Antigua Guatemala Travel Guide

  • La Merced
    La Merced
    by Jim_Eliason
  • El Arco and Volcan Agua
    El Arco and Volcan Agua
    by tlcstork
  • Seen just walking the streets
    Seen just walking the streets
    by Suzie3

Antigua Guatemala Highlights

  • Pro
    Hopkid profile photo

    Hopkid says…

     Colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, history 

  • Con
    gfinesilver profile photo

    gfinesilver says…

     Very touristic, lots of gringos, expensive (comparatively) 

  • In a nutshell
    stevepreece profile photo

    stevepreece says…

     A perfect place to study and practice Spanish. 

Antigua Guatemala Things to Do

  • Pacaya Volcano

    The village near Pacaya Volcano is very poor - there is not even a grocery store. There are many wonderful dogs you'll encounter on your hike. They are friendly but skinny! Please take dry dog food in zip lock bags to feed these wonderful dogs. ALSO, MORE IMPORTANT, talk to the local vendors on the hike up who sell sodas and chips. Tell them...

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  • Antigua Ruins

    This convent was begun in 1701 and was used until finally abandoned after the 1773 earthquake. Its a bit off the beaten path and has by Antigua standards a fairly steep admission price (about 5 USD). I settled for a few pics from the outside.

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  • Churches

    Confusingly, Hermano Pedro is not buried in the church dedicated to and named for him, but here in nearby San Francisco. This is one of Antigua’s oldest churches, dating back to 1579, although little of that 16th century original remains today. Instead there is a substantial largely 19th century church, with extensive ruins to one side. The saint...

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Antigua Guatemala Hotels

Antigua Guatemala Restaurants

  • Frida's

    We had read good reviews of Frida’s on both VT and elsewhere and as it was just up the road from our hotel we were keen to try it for ourselves – and we were not disappointed. Frida’s is a Mexican restaurant themed around the life and work of Frida Kahlo, although the décor is such an eclectic mix that the theme is lost in places. On entering the...

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  • Cafe Sky

    A great view of the city and volcanos. Be sure to go all the way to the roof - there is a small spiral staircase on your right when you reach the second floor. The chips - guacamole - salsa platter with a Zacapa rum makes for a pleasent afternoon nibble. Some backpacking aquaintences ordered the nachos - which was almost as large as their heads...

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  • Casa Santo Domingo

    The Casa Santo Domingo Hotel is set amidst the ruins of the former church and convent. The grounds are fun to explore with fine gardens set amongst crumbled walls and restored walkways. The hotel is considered one of the best in Antigua. And it has a restaurant to match this reputation. While we did not stay here we did experience the restaurant...

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Antigua Guatemala Nightlife

  • Monoloco

    Make sure you stop by the Monoloco while in Antigua. It's a great place to get a good meal, meet interesting travelers, and watch sports. There is always something fun going on whether it is Ladies' Night, a 4th of July party, or the Superbowl or World Cup. The food is great- large portions and fresh ingredients. The bar manager, Zac, is a great...

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  • Antigua by night

    There are some nice bars in Antigua. My favorites are Las Chimeneas ( the oldest bar in the city). Ricky´ s (A place for meeting travellers) Mono Loco (the typical American Sports bar).. for good music...The La Casbah Disco....And a new place La Sala (Latin live music)...nicely decorated.

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  • Ladies Night in Mono Loco, Antigua...

    Wondering what to do on tuesday night?Gotta go to Mono Loco's ladies night, where all the ladies will be enjoying the Q3.00 (US$0.38) drinks!!!they have coconut rum, vodka & Naranja, Raspberry and lemon drinks.The cover for the guys is only one drink (Gallo beer Q15.00 (US$1.90)) only!!And if you are hungry, try the famous nacho mountain for Q25.00...

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Antigua Guatemala Transportation

  • Buses

    The best way to get to Antigua from Guatemala city is to arrange for a shuttle to pick you up from the airport and take you to your hotel. Antigua is located about 45 minutes from the capital, and a private bus should cost around $7-12 per person.

