Antigua, Guatemala Vacation Guide
Antigua is among the best conserved colonial cities in the world, making it one of the most charming destinations in Central America. This old city contains magnificent examples of colonial architecture. You will enjoy the aura of the ancient times during your stay in the colonial city of Antigua Guatemala.
Colonial history is always present in Antigua. Baroque-style monumental buildings and ruins have survived on the cobblestone streets; you will also see plazas with fountains and stunning cathedrals. Combining a bit of everything, Antigua offers an outstanding variety of international and local cuisine, cafés, bars and museums for you to explore. This picturesque town is welcoming people from all over the world during the whole year, with its perfect climate and active cultural life.
Attractions and Activities
Discover Antigua Guatemala
Antigua as a town is a museum of the Spanish colonial history with an amazing Baroque influence. Its architecture is a work of art to admire; each corner of this stunning old town will take your breath away. Because of its geographic position, the construction of the houses and buildings needed to be strong to protect against natural disasters. Every building uses thick walls and columns made of stone which is the reason they are incredibly well-preserved.
This old city is guarded by the most photographed volcanoes in Guatemala: Agua, Fuego and Acatenango. These volcanoes are directly accessible from Antigua and will offer you different levels of hiking and challenges for you to explore.
The area around Antigua is also known because of its quality coffee. Its privileged climate, the altitude, volcanic earth and traditions on growing coffee beans makes Antigua's coffee one of the best in the world. You can visit a few coffee plantations to learn about the production process, get introduced to some latte art and try freshly made quality coffee.
No other place in Guatemala has such a big variety of restaurants together in one small area. You can choose between cuisine from different parts of the world or Guatemalan traditional food. By trying the different ingredients and dishes of the country, you will appreciate the culture at its best. You will also find typical confectionery stores which are important to Guatemalan's identity. The elaboration of these candies is a delicacy using honey, sugar, milk and lots of fruits to give them color and flavor.
Excursions from Antigua to other destinations near by
Guatemala City is very close to Antigua and will offer you another angle of Guatemalan culture. This modern city has grown quite a bit in the last 50 years and visitors will find museums, markets, shopping malls and many cultural activities.
With its black volcanic sand the Pacific coast stretches 250 km /155 miles from the Mexican border to El Salvador. Monterrico is the most popular beach and a great place to relax, eat fresh seafood and enjoy the beach atmosphere.
This famous lake is one of the most beautiful destinations in Guatemala and you can easily reach it from Antigua. Lake Atitlan is surrounded by more than a dozen villages and is a natural beauty you don't want to miss. Every town and village has its own signature and clothing style dependent on their own traditions and language.
Shopping in Antigua
Antigua offers shops to fit all budgets. Walk around this vibrant city and discover some amazing stores. Handicrafts are widely distributed here. Ambulant stands on the streets and inside many buildings offer a wide selection of goods. Find the perfect piece of Mayan culture to bring back home.
Museums and architectonical treasures
Destroyed several times by earthquakes, the remaining of this beautiful cathedral is an accurate example of the colonial architecture. The cathedral was once one of the most important buildings of the continent. Behind its amazing cover you will find the ruins of the building, the beautiful wreck of this church.
The Santa Catalina Arch (Calle del Arco)
This is the main emblematic symbol of Antigua. Originally built in 1694, it was part of the Convent of the Virgin so the nuns could walk across it without being seen because of the seclusion vows they took. Nowadays is one of the most important and commercial streets in Antigua.
San Carlos University
Built in 1676 it is one of the most beautiful architectonical art pieces of Antigua. The main building of this complex features the Museo de Arte Colonial which contains a huge collection of arts from the past centuries, making it the biggest of its kind in Guatemala.
Museum Casa del Tejido
This is the best place to learn the history and meaning behind every piece of fabric made by Guatemalan indigenous people. Here you will find a compilation of fabrics from the different departments of the country. This place is all in three, market, workshop and museum.
Location and Map
Located in the central highlands of Guatemala, Antigua is the capital of Sacatepéquez Department and an UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. By car or shuttle bus, travelers can reach Guatemala City in about 90 minutes depending on traffic. Antigua is located about 45 km/ 28 mi away from the International Airport of Guatemala (GUA).