Antigua is the ultimate travel destination. a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture, historical attraction, and culture. Antigua, Guatemala, is the most famous destination for travelers seeking history, culture, and natural beauty. Do you want to prepare your itinerary to visit Antigua? Must Explore Things to do in Antigua, Guatemala.
Antigua City was founded in 1543 as Santiago de los Caballeros. The city served as the capital of the Spanish Captaincy General of Guatemala, which included present-day America and Southern Mexico.
Antigua is well known for its famous architecture and well-preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture. The city offers a historic center with cobblestone streets, colorful facades, and charming courtyards.
UNESCO World Heritage Site:
In 1979, Antigua was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its cultural and historical significance. Antigua’s most famous landmarks include La Catedral, El Convento de San Francisco, La Iglesia de la Merced, and El Arco de Santa Catalina.
Antigua Culture and Traditions:
Antigua has an authentic culture and traditions. It is a center for religious celebrations with festivities, particularly during Semana Santa, which attracts locals and tourists.
Antigua offers rich cultural traditions, including Religious Festivals, Traditional Music and Dance, Textiles and Craftsmanship, Cuisine, Carnival, and Community Spirit.
Antigua is surrounded by natural beauty, including Agua, Fuego, and Acatenango volcanoes. The city offers outdoor activities, including hiking and photography. If you are visiting first time Antigua, you must explore the Top 10 Things to do in Antigua, Guatemala.
Things to do in Antigua Guatemala
Here, we have compiled a list of the top 10 must-visit and most famous things to do in Antigua, Guatemala City.
Santa Catalina Arch
Santa Catalina Arch is known not only for its magnificent structure but also for its historical and cultural significance. Santa Catalina Arch was built to connect the Santa Catalina convert to a school, allowing the cloistered nuns to pass from one building to another without going out on the street.
Santa Catalina Arch is made of adobe brick and stucco and designed with Baroque-style carvings. It is a single arch spanning 23 meters and a height of 6 meters. The arch has a clock on the top, added in the 1830s.
Hill of the Cross
Hill of the Cross, or Cerro de la Cruz, is a famous tourist attraction in Antigua, Guatemala. This attraction is located on a hill with a large cross on the top that offers magnificent views of Antigua City and the surrounding volcanoes. This hill is also famous who love hiking and picnicking.
If you want to visit this iconic spot, it’s remarkably recommended to visit during the Sunset as the changing colors of the sky enhance the beauty of this Hill of the Cross.
If you want a place to enjoy the views of Antigua, Guatemala, the Hill of the Cross is a great option. It is a short hike to the top, and the ideas are worth the effort. Hill of the Cross is one of the Best Places to visit in Guatemala.
Iglesia de la Merced
Iglesia de la Merced is Catholic main church in Antigua Guatemala. One of the best cultural things to do in Antigua, Guatemala, is to visit Iglesia de la Merced. It is a historic and architecturally significant religious site. This church is dedicated to the Lady of Mercy. you can see the largest fountain in Central America.
The church was constructed in the late 17th century and contributed to the city’s UNESCO World Heritage status. It has restoration efforts to preserve its cultural heritage. The church offers visitors colonial-era artwork, religious artifacts, and the peaceful ambiance characteristic of such historical places of worship.
Convento Capuchinas is a historical old church in Antigua, Guatemala. Convento Capuchinas, also known as Convento las Capuchinas. Convento Capuchinas was built in the 18th century and provides a picturesque view of the architectural and religious aspects of the time.
Convento Capuchinas features well-preserved courtyards, living quarters, and a church with a simple yet iconic design. You can shop for famous religious-related goods here.
Antigua Guatemala Central Park
Antigua Guatemala Central Park is also known as Parque Central. The park is surrounded by cathedral and arch-adorned colonial buildings. Central Park is an excellent place to sit, stroll, and observe the day in Antigua.
Antigua Guatemala Central Park offers picturesque gardens, beaches, and a fountain. The neoclassical mermaid fountain is a famous spot for photographers. The park is creating a peaceful atmosphere.
Antigua Guatemala Central Park is open year-round and free entry for all. Antigua Guatemala Central Park is a very crowded destination, especially on Sunday.
Convento Santa Clara
Convento Santa Clara is the largest religious complex from the early 1700s, featuring a church with an ornate facade. Convento Santa Clara, founded in the early 18th century, played a significant role in the religious and social fabric. If you are planning to find a wedding spot, then Convento Santa Clara offers a host wedding for locals.
Convento Santa Clara is part of UNESCO World Heritage. The church offers religious-related events. Convento Santa Clara opening timing is 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM daily.
Antigua, Guatemala Cathedral
Antigua, Guatemala Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Saint Joseph, is a ruined cathedral built in the 16th century. Antigua Cathedral is one of the most famous things to do in Antigua, Guatemala.
