- The BEST Things to do in Antigua, Guatemala
- 1. Acatenango Volcano hike
- 2. Walk the colonial streets
- 3. Hike Pacaya Volcano
- 4. Walk up Cerro de La Cruz
- 5. Visit Hobbitenango
- 6. Take a photo at Calle del Arco of the Santa Catalina Arch
- 7. Drink cocktails at Ulew Cocktail Bar
- 8. Join a walking tour of the city
- 9. Visit the Central Market
- 10. Go on a food tour
- 11. Have breakfast at Caoba Farms
- 12. Go ATVing in the mountains
- 13. Convento Santa Clara
- 14. Enjoy a rooftop bar/restaurant
- 15. Parque Central (Plaza Mayor)
- 16. Cooking class
- 17. Corazon de Agua Trail
- 18. Learn some Spanish
- 19. Do yoga
- 20. Learn how to make chocolate at the ChocoMuseo
- 21. Head to Lake Atitlan
- 22. Go horseback riding
- 23. La Nueva Fábrica
- 24. Eat Pepián
- 25. Drink local craft beer
- 26. Coffee tour
- 27. Hotel Casa Domingo
- 28. Ruins of Cathedral de Santiago
- 29. Jade carving
- 30. Enjoy lunch with a view at La Tasca Antigua
- 31. Multi-day tour to Semuc Champey
- 32. Tour the nearby villages
- 33. Visit Tikal by air
- Where to Stay in Antigua, Guatemala
- Thanks for reading!
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Antigua, Guatemala… what an incredible city! Small, easy to walk around, filled with history, great food, and friendly people. It’s surrounded by active and dormant volcanos, amazing trails, and dozens of lookout points where you’ll get to witness surreal sunrises and sunsets.
Thousands of students, nomads, tourists, and backpackers from all over the world visit Antigua every year, and it’s becoming more and more popular. It’s one of the safest cities in Central America and quite friendly to foreigners. The mountains, the cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and coffee shops will charm you right from the start.
I loved Antigua so much I’ve visited more than once. I’ve discovered that Guatemala is one of the best places to visit in Central America. In fact, I still feel like returning again!
Whether you’re planning a 10-day Guatemala trip starting in Antigua or this city is your final destination, there is so much to explore.
To help you plan your upcoming trip, here are my 33 favorite things to do in Antigua, Guatemala. From the obvious to the off-the-beaten-path, this list has it all!
Table Of Contents
The BEST Things to do in Antigua, Guatemala
1. Acatenango Volcano hike
How cool is this!?
This had to be the first thing on this list because it is truly an incredible experience. Hiking up Acatenango Volcano is at the top of our list and there’s a good reason for that. It was an epic adventure we’ll always remember, and I’m sure it will be one of the first experiences you tell your friends and family about!
Just to get the confusion out of the way, Acatenango is a dormant volcano, in fact, it hasn’t erupted since 1972. However, the real attraction will be Fuego Volcano, which is active, and you can spot the eruptions at a distance every 15 to 30 minutes. At the top of Acatenango (3,976 meters/13,044 feet), you will find the best views of Fuego Volcano (3,763 meters/12,350 feet). This is not an easy trail, but it’s not as hard as they say.
We decided to split up the hike over two days, which is the most popular option. It’s an 18-kilometer (11-mile) hike that isn’t easy to do in a day. Plus, spending a night on the volcano was seriously the coolest. Watching Fuego erupt at night is so much better than during the day. When the sun is out, you’ll only see smoke from Fuego, but at night, you can see the lava!
Plan your own volcano hiking adventure with this Acatenango Overnight tour. It’s only $89 USD, and it includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner during the 2-day hike. Warm clothing, backpacks, and sleeping bags are also included.
The tour involves that incredible experience of camping up the side of Acatenango Volcano (how many people can say they camped on a volcano?!) with an epic view of Fuego erupting. That night you’ll sleep before an early wake-up call to finally summit Acatenango for an even better view. Then it’s all the way back to the van. It’s a tiring 48 hours, but so worth it!
The whole experience will take your breath away (in more than one way!). If you are visiting the city of Antigua, you simply can’t miss one of the best views in Central America and the world.
