15 Awesome Things to Do in Antigua, Guatemala (2019 Edition)

22 min

Things to do in Antigua Guatemala


With its cobblestone streets, Spanish colonial buildings, beautiful volcano views, and relaxed vibe, Antigua is a high journey vacation spot in Central America. Learn on for an in depth listing of a number of the finest issues to do in Antigua Guatemala.

Things to do in Antigua Guatemala

An aerial view of Antigua, Guatemala.

For such a small metropolis, Antigua actually packs a punch with regards to issues to see and do. Whether or not you’re a historical past buff, journey junkie, foodie, or an evening owl, Antigua has one thing for you.

In simply sooner or later right here, you may hike to the summit of a volcano, wander across the ruins of a Spanish colonial church, peruse the bustling market, and watch the solar go down at a rooftop bar.

READ MORE: Don’t miss our full listing of our best travel tips from 11 years on the highway!

The Finest Issues to Do in Antigua, Guatemala

Antigua is such an superior place to go to that it tends to suck folks in. A quite common story right here is of the backpacker who was passing by and determined to only keep awhile. 

In case you’re planning a visit to Guatemala and aren’t certain what to do in Antigua, then this submit is for you! Having simply spent some high quality time within the metropolis, I’m excited to share with you a number of the high issues to do in Antigua.

1) Discover the Ruins

As soon as upon a time, Antigua was really the capital of Guatemala. Again then, it was known as Santiago de Guatemala. The town was ravaged by a large earthquake in 1773, and it was determined that the capital wanted to be in a safer location.

This new capital turned Guatemala Metropolis, and the previous one was known as La Antigua Guatemala – the Outdated Guatemala.

A couple of years later, the Spanish crown ordered the town deserted. Not everybody left, although, and the ruins that remained after the earthquake have been left in place.

Quick ahead to the 20th century, when the preserved colonial structure of Antigua helped it get on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Exploring the numerous ruins round city is unquestionably one of many high issues to do in Antigua. A lot of them are actually open as museums, together with the Outdated Cathedral, Las Capuchinas, San Francisco, and Santa Teresa.

The doorway charges range relying on the ruins. Some value as little as 7Q ($1), whereas most of them cost 40Q ($6) to enter. A good way to see plenty of the ruins is by following this self-guided walking tour from GPS My Metropolis.

You’ll want to convey your digital camera as a result of there are some wonderful picture alternatives awaiting you.

Exploring the Antigua ruins

Strolling by the ruins of the previous cathedral.

2) Climb a Volcano (or Two)

Strolling round Antigua, you’re certain to note the volcanoes looming within the distance. Antigua is surrounded by volcanoes – Agua, Fuego, Acatenango, and Pacaya.

In case you’re an adventure-seeker, then climbing up one or two of the volcanoes will certainly be in your listing of issues to do in Antigua.

Let’s begin with the simpler one first. Pacaya is a comparatively straightforward hike that may be performed on a day journey from the town. It’s some of the in style locations to go to in Antigua and is thus provided by nearly each tour operator on the town.

Pacaya final erupted again in 2010, and there’s not any sizzling lava flowing up right here. You’ll be able to, nonetheless, roast marshmallows over vents that also pour out sizzling steam.

Most excursions embody round-trip transportation and a information, however a lot of them don’t embody the doorway payment (50Q). This tour consists of every part and is extremely rated for $80/individual.

In case you’re up for extra of a problem, you may wish to deal with the in a single day hike to Acatenango. This volcano towers above the town at nearly 4,000 meters (13,000 toes).

From the summit, you may take pleasure in some improbable panoramic views, together with the always erupting Volcan Fuego.

It’s a strenuous climb, even for skilled hikers. You’ll undoubtedly wish to take a couple of days to get acclimated to the elevation should you’re not used to being this excessive up.

The Acatenango hike is an in a single day journey, and all excursions present tenting gear and meals. In case you don’t have correct apparel, many tour operators and hostels lease objects like jackets and gloves.

This tour prices $90 per individual and consists of every part however the 50Q (~$6) entrance payment.