Antigua, Guatemala Cathedral is known for its Spanish Baroque architecture. Visitors can explore the fantastic interior, including altars, chapels dedicated to different saints, and religious work. The Antigua, Guatemala Cathedral holds culture and provides a window into the region’s colonial past.
Union Tank is a historic landmark in Antigua, Guatemala. It was built in 1853 and served laundry for residents until the late 19th century. Today, Union Tank is a popular tourist destination in Antigua, Guatemala.
The Union Tank sightseeing typically takes approximately 1 to 2 hours and is open year-round, 24/7.
Mercado de Artesanías
Mercado de Artesanías is also called Artisan Market, its largest handicrafts market. If you are a shopping lover, then you must visit this place. Local handmade handicraft items include wooden puzzle boxes, pottery, textiles, resin sculptures, table runners, clothing items, and more.
Mercado de Artesanías market opening timing is 09:00 AM to 06:00 PM daily located at 4a Calle Poniente and Alameda de Santa Lucía, behind Pollo Campero.
If you want to purchase something here, ensure the market is generally negotiable, so it is crucial to be prepared to haggle.
Tips for visiting the Crafts Market
Here are some tips for visiting the Crafts Market:
Get there early: The market can be crowded, especially on weekends. Arriving early will allow you to see everything and haggle for the best prices.
Be prepared to haggle: Prices at the market are generally negotiable. Do not be afraid to negotiate to get the best price.
Bring cash: Many vendors do not accept credit cards. Bringing some money to shop at the market is a good idea.
Finca Filadelfia Coffee Tour
Finca Filadelfia Coffee Adventure Tour offers tourists to provide guided tours, allowing visitors to learn about the entire coffee-making process. Tourists can learn about different coffee varieties and their production methods and contribute to their unique flavor profiles and handpicking process.
Finca Filadelfia Coffee Tour includes a 30-minute walking tour, a 1-hour, and a 1-hour Unimog tour. Tours run daily. This tour requires a minimum of four people. It costs 80Q for the Thiry Minute Walking Tour, 156Q for the One Hour Walking Tour, and 195Q for the One Hour Unimog Tour.
For more information or to book a tour, call +502 7728-0800 or visit official website here.
Food in Antigua Guatemala food
Explore street food for authentic flavors. Try local dishes such as Pepián and Chiles Rellenos.
Antigua Guatemala is a culinary paradise, offering a delightful blend of traditional Guatemalan cuisine and international flavors. From hearty stews to fresh seafood, from vibrant street food to upscale dining experiences, Antigua’s culinary scene caters to every palate and preference.
1. Pepián: A hearty stew considered the national dish of Guatemala, pepián is a rich and flavorful blend of meat (usually chicken or turkey), vegetables, and a variety of spices, often served with rice and tortillas.
2. Kak’ik: A unique and delectable dish from the Mayan highlands, kak’ik is a savory pumpkin seed stew with a creamy texture and a hint of cinnamon. Traditionally served with turkey or chicken, it’s a must-try for adventurous foodies.
3. Jocón: A light and refreshing dish originating from the Ixcán region, jocón is a green soup made with chayote squash, cilantro, and ground pumpkin seeds, often served with chicken or pork.
4. Chuchitos: These savory corn tamalitos are a popular street food and a delightful treat. Filled with a savory meat or vegetable mixture and wrapped in corn husks, they’re a perfect snack or light meal.
5. Rellenitos: Fried plantains filled with a variety of savory ingredients, rellenitos are a popular street food and a satisfying snack or light meal. Common fillings include black beans, cheese, and a mixture of meat and vegetables.
6. Mercado de Artesanías: This vibrant market is a treasure trove of traditional Guatemalan handicrafts, including textiles, ceramics, jewelry, and more. Be sure to haggle with vendors for the best prices.
7. Chichicastenango Market: Held every Thursday and Sunday, Chichicastenango Market is a bustling hub of local artisans and traders. Discover a vast array of handicrafts, textiles, fruits, and vegetables, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of this traditional market.
8. Finca Filadelfia Coffee Tour: Embark on a journey into the heart of Guatemalan coffee culture with a guided tour of Finca Filadelfia, a renowned coffee plantation. Learn about the intricate process of coffee production, from bean to brew, and savor the exquisite flavors of freshly roasted coffee.
9. Casa Santo Domingo: This former convent, now a hotel and cultural center, offers a glimpse into Antigua’s colonial past. Explore the museum, wander through the serene courtyards, and enjoy a meal at the restaurant, set amidst the historic architecture.
10. Museo del Jade Maya: Delve into the fascinating world of Mayan jade at this renowned museum. Discover intricate jade artifacts, learn about the significance of jade in Mayan culture, and appreciate the craftsmanship of this ancient civilization.