Related read: Keep volcano hunting in Central Amercia with a hike up to Santa Ana Volcano in El Salvador!
2. Walk the colonial streets
How cute are these streets!?
The city of Antigua is a World Heritage Site with a rich history dating back to the 1500s. You can actually see some samples of renaissance architecture and baroque architecture amazingly well preserved throughout the city.
Walking down the city’s colonial streets will give you a full sense of the historical and cultural heritage. The buildings constructed during the 17th Century are still standing and used today. This is an excellent way to get to know the city and be more in touch with its history.
If you love photography, make sure to have your camera handy. Capturing this will surely be one of your favorite things to do in Antigua!
3. Hike Pacaya Volcano
This place feels like another planet!
We really love to hike and see amazing views from every place we visit. If you enjoy hikes too, Antigua is the right place to come. There are some pretty great trails to the volcanos surrounding the city, and the one most people take is the hike to Pacaya Volcano.
The tour we did was a 6-hour adventure that only cost us $35 USD. It includes transportation to and from your hotel as well as an expert guide who speaks English and knows so much about the volcano.
Keep in mind that you’ll be walking for several hours over warm soil, so be sure to bring the right footwear. Otherwise, you won’t be able to enjoy this adventure. Once you are at the top, there’s actually a spot to roast marshmallows with volcanic heat, which was a wild and fun experience.
There are mixed reviews online about the level of difficulty of this hike, but I have to say it was pretty average. Not very challenging, but not too easy either. At some point, you can actually go by horse if you pay a little extra (less than $20 USD) and that by itself could be a great experience too. However, we opted to save our money and use our own willpower!
4. Walk up Cerro de La Cruz
Without a doubt the best viewpoint in Antigua!
This is a fantastic lookout point where you will get some of the best views of Antigua and the Agua Volcano. It’s located about a 25-minute walk from the center of the city and the hike up is pretty easy, although be prepared for a lot of stairs!
If that sounds like too much, you can also take an Uber or a tuk-tuk to the top if you are in a hurry. Cerro de La Cruz is perfect for snapping wonderful pictures, and once you are up there, you won’t want to leave. The trick is to visit on a clear day – those volcanoes are often covered in clouds!
There’s no need to hire a tour to visit this part of the city. It’s quite easy to get to the top, and it’s very near the center of the city. During the day, the hike is also safe. However, I can’t say the same in the latter part of the day or after dark.
5. Visit Hobbitenango
Lord of the Rings lovers will love Hobbitenango. Photo credit: Hobbitenango
Only 20 minutes from Antigua, there’s a curious little place up in the mountains where you can relax, breath some fresh air and have a nice meal with an incredible view. Hobittenango got its name for the resemblance of the landscape with The Shire from Lord of the Rings (it’s actually quite similar). They even built little houses with round doors, just like in the movies, where you can spend the night for around $150 USD per night.
There are different trails where you can go for a walk, for hours if you like. The people there will recommend different lookout points where you can sit and watch the volcanos in the distance. I took some of my favorite pictures of Antigua in this charming place. If you are traveling with kids, they will absolutely love it!
Entrance to Hobittenango costs Q50 (around $8 USD) for adults and Q30 ($5 USD) for children. For that, you get unlimited access to activities like archery, ax throwing, mini-golf, and more. There is also a giant swing, and a beer or other drink is included.
Personally, I suggest heading up for either breakfast or lunch, which is an additional fee, but includes a fantastic all-you-can-eat spread of food!
6. Take a photo at Calle del Arco of the Santa Catalina Arch
The arch is famous among Instagrammers!
The Santa Catalina Arch is one of the oldest structures in Guatemala (constructed in 1694), and it’s the most iconic landmark of the city. Located near the center of Antigua, behind this arch, you’ll be able to see the famous Agua Volcano.
Even during the low season, the Santa Catalina Arch gets packed with tourists, that’s why we recommend you go early in the morning (the light is beautiful!), and there are great places for breakfast nearby. You can choose to just photograph the arch or get a photo standing under this famous spot!
If you don’t have a camera or suitable phone, there are often local photographers there who will take your photo for a fee. It’s definitely worth paying a short visit and taking some pictures of this historic place.
