Antigua Guatemala is among the best conserved colonial cities in the world. It is a busy town full of colonial architecture and beautiful surroundings. The center of Antigua is under UNESCO World Heritage protection. The designation was based on the integrity of its 16th-century layout and the physical integrity of the buildings in the historic center. You may get the feeling time might have stopped some 300 years ago.
Colonial history is always present in Antigua Guatemala. It combines with an array of cultural activities. These include art galleries and exhibits, performing arts, popular arts, films, forums, restaurants and cafes, and cultural tourism in general. Antigua is surrounded by smaller villages and nestled between three dramatic Guatemala Volcanoes: Agua, Fuego and Acatenango.
Antigua offers something for all tastes. Stroll through town on cobblestone streets and discover the aura of ancient times. Lounge with the locals in Central Park on sunny afternoon. Hike up to one of the volcanoes overlooking the city for amazing views. Or just relax in one of the many cafeterias and watch the people passing by. Lake Atitlan and Panajachel are only 67 miles away and can easily visited in one day.
Antigua Guatemala was once the third most important Spanish colony in the Americas. More than 30 monastic orders called Antigua home. They built stunning monasteries, convents and cathedrals in this colonial town. Antigua hosts the largest celebrations for Lent and Easter in the Western Hemisphere. The history of the processions dates back to the early 1500s. They began with the arrival of Don Pedro de Alvarado from Spain. During Easter week one can discover all kind of solemn religious fervor. Or view the most beautiful “alfombras” (sawdust carpets) which are made along the processional routes.
Visitors will find accommodation for every taste and budget in Antigua Guatemala. Especially worth mentioning is the Hotel Casa Santo Domingo. A five star luxury hotel that is built around three centuries of history, art and mysticism. This truly an impressive historic site and a fantastic hotel. Antigua also offers an outstanding variety of international and local cuisine, with restaurants to suit anyone’s taste. And Antigua is also among Latin America’s most popular cities in which to study Spanish, boasting more than 75 Spanish schools.