Taylor-Antigua6

An Antigua, Guatemala Travel Guide
A woman visiting Antigua, Guatemala

Antigua, Guatemala is a charming city filled with colorful, Spanish-Colonial architecture and a thriving culture. It is a city filled with rich history and was founded in the early 16th Century. Surrounded by volcanoes, Antigua is a great spot to enjoy 360-degree views, great hiking and preserved ruins. If you’re trying to figure out what to do in Antigua, Guatemala, there are endless activities for everyone!

Guatemala is in Central America. Spanish is the official language of the country and the predominate religion is Catholicism. There are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Guatemala and one of them is in fact Antigua! (The other two are the ancient Mayan archaeological site of Quirigua and Tikal National Park.) Chocolate originated from Guatemala and its cuisine is influenced by Mayan and Spanish culture.

A woman enjoying 2 days in Antigua, Guatemala

During March 2022, I did a wonderful Central and South America trip. I started my trip solo in Guatemala where I spent two nights in Antigua, one night hiking Volcan Acatenango and the remaining two nights on Lake Atitlan. I then flew to Colombia where I met Caitlin of My Darling Passport. We spent two nights on Isla Barú, which is an island off the famous city of Cartagena and concluded our trip in the city.

In this Antigua, Guatemala travel guide, discover what to do in this beautiful city and where to visit.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


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Antigua, Guatemala - A Travel Guide. What to do in Antigua, Guatemala

Is Antigua, Guatemala Safe?

Colorful buildings in Central America

One thing I would like to address before I go into this travel guide is that visiting Antigua, Guatemala is safe and makes for a great solo trip. Antigua boasts a major digital nomad community and people, of all ages, travel there from around the world.

In all honesty, a lot of loved ones were concerned about me traveling to Guatemala on my own and tried to talk me out of it. (I’m glad I didn’t listen to them.) I understand that the media covers a lot of bad things that happen around the world, but I didn’t find Guatemala to be unsafe at all during my solo travels, so PLEASE don’t let that determine if you should travel to Guatemala or not.

Beautiful views of Antigua, Guatemala

Of course, bad things happen everywhere! (Even in your hometown.)

Some great safety tips for visiting Antigua, Guatemala, and anywhere in the world, is to always be aware of your surroundings; do not put yourself in sketchy situations; watch your alcohol intake (mezcals are delicious, but one too many could be dangerous); DON’T DO DRUGS EVER; do your research and book a hotel/Airbnb/hostel in a safe area (I like to stay in accommodations close to the heart of the city); negotiate the price of a cab before you hop in (Guatemala has Uber, so I recommend using that to get around); learn how to say NO; don’t walk around by yourself late at night; don’t show off your valuables and don’t be afraid to ask a staff member from your hotel to assist you somewhere.

Traveling to Antigua, Guatemala:

What to do in Antigua, Guatemala - Explore the Ancient Ruins

It is easy to visit Antigua, Guatemala. I took a flight from Newark Airport in New Jersey to La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City with a layover in Miami. You can find affordable flights through Skyscanner!

Other great ways to get around the country at a more affordable cost are by buses. Guatemala is known for its camionetas, which are also known as chicken buses. Recognized as the most affordable and authentic mode of transportation in Guatemala, chicken buses are old North American school buses that are used to transport everything from luggage to live animals (like chickens)!

What to do in Antigua, Guatemala - ride the chicken bus

If you plan to use the chicken buses, make sure to have cash on you and be aware of getting scammed as a foreigner. You can hail a bus at public terminals, near a lot of markets. They are hard to miss!

The Pullman is usually considered a first-class bus in Guatemala and they are also a great way to get around the country. With a 25 percent higher cost than the chicken buses, the Pullman bus tickets can be bought in advance. Most Pullman buses leave out of private offices.

Inside of a chicken bus

Another way to get around Guatemala is by renting your own vehicle or organizing private transportation through your accommodation. During my time in Guatemala, I organized all my transportation to and from each destination through my hotels.

As I