La Antigua Guatemala & Surroundings

La Antigua Guatemala

Antigua (official name La Antigua Guatemala) is located only 45 kilometers from Guatemala City. It is a colorful city with beautiful colonial architecture and friendly people. La Antigua Guatemala has about 30.000 inhabitants and many churches, historical building, museums, galleries, coffee shops and restaurants. Apart from the cultural experience Antigua is also a famous destination for students all around the world who come here to learn Spanish.

Highlights
  • Coffee Tour
  • Tour Pacaya volcano
  • Visit the churches La Merced and San Francisco

Antigua was founded in 1543, and for two centuries the Spanish rained from Antigua (at that time the Spanish rulers called it La muy Noble y muy Leal ciudad de Santiago de los Caballeros de Goathemala) over the kingdom of Central America ranging from Chiapas to Panama, and it was one of the most beautiful and prosperous cities of Latin America. However in 1773 a major earthquake completely destroyed the city and the Spanish decided to move the capital again to the now current capital of Guatemala: Guatemala City. But people started building again on the ruins of the former city to become what is now called La Antigua Guatemala (The old Guatemala). In 1979 Antigua was elected a world heritage site by UNESCO.

Antigua Guatemala offers a wide variety in accommodation options. Most hotels have beautiful colonial architecture and you can find something in every price range.

Things to do in Antigua Guatemala: you can easily fill a day just walking around town, wandering from street to street, look at the colonial architecture, visiting beautiful churches and monasteries. Don’t miss the local market and the handicrafts market next to it. You can go cerro de la cruz look out point, an easy and safe walk north of town. Take a coffee tour in one of the fincas around Antigua. Or climb one of the volcanoes surrounding or close to Antigua Guatemala.

Volcanoes

Antigua is surrounded by three volcanoes, Agua Volcano to the south and further away Acatenango and Fuego to the South-West. Fuego is still active and releases some smoke a couple of times per day and sometimes and night you can see the red glow of lava coming down the hills. Agua is a so-called dead volcano but because of its height and relative inaccessible roads not very popular to climb. The most popular volcano to climb however is the Pacaya Volcano, behind Agua and therefore not visible from Antigua, but only at about an hour drive from the city. Because of its dormant state and accessibility (it ‘only’ takes you two hours to climb) a very popular place to visit and a truly amazing experience to be on an ‘active’ volcano.

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