A charming UNESCO World Heritage Site, Antigua is a Guatemalan treasure filled with cultural gems, colonial-era Baroque Spanish architecture and pastel-painted cottages lining cobblestone streets. Volcanoes tower in the distance, while parks, museums and lively markets offer a rich culture.
Things to do in Antigua
Landmarks compete with volcanoes as the most photographed parts of Antigua. Snap a shot of the bright yellow-stoned Arch of Santa Catalina, the city’s most cherished landmark built in the 1690s. The half-hour walk up to Cerro de la Cruz, the “hill of the cross” is well worth the effort for views of the town with a volcano-draped backdrop.
Ancient churches, cathedrals, colonial civic buildings and fountains dot the city, especially in Parque Central. As the heart of Antigua, it’s where to go for people-watching, espresso cafes, small boutiques and picturesque gardens. Tour Iglesia de La Merced to see a magnificent example of Baroque art and architecture with Moorish-influenced stucco work.
Browse colourful stalls at The Mercado, an authentic old-style market filled with vendors selling crafts, clothing, textiles and street food. Visit Museo Casa del Tejido to see intricately woven traditional textiles by local artisans. You’ll also find weaving demonstrations, regional clothing exhibitions and weaving classes.
Three volcanoes mark the horizon near Antiqua, offering active travellers a chance to engage in volcano trekking. The most accessible hike is up the slopes of still-active Pacaya Volcano, which is popular with families and casual trekkers. For a more challenging experience, join a day-long guided hike on Acatenango Volcano.
Getting around Antigua
You can rent a car at La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City, nearly an hour's drive away. Antigua is pedestrian-friendly, but you can also get around using taxis, tuk-tuks, scooters and city buses.