3) Expertise the Holy Week Processions

Undoubtedly, some of the fascinating issues to do in Antigua is experiencing the Holy Week processions. They’re the most important such processions on this planet they usually usher in upwards of 1 million folks to the town yearly.

Whereas the most important processions happen within the week main as much as Easter Sunday, there are literally processions each weekend all all through Lent.

In case you’d prefer to expertise the Antigua processions with out the huge crowds, you may go to a couple of weeks earlier than Easter.

In these processions, every church parades elaborate altars all through the town. These can weigh a number of tons, and a few of them are so heavy that over 100 males need to work collectively to hold it.

It’s arduous work, but it surely’s really an honour to assist carry the altars and folks even pay to be concerned.

A significant spotlight of the processions are the colorful alfombras (carpets) which might be fabricated from sawdust, pine needles, flowers, fruit, and greens.

These take many hours to place collectively and are then trampled by the processions, leaving nothing however vibrant mud within the cracks of the cobblestone streets.

The processions are probably the greatest issues to do in Antigua, in order that they’re an enormous vacationer draw. If you wish to attend subsequent 12 months, it’s a good suggestion to begin planning early. Easter falls on Sunday, April 12th in 2020.

Antigua Holy Week what to do in antigua

A procession strikes by the streets of Antigua.

4) See the Arch of Santa Catalina

With regards to the most effective locations to go to in Antigua, the Arco de Santa Catalina is excessive atop the listing. Decide up any journey information to Guatemala, and also you’ll doubtless see the picture of the arch on the quilt web page.

It’s undoubtedly probably the most iconic image of Antigua, particularly when Volcan de Agua pokes its head by the clouds within the background.

This scenic white and yellow arch was constructed within the late 17th century to attach the Santa Catalina convent to a college throughout the road. Because the nuns weren’t presupposed to exit in public, the arch allowed them to go between buildings while not having to exit on the road.

Though the arch sustained some injury within the big earthquake of 1773, it has survived and grown to grow to be an emblem of the town’s resilience. It’s undoubtedly probably the greatest locations in Antigua to go to whilst you’re on the town. 

Antigua Santa Catalina Arch

Essentially the most well-known image of Antigua.

5) Be taught The right way to Make Chocolate

Guatemala is known for its chocolate, and also you’ll undoubtedly wish to pattern a few of it in your journey. what’s even higher than attempting the chocolate? Making it! That’s precisely what you are able to do on the Choco Museum.

You’ll be able to go to the museum without spending a dime and pattern some totally different chocolate merchandise. After all, you’ll in all probability find yourself choosing up a couple of issues to convey dwelling. Guatemalan chocolate is unquestionably an superior memento!

The Choco Museum additionally has a couple of totally different workshops you may take. Their hottest is the “Bean to Bar” class the place you make your personal chocolate straight from the cacao bean.

They’ve a couple of different choices as effectively, and all come extremely rated. It’s clear that the Choco Museum is without doubt one of the finest locations to go to in Antigua for travellers of all ages.

6) Tour a Espresso Farm

Along with chocolate, Guatemala additionally produces some improbable espresso. As such, you’ll wish to you should definitely add visiting a espresso farm to your lengthy listing of issues to do in Antigua.

There are a lot of espresso farms round Antigua, however one which comes extremely really helpful is Filadelfia Resort. They’ve been rising espresso right here since approach again in 1870, in order that they clearly know what they’re doing!

Excursions of the espresso farm final about 2 hours and also you’ll find out about your complete course of. After all, you get to pattern a few of their scrumptious espresso on the tour as effectively. Additionally they have choices so as to add on a full breakfast or lunch at their restaurant should you like.   

7) Chill Out in Central Park

In case you’re ever uncertain of what to do in Antigua Guatemala, simply head to Parque Central. This scenic, tree-lined park is a well-liked hangout spot for locals and vacationers alike and is a superb place to sit back out for some time.

There’s a stunning fountain in the midst of the park and a number of other benches the place you may sit again and revel in some stable folks watching. It’s undoubtedly probably the greatest locations to go to in Antigua.

Across the park, there are a number of essential landmarks akin to Metropolis Corridor, the Captain Common Palace, and the San Jose Cathedral. Lots of the metropolis’s ruins and museums are situated inside a brief stroll of Central Park as effectively.

