were doing our trip on bikes though!
Nov 28, 2012 6:44 AM
5hey Delmonte, I thought you had been on that shuttle. It passes El Estor and Cahabon, and will always take that route because the only reason it runs is that the guy who owns it is connected somehow to the mining camp halfway along and has to visit there.
It is probably the least crowded shuttle in the country because the Gringo Route goes Flores-Lanquin-Antigua and does not pass Rio Dulce. Of course there are no guarantees and maybe on the day there will be another 15 people wanting to go but I doubt it.
The road is crappy, but far from being the worst in the country. I drove it a little while ago (in a normal-clearance, non 4WD car after some heavy rain) and it only got hairy in a couple of places.
But if you want to go Flores, Lanquin, Rio Dulce it would make much more sense to me to do the first leg via Coban (you can do this in a direct shuttle, but it is easy enough to do by normal bus) and then shuttle down to Rio Dulce. That way you see some different countryside and are not backtracking. And as scenic as the Rio Dulce -El Estor-Cahabon-Lanquin trip is, I think doing it twice would be excessive.
The other thing is that there's one public bus in the morning from El Estor that goes to Cahabon and arrives in time to catch another on to Lanquin, although this doesn't work so well the other way because it leaves Cahabon for El Estor at 4am :O
That road from Fray Bartolome to Lanquin won't be good for some time - they are still dynamiting on the section between Sebol and El Pajal and I was told you still need a high-clearance vehicle to get through. That's not part of the Franja Transversal - the Franja passes through Fray and connects to the other highway at Modesto Mendez.
It will certainly change things once it does get paved, though - shuttles from Flores to Lanquin will probably be doing the trip in 4 hours, and bypassing Coban completely.
Nov 28, 2012 8:04 AM
6I'm familiar with that part of the country but I was there many years ago. But let me tell you. Every time I write something unless I'm speaking from personal experience, I always make it clear that my information is based on what I've read. I also never said that the stretch from Fray Bartolome down to Coban is part of the Franja Trnsversal del Norte which I know it runs from Modesto Mendez, Izabal to Nenton, Huehuetenango at the border with Mexico. This is what I said "it's part of a construction project". In fact my research information included something you said at one time that the route via El Estor was in total desrepair and full of potholes. So, given what you can see on this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUYK2OPtexo that the route from Fray Bartolome down to Chajmaic is now open, it only makes sense that, that has to be the new route to follow by the shuttle bus. But of course based on what you've been told, that may not be possible because they're still working on the stretch down from Chajmaic to Carcha. On the other hand as you can see on this other video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHw2fgHOEBU at the time it was posted, good progress was being made. And paving the road was only 25 kms away from Ixcan. But there is also another video that shows that, that was finished. And now you can get all the way to Ixcan and Laguna Lachua on a paved road. On this video the female reporter (1:23) also says that the route between Fray Bartolome to Carcha/Coban it's almost completed with the exception of a few bridges. This construction project was awarded to an israeli company. So, hopefully that guarantees completion of the project in a timely manner.
Nov 28, 2012 3:22 PM
7sorry you are right - I confused you with Panerian - he is the one who has posted about that shuttle in the past. My apologies. All you guys look alike to me ;)
Yes, the Lanquin - El Estor road is rather nasty, but only really the first 10km or so out of Lanquin - after that it turns into regular nasty and is even OK in some bits.
But also FYI I was just out at Playa Grande (Ixcan) and the asphalt definitely stops at Laguna Lachua. It is still a massive improvement (Chisec to Laguna Lachua in a breezy 1 hour 20 when before it was something like 5 or 6 hours), but like you say none of the bridges along any of the FTN have been redone yet and so alot of them are the old rotting logs, close your eyes and hope for the best style.
But like I say, the shuttle that runs now from RD to Lanquin via El Estor will only ever run that route because the only reason it exists is because the guy has to visit the mining camp outside of cahabon every day. Maybe when they finish the road via Fray somebody else will run shuttles on that, but I doubt it - everybody in Lanquin is either going to or coming from Antigua or Flores.
Nov 29, 2012 10:05 PM
8Thanks so much for the insight Braxman! I managed to get a hold of someone who had done the shuttle from RD to Lanquin a couple of years ago and, indeed, he said the shuttle was far from full. I think I'd rather do a bit of backtracking by going in and out via the same route than taking a crammed shuttle from Flores to Coban, but I can see why that would make more sense. I feel much more comfortable hopping on this shuttle now and getting excited that I might be able to make it to Semuc! Thanks again SO much for taking the time to respond!
Nov 30, 2012 8:05 AM
9Hey Braxman Here is another update from yesterday's paper
on another stretch of the FTN finished somewhere between Raxruha and Playa Grande/Ixcan
Only God knows when they're finally going to finish that road.
(3 star Hotel)
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