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Top Tours

 
Quetzaltenango Street Food Tour
"You will start this tour walking   the 14th Avenue one block away from  the most important avenue in Xela to taste the Tostadas de Guacamole de Don Richard delicious fried corn tortillas with avocado. After this amazing experience you will walk walk to the 4th street to visit Doña Josefina Indigenous local K’iche woman here you will drink atolito de Elote and eat famous chuchitos with tomato sauce.You  will take a cooking class from Doña Letty and  learn how to prepare the Rellenitos famous in Guatemala for the combination of plantains (bananas) and sweet beans.For Lunch or dinner you cannot miss the Quichom (lunch) with rice and made hand tortillas
From $32.00
 
Trek to Chicabal Volcano and Lagoon
"Journey along the natural paths of the volcano and see over 40-Mayan altars that were used in ceremonial services. Learn about the Mayan calendar and its importance to this ancient culture. Wander down the paths and see the incredible and diverse variety898 feet. On clear mornings it is possible to see the major volcanoes of northwestern Guatemala as well as the Pacific coast. The crater rim and volcanic cone are covered in a lush cloud forest and the lower slopes of the volcano are used for agricultural purposes by the locals. This easy day-hike provides a perfect mix of tranquility culture and natural beauty.On this 5-hour tour you will go from the base of the volcano all the way to the top. There you will find an impressive view onto the lagoon. From the top the guide will lead you down the stairs to the lagoon itself. Lots of times
From $44.00
 
Santiaguito Volcano Hiking Tour from Quetzaltenango
"This hike gives you the opportunity to see the beautiful Guatemalan landscape and the eruptions of one of the most dangerous volcanos in the world while not being overly strenuous. You will have the chance to see different types of plants and flowers. The first part of the hike is a bit steep with some rocks as obstacles but when looking over your shoulder you can see breath-taking views of Quetzaltenango in the early morning.Halfway the road becomes more flat and easy
From $40.00

Santiago de Los Caballeros Tips (3)

Some history

Favorite thing 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 1543 when an eruption of the Vulcan de Agua (Water Volcano) destroyed the second capital in the valley of Almononga. It was one of the first cities in the New World to use the Spanish grid design in the layout of the streets, and that layout is still intact in the centre (making navigation for tourists very simple!)

In 1566 the city received the name of “Muy Noble y Muy Leal Ciudad de Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala” (Very Noble and Very Loyal City of Santiago of the Caballeros of Guatemala), or Santiago de Guatemala for short. Indeed all three of the country’s early capitals bore the name of Santiago, as the first of them had been founded on St James’s day, the 25th July. You can see a statue of the eponymous saint in the Playa Union, donated to the city by the Spanish Santiago de Compostela.

Despite the ravages of several earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the city was for over 200 years the capital and economic centre of the whole Kingdom of Guatemala (today’s southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.). On September 29, 1717, an estimated 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit the city, destroying over 3,000 buildings. The damage led the authorities to consider moving the capital to another city. Instead they began to restore the damage, but in 1773 there was another even more destructive earthquake, the Santa Marta, and much of the city’s only recently rebuilt political and religious infrastructure was destroyed. A proposal was drawn up to move the capital for a third time, and despite some opposition, in 1775, a royal letter was written to order the foundation of a new capital.

The badly damaged city of Santiago de los Caballeros was ordered abandoned, although not everyone left, and was thereafter referred to as la Antigua Guatemala (the Old Guatemala).

In 1942, La Antigua was declared a Monument of the Americas by the Panamerican Institute of History and Geography. In 1944, it was declared a national monument of Guatemala. In 1979, UNESCO named Antigua a Colonial Cultural Heritage of America. In 1969, the Guatemalan Congress created a law to protect and preserve the colonial city. Today it is justifiably a magnet for visitors to Central America, and a must-see destination in Guatemala itself.

toonsarah's Profile Photo
toonsarah
Dec 11, 2010

Santiago de Los Caballeros was...

Favorite thing Santiago de Los Caballeros was the first planned city in the New World.
Its layout was assigned to the architect Juan Bautista Antonelli. He oriented streets and avenues a grid- like pattern, starting from the Central Plaza and extending from north to south and from east to west to from the core of the city.
As time went by, communities dedicated to specific crafts or industries developed around it, forming small towns, now part of modern Antigua.

la_beba's Profile Photo
la_beba
Oct 04, 2002

The foundations of the first...

Favorite thing The foundations of the first cathedral built in the new city of Santiago were laid in 1542, using the debris brought in by bishop Marroquin from Cuidad Vieja, the previous capital. Its construction and continuos repairs lasted throughout the rest of the century, caused by the delays from lack of funds and the earthquakes of 1651, 63, and 66.
The original roof was made of straw, which was later replaced with wood and a carved paneled ceiling. The demolition of this first cathedral began in 1669 in order to build the second cathedral at the same site. This was inaugurated eleven years later.

la_beba's Profile Photo
la_beba
Oct 04, 2002
 
 
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Top 5 Antigua Guatemala Writers

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Hopkid

"Whole Lotta Shaking Going On"
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toonsarah

"A colonial gem"
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Jim_Eliason

"Antigua"
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VinTolucci's Profile Photo

VinTolucci

"UNESCO World Heritage Site"
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thelukey

"Step Back in Time in Antigua Guatemala"
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Things to Do Near Antigua Guatemala

Things to Do

Antigua Ruins

This small museum in the Santo Domingo complex preserves some of the best colonial art in Antigua. It's set in an old colonial university building opposite the cathedral that is now converted into...
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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...
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Things to Do

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...
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Things to Do

Parque Central

Parque Central is the heart of Antigua and house the main cathedral and the colonial governemnt buildings. It is also the center of the tourist district and the side streets leading off the plaza are...
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Things to Do

Language Schools

I studied at Don Pedro de Alvarado for ten weeks ,I chose to study Spanish in Antigua after the excellent reports that I had read about the city. I stayed 10 weeks, and I wasn't disappointed. I am 65...
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Things to Do

Markets

Antigua might strike you at first, as it did me, as something of a museum piece, but you only have to walk a few blocks from the centre to discover that “real” life happens here too. The market on...
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Getting to Antigua Guatemala

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