Guatemala / Destinations / Antigua

Antigua

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City of ruins

One of the most beautiful towns in Latin America, the UNESCO World Heritage town of Antigua is an absolute must-visit on any holiday to Guatemala.

Antigua’s attractions are many and varied. Located in a steep-sided cauldron within the Guatemalan Highlands and overlooked by Volcan de Agua, the town benefits from a wonderful, natural setting. Add to that some of the region’s most beautiful colonial architecture, numerous religious festivals, superb hotels, bars, restaurants and shopping and you have enough reasons to spend several days in Antigua.

Antigua was originally Guatemala’s capital until successive earthquakes entailed the move to nearby Guatemala City in the late 18th century. Devastating as these earthquakes were, they never totally destroyed the town and a large part of the town’s appeal comes from visiting the numerous, scattered ruins which, although badly damaged, refuse to totally give way.

As a relatively compact town, it is quite possible to explore almost all of Antigua on foot. Furthermore, as the town’s streets are all cobbled, traffic moves at a pleasingly sedate pace, adding to the impression of Antigua as a relaxed, easy-going kind of place.

For those with limited time, or who are simply happy to base themselves in Antigua, it is also quite possible to visit both Chichicastenango and Lake Atitlan on day trips while treks of nearby volcanos, such as Mt Pacaya, are another popular option.

Guatemala is also famous for its coffee and visits to traditional estates are a popular option. One such coffee estate, which doubles as a Mayan cultural centre, is nearby La Azotea.

If you wish to see Antigua at its most colourful, vibrant and traditional, the best time to visit is during Lent and, in particular, Semana Santa (Easter Week).

As Antigua is pretty much a must-see on any holiday to Guatemala, it is included in all our sample, suggested Itineraries.

Accommodation in Antigua

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