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  • On Foot

    Antigua is a perfect city to see by walking. It is fairly compact and is almost completely flat. The main hazard is the uneven surfaces of the cobblestone streets. But as long as you bring some comfortable, flat-soled shoes/sandals, you should be fine. There are also the 3-wheeled scooter taxis known as tuk-tuks but they are not as ubiquitious as...

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  • From Guatemala City

    The best way to get to Antigua from Guatemala city is to arrange for a shuttle to pick you up from the airport and take you to your hotel. Antigua is located about 45 minutes from the capital, and a private bus should cost around $7-12 per person.

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Antigua Guatemala Shopping

  • Nim Po't - Best Place for Souvinirs

    This is a wonderful large shop that has a lot of local crafts. All items have prices (which for the most part are very reasonable) which avoids having to bargin with vendors. They sell everything from wood items, quilts, pottery, t-shirts, books, coffee (which is very expensive!), fabric, bags, tin items, calendars, post cards etc.The girls who...

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  • Exquisite, Unique wooden furniture and...

    Angelina's ShopDecor and Style ShopsArt and Furniture. Lamps, accesories and Decor.4 Calle Oriente No. 22Antigua Guatemala011-502- 7832 0203 (as dialed from the US)owner: Miriam AngelinaEmail : angelinashop@gmail.com Beautiful, One of a kind furniture and Antiques.Fashioned from trunks and roots of Guatemalan trees into exquiste pieces of...

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  • Tiny antiques shop in Antigua Guatemala

    One of my favorite shops for antiques in Antigua is the tiny, enchanting Casa de las Escudillas (House of Bowls), across from the restaurant Sabe Rico on 6th Avenida. From floor to ceiling, this little tienda is filled with pottery, some furniture, santos, nichos, masks, and other types of antique and vintage decor items. Some items are true...

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Antigua Guatemala Local Customs

  • The Public Laundry

    About ¼ of the residents lack running water and electricity, so they do their wash here. One woman was scrubbing clothes in one of the sinks while her two older children played. She had a 2-month old baby wrapped in a blanket and tucked into the empty sink next to her. Her husband was sitting nearby watching over them.

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  • Traditional Mayan Dress

    Many women in Guatemala still wear their traditional Mayan dresses. These said dresses are made of colorful fabrics.

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  • Santa Semana Displays

    Prior to the processions on the streets, the churches are decorated with colorful patterns of colored sawdust, palm leaves and flowers. Fruits and vegetables are the usual offerings given by the people.

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Antigua Guatemala Warnings and Dangers

  • Cerro de la Cruz

    There will be tour guides wandering the parque, but they will ask for money to take you up to the cross. The tourismo police escort tourists for free 10am/3pm each day. Or better yet, walk up there yourself. From the park, head up north on 4a ave norte, until you hit the end, make a right turn, for couple blocks, you'll see a nice residential area...

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  • ATM machines & travellers' cheques

    Before leaving Canada, I configured my debit card for use in Guatemala and arrived confident that I'd be able to draw whatever cash I needed. Hah! First, I was given blood-curdling warnings about there being only ONE safe (i.e. non-compromised) ATM in Antigua (at the "Hotel Museo Casa Santo Domingo"). ALL the other ATMs are considered at high risk...

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  • Sending postcards from Guatemala?

    How romantic! And a total waste of your time and MONEY. I have rushed into the Antigua Guatemala post office in February, 2010. Attached proper postage to 7 postcards to the U.S.A and a European country. Well, folks!.... we're in September 2010 now! My cards are still "traveling". Most likely on the bottom of a Guatemalan thrash can, 'cause why to...

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Antigua Guatemala Tourist Traps

  • Street Vendors

    They would give you the better price if you are interested in. However, the price is much higher than everywhere. Give them 55% discount of the price. Tell them that you've bought a lot of similar souvenirs.

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  • Ruta Maya travel Agency

    Unfortunately I had not read the warnings about this agency. The owner is charming and speaks English etc . I used them to take a tourist shuttle, mini-van from Antigua to Guatemala City bus station. As soon as I got my ticket I realized I had left my bag on the van. I was the last person to get off, people saw me with the bag when I got on, no one...