You’ll additionally discover a number of distributors right here promoting handicrafts, snacks, and foolish toys for teenagers. I notably loved the little dinosaurs on a leash and significantly contemplated shopping for one.

There are fairly a couple of cafes that encompass the park, so seize a cup of tasty Guatemalan espresso and take a window seat for some high quality folks watching. Spending a while in and round Central Park ought to undoubtedly be excessive in your listing of issues to do in Antigua.

Antigua Central Park

A stunning afternoon in Central Park.

8) Drinks with a View

I don’t find out about you, however I really like a superb rooftop Blissful Hour with mates. There’s simply one thing enjoyable about watching the day flip into evening with a couple of drinks and good dialog that by no means will get previous. Fortunately, you’ve received loads of choices for drinks with a view in Antigua.

My private favorite spot is Cafe Sky. They’ve received a kickass rooftop space with some fairly breathtaking views in the direction of the volcanoes. As well as, they all the time have stable specials on meals and drinks.

The very best half about hanging out at Cafe Sky, although, is when the solar goes down and the volcano lights up. That’s proper – you may really see the volcano erupting from right here! How cool is that?!

Due to this free pure gentle present, a visit to Cafe Sky deserves its spot on this listing of issues to do in Antigua Guatemala.

You could find Cafe Sky at 1a Avenida Sur 15. They’re open daily from 8AM-10PM and busiest round sundown.

Things to Do in Antigua Cafe Sky

Night views from Cafe Sky.

9) Get Misplaced within the Mercado

In case you’re trying to store and eat like an area, then the Mercado is the place to be. Right here you may store for every part from contemporary produce, to clothes, to handicrafts, and a lot extra.

I might say they’ve every part however the kitchen sink, however I’m fairly certain I noticed a type of on the market right here!

The native market is all the time busy, but it surely’s particularly energetic on the official market days (Monday, Thursday, and Saturday). The weekend market may be notably chaotic and crowded when folks from close by villages flock right here to hawk their wares.

In case you’re staying in a hostel or Airbnb with a kitchen (click here to get USD$35 off your first AirBnB booking), the native market is a superb place to fill up on groceries.

Not solely is it tremendous low-cost and contemporary, however you’re additionally actually supporting the native financial system by purchasing right here. It’s undoubtedly probably the greatest locations to go to in Antigua.

So far as consuming goes, there are many locations to select from right here. There’s a meals courtroom with a couple of dozen native eateries that’s extremely popular for lunch, and there are all the time distributors promoting snacks.

If you would like a real native consuming expertise, pop into one of many dive bars across the market the place males pound litres of Gallo beer whereas their wives store.

10) Feast on Guatemalan Delicacies

So that you’re available in the market meals courtroom and are on the lookout for a tasty, native lunch. What do you order? Most meals in Guatemala embody a essential dish of meat or fish together with some rice, beans, and tortillas. Soups and stews are extremely popular right here as effectively, particularly pepian.

Pepian is a scrumptious rooster stew that’s cooked in a pumpkin and sesame sauce. It’s thought of the nationwide dish of Guatemala and may be discovered on menus all throughout Antigua.

The very best pepian I had on the town was on the Casa de las Sopas (Home of Soups). You could find this superior native restaurant at 7a Avenida Norte 5.

For lunch, probably the greatest locations in Antigua is Rincon Tipico. Because the identify would counsel, that is the place you go to get typical meals. It’s scrumptious and tremendous low-cost – solely $4-5 for a large lunch plate. They’re situated at 3a Avenida Sur, and are fairly busy throughout lunch hours.

One other native deal with you simply need to attempt whilst you’re in Antigua is a pupusa. This can be a thick cornmeal flatbread that’s often full of cheese and grilled. It’s then topped with issues like rooster, beans, avocado, and salsa.

Guatemala cuisine in Antigua

A scrumptious bowl of pepian.

11) Hike to the Cross on the Hill

After a couple of bowls of pepian and some tacky pupusas, you may wish to stroll a few of that off. Fortunately there’s a brief and simple hike you are able to do proper on the town.

The Cerro de La Cruz (Hill of the Cross) is situated just some blocks north of the Central Park and is well reached on a 20-30 minute stroll.

