Without question Antigua is one of Guatemala’s most popular destinations. It surely lives up to the stereotype of the “charming colonial town” trapped in time. Even the name “Antigua” sounds exotic and immune to the changes of the outside world. Yes, Antigua can offer you this picture perfect setting if you are able to overlook the hordes of tourists and Spanish school students who tend to fill up its streets.
Antigua is located about an hour outside of Guatemala City and is surrounded by three volcanoes. The houses and shops are colorfully painted and the streets are cobblestone. At the center of the town is the Parque Central. From there you can see all three volcanoes in the distance and have a good vantage point for exploring Antigua.
Antigua is pretty small so it won’t take you too long to explore it. Here is a brief list of the top things to see and do while you’re there.
Like all Spanish colonial towns, Antigua has a central town square. Here you’ll find Parque Central (Central Park) and it’s surrounding buildings. These are the buildings surrounding the Parque Central.
- Palacio de los Capitanes Generales
- Catedral de Santiago
- Palacio del Ayuntamiento
- Universidad de San Carlos
Arco de Santa Catalina and Iglesia y Convento de Nuestra Senora de la Merced:
Just walk north on 5a Av from the Parque Central and you’ll be sure to spot the arc. The arc then leads to a giant yellow cathedral. It’s pretty sweet!
Located on the west side of Antigua and just north of the bus station, this chaotic market is best visited in the morning. It offers everything from tourist goodies to fruits and vegetables. There is even a place to get pizza by the slice.
Cerre de la Cruz:
Sitting on the town’s northeast side, The Hill of The Cross is a great place to catch views of the city below. From here you can see the famous Volcan Agua. But make sure you take a guide as robberies are common on this hiking trail.
Aimlessly Walk, Explore, Eat and Drink:
Yes, I know this is not very specific but sometimes it’s best just to relax and take it all in. You’ll surely stumble across numerous churches and various ruins along the way. You’ll also find some great places to eat, drink and get ice cream.
That’s all folks….enjoy!