Citizens of the US, Canada, EU countries, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Israel and Japan are among those who do not need a visa for tourist visits to Guatemala. On entry into Guatemala you will normally be given a 90-day stay. (The number 90 will be written in the stamp in your passport.)

In August of 2006 Guatemala joined the Centro America 4 (CA-4) trading agreement with Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador. Designed to facilitate the movement of people and goods around the region, it has one major effect on foreign visitors – upon entry to the CA-4 region, travelers are given a 90-day stay for the entire region.

You can get this extended one time at Immigration in the City, for an additional 90 days for a cost of around Q120 (this requires a stay in the city of up to 5 working days or two visits). Your other option is to leave Guatemala via Mexico, Belize or another country that is not part of the above trading agreement.

Citizens of some Eastern European countries are among those who do need visas to visit Guatemala.
Always check with your embassy in advance.
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Arriving by plane

If you are flying into the country, your flight will  most likely land at the Guatemalan International Airport (GUA) located in the capital of the country – Guatemala City. From here you can organise transfers to San Marcos with the agencies listed in the directory.

Arriving by shuttle transfers

  • From Guatemala City – take shuttle to San Marcos. 5.5 hour drive
  • From Antigua – take shuttle to San Marcos. 4.5 hour drive
  • From San Cristobal de las Casas (Mexico) – take shuttle to Panajachel and change for a boat to San Marcos. 10 hour drive

Transfers to San Marcos with the agencies listed in the directory.


Boats are the main mode of transport around the lake. The boats operate from Panajachel and San Pedro visiting the small towns along the way (including San Marcos). The first boats start around 6am, the last boat from Panajachel heading towards San Pedro leaves at 7:30pm and the last boat from San Pedro heading towards Panajachel leaves at 5pm. Boat fares from San Pedro to San Marcos are Q10 and Panajachel to San Marcos Q25.

Private transport

You can organise private shuttle transfers and private boats.


Arriving by car

It is possible to drive to San Marcos, however, the road is in poor condition, steep and windy. Having a 4×4 vehicle is advised. Once you arrive in San Marcos there is a car park available in the center of town (ask for more details when you arrive).

Getting around

Since San Marcos is a really tiny town no cars are needed. You can reach everything by foot. Take a look at our map to help you find your location or just ask someone for the right direction. Right on the dock there are always a few kids happy to help you with navigation and your luggage for a small change.

Tuk tuks are another way to get around the town, especially if you have luggage or are heading back to your accommodation that is out of town after dark. The recommended San Marcos tuk tuks are Sajvin, Sancoy and Yesley (all written on their front windows).

If you want visit others villages around the lake the easiest way is by boat. The boats departure every 20-30 minutes from the public dock and go usually until sunset. Fare to San Pedro is 10Q (15min), to Panachajel 20-25Q (45 min).