Possibly one of the most beautiful cities on earth, the cobbled streets and colorful buildings of Antigua are circled by towering volcanos and sprawling forests, making it an unmissable stop on your trip through Central America. Read on for a list of the 5 unmissable things to see and do in Antigua, Guatemala.
Haven’t booked your flight yet? Get cheap flights to Guatemala with Interjet.
1 – Enjoy the view from Cerro de la Cruz
Get a look at Antigua’s famously beautiful panoramic views from the top of Cerro de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross). The hill is located at the end of Avenida Norte and looks south with a breathtaking view of Volcán Agua volcano.
As suggested by its name, a large cross stands at the hill’s highest point, attracting catholic pilgrims during religious holidays. The hill is a brisk 20 minute walk and isn’t too steep, but take a bottle of water, a cap, and some sunscreen. Don’t climb the hill after 4pm, the police usually close the area off after that.
2 – Visit Santa Catalina Arch
Avenida Norte has become the city’s most popular street thanks to the stunning Santa Catalina Arch. Visiting the arch for some unique vacation photos and to take in the city’s busy atmosphere is one of the best things to do in Antigua, Guatemala.
The arch originally served as a small passageway for nuns to move between two convent buildings and has been restored a few times over the years after being damaged by the region’s earthquakes.
3 – Climb Pacaya Volcano
Guatemala is the land of volcanos, so leaving the country without climbing one is practically a crime! Just 31 miles from Antigua, Pacaya volcano is one of the area’s best options. Take a guided tour up Pacaya and you’ll have the chance to get close to the lava flow. So close that you’ll be able to toast a few marshmallows off the lava’s impressive heat! You’ll also get to admire the incredible view of the surrounding valley from the volcano’s various lookout points.
Although it’s possible to visit the Pacaya Volcano National Park without a guide, we recommend taking a tour to make the most of the day. The park is massive, and the inexpensive local guides know all the trails like the back of their hand.
4 – Try Guatemalan food at Casa de Doña Luisa Xicotencatl
With over 40 years of tradition under its belt, Casa de Doña Luisa Xicotencatl is known all over the world for being the gold standard for homemade Guatemalan food.
It’s one of the best spots in town for a filling breakfast and a cup of fresh local coffee, but something that Doña Luisa Xicotencatl really knows how to do is bread. All kind of bread, in fact. Corn bread, banana bread, cinnamon bread, and even carrot bread!
5 – Go shopping at the Artisanal Market
One of the most interesting things to do in Antigua, Guatemala is to go shopping at the city’s famous artisanal market. The market is located at Alameda Santa Lucia with Calle 4 Poniente.
Here you’ll find everything from leather bags, to traditional clothing, and artwork made using pre-Hispanic techniques. The best part? It’s all handmade by local artisans who source their materials locally.