7. Drink cocktails at Ulew Cocktail Bar
Photo credit: Ulew Cocktail Bar
Photo credit: Ulew Cocktail Bar
While walking near the Santa Catalina Arch, we found Ulew Cocktail Bar and ended up going back several times during our stay in Antigua. The cocktails were out of this world, especially the ones with fresh fruit!
We loved the atmosphere, and everyone was super nice, but what we liked the most was the attention to detail with every drink. They use only freshly-cut fruits, and even the ice is sculpted right in front of you to fit the glasses and cups perfectly.
There’s no menu here, so we simply let the mixologist know what type of cocktails we usually order, and he took care of the rest. You can even tell them your favorite fruit and liquor and they will improvise a world-class drink right in front of you. If you know exactly what drinks you like, I assure you you won’t be disappointed.
The bar is somewhat hidden, so you need to enter through a red phone booth in the Antigua Brewing building. However, their location is on Google Maps, so don’t stress about finding it too much! For cocktail lovers (like myself!), this is definitely one of the best things to do in Antigua!
8. Join a walking tour of the city
You can find some pretty spectacular places with a local guide and learn a ton!
Antigua is a small city, and it’s quite easy to walk, not to mention the many hiking trails through the mountains and volcanos surrounding the city. However, if you enjoy learning about the history of the place you are visiting and literally leaving your footprints on it, I recommend joining a walking tour.
A local guide will take you on a 2-hour walk around the city, visiting the main landmarks and telling you all about the history of Antigua. You will learn about all the volcanos, the earthquakes throughout its history all the major events since the birth of the city back in the 16th Century.
It’s only $22.80 USD and it’s the best way to know your way around Antigua. Our guide gave us a list of the best restaurants and bars in town, and also recommended the Acatenango Overnight hike (see activity #1), which we were hesitant to take, but it ended up being one of the best experiences of our lives.
9. Visit the Central Market
These clay pots are everywhere in Guatemala and make great souvenirs!
For a more local and less touristy experience, you can go visit the Central Market in Antigua, Guatemala. It’s located north of 4a Calle Poniente, not far from the city center.
You will find excellent traditional food, a great variety of crafts, clothing, and a bunch of other stuff. Personally, I’m a big fan of shopping, especially in popular markets like these where I can meet locals and really get a feel for the place.
If you feel hungry, you can either get a bite in the same central market or you can just cross the street and go to Cevicheria Brisas del Mar. We had one of the best and most affordable meals here. Their ceviche is very tasty, plus the ingredients were all very fresh!
We also got some supplies for our Acatenango tour from the market including a poncho, which was a lifesaver while it rained!
10. Go on a food tour
I love food tours so much. Not only do you tour the city, but you eat everything along the way! Photo credit: Antigua Foodie Tours
For us, food is the heart of any city, so we couldn’t leave Antigua, Guatemala without taking a food tour. Knowing their flavors, textures, and influences helped us better understand the place and its people. And to be completely honest, their gastronomy was a surprise to us (a good one)!
Their Mayan and Spanish influences make Guatemalan food very rich. But knowing what to order (especially in a different language) can be a bit challenging. They do have a wide variety of unknown ingredients, especially for us non-Latinos. That’s why we decided to take this Antigua Foodie Tour.
While it’s not particularly cheap (it costs around $115 USD per person), it is absolutely worth it! This is almost like a private food tour as they only accept small groups, and you get to eat in different restaurants. This allows you to try several seasonings, textures, and interpretations of local food.
The tour lasts about 3 hours. It includes water, but no sodas or alcoholic beverages. You will also get a super tasty dessert by the end! They do not include transportation to nor from your hotel, but the tour starts and ends at the same location: Central Park on 5th Avenue.
11. Have breakfast at Caoba Farms
This was one of the best breakfasts I have ever had! Photo credit: Caoba Farms
Caoba Farms is located only 10 minutes away from Antigua, but it feels like you are deep within the mountains. Everything on the menu is made with ingredients from the farm, all organic and fresh. They take very seriously that old saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” because the portions were huge!
The smoothies were some of the best we’ve ever had, and on their extensive menu, they have a wide selection of healthy dishes for every taste. After the meal, we went for a walk across the farm and even got to feed some of the animals they keep near the restaurant.
