How To Reach The School From The Airport
Airport to Xela
Be smart – change some money for Quetzales at the airport, enough to get you through a few days.
Bus To Xela
We suggest you take a “first class bus” to Xela because it is a 4 hour ride. The bus lines are Alamo or Xela Bus. Get a taxi to one of these bus stations. The first class bus costs Q90-100. When you get to Xela, take a taxi to the Terminal Minerva in zona 3 to catch a bus to the School – see below.
You can also take a chicken bus to Xela for Q50. At the airport, ask the taxi to take you to where you can get a camioneta to Xela. This bus will take you directly to the Terminal Minerva where you change buses – see below.
Spend the night near
If your flight gets in later than 8am, you won’t have time to get to the Mountain School that day and should plan on spending the night, either at an airport hotel like Dos Lunas (they will pick you up at the airport and get you to the bus station) or in Antigua which is only 25 miles away and a beautiful colonial town.
Xela to the School
Part of your Guatemala adventure will be riding a chicken bus to the School. Unless there are other students on your bus you will probably be the only non-local. Buses are fuller later in the afternoon – you’ll be amazed how many bodies can be jammed on a bus. 3 people sit on a seat for 2, with people filling the aisles.
Golondrina Bus Line
At the Terminal Minerva, the bus line you want is the GOLONDRINA (going to Colomba), which departs every half hour starting before dawn and continuing until 5:00pm. Each bus line paints all its buses the same so once you know the Golondrina colors it’s easy to recognize the bus. People are friendly, just keep asking until you find the Golondrina line.
You can let them put your backpack or suitcase on top of the bus but be sure to keep ALL valuables and money with you.
Bus fare is about Q20. The ayudante will come around to collect the fare once the bus is on the highway. If they try to charge you more, please make note of the license plate number so that we can call the main office and complain.
Where To Get Off (the bus)
The official name of the stop is ‘La Piedra’ (The Rock). To be extra clear, tell the driver that you want to be let off at La Escuela de la Montaña or “La entrada de Santo Domingo”. When you get off, there will be a sign welcoming you to Santo Domingo, a neighboring community. The school is located less than five minutes down the road from the highway.
If you’re still on the bus when it gets to the town of Colomba, you went about 10km too far and you will have to get off and take another bus back (or a pick-up truck) to the school.
Timing Your Travel
You might want to spend some time sightseeing in Antigua or Xela before you head up to the Mountain School.
WE URGE YOU TO LEAVE BY 10:00am FROM XELA BUT NO LATER THAN THE 2:30pm BUS TO ENSURE YOU ARRIVE BEFORE DARK. The school is just a short walk down the road from the highway but the road is not lit and is paved with cobblestones – not an easy trek after sunset.
If you miss the bus or have problems, please call the Mountain School at 502-4029-6722!
When To Arrive
It is best to try to arrive for lunch on Sunday as your week with the family runs from noon on Sunday through breakfast the following Sunday. If you get to Xela when it is too late to get to the Mountain School, please get word to the PLQ office in Xela by 6 pm or phone either PLQ (502 7765-2140) or La Escuela de la Montaña (502 4029-6722) so we know that you will get to the school the next day and can inform your host family and arrange with your teacher.
Request this service when you register. After your space at the School is confirmed you can submit your arrival information.
Guide and Private Travel
A guide will meet you at the airport and provide private transportation directly to the school – no buses or taxis. The cost is Q1420.
The guide fee is paid directly to the school.