Antigua in Guatemala, is all lively with beautiful and colorful buildings constructed in Spanish Baroque style and volcanoes in the vicinity - some of which are even active.
Antigua is truly a feast for the eyes, where nature is at its best.
History of Antigua
Antigua dates back all the way to the 1500's and was once an established capital of Guatemala, which is today, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After the devastating earthquake in 1773, the capital was relocated from Antigua to what today is known as Guatemala City.
Today there is still a chance to witness the many buildings that are preserved as ruins following the severe earthquake. Some of the most amazing sightseeing features can be explored on the island especially the cobblestone streets that complement the culture alongside the ruined constructs and rising volcanoes nearby.
Best Way to Explore Antigua
Antigua is set in a square-grid pattern surrounded by ring of volcanoes and the most iconic of these is the Volcano de Agua also known as the volcano of water. Exploring Antigua on foot is far more convenient and rather an adventure-filled experience. Being a small yet attractive city, you rarely need a map to guide your way around.
Best Panoramic Spot in Antigua
If you crave a panoramic view of Antigua and the surrounding volcanoes, climb the Cerro de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross). The cross is easily viewed from anywhere on the island so getting to it is convenient. You can either walk from the town center which takes more or less 20 minutes, or ride in a tri-wheel auto for an unforgettable experience.
Perhaps, the steepest path is to the cross which is only covered by foot but the climb is worth it. From here, you can even see Volcano de Fuego that’s also known as the Volcano of Fire billowing gas and steam all the way from the cross.
San Francisco Church
The ruins of a convent behind the San Francisco Church are worth exploring. This monastery experienced severe damage from the same earthquake that hit in 1773, however, it’s open for tourists.
Convent of Capuchinas
Some other places to trek are Convent of Santa Clara, El Carmen Church and the San Jose Church surrounded by markets open to public over the weekends. For a small entry fee, you can access the Convent of Capuchinas that has undergone restoration after the earthquake destruction.
The entryway stairs would allow you to oversee a sunny courtyard alongside the monk’s cells in the circle. The convent is surrounded by bougainvillea vines and grassy plains that make for a great picnic spot for the many tourists that come by.
Eating in Antigua
When tired of all the trekking and exploration, settle down for a wonderful meal in a relaxing spot and bask in the crimson sunlight at the La Casaca Café. When here, do try the papaya smoothie and view the bustling street life all the way down below.
While street food isn’t preferred for weak stomachs, there are many different dishes worth trying including fruits, chicken or tortilla for a true Antiguan culinary experience.