Antigua is such a cool little colonial city. There’s plenty to do from the Museo Casa Santo Domingo to the Iglesia and Mercados de la Merced. The people are really friendly, and there’s plenty on offer food wise.
There’s a little something for everyone, but you’ll see it all relatively quickly, so we didn’t spend too much time in Antigua. The time we did spend there, we thoroughly enjoyed. People mostly come here to hike the Acatenango or Pacaya volcanoes, or to study/learn/brush up on their Spanish skills as it’s one of the cheaper places to learn in Central America.
Antigua is a little gem and no Central American trip would be complete without a night or two in her charming embrace.
How to Get to Antigua:
We booked an overnight bus from Flores to Antigua. The cost would have been 400 Quetzal (€48), but because we booked at the same time as our Tikal trip we haggled and got both for 390 Quetzal (€46, that’s a massive saving here , I swear).
The transport included a taxi from the hotel to the bus station and then the overnight bus itself to Guatemala City, and a shuttle from here to Antigua (although the shuttle forgot about us and we spent 10 hours sitting in the bus terminal of such a dodgy city, but that’s another story).
Accommodation in Antigua:
Our home for the duration of our Antiguan odyssey was the charming Casa Tix. We paid 125 Quetzal per night (€15) for a private room with private bath. The place was perfect, cheap, close to town and Olga and her mother were very nice and helpful with advice and directions.
Things To Do in Antigua:
Walk Around Antigua:
As always at the number 1 slot for me, walk around, see what’s where and soak in the atmosphere. The beautiful colonial city has loads to see and some beautiful shots if you’re a photo buff or an insta-baby, including the Santa Catalina Arch, the Iglesia de la Merced and markets, the Cathedral or the view of the city from the lookout point at Cerro De la Cruz.
Hike a Volcano:
There are two main volcanoes that people climb in Antigua, Acatenango or Pacaya. The hike you should go on is determined by your fitness/craziness levels.
Acatenango is a more demanding climb. It’s longer and usually consists of staying overnight on the volcano to watch (if you’re lucky) the volcano next to it erupt. This also makes it the more expensive tour. although we opted not to do this, I have heard nothing but good things from the people who did.
We picked Pacaya instead, convincing ourselves we’d break ourselves in on Pacaya and then work up to Acatenango (neeeeever gonna happen).
We found a really cheap tour at 6 Avenida Norte, Antigua. 60 Quetzal (€7) for return transport to the volcano. It’s another 50 Quetzal (€6) government duty to enter when you get there (this happens a lot in Central America, always double check whether or not the entry fee is included).
It’s about an hour and a half to the volcano from Antigua, and when you get there you’ll be assigned a guide (they work for tips), who’ll walk you up the volcano or you can rent a horse for 100 Quetzal (€12) each way if you’re feeling tired.
Also there will be local kids selling sticks for 5 Quetzal (€0.60). Do yourself a favour and buy one. You’ll thank me on the way down, plus you’ll be helping the local community too.
It’s a beautiful 3 hour round hike with some stunning views as well as the opportunity to toast marshmallows over hot air vents in the ground!!
Aprender Español (learn Spanish):
As a quick Google will show you, if you want to immerse yourself in Spanish and learn the language the best way to do it is a home stay. This is very popular in Antigua, there are loads of schools and families offering food, lodging and lessons for as little as €170 per week. So get your Don Juan on. It’ll make the rest of the trip that much easier if you habla the lingo!
As always, if you need anymore info or detail, feel free to get in touch and we’ll get you sorted. Peace out.
Wanna watch a smattering of our journey? Well here you go: