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Travel Report: Public transport Copan to Rio Barrios

Miami, Florida
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Travel Report: Public transport Copan to Rio Barrios

Hi all,

I made this trip this week, and wanted to share updated information on the journey between Copan and Livingston. Detailed version first, then cost and time summary below.

In Copan, tourist agencies only offer direct shuttle to Rio Hondo, for a cost of $20pp. Rio Hondo is less than half of the way to Rio Barrios or Rio Dulce, so it seemed pricey. From there, you would get on a public bus and be on your own.

Instead, I took a public bus (15 person shuttle, really) to the border at 7:30am from the Copan center (ask anyone in town where they leave from). By 8:20, I had crossed the border, borded a public shuttle (again 15 person van that is just as good as the tourist ones) to Chiquimula. Arrived at Chiqui bus station at 10:15 and was bombarded by local guys trying to push us onto any bus to Rio Barrios. Asked a cop instead and he kindly walked us to the reliable company. Waited 15 minutes to leave, again on a 15 person shuttle. Shuttle left us at 2:30pm at Rio Barrios dock (my request), boarded boat to Livingston for 30 minute ride, arrived in Livingston 3:00pm.

All in all, public transportation took 7 hours and only 1 hour longer than tourist shuttle would have taken, at 1/10 the price. I had front row for all shuttles- they do crowd them sometimes with standers, but just get a good seat by a window and stay there! If none are available, wait 15 min for the next shuttle. At the border and in Chiqui, they leave as soon as full so it's fine to wait. Here's the breakdown:

Copan to border: 20Lempiras ($1USD) 30min

Border to Chiquimula: 20Q ($2.80) 2hours

Chiquimula to Rio Barrios: 45Q ($7.50) 4.5 hours

Rio Barrios to Livingston (boat): 50Q ($8.25) 30min

*we could have waited longer and gone with more people on a boat for 35Q instead.

Highly recommend doing this via public transport if you speak some spanish (Chiqui terminal is a bit crazy otherwise). I found my seat more comfortable than the tourist vans, and the guys took great care of our bags, even bringing them inside the van when it rained!! Not the tragic chicken bus experience I expected at all.

4 replies to this topic
Port Richey, Florida
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1. Re: Travel Report: Public transport Copan to Rio Barrios

Hey there. Thanks for taking the time to post your very detailed and useful feedback. I didn't know the shuttles from Copan charge that much and don't even take you all the way to Puerto Barrios. I guess crossing the border at El Florido is real quick and they don't give you any hassle right? I like the new name you gave Puerto Barrios. LOL. Glad you all had a good trip.

Lake Atitlan
Destination Expert
for Lake Atitlan
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2. Re: Travel Report: Public transport Copan to Rio Barrios

Great details and excellent information on budget travel. I am sure many will find this information useful.

Miami, Florida
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3 posts
52 reviews
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3. Re: Travel Report: Public transport Copan to Rio Barrios

Hahaha oh man I have been doing that for weeks! Oops...Puerto Barrios.

Yeah the border crossing is really no big deal, probably about 100 meters total of walking with your own stuff, and then shuttles for Chiqui are waiting right there.

Thanks for the message!

Portland, Oregon...
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4. Re: Travel Report: Public transport Copan to Rio Barrios

This information helps my travel plans tons! THANK YOU! It is awesome to have all this info in one post.

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