There’s a paved staircase simply previous the workplace for Hobbitenango, which by the best way is without doubt one of the coolest locations to go to in Antigua. It’s an actual deal Hobbit-themed lodge up within the hills exterior of city!

From the cross, you may take pleasure in a improbable view of the town. On a transparent day, you’ll see Volcan de Agua off within the distance. Climbing up right here and taking within the surroundings is definitely probably the greatest issues to do in Antigua.

Antigua Cross

Having fun with the views from the cross.

12) Ditch Your Gringo Spanish

Antigua is the form of metropolis that pulls you in and makes you by no means wish to depart. If you wish to stick round for some time, some of the in style issues to do in Antigua is finding out Spanish.

For many who hope to journey all through Latin America, ditching your gringo Spanish ought to undoubtedly be a high precedence. Antigua is dwelling to a number of glorious Spanish colleges you may select from. It appears as if there’s a Spanish college round each nook in Antigua!

Programs are very fairly priced right here and Guatemalans are recognized for his or her comparatively sluggish and clear Spanish, making it a wonderful place to review. Jarryd and Alesha (NOMADasaurus founders) really studied Spanish right here on the Antiguena Spanish Academy and extremely advocate it.

  • Handle: 1a Calle poniente # 10
  • Web site: https://www.spanishacademyantiguena.com/
  • Telephone #: +502 5735-4638
  • Value: E-mail them to inquire about choices (mail@spanishacademyantiguena.com)

13) Attempt Native Craft Beer

Whereas many of the beer in Guatemala is mass-produced, barely watery lager, beer lovers aren’t at a complete loss in Antigua. That’s as a result of the town is dwelling to a couple glorious craft breweries with pink ales, IPAs, and stouts on faucet.

On the town, the most effective place to go for a craft beer is ABC (Antigua Brewing Firm). They’ve received a bar on the entrance, a full restaurant and seating space within the again, and a very good rooftop terrace as effectively. It’s the proper spot to seize a beer with mates and benefit from the views of this stunning colonial metropolis.

A few of their beers on faucet embody their Xute Pale Ale and a lip-smacking Choco-Stout. Additionally they function visitor faucets of different Guatemala craft breweries from the capital or Xela, they usually’ve received a stable meals menu to associate with all of the beers.

With tasty meals, all kinds of craft beers, and wonderful views of the town, ABC is definitely probably the greatest locations in Antigua. Additionally they run excursions of the brewery on the weekend should you’re . 

Antigua Brewing Company

Craft brews and volcano views!

14) Take an ATV Tour

In case you’re on the lookout for a little bit of journey in your journey to Antigua, then an ATV tour to the villages surrounding the town is a stable alternative. The effective people at Simoon have a couple of totally different choices so that you can select from for an thrilling day journey.

Their Antigua Villages Tour visits an area textile market, the superior Earth Lodge, and Ciudad Vieja – the primary capital of Guatemala. You’ll be able to select to journey on the again of the ATV should you’re not snug steering it your self. 

They run a couple of different excursions as effectively, together with a Sundown Tour and a Mountain Tour. Whichever one you select, you’re certain to have a good time exploring the encircling space and getting exterior of the vacationer bubble for some time.

For many who choose to DIY, you may as well simply lease scooters, bikes, or ATVs from Simoon. Verify their web site or drop by their workplace to see what they’ve obtainable. Simply watch out driving on these cobblestone streets!

  • Handle: 6a Avenida Norte #60B
  • Web site: http://www.simoonsa.com/
  • Telephone #: +502-5488-6550
  • Value: Excursions from $55-60 per individual

15) Social gathering in a Mansion or Pool

Undoubtedly, one of many coolest issues to do in Antigua is attending one of many epic events that go on exterior of city on Saturday nights. Likelihood is these are a number of the most fascinating venues you’ve ever partied at…

As soon as the bars shut at 1AM on Saturday evening, evening owls can head out to La Piscina – the notorious pool get together. It’s not what you suppose, although. This all-night rave is definitely held at an deserted swimming pool on the outskirts of Antigua.