Everyone was really nice, and I loved how proud they seemed about their mission to educate people on sustainable farming. If you are staying only a few days in Antigua, you should find the time to visit this beautiful farm.
12. Go ATVing in the mountains
An ATV is a great way to explore the rugged landscape. Photo credit: Simoon Panajachel
ATVing is one of our favorite things to do when we travel, and if we find a tour, we never hesitate to take it. The Antigua ATV Sunset Tour is $59 USD per person and will take you into the mountains stopping by some great lookout points and ending up in Hobbitenango to catch the sunset.
The road isn’t hard at all and even if you’ve never driven an ATV, you’ll be able to finish the tour without any trouble. We had 2 guides, and both were very professional and friendly. They shared a lot of information about the volcanos and the history of the city, something we always enjoy when we are traveling.
I loved the views of the city from above with that magnificent volcano always in the background! We took the best pictures of the entire trip on this tour.
13. Convento Santa Clara
Founded around the year 1700, the Convento Santa Clara is one of those historical spots in Antigua you will fully enjoy visiting. Its history is very interesting as it was damaged not only by one but by two earthquakes. It was abandoned by the nuns after the damaging 1773 earthquake and has faced other quakes since.
However, the architectural ruins remain today, and some of the structures have been stabilized and are being refurbished. You can walk through the ruins here with the spectacular church interior being one of the highlights. There’s also a beautiful garden surrounding the site.
It’s an awesome spot to take pictures because every corner of this place is gorgeous. The historical and cultural weight makes it a great place if you’re a first-timer in Antigua, Guatemala (even if you’re not a religious person).
Convento Santa Clara is located centrally in Antiqua and is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. The entrance fee here is really reasonable at Q40 ($5 USD).
14. Enjoy a rooftop bar/restaurant
The view from Cafe Sky is one of the best! Photo credit: Cafe Sky
Among our top things to do in Antigua is enjoying a rooftop bar or restaurant. The view of the city and volcano while sipping a drink and getting some food is mesmerizing and makes you pause to take it all in. And for the perfect evening, plan to go at around 5:00-5:30 pm, so you get to watch the sunset.
There are many rooftop bars and restaurants in Antigua. But I can recommend a couple that I truly enjoyed. Cafe Sky is definitely a must if you’re into rooftop bars. While “cafe” is in the name, they don’t actually sell coffee, but a bunch of drinks and delicious food including 2-for-1 breakfasts with freshly-squeezed orange juice. You can see the volcanos from here and even Fuego erupting once the sun sets!
El Mirador Rooftop Patio is a rooftop restaurant with 360° views! Take in the beauty of the city and landscape as you chow down on one of their burgers or enjoy a cold beer or lemonade. This is a very budget-friendly restaurant with a dinner for two costing less than $20 USD.
Other amazing rooftop bars/restaurants in Antigua you can go to are Lava Terrace and Los Tres Tiempos Antigua. They all have great drinks, tasty food, and an amazing ambiance.
15. Parque Central (Plaza Mayor)
Come and enjoy the peaceful central plaza!
Visiting Parque Central is one of those free activities to do in Antigua, Guatemala that is simple and enjoyable as you discover the city. This is the center of Antigua, and you can walk around important buildings like the Palacio del Noble Ayuntamiento and the Santiago Cathedral. This is a very ancient square, designed in 1541, so you will enjoy lots of historical architecture.
You can sit and watch the crowds go by or even grab something to snack on from a street vendor like hand-made ice cream on a hot day. If you want a full meal, there’s a wide variety of restaurants, coffee shops, and fast food all around – you’ll find local food or places you’ll recognize like Starbucks.
16. Cooking class
Impress your friends back home with some serious cooking skills. Photo credit: Cuscun
You don’t hear much about Guatemalan food, but I assure you it’s delicious. You will notice right away the Mayan heritage (like in some Mexican food) and their ways of seasoning different meats will remind you of Spanish food.
Guatemalans are super proud of their cuisine, and they love to share little tricks and secrets with everyone who asks (of course…we always ask!). We’re always eager to learn new recipes to bring home with us and see how the pros make the delicious traditional dishes, so that’s why we decide to take this Authentic Guatemalan Cooking Class.
