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Guatemala City Airport: Everything You Need to Know

Guatemala City Airport is probably one of my favorite airports. Not because I used to live in Guatemala but because it’s convenient and easy to get around. 

Just know that while I refer to this airport as Guatemala City Airport, officially, it’s called La Aurora International Airport (GUA). 

Located in Guatemala City, it’s the most prominent and busiest international airport in Guatemala. It’s also the main gateway for international flights to and from the country. It is located in the capital city, making it a major hub for international travel and domestic flights in Guatemala.

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airplane arriving at la aurora international airport in guatemala city
Guatemala City Airport is officially known as La Aurora International Airport (GUA); it’s the country’s main airport and most likely the one you’ll be getting at.

And probably the coolest thing of it all is that Guatemala City Airport is like a terminal in some of these huge US or European airports, like in Miami or Barcelona or JFK airport

So, yes, it’s a small international airport. And while this airport may be small, it has everything you need. 

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Guatemala City Airport and share my experiences of probably my favorite airport to travel through. 

Guatemala City Airport: An Overview

Guatemala City Airport, or as it’s officially known, La Aurora International Airport, is one of two major international airports in Guatemala.

The second largest international airport is Mundo Maya International Airport (FRS), located in Flores, Guatemala

La Aurora Airport’s history dates back to 1929, when the airport began scheduled flights from Mexico and the United States, and it was also used for military purposes during World War II. After the war, it was opened to civilian air traffic.

In June 2007, the airport achieved FAA Category I certificate.

Over the years, the airport has seen significant expansion and modernization, becoming Guatemala’s largest and busiest airport. 

A major renovation took place in 2007 (along with many other airports in Central America), and Guatemala City Airport went through significant modernization and expansion. 

guatemala airport
Guatemala City Airport went through major renovations, upgrades, and modernization between 2007-08, leading to increased services and improved infrastructure and safety.

The airport can now accept a more significant number of flights and larger aircraft. It provides high-standard installations to the traveler. The old terminal has been renovated following its original design.

The greater project was completed by December 2008. The airport currently has two terminals, which are Central and North.

The airport is the fourth-busiest in Central America regarding passenger traffic, behind Tocumen International Airport in Panamá, Juan Santamaría International Airport in Costa Rica, and the El Salvador International Airport.

📖 Recommended Reading: If you’re looking for more useful information, check out 24 Hours in Guatemala City: What to Do and Places to Visit

La Aurora International Airport: Insiders Tips

Over the years of traveling into and out of Guatemala, spending hours waiting for flights, checking in and out, etc. 

I have some helpful insider tips that will help you whether you are a first-time visitor to Guatemala or a seasoned traveler to Central America.

First off, inside the airport, it’s pretty simple and very similar to any other international airport. 

But here are some helpful ‘insider tips’:

i) Arrive Early!

I always recommend getting to wherever you must go at least three hours before. This is especially so with La Aurora Airport or any other major city airport worldwide.

ii) If you have friends/family seeing you off, they need their passports to enter the airport, too!

They have this dumb rule: you cannot enter the Guatemala airport without a passport, even if you are not catching a flight!

So, if you have people sending you off, ensure they bring their passports. 

They don’t check for flight information; it’s a really weird system, but just go with it.

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walking airport gate
If family/friends are seeing you off, they need their passports too to enter the airport, so make sure everyone gets it before heading there.

iii) Have your consent and lawyer’s letters when traveling with kids.

If you have kids flying out, having a lawyer letter is perfect if both parents aren’t flying together.

Having a lawyer’s letter say you permit them to go out is good. 

It’s essential. They can turn them away. 

So if the kids are flying on their own, or if they’re only flying with one of the parents, make sure you have this documentation ready.

airport silohette
Please don’t count on getting an internet connection using the free Wifi at La Aurora Airport, it doesn’t work as intended.

iv) Make use of the VIP Lounge

What’s cool inside is they do have a VIP airport lounge. It’s very affordable, and it’s called Casa de Ron Zacapa VIP Lounge

It is 30$ per person, but the only thing is they’re only open from 9 till 5, which is kind of bizarre. So, you can’t take advantage of the lounge if you have a flight after that. 

But for the price you pay to enter and the convenience, it is worth checking out if you are at the airport between 9 am and 5 pm.

v) Don’t rely on the airport internet wifi

The Internet at the Guatemala airport never works. 

It never works. So either come with your data or just be prepared and know the internet will not work. 

I have yet to see it work; even though they say it’s accessible everywhere, it doesn’t.

airport help desk
Being a small airport, it’s easy to get around and find what you need quickly, but there’s a help desk and staff around the airport that can solve any question and point you in the right direction.

vi) Transportation from the Airport

If you are arriving, they do have an airport taxi, so make sure that you get that from the inside. 

I don’t recommend getting taxis or anything once you go outside. It is notorious for the pirate taxis that could rob you.

Uber does work very well in Guatemala, so if you have the Uber app, I recommend it because it’s not expensive. 

But an even better option I recommend would be to book a private shuttle from Guatemala City Airport

Private shuttles or private transfers pretty much cost similar to Uber, and it’s usually like a minivan where you could fit all of your suitcases.

Unlike with Uber, where you always have to wonder, “Is it going to fit my suitcases?”.

Need to Rent a Car?

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Wrap Up

Overall, I still have to say that Guatemala Airport is one of my favorites to travel in and out of, and I say this from years of experience.

And while, yes, there are some weird rules and regulations, like having to have your passport to enter the airport to see someone off even if you are not flying, and the airport lounge only being open from 9 am-5 pm, it still has the modern conveniences of pretty much any international airport in the world.

And while the WiFi is not reliable, the airport is nice and small, so it’s convenient to get around, locate your baggage carousel, and be in and out pretty efficiently.

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Looking for More Inspiration?

I have been traveling and living in Guatemala for over 25 years
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Tips

If you want to travel without the hassle and confusion – check out a complete guide for traveling to Guatemala.

Places

For more travel ideas to add to your bucket list, check out a complete guide to all the best places to visit in Guatemala.

Food

Guatemala has a huge variety of food, check out the guide to the top 15 Guatemalan Food and Dishes.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2023

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