Best Time to visit Antigua Guatemala
The best time to visit Antigua Guatemala is generally during the dry season, which extends from November to April. This period offers more predictable and pleasant weather conditions for exploring the city and its surroundings. The temperatures are mild, and there’s a lower chance of rainfall, making it ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing.
- November to February: These months are part of the dry season, and the weather is usually cool and comfortable. It’s a popular time for visitors to enjoy the cultural and historical attractions of Antigua.
- Semana Santa (Holy Week): If you’re interested in experiencing cultural events and religious traditions, Semana Santa, which occurs in the week leading up to Easter, is a significant and vibrant time to visit. Keep in mind that it’s a busy period, and accommodations may fill up quickly.
While the dry season is generally recommended, Antigua’s climate is relatively mild year-round, so visiting during other months is still possible. However, the rainy season (May to October) brings more unpredictable weather, with heavier rainfall, and some outdoor activities might be affected.
How to reach Antigua Guatemala
To reach Antigua Guatemala, you’ll typically start by flying into La Aurora International Airport (GUA) in Guatemala City. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get to Antigua:
- Arrive in Guatemala City:
- Book a flight to La Aurora International Airport (GUA) in Guatemala City, which is the main international airport in the country.
- Transport from Airport to Antigua:
- Antigua is located approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Guatemala City. Several transportation options are available:
- Shuttle Services: Many shuttle companies operate between the airport and Antigua. These can be prearranged or found at the airport.
- Private Transfer: Arrange for a private transfer, either through your accommodation or a transportation service.
- Taxi: Taxis are available at the airport. Ensure you use authorized services and agree on the fare before starting your journey.
- Antigua is located approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Guatemala City. Several transportation options are available:
- Public Bus:
- Public buses also connect Guatemala City and Antigua. However, this option might involve transfers and take longer than private transportation.
- Renting a Car:
- If you prefer flexibility, you can rent a car at the airport. Keep in mind that driving conditions and traffic in Guatemala may be different from what you’re accustomed to.
- Travel Time:
- The journey from Guatemala City to Antigua usually takes around 1 to 2 hours, depending on traffic and your chosen mode of transportation.
- Alternative Airport:
- If you’re arriving internationally from certain locations, you might also consider the La Aurora International Airport in Antigua (GUA), which is closer to Antigua but serves fewer international flights compared to Guatemala City.
Tips to visting Antigua Guatemala
Certainly! Here are some tips for visiting Antigua Guatemala:
- Comfortable Footwear:
- Antigua’s streets are often cobbled, so wear comfortable shoes for walking and exploring the city.
- Sun Protection:
- The sun can be strong, especially at higher altitudes. Bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself.
- Weather Considerations:
- While the weather is generally mild, be prepared for occasional rain if visiting during the rainy season. A light rain jacket or umbrella can be handy.
- Altitude Awareness:
- Antigua is situated at a higher altitude, so take it easy the first day to acclimate. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Currency Exchange:
- The official currency is the Guatemalan Quetzal (GTQ). It’s advisable to exchange currency at banks or ATMs for a better rate.
- Spanish is the official language, but many people in the tourism industry speak English. Learning a few basic Spanish phrases can be helpful and appreciated.
- Safety Precautions:
- Antigua is generally safe for tourists, but exercise standard safety precautions. Keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded areas.
- Tap Water:
- It’s advisable to drink bottled or purified water to avoid any potential stomach discomfort.
- Local Cuisine:
- Try local dishes such as Pepián and Chiles Rellenos. Explore street food for authentic flavors.
- Cultural Respect:
- Respect local customs and traditions. If taking photos of people, always ask for permission first.
- Semana Santa Planning:
- If visiting during Holy Week (Semana Santa), plan accommodations well in advance as it’s a busy time for tourism.
- Negotiate Prices:
- In markets, bargaining is common. Politely negotiate prices when shopping for crafts and souvenirs.
- Guided Tours:
- Consider taking guided tours to gain deeper insights into the history and culture of Antigua.
- Transportation Options:
- Arrange transportation from the airport in advance to avoid potential hassles.
Is Antigua Guatemala worth visiting?
What is Antigua Guatemala best known for?
Antigua Guatemala is known for its unique history, culture and tourist places.
How many days should you stay in Antigua Guatemala?
Four to Five days are enough to cover Antigua Guatemala.
When not to go to Antigua?
The period to avoid visiting Antigua is during the rainy season, which typically occurs from May to October. Heavy rainfall can impact outdoor activities, and there is a higher chance of landslides or flooding in certain areas.
Is it safe to walk around Antigua Guatemala at night?
Antigua Guatemala is generally considered safe for walking around at night, especially in the main tourist areas.
Does Antigua Guatemala have nightlife?
Yes, Antigua Guatemala has a lively nightlife scene, offering a variety of options for both locals and tourists.