Our teacher was exceptionally sweet and knowledgeable. In 3-4 hours of cooking and dining, we learned more about Guatemala than in the rest of our trip. Then we got to enjoy our cooking efforts with a meal on a rooftop terrace while watching the sunset. Drinks were included as well and for USD$89 (per person), this ended up being one of the most memorable moments of our stay in Antigua.
17. Corazon de Agua Trail
If you are in Antigua and you mention to a local that you are into hiking, they are going to recommend the Corazon de Agua Trail. It takes less than 2 hours to finish and is far less demanding than the volcano hikes. At the top, there’s a picnic area where people usually camp and it’s the perfect place to get a snack with one of the best views in Antigua.
Even if it’s a hot day, remember to take a sweater with you and lots of water. The trail is very well marked, so there’s no chance of getting lost. Everything is really well maintained and the atmosphere is quite relaxing and peaceful.
18. Learn some Spanish
Just studying away!
Guatemala is a fantastic country to learn Spanish. If you’re planning a trip to Central America, it really helps to know a bit of the language. I have enough Spanish to help with basic communication, reading signs and menus, and believe me, it has really come in handy. If you can, try to learn some Spanish before your trip and then head to a Spanish school once you arrive to fine-tune the language with a local.
The Antigueña Spanish Academy is one of the best in Central America. They offer a variety of packages and you can even book your stay directly with them. They offer private apartments (with shared bathrooms) and private rooms with Guatemalan families from the area.
Classes range from $100-200 USD and all grammar lessons are one-on-one and personalized for your Spanish level. There are international students from all over the world staying in Antigua to learn Spanish and for a good reason. This is a friendly and welcoming city, but it’s especially popular because it’s a budget-friendly place to base yourself for a while as you learn.
Related read: San Pedro is a great place to stay in the Lake Atitlan area of Guatemala if you want to learn Spanish. There are tons of good Spanish schools and a fun backpacker nightlife culture!
19. Do yoga
If you’re looking for active things to do in Antigua then take a yoga class. Get your body moving while also relaxing and consciously enjoying the present moment.
At Shakti Shala, you can take a drop-in class for $15 USD or buy a 5-class pass for $55 USD. They have other class passes if you’re staying here longer and want to attend regularly. They offer Mysore, Ashtanga, Rocket, Vinyasa, and Candlelight Flow for a slower class. You can choose among different times and classes every day – just check their online schedule before you go.
At YogAntigua you can join a class for around $11 USD. They too offer different practices: yoga for beginners, lunar yoga (for women), restorative yoga, and hatha yoga. They have all their monthly schedules posted on their Facebook page, so you can check before you go. What I liked the most about this place was the beautiful, modern feel even though it is surrounded by very antique architecture.
20. Learn how to make chocolate at the ChocoMuseo
Chocolate is such a big deal in Guatemala, you wouldn’t want to miss the chance to learn how to make it. The Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Workshop is only USD$25.65 and you’ll get to see the entire process and participate. In the end, you’ll get to take home a chocolate bar made entirely by you. The chocolate drinks are included and they are amazing!
The ChocoMuseum is also a little marketplace where you can buy all kinds of crafts and chocolate with pretty exotic ingredients like chile. Located near Parque Central, this is a nice place to spend a couple of hours one afternoon with your friends and family, especially if you are a chocolate lover!
The ChocoMuseo is open daily from 10 am to 7 pm.
21. Head to Lake Atitlan
How beautiful is Lake Atitlan!?
If you’re looking for a captivating, alluring, and breathtaking place to visit while in Antigua, Guatemala, then Lake Atitlan is where you should be heading. This is a body of water inside a volcano crater and it’s surrounded by green mountains.
Located in the southwest of Guatemala, this is one of the most beautiful places, about 2.5 hours from Antigua. Just looking at one picture will be enough for you to add this to your itinerary and plan all the things you want to do in Lake Atitlan!
You can either use a shuttle or bus to get there on your own or you can take a day tour. If you have a couple of days extra, you can also plan to stay a few nights. If you take this Lake Atitlan Day Tour from Antigua, you will get a guide who will take you from your hotel to Lake Atitlan and stop at different points where you’ll enjoy the beautiful view.
