The Puerto Quetzal cruise port is very welcoming to travelers. There isn’t a lot to do in the port, but passengers can easily visit other areas in order to fill their time while they are in Guatemala. If your cruise ship will be docking in Puerto Quetzal for a limited amount of time, this is what you need to know.
Once you step off of the cruise ship you will walk straight to the welcome center. Here you will find a variety of information about shore excursions, taxis and will also be able to purchase food and drinks at various vendors. There is also a souvenir market where you can buy things like jewelry and t-shirts. The vendors do take American dollars. If you aren’t quite sure what you want to do while you are in Guatemala or you want to check your email or just surf the web, there is wi-fi at the welcome center.
As mentioned earlier, you will find taxis at the welcome center. It’s important to note that taxis here don’t tend to be in great shape so don’t expect a 5 star ride. Because of their poor conditions it’s generally recommended that you stay away from them as they tend to break down and you can easily find yourself stranded. If you do decide to risk it and take a taxi, before getting one, set a price. There aren’t fixed prices so make sure you negotiate. If the price is too high and the driver won’t budge, don’t be afraid to walk away. Once you do find a cab, make sure you don’t pay the driver until you actually get to your destination.
Most cruise ship passengers don’t stay in Puerto Quetzal because there isn’t a lot to do. Antigua is only about 90 minutes from the port and you can take a taxi there for sometimes as little as $20-$30. Antigua is 50 miles away from Puerto Quetzal and 1600 meters above sea level. Many visitors are amazed to find that the temperature tends to be cooler here than at the port. Even though it is an hour and a half ride to get to Antigua, it’s very scenic so you won’t be bored. You can see things like volcanoes and coffee plantations.
Many cruise ships do offer a lot of excursions to choose from. One of the most popular ones is a trip to Yaxha and Iximche. This Mayan site has a lot to explore and you can plan on spending a couple of hours here. If your ship will be at the port most of the day, they may offer an excursion to the Tikal National Park. Here you can see things like the Central Plaza and the Mayan Pyramid of the Great Jaguar.