It might sound like some form of bootleg operation, however this get together is legit. They’ve a DJ and a bumping sound system, a full bar, and loads of meals distributors that can assist you gas up for the dance get together.

Most individuals get out right here by catching a shuttle exterior of the Fortunate Rabbit bar when it shuts down and keep till dawn, so prepare for a wild evening!

Now and again, there’s additionally a mansion get together occurring. That is a lot farther out of city and is definitely about midway to Guatemala Metropolis. They run shuttles from hostels and bars on the town and often ask that you just RSVP to order your spot.

I’m nonetheless undecided if the mansion is definitely deserted or not, because it really seems fairly good! The get together begins early because the swimming pool right here is definitely functioning, and it goes all evening with quite a lot of DJs spinning tunes till dawn.

Antigua Mansion Party

Social gathering at a mansion!

The place to Keep in Antigua, Guatemala

There’s an entire vary of superior locations to remain in Antigua, Guatemala, irrespective of your finances!

Finest Funds Lodging in Antigua – Yellow Home Hostel B&B

In case you’re on the lookout for a pleasant place to remain in Antigua on a finances, the Yellow Home Hostel B&B is the proper alternative.

You will get a mattress in a dorm right here for beneath $10 an evening or break up a double room together with your good friend or associate for $30. With a buffet breakfast included, that’s a reasonably superior deal.

Travellers love this hostel’s good backyard and terrace, which make for an excellent place to sit back out after a day exploring the town. Their location can’t be beat, because it’s just some blocks away from the Arch and La Merced church.

The Finest Mid-Vary Resort – Resort Meson de Maria

This stunning lodge was constructed in a restored mansion and options some elegant colonial décor. You’ll love this place as quickly as you stroll by their charming courtyard on the best way to your room.

Talking of rooms, they’ve a couple of choices right here from their commonplace double room as much as their suites. There’s even a particular suite right here for newlyweds visiting Antigua on their honeymoon. 

Breakfast is included right here and you may as well get room service organized from two close by eating places. Additionally they have a stunning rooftop terrace with glorious views of the volcanoes.

The Finest Luxurious Resort – Casa Santo Domingo

With regards to the most effective motels in Antigua, Casa Santo Domingo simply may take the cake. This luxurious lodge is about in a former convent that was destroyed within the earthquake of 1773.

A restoration challenge started in 1989 to rescue this essential piece of Antigua’s historical past and it’s now the fanciest lodge on the town! They’ve received beautifully-appointed rooms filled with native artwork and weavings, a few of which even have their very own jacuzzi and sauna.

In case you don’t land a room with your personal spa, no worries – there’s a improbable spa right here for all visitors to entry. Right here you’ll discover a pool, jacuzzis, and saunas, in addition to spa providers akin to facials and massages. 

Finest Eating places in Antigua

Rincon Tipico – As I discussed within the part about attempting native meals, it is a in style place to come back for lunch and get a filling, low-cost meal. Simply be ready to attend some time for a desk and your meals if coming through the lunch rush. 

La Casa de las Sopas – That is an superior restaurant to attempt Guatemala soups like pepian or jocon. Although it’s known as “The Home of Soups,” they’ve loads of different issues on the menu as effectively.

Toko Baru – While you want a break from native meals, it is a good spot to go. They’ve received all kinds of worldwide delicacies right here, from curry to falafel. 

Cafe Sky – This place is open all day so you may come right here for any meal. They all the time have some stable specials and their rooftop terrace is without doubt one of the finest locations on the town to be for sundown.

Pollo Campero – This fast-food chain is extremely in style in Guatemala. It’s such a success that there’s typically a line out the door to get a desk right here. You’ll be able to all the time simply seize a rooster sandwich and fries to go, although.

Antigua Brewing Firm – Along with the wide selection of craft beers on faucet, they’re additionally cooking up some tasty stuff right here at ABC. 

Sasha And Rachel

Sasha and Rachel, in any other case referred to as the Grateful Gypsies, are a world touring, English instructing, jamband following couple enthusiastic about journey, tradition, and music. From working in Beijing, to finding out in Bali, to traversing the USA on Phish tour, you may observe them on their lengthy, unusual tour at Grateful Gypsies.

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