Once you get there, you’ll be taken on a boat tour by the lake. At the end of the day, you will be taken back to your hotel. Food is not included in the $125 USD price tag, but there are some restaurants on the way to Lake Atitlan where you’ll stop to eat. Take water, some snacks (just in case you get hungry), and of course a camera, you’ll want to take millions of pictures!
22. Go horseback riding
For a half-day activityy in Antigua, Guatemala, you can choose to go horseback riding with this private tour at a Guatemalan ranch. The price of this 6-hour horseback riding tour starts at $200 USD per person and while it might sound a bit expensive, I highly recommend it!
You’ll visit a private ranch where they have 22 horses (and babies!) that run free on 20 acres surrounded by trees, flowers, and volcanoes. You’ll get to visit the ranch house, horseback ride through the trails, walk around organic gardens, and last but definitely not least, enjoy a BBQ with wine at the end of your visit.
The ranch and gardens are gorgeous, the horseback riding is so much fun and educational, and the food was incredibly good. This was a 5/5 experience, which I would repeat in a heartbeat!
23. La Nueva Fábrica
Support this great cause! Photo credit: La Nueva Fábrica
For less than $7 USD per person, you can spend a day surrounded by art and history at La Nueva Fabrica in Antigua, Guatemala. La Nueva Fabrica is a place that supports art and education, so not only will you enjoy different exhibits, but you will also end up understanding a lot of Guatemalan political and social issues.
They have different exhibitions, some that are permanent and others that are temporary. They are constantly updating their exhibitions and allowing room for new artists to display their work. La Nueva Fabrica is one of those unique places you have to visit if you’re an art lover. It’s open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm and until 6 pm on Saturdays.
24. Eat Pepián
You cannot leave a place without trying their most famous dish, filled with history and culture. For Guatemala, this dish is Pepián – one of the best comfort foods I’ve had in my life. Pepián is this flavorful stew that they cook for a very long time and it has chicken, which is sometimes served with white rice or tortillas.
To get excellent Pepián, you can go to Ricon Tipico or to Los Tres Tiempos. We tried Pepián at both of them and I can’t decide which one I liked the most. No two versions are quite the same as the dish is seasoned differently and cooked in their own way with their own family recipe. If you have the time and loved the dish just as much as we did, get both!
25. Drink local craft beer
Photo credit: Antigua Brewing Company
Photo credit: Antigua Brewing Company
If you’re thinking about activities to do in Antigua, Guatemala, then don’t miss out on local craft beer. Antigua is a safe city to go out in at night, and visiting local breweries is a great plan!
There are a few local breweries you can visit in Antigua, such as Antigua Cerveza. Get a taste for what you like on one of their brewery tours for Q140 ($18 USD) where you’ll taste four different types of beer and learn the art of pouring.
The Antigua Brewing Company was the first brewery in Antigua when it opened in 2015, although it had been a home-brewing business before then. After buying the restaurant next to the brewery, they transformed it into a brewpub where you can enjoy food and drinks. The artisanal beers are brewed in their three-barrel brew system using only four ingredients – water, malts, yeast, and hops.
26. Coffee tour
Coffee plantation near Antigua Guatemala
Guatemalan coffee is world-renowned, and a coffee tour is a great way to learn more about their agriculture and coffee beans. Plus, you’ll get your caffeine fix with a chance to taste the excellent finished product. As a coffee lover myself, this was a really cool activity as I got to try one of the best cups of coffee I have ever had.
This Coffee & Macadamia Fincas Tour costs $60 USD per person and you get to visit a sustainable coffee plantation, taste their coffee, and learn more about their Indigenous people. The tour includes a hotel pick-up and a personal guide, who was very knowledgeable and kind. We really learned a lot on this tour and we had amazing coffee made from fresh beans.
27. Hotel Casa Domingo
Photo credit: Hotel Casa Santo Domingo
Photo credit: Hotel Casa Santo Domingo
Do you like hotels? Do you like spas? Do you like museums? What about all three of them together in one single building? Well, Hotel Casa Domingo in Antigua, Guatemala, has it all!