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  • Las Capuchinas convent museum

    Don't bother. The entry fee seems standard (Q40) but the information inside is severely limited. The highlight is an architectural model showing the central park of Antigua pre-1770's earthquake. The museum proper is small and primarily devoted to paintings/carvings of sundry saints. The museums housed in the Casa Santo Domingo. Also based in a...

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Antigua Guatemala What to Pack

  • Pack sturdy footwear

    The cobblestones of the Antugua streets are charming and photogenic. They are also a minefield of ankle-twisting traps if you're not wearing flat soles. I've used boots and sandals and had no problems. How the local women use high heels is beyond me! It is probable that you'll be shaving with cold water. Be prepared. Small and discreet is...

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  • Think comfortable!!

    Light and small....those shuttles have limited room! Light jacket for the evenings and comfortable walking shoes...to stand up to cobblestone steets.The rule here is casual clothes and no jewellery I always take a first aid kit...peptol bismal is a good idea. Lots of digital memory

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  • Bring the right kind of shoes ok?!!!

    ALL OF ANTIGUA IS COBBLESTONE!!! That means that you need to wear Tevas or chaco-like shoes. Or tennis shoes. Its annoying at first but you get used to it. Bring rain jacket and/or umbrella. IT got cold at night and I froze. If you stay with a family you might have to provide your own Toilet paper and even bath towel.

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Antigua Guatemala Off The Beaten Path

  • Outskirts of Antigua

    From San Pedro we drove through the old (that is the second) capital of Guatemala, Ciudad Vieja to this, the final village on our route. It was interesting to see that the abandoned capital was still a lively place, but with little of the grand architecture that makes its successor so special. On the outskirts some new, rather affluent-looking...

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  • Valhalla Experimental Station

    The Valhalla Macadamia Nut Plantation is an organic farm. The nuts fall to the ground when ripe, and they are harvested by hand. They have an outer husk as well as a hard shell. These guys built a husking machine that can process 1 ton per hour, and an old tire is one of the main parts. The nuts are dried and then go to a gravity-fed sizing...

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  • Jocotenango

    the Casa de Azotea contains a coffee museum, a small costume museum,and Casa Kojom, a music museum. (Kojom means music in some Maya languages.) I especially liked the Music Museum. The woman working there not only explained the early instruments, she demonstrated most of them. A turtle shell struck with a deer antler makes a good rhythm...

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Antigua Guatemala Sports & Outdoors

  • Dirt Bike tours

    If you are wanting some great off road River and dirt riding you have to check out Catours in Antigua, they are a professional Motorcycle company that know where to go and give you the best of Guatemala. They are 99.9% Guaranteed.. Catours will supply you with all the protective clothing, this starts with the most important, the Helmet. We use 2...

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  • Dirt Bike tours

    If you are wanting some great off road River and dirt riding you have to check out Catours in Antigua, they are a professional Motorcycle company that know where to go and give you the best of Guatemala. They are 99.9% Guaranteed.. Catours will supply you with all the protective clothing, this starts with the most important, the Helmet. We use 2...

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  • Horse back riding/carriage riding

    I would ask that you consider not riding the horses in Antigue or any town that has cobble stones. Everytime I visit this town I'm severly distressed by the condition of the roads and what the horses are expected to walk on. I often see maimed horses with bad shoes, limping or skidding over the cobble stones. I can only imagine the splinter...

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Antigua Guatemala Favorites

  • Cathedrals & Cloisters

    The cathedral located at the east side of the Parque central dates from 1680 after the first one was demolished a few years before. It's certainly not the most beautifull church in town, but it's worth to take a look inside.

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  • Colonial Architecture

    For a nice walk and look at buildings, wander round the streets behind the cathdral on the main square. This is where the nobility had their houses and although you can't go in many of them (some are shops which you can) you can still see the doorways and decorative details. Really lovely buildings!!

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  • Santiago de Los Caballeros

    Antigua at its height was a very powerful and important city. Spain divided its conquests in the New World into three sections, and the part we now call Central America was all governed from the Guatemalan capital, that is Antigua. Antigua, or Antigua Guatemala to give it its full name, was in fact the country’s third capital. It was founded in...

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