What’s the alternative?

‪”If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine; it’s lethal.” – Paulo Coelho.

Traveller Tip: An alternative route to Salamá, and onto Coban, for Semuc Champey and/or Flores:

For most travellers the main route from Panajachel to Coban is via Antigua and Guatemala, using private transport. However, there is an ‘off the beaten track’alternative using solely public transport. Admittedly, the route consists of quite a few bus changes, but it’s a great way to immerse yourself into the culture of Guatemala and to experience some beautiful countryside. This is not journey for the feint hearted as large sections of the route are simply dirt track roads. However, for the more adventurous traveller, it’s an interesting option to consider.

From Pana you take a ‘chicken bus’ to Sololá (20 minutes, 3Q) Then it’s a micro bus to Los Encuentras (30 minutes, 3Q) Here you can catch a chicken bus to Joyabaj via Chichicastenango. Chichi is an interesting place to visit, and so are quite a few other places around here. Refer to my previous blogs for more information; The Chez Daniel Loop (part one) and The Chez Daniel Loop (part two). The bus direct from Los Encuentras to Joyabi cost approx 45Q.

To avoid a full day of travelling, it’s worth considering an overnight stay in Zacualpa or Joyabaj. Both towns are close to each other and have basic accommodation and restaurants. 

The leg from Joyabaj onwards requires some patience and perseverance. From Joyabaj you take a micro bus to Pachalum, then another to Trez Cruces and another to Cubulco. From Cubulco you can take a bus direct to Salamá. 

I guess the journey time each day took about four hours. That’s about my limit. All in all I gues the journey from Panajachel to Salamá set me back around 100Q.

Salamá is an interesting town to visit for one night. The hotel I stayed in had a pool and there were some nice cafes around the main square. There is also an interesting museum to visit nearby – more on this in my next post.

From Salamá you can take a micro bus direct to Coban for onward destinations.

On board ‘micro bus’.


View across the countryside.

The small town of Zacualpa.


Taking a risk every morning.

About Richard Griffith

My first independent travel experience was a trip to Israel, in 1997, it was here that I caught the 'travel' bug! In 2001 I took an 8-month sabbatical and traveled around South East Asia. Since then I have managed to visit most of Eastern Europe along with India, Bangladesh, and a few other destinations in between. I love travel and I love meeting new people.
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