Welcome to Antigua! Welcome to read the best things to do in Antigua. Antigua is the former capital of Guatemala. When you walk in this city, you will see colonial influence everywhere. The buildings are really beautifully. This is special, because Antigua had to show a lot of resilience in recent years due to the many earthquakes it has endured. The street scene of Antigua is beautiful, because it is a typical Latin American village scene. Antigua is surrounded by three large volcanoes that you can climb, the most popular is Acatenango. Antigua can be visited all year round because of the spring-like climate. Despite the fact that Antigua is very popular with all Spanish language schools, the good restaurants and nice accommodation, it retains its charm. In this article we share the best things to do in Antigua, where to eat & drink and share our favorite two places to stay.
The best 5 best things to do in Antigua
if you find the 5 best things to do in antigua attractive and you want to do them al you need at least two days. You can stay longer in Antigua but that depends on your personal agenda. There are plenty of travelers who stay here for at least a week. If you are going to climb the volcano Acatenango or Pacaya, you have to take 2 extra days into account. If you going to climb a volcano you can also add 1 extra day to rest so you don’t have to travel straight after climbing a volcano.
#1 Discover the colonial ruins
The best things to do in Antigua is to discover the colonial ruins. Antigua has ancient colonial ruins in every corner of the street. By moving the capital to Guatemala City, some buildings have been left behind in terms of restoration, but everything remains very impressive. The “Catedral de Santiago” and “Iglesia y Convento de Santo Domingo” are one of the colonial high points within the city. On the outskirts of the city you can visit one of the most beautiful ruins called La Recoleccion.
#2 Climb the volcano Acatenango or Pacaya
Do like to challenge yourself? Do you like to do something active? If you’re looking for the best active things to do in Antigua then you should climb a volcano. The volcanoes Acatenango or Pacaya can both be climbed in 1 day. We recommend you to do it in 2 days so you can see the sunrise at the top of the mountain. During the two-day excursion you spend the night on the mountain. We climbed the volcano Acatenango ourselves, because you have a view of the active volcano Fuego. If you are lucky you will even see an eruption! You don’t want to miss this when you are in Antigua! To learn more about climbing this volcano, read our article “Acatenango hike everything you need to-know“.
Tip: If you want to book a tour with a good organization we recommend to use Viator. The benefit of using Viator is that you get a good service for a small extra charge and you are completely relieved of all the things you have to arrange for a nice day out. We went to Acatenango with Viator ourselves and are very satisfied. We recommend to book this tour.
#3 Relax in the park
One of the best things to do in Antigua is to relax in one of the parks. The park in the center located at the large church is the best because it is most lively. It’s nice to sit here with a pre-bought drink or ice cream. This square is also fun if you like taking pictures. it is a nice challenge to capture daily life in a photo. Don’t forget to enjoy your surrounding and enjoy the daily life in Antigua.
#4 Photograph Arco de Santa Catalina
If you really like taking pictures and you might want to capture the most iconic image of Guatemala yourself then you are at the right place in Antigua. The Arco de Santa Catalina building is located in a typical Latin American streets on which the Agua volcano fits exactly in the picture when the weather is clear.
Tip: if you have the opportunity, try to take the picture on the weekend, because there are no cars in the street.
#5 Shop the handmade souvenirs
If you want to have something special in your home, you can indulge yourself, because Guatemala is known for making beautiful craft souvenirs. The best place in Guatemala is the Chichicastenago market near Lake Atitlan. However, there are also good places in Antigua to succeed. Two places are recommended, namely Nim’Pot and in the ruins of El Carmen.Visit the local Antigua marketNo matter in which country you are visiting the local market is always worth a visit. In this way you experience local life and you get an idea of which ingredients and products are important in the culture.
Tip: there are different markets on different days and times. Ask on the spot at your accommodation which is best to visit.
Where to eat in Antigua?
In Antigua you can eat good and affordable despite the fact that it is touristy. If you want to try the local cuisine and that is good for your wallet, you should visit Rincon Tipico. It is best to go here for lunch. Especially try the chorizo sausage or chicken wings, these are delicious! We expect you to come back here for sure! If you like soups, a visit to La Casa de las Sopas is a must. Served here are soups with the option of gluten-free or vegetarian. The restaurant is simple and clean but don’t be put off by that, because the soup quality is very good.
Where to stay in Antigua?
Antigua is the most popular place to stay so you will directly notice that the prices are higher then other parts of Guatemala. We always pay attention to price and quality ratio and that is very good with both. The accommodations are both popular so be wise and book in time so that you have a place. We link to Booking.com, because you can adjust your reservation 24 hours in advance. This way you retain your flexibility during your trip.
Selina Antigua is a hotel with a great atmosphere and ideal for meeting other travelers. The rooms are beautiful with a nice view of volcano Agua. The hotel is beautiful with many facilities including a swimming pool and a pool table. Every morning they make sure that you can enjoy a great breakfast. The location very good because everything is close.
Price per night from:
€ 16 dorm | € 75 double room
Maya Papaya is a must and is rated with a 9.4 on Booking. The rooms here are neat, beds are very nice and for those who spend the night in a bunk bed these are nice and firm. It is a small, cozy, clean and quiet hostel that is highly recommended! In addition, the general area is really cool to relax and get in touch with other travelers.
Price per night from:
€ 14 dorm | € 33 double room