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Antigua is an amazing Spanish colonial city known for its well preserved Spanish Mudejar influenced Baroque style buildings, ruins and colonial churches. Due to the wealth of cultural importance the town was designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Founded in 1543, Antigua was the third capital of Guatemala and held the title for over 200 years. After a series of devastating earthquakes in the 1770s the Spanish Crown ordered the relocation of the capital, with a population of over 60,000 people, to a safer area. Although many people left some still remained even though today the population of the town is still under 35,000. Antigua is a great place to spend a few days exploring and learning about the early colonial history and culture of Guatemala.
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Looming on the horizon of Antigua is the ominous shadows of three volcanos. The largest is the Volcán de Agua, which is 3,760 metres high and is only 5 kilometres from town at its the closest point. Luckily this volcano has been inactive since the 16th century. This volcano also has been a protected area since 1956 making it a nice wilderness area. To the west of the city are two other volcanic peaks collective known toegether as La Horqueta. The first mountain is Acatenango, which last erupted in 1972 and is 3,976 metres high. The Second is Volcán de Fuego, which is 3,763 metres high and is an active stratovolcano. This means that the volcano is constantly erupting at a low level with large eruption being extremely rare.
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Driving is not generally recommended in Guatemala. The road network is not very well developed and roads are likely to be in less than perfect shape.
You can find a mini bus to pretty much everywhere from Antigua. Whether you want to go to the airport, Guatemala City, Tikal, Lago Atitlan, Copan or to the Mexican border, there'll be one. If you feel adventurous you could also try the chicken busses, the cheapest way to travel around the country. You might need to change bus several times along the way, stop every 5 minutes, share the space with a few too many people and various different animals, but it's certainly an experience.
Tuk-tuks and taxis can take you to destinations within the city center for Q10 or less; negotiate the fare with the driver in advance. Otherwise, they will routinely charge 50-100% more than they should. Tuk-tuks usually do not go to Guatemala City, so one will need a shuttle or taxi instead. Flag down a cruising tuk-tuk, or pick up a taxi from the queue at Parque Central; or along a main route to the city's periphery.
Walking is the best way to explore Antigua. The charming cobblestone walkways may have your eyes focused on the ground more than you are accustomed to. Antigua is very compact and easy to walk around. Most tourist destinations are in an 8-by-8 block area less than 1 km across. You can walk across it in 15 minutes.
Pedal bikes are rarely seen, and public locking areas for them are even more scarce. Motorbikes and scooters are extremely prevalent and easier to maneuver in the busy streets than full-bodied cars are.
|Casa Bellona||Calle Coyolar 11 Between Calle de los Pasos and the end of 2a Aveni||Hostel||-|
|Casa de los Joles||San Pedro el Alto19N 1A, San Pedro las Huertas.||Guesthouse||-|
|El Hostal||1ra. Avenida Sur No. 8||Hostel||92|
|El Montañes||Calle del Hermano Pedro No. 19-B||Hostel||-|
|El Palacio de Dona Beatriz||Las Gravileas Calle de los Duelos||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Casa Rustica||6th Ave Norte #8||Hotel||84|
|Jungle Party Hostal||6a Avenida Norte #20, Entre 3a y 2a calle Poniente||Hostel||78|
|Los Encuentros Hotel||7a Av. North||HOTEL||83|
|Posada Don Quijote||1ra. Calle Poniente Antigua Guatemala||HOSTEL||51|
|Posada Don Valentino||5th Calle Poniente #28||Hotel||78|
|The Black Cat Inn||5ta calle poniente No. 11a||Hostel||-|
|O.X. Base Camp||1st Av. Sur||HOSTEL||-|
|Hotel Casa Antigua||3rd Calle Poniente #5||Hotel||82|
|Hotel Casa del Parque||4th Ave Norte #5||Hotel||-|
|Hostel Qachoch||3a. Calle Poniente Nº 33||Hostel||-|
|UmmaGumma Hostel||7a. Avenida Norte No. 34||Hostel||-|
|Hotel Posada de Maria||1 av. South Calle de los Pasos 42||Hotel||-|
|Black Cat Antigua||6 Ave. Norte 1-A||Hostel||-|
|Villa Esthela||2a Avenida Sur - 48 Interior A-3||Hostel||83|
|Hostel el Caminante||1 Av. Norte 9 B||Guesthouse||-|
|Posada Dona Luisa||7a Ave Norte #4||Hotel||-|
|Hostal Antigua||5a Ave Sur #22||HOSTEL||85|
|Mi Casa en La Antigua||1 Avenida Sur, #4B||HOSTEL||-|
|Holistico Hostal||7 avenue sur number 10||HOSTEL||86|
|Casa de los Micos||Callejon del Burrito, Condominio las Rosas # 5||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Hostel Casa Jacaranda||1era calle poniente #37,||HOSTEL||82|
|The Terrace Hostel||24-B 3rd Street West 3a Calle Poniente #24-B||HOSTEL||82|
|Placido Comfort Hotel||3rd street||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Meson del Valle||5th Ave Sur 11 C||HOTEL||-|
|Luxury Antigua Guatemala Hostel Retreat||7a Calle Poniente Antigua||Guesthouse||-|
|El Caminante||Primera Avenida Norte, 9B||HOSTEL||-|
|casamia||7 avenida Sur #10 Sacatepequez Guatemala||Guesthouse||-|
|Hostal el Pasar de los Años||Quinta Calle Oriente 10||HOSTEL||-|
|Posada San Vicente||6th Ave Sur #6||HOTEL||-|
|Hotel Dionisio Inn||7 Avenida Sur #12||HOTEL||-|
|Zoola Antigua||7 Calle Poniente, 15||HOSTEL||-|
|Hostal Casa La Asunción||Avenida El Desengaño, 5||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Place To Stay Antigua||5a. Calle Poniente Callejón Landivar, 42||HOSTEL||-|
Internet access is widely available. Even most of the more remote areas have some type of internet access available. Many larger areas also have WiFi. All of the Camperos chicken/pizza restaurants (which are numerous) offer free WiFi, as well as many other restaurants and cafes. Some hotels may also offer computer banks with internet access. Just ask and you eventually will find some sort of free access.
If you have a smartphone such as iPhone, Google Android, you just need a local SIM card (roughly Q25) and can start enjoying the prepaid access plans, which generally come in lots of an hour, a day, or a week.
See also International Telephone Calls
Guatemala's emergency phone numbers include 110 (police), 120 (ambulance) and 123 (fire). Guatemala's international calling code is 502. There are no area codes. Phone numbers all have eight digits.
The phone system isn't great, but it works. Tourists can call abroad from call centers, where you pay by the minute. It is also easy to purchase a calling card to use at public pay phones. The phones there do not accept money, so to use a public phone on the street you must purchase a telephone card. Typically, the cost is around 8 quetzals for a 10-min call to North America, and slightly more to Europe. Cell phones are quite cheap and calling overseas through one can get as low as $0.08 a min. If you are planning to stay for a while and plan to use the phone, you should consider buying a cheap prepaid phone. Wireless nation-wide internet access for laptops is also available as a service from some companies. Telefónica has good coverage with their PCMCIA EV-DO cards.
El Correo is the national postal company in Guatemala. It offers a wide range of services, including sending cards and packages both domestically as well as internationally. Most Guatemalan towns have a post office, although your best bet is to send mail from a large city. Service at El Correo is improving, thanks to consultation and assistance from Canada Post. Most post offices open from 8:30am to 5:30pm. Airmail letters to North America and Europe cost from Q6.50 and take a week or two to arrive. High-end hotels can usually send your mail for you, too. Expect packages you send through the Guatemalan mail system to take a very long time to arrive. They usually get there in the end, but it's worth paying extra for recorded delivery (correo registrado). Many stores can ship your purchases for you, for a cost. Valuable items are best sent with private express services. Couriers operating in Guatemala include DHL, UPS, and FedEx. Delivery within two to three business days for a 1-kg package starts at about Q500.
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I maintain a residence en Antigua, Guatemala.
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