Visiting another hotel while already staying at a hotel in the city might sound a bit weird, but when it comes to Hotel Casa Domingo, it’s worth doing. Visiting Hotel Casa Domingo means the chance to explore a building from the 17th Century as it’s located in what used to be the Convent of Santo Domingo. The convent used to be the largest in Antigua before it was mostly destroyed in the earthquake of 1773.
In 1989, work got underway to preserve and restore this area and Hotel Casa Domingo was born. Now there are 6 museums and 2 art galleries here to explore along with a luxury hotel. It’s a beautiful property that’s full of history.
If you’re more interested in the spa side of things, then you can buy a day pass for massages and access to the pool, jacuzzi, and sauna. Massage prices start at $97 USD and are a good way to ease tired muscles after all the walking and hiking you’ll be doing on your trip.
For an extra special experience, book a room at Hotel Casa Domingo!
28. Ruins of Cathedral de Santiago
Cathedral de Santiago in Antigua, Guatemala
Next to Parque Central, you’ll find the amazing ruins of Catedral de Santiago. So if you’re planning a day around Parque Central, include this on your schedule to save some time (it’s really on the other side of the road to the main square).
The ruins of Catedral de Santiago are filled with Guatemalan history and culture. You will find a huge cathedral, crypts, and chapels to explore for a fee of less than $3 USD per person.
If you’re looking for a relaxing, religious, or immersive experience, then you can’t miss the Catedral de Santiago. It is a very peaceful and quiet place to go if you’re looking to escape from the crowds and do some reflection, regardless of your religion.
29. Jade carving
Artistic activities are also offered in Antigua, and some of these were so much fun! Sometimes I just get this creative impulse and I feel I have to do something about it. For us, this something was jade carving in Antigua.
Of course, we didn’t just buy a piece of jade and watch a YouTube tutorial. We really wanted to get into the craft and so we took this Carve Your Own Jade in Antigua tour. For $59 USD per person, we got to learn a lot about jade and we were provided with all the instruments and materials. Once we were finished, we took our creation back home. Honestly, the best and most personal souvenir ever!
30. Enjoy lunch with a view at La Tasca Antigua
Photo credit: La Tasca Antigua
Photo credit: La Tasca Antigua
Amazing view, cold craft beer, tasty exotic seafood, and a nice ambiance, what else can you ask for? Well, La Tasca Antigua is one of those special places where you won’t have a thing to complain about. Not only was the food DELICIOUS (yes, THAT delicious), but they also provide 5-star service.
All the dishes we tried were perfectly done, plus they were completely unique. I have never had anything like what we ate in there.
We were extra hungry that day, so we ordered 3 main dishes because we also wanted to try different courses. It all looked so good that we had a hard time deciding, but I’m going to make it easy for you! If you decide eat at La Tasca Antigua, then order the same as us: Torre de Mariscos, Tacos de Asada, and Mejillones al Ajillo. And to drink, of course, some beer or a Michelada.
All main courses cost around $10 USD each and the drinks were about $3-4 USD We ended up spending less than $40 USD for the two of us, and it was more than enough food.
31. Multi-day tour to Semuc Champey
There was a time when people only visited Antigua for a couple of days or maybe a week, and that was enough to visit the main attractions of the city. However, don’t limit yourself to staying within city limits!
One of the places you can’t miss out on while you’re in Guatemala is visiting Semuc Champey. It’s one of the most breathtaking places I have ever seen – picture stunning natural pools surrounded by lush greenery.
The 3-Day Tour of Cobán and Semuc Champey was a wild experience and one of my favorites in Central America. It’s $410 USD, all-inclusive, and it will take you through the forest to limestone pools where you can swim and connect with nature in such a unique way. You’ll stop by 2 famous caves in the area and expert guides will accompany you the entire way.
It’s 8-10 hours away from Antigua, but you could still visit the Semuc Champey pools in Lanquin by yourself. Private transportation would be the easiest way to get there and because of poor road conditions and an increasing number of local bus robberies (chicken buses), I recommend taking a shuttle.
If you are planning a trip to Semuc Champey, you are probably staying the night because of the distance from Antigua. You could arrange your transportation from Antigua directly to the hotel you plan to stay at in Lanquin.
Hot Tip: Book your hotel in Lanquin in advance so your shuttle can drop you directly there!
32. Tour the nearby villages
Antigua is surrounded by beautiful towns and villages filled with culture and history. Each small place has so many special and unique things about it, it’s a great way to see more of Guatemala without having to travel too far.
One of the best ways to see the nearby villages and not have to worry about transportation is by joining this Village Tour around Antigua. It’s a fantastic way to get to know these less-visited places and meet the local people.
For $35 USD per person, you get a 3-to-4-hour tour around villages located near Antigua. The knowledgeable guide included in this tour taught us a lot about Antiguan culture and history as we visited 3 different towns. What I liked the most was getting to know the people in each of them. Everyone was incredibly kind and charming.
33. Visit Tikal by air
The main plaza at Tikal in Guatemala
A trip to Central America isn’t complete without a visit to some ancient ruins of some kind. Tikal was a Mayan citadel deep within the jungle and is famous for the 5 huge temples here. One of these is believed to be the tallest temple ever built by the Mayan people.
This site is super impressive … and we’ve seen A LOT of ruins while traveling. In fact, the only other major site I enjoyed more than Tikal is the famous Machu Picchu in Peru! I loved that you could climb the largest temple here and that it wasn’t busy or touristy.
Because these ruins are across the country from Antigua, the easiest way to see them is to book a tour like this Tikal Day Trip by Air. For $441 USD it includes roundtrip flight tickets, a guided tour through the city, lunch, and entrance fees. There are thousands of ruins throughout Tikal National Park, and you’ll get to visit the three main temples with an expert guide with tons of knowledge about the place.
After lunch, you’ll get some free time to explore on your own and be amazed by the pre-Columbian architecture, the exotic fauna, and the magical atmosphere of the ruins. Tikal National Park is one of Guatemala’s most important attractions and if you have the opportunity to go there, you shouldn’t miss it.
Related read: Visiting Tikal is considered one of the most amazing things to do in Flores, Guatemala – the town nearest to this ruin site.
Where to Stay in Antigua, Guatemala
Photo credit: Hotel Museo Spa Casa Santo Domingo
Now that you know all the amazing experiences Antigua has to offer, you’re going to want to stay in the city for at least a few days. The good news is that there are plenty of accommodations to choose from.
Whether this is a stop on a larger tour around Central America for you and you want to save money at a more budget-friendly hotel or if comfort and style are top of the list, there are some nice hotels in the mid to higher price range too.
These are a few of our favorite places to stay in Antigua:
Only a 3-minute walk from the famous Santa Catalina Arch, it’s centrally located for easy access to explore the city. There are also bike rentals available here along with a swimming pool and a nice garden to relax in. If you don’t mind sharing a dorm-style room, you can pay as little as $11 USD per night. If sharing isn’t for you, there are private rooms more in the $60 USD per night range. Get your room on Booking.com or HostelWorld.com.
Feel like you’re staying in an art gallery at this stunning boutique hotel. Great location that’s within walking distance to lots of local restaurants and many of the sights like Parque Central and Convento Santa Clara. The rooms are big and SO colorful with art and decor. The staff members are really attentive and helpful too. Rooms here are around $50 USD per night.
This isn’t only a destination that’s one of the best places to see in Antigua, it’s also one of the best places to stay! It’s a luxurious 5-star experience with a stellar pool, beautiful garden area, spa, and museums all onsite. This former convent feels like you’re staying in a piece of history. The rooms range from $125-300 USD and include rooms with fireplaces, scenic views, and options for cozy suites.
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As you plan your getaway to Central America, don’t forget a stop in Antigua, Guatemala. This city has a wonderful historic feel to it that you’ll pick up on the moment you set foot on its streets. Once you’re here, the food, the people, and the incredible experiences (like camping on a volcano!) will leave you with memories to last a lifetime … and maybe you’ll return with your own jade carving like we did 🙂
If you have any questions or want to share your own experiences in Antigua, drop a comment below. And wherever your exploring may take you, be sure to check out our travel guides for helpful info and ideas, and read some of our other blogs like: