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Antigua (Guatemala)

Travel Guide Central America Guatemala Antigua

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Introduction

GUATEMALA - Antigua - center

GUATEMALA - Antigua - center

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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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Sights and Activities

Volcanos

Volcanos surrounding Antigua

Volcanos surrounding Antigua

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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.

Religious Sights

View of Antigua from Cerro de la Cruz

View of Antigua from Cerro de la Cruz

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  • San Hermano Pedro Church
  • La Merced Church
  • Church and Convent of Capuchins
  • Cathedral of San José
  • Ruins of old San José
  • Church School of Christ
  • Church of San Francisco

Other Sights and Activities

  • Old Weapons Museum
  • The Santa Catalina Arch
  • Museum of Santo Domingo
  • Museum of the Old Book (El Libro Antiguo)
  • The Jade Museum

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Getting There

By Car

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.

By Bus

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.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

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.

By Foot

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.

By Bike

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.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Casa BellonaCalle Coyolar 11 Between Calle de los Pasos and the end of 2a AveniHostel-
Casa de los JolesSan Pedro el Alto19N 1A, San Pedro las Huertas.Guesthouse-
El Hostal1ra. Avenida Sur No. 8Hostel93
El MontañesCalle del Hermano Pedro No. 19-BHostel-
El Palacio de Dona BeatrizLas Gravileas Calle de los DuelosHotel86
Hotel Casa Rustica6th Ave Norte #8Hotel86
Jungle Party Hostal6a Avenida Norte #20, Entre 3a y 2a calle PonienteHostel81
Los Encuentros Hotel7a Av. NorthHOTEL83
Posada Don Quijote1ra. Calle Poniente Antigua GuatemalaHOSTEL51
Posada Don Valentino5th Calle Poniente #28Hotel78
The Black Cat Inn5ta calle poniente No. 11aHostel-
O.X. Base Camp1st Av. SurHOSTEL-
Hotel Casa Antigua3rd Calle Poniente #5Hotel84
Hotel Casa del Parque4th Ave Norte #5Hotel-
Hostel Qachoch3a. Calle Poniente Nº 33Hostel-
UmmaGumma Hostel7a. Avenida Norte No. 34Hostel-
Hotel Posada de Maria1 av. South Calle de los Pasos 42Hotel-
Black Cat Antigua6 Ave. Norte 1-AHostel-
Villa Esthela2a Avenida Sur - 48 Interior A-3Hostel79
Hostel el Caminante1 Av. Norte 9 BGuesthouse-
Posada Dona Luisa7a Ave Norte #4Hotel-
Hostal Antigua5a Ave Sur #22HOSTEL86
Mi Casa en La Antigua1 Avenida Sur, #4BHOSTEL-
Holistico Hostal7 avenue sur number 10HOSTEL88
Casa de los MicosCallejon del Burrito, Condominio las Rosas # 5GUESTHOUSE-
Hostel Casa Jacaranda1era calle poniente #37,HOSTEL86
The Terrace Hostel24-B 3rd Street West 3a Calle Poniente #24-BHOSTEL83
Placido Comfort Hotel3rd streetHotel-
Hotel Meson del Valle5th Ave Sur 11 CHOTEL-
Luxury Antigua Guatemala Hostel Retreat7a Calle Poniente AntiguaGuesthouse-
El CaminantePrimera Avenida Norte, 9BHOSTEL-
casamia7 avenida Sur #10 Sacatepequez GuatemalaGuesthouse-
Hostal el Pasar de los AñosQuinta Calle Oriente 10HOSTEL-
Posada San Vicente6th Ave Sur #6HOTEL-
Hotel Dionisio Inn7 Avenida Sur #12HOTEL-
Zoola Antigua7 Calle Poniente, 15HOSTEL-
Hostal Casa La AsunciónAvenida El Desengaño, 5GUESTHOUSE-
Place To Stay Antigua5a. Calle Poniente Callejón Landivar, 42HOSTEL-

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Keep Connected

Internet

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.

Phone

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.

Post

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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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 14.553405
  • Longitude: -90.735255

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This is version 14. Last edited at 7:59 on Jun 16, 14 by Utrecht. 9 articles link to this page.

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