Last week post showcasing the beauty of La Antigua Guatemala was a hit. This week I decided to post more photos of this charming city. Additionally, I am going to include ideas on things to do once you arrive. You can find my last week’s post in here.
La Antigua Guatemala is not that big. In one day, you can see most of the important sights. You can spend more days exploring in depth or visiting the surrounding attractions. Don’t forget that La Antigua is the perfect spot to base your Guatemala exploration.
What to see and do
Start by walking around the Parque Central (Central Park). In the center of the park, you are going to find the Fuente de Las Sirenas (Mermaids Fountain). Surrounding the park, are the Catedral de Santiago (main church in the city), Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, Palacio del Ayuntamiento (municipal hall) and the Portal de Comercio (a commercial arcade). You can find pictures of most of these places in last week’s post.
Of course, you most visit the Arco de Santa Catalina which is the symbol of the city.
A site that does not seems to appear in most guidebooks but is quite interesting is the Real and Pontificia Universidad de San Carlos (San Carlos University). This is the original campus of one of the earliest unversities founded in the Americas.
Churches and monasteries to visit:
- Iglesia y Convento de las Capuchinas
- Iglesia y Convento Santa Clara
- Iglesia La Merced
- Iglesia San Pedro
- Iglesia San Francisco
- Ruins of the Catedral (damaged by an earthquake).
Close to the Iglesia and Convento de Santa Clara, you can find Parque La Union (Union Park). At one side of the park you will see the famous Pilas or the place where woman used to do the laundry (and some still do it in here).
Museums to visit:
Most of the museums are small.
- Museo de Arte Colonial (Colonial Art Museum)
- Centro Cultural Casa Santo Domingo (Santo Domingo House Cultural Center) - This also a famous hotel.
- Museo de Semana Santa (Holy Week Museum)
- Casa Popenoe
- Casa K’ojom – Museum dedicated to Mayan music
To get a good view of the city from a high point, you can go to Cerro de la Cruz. This hill (cerro) contains a giant stone cross . It is about a 30 minute walk from the plaza. From the top, you can see the whole city with the Volcan de Agua in the background.
If you are in a learning mood, you can sign for Spanish language or cooking classes. Antigua is particularly famous for its language schools.
Adventurous types can find a variety of options. There are mountain biking, horseback riding, canopy tours, golfing and coffee tasting opportunities.
There are other sights that are a little bit outside the city:
- Centro Cultural La Azotea (La Azotea Cultural Center). Located in Jocotenango.
- Palacio del Obispos. Located in San Juan del Obispo.
- Ciudad Vieja (Old City). Colonial capital before destruction by one of the volcanoes. The capital was moved after destruction to present day Antigua.
- San Antonio Aguas Calientes – town well known for its weavings.
The out of town attractions can be see by booking a “Antigua Villages” tour or by hiring a private guide to show you around. The city’s official guides (certified by the government) offer these tours (to villages and Ciudad Vieja).
For shopping, go to the Mercado de Artesania (Handicrafts Market) or to the Casa del Tejido Antiguo (Old Weaving House).
Hope this information helps to make you want to go to this magnificient city.
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