Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Guatemala’s Busito del Sabor: It’s a trip!

April 10, 2014

GUATEMALA CITY – When Guatemala City’s distinctive red buses were removed from certain parts of the capital to make way for the government’s public system, many of them fell into disuse and were sold as scrap metal. Hugo Cristal and Alejandro Escobar didn’t want their bus to suffer the same fate, so they came up with a novel approach to keep it in business: a fast-food restaurant on wheels.

“The idea came about because we wanted to carry on using the bus, even though the route had been taken over by Transurbano buses,” says Cristal.

Transurbano buses were introduced in some of the most dangerous parts of the city in order to increase safety on public transport. Tickets are prepaid so drivers do not carry cash, and many of the buses feature security guards and CCTV cameras.

“I had experience in cooking and so we decided to turn it into a restaurant,” Cristal says.

Busito 2

Bus alterations took just two months, during which time the original seats were repositioned to accommodate tables offering indoor seating for 20 people.


Anna-Claire Bevan

However, the former transportistas chose not to tell their family and friends about their career change until the bus had undergone its transformation and was ready for its first day of work.

The alterations took just two months, during which time the original seats were repositioned to accommodate tables offering indoor seating for 20 people. A kitchen was installed boasting a grill, fryer, sink and churrasco (barbeque), and some of the windows were removed to form a hatch, which allows the chef to take orders from the street.

The team of three, Cristal, Escobar and their former cobrador, who used to collect the bus fares, now work from Monday to Saturday selling churrasco and fried chicken to around 100 people a day. They drive the restaurant to its regular spot early each morning, head out to buy daily supplies and then start preparing for the lunchtime rush.

The bus has been operating as a fast-food restaurant for two years and has proved to be a hit with locals and students alike. Last Christmas it was seen touring Guatemala City en route to cater a handful of festive events around the capital.

“It’s definitely been a change and it can still be stressful at times, but we enjoy it and it’s very satisfying,” Cristal says.

Busito 3

Food on the go in Guatemala City.


Anna-Claire Bevan

You may be interested

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Monday, September 21
Costa Rica
5443 views
Costa Rica
5443 views

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Monday, September 21

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 21, 2020

Costa Rica announced 59 new coronavirus-related deaths since Friday for a total of 745, according to official data released Monday…

President of Legislative Assembly doesn’t see viability of Costa Rica’s IMF proposal
Costa Rica
811 views
Costa Rica
811 views

President of Legislative Assembly doesn’t see viability of Costa Rica’s IMF proposal

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 21, 2020

The president of Costa Rica's Legislative Assembly expressed his displeasure with the Presidency's fiscal measures that are intended to help…

Costa Rica to participate in UN General Assembly this week
Climate Change
1170 views
Climate Change
1170 views

Costa Rica to participate in UN General Assembly this week

The Tico Times - September 21, 2020

President Carlos Alvarado will participate this week in the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Costa Rican…