“What is the difference between these two buses, besides the cost?” I asked the guy selling us the tickets. He answered. In fact, I asked this question to about half a dozen people, all with different answers. Noone gave me a straight answer. So, in the spirit of research, we took both. One on the way to Guatemala City and the other on the way back. To save you the run around, let me tell you the difference between the cost and the quality of the overnight buses that run between Flores to Guatemala City. (The prices quoted below are what we paid to get from Flores to Antigua. The bus takes you to Guatemala and then a shuttle van takes you to Antigua.)
I think the best way by bus to Guatemala City or Antigua is utilizing the comfortable overnight buses. The ride is over 8 hours long and both buses were from the Linea Dorada line. Both of these buses are nice, but there are key differences among them that make the ride very different. So, here are your choices:
Luxury “Lujo” Bus from Flores to Guatemala City (and vice versa)
The lujo bus costs $40 US, about $5 US more than the first class bus. It is an air-conditioned* double-decker bus that leaves a half hour earlier than the first class bus. We purchased the “Lujo” fare and were seated on the top deck of the bus. The seats are super comfortable, recline generously and even have a nice lazy-boy like leg support rest. I don’t think we could have been more comfortable on a bus. We received a bottle of water and a ham and cheese sandwich as a light snack before departing. There is a bathroom on the bus located in the front of the first level. We slept most of the way arriving in Guatemala City well rested.
* The air conditioning was a little chilly, but we had sarongs to cover ourselves with. If you choose this bus, make sure to bring a light jacket or wear long sleeves to stay warm.
The luxury bus also has a ‘vip’ or ‘premium’ section ($5-10 extra) that is the first level. It supposedly has larger seats and reclines even more than the upper deck luxury section.
First Class Bus from Guatemala City to Flores
The first class bus is a large, comfortable bus, but is only one story. It leaves a half hour later than the luxury “lujo” bus. It also has a bathroom situated in the back of the bus. The first class bus costs $35, $5 less than the luxury bus. As soon as we sat down on the bus, we wished we had purchased the luxury bus. The seats are padded, but within 2 minutes my butt was sore. The bus is not air-conditioned and it makes several stops along the way. There isn’t as much leg room as the lujo bus and there was no leg rest. That made a huge difference. The seats on the first class bus don’t recline as well and are not padded very well for a 9 hour ride. Perhaps, it’s because we didn’t sleep much, but we also felt the constant acceleration and braking on this bus.
Our choice: Go Luxury “Lujo”
Your choices are 1) to save $5 and not sleep well, or 2) spend the extra money, indulge in the air conditioning and comfy seats and get to Guatemala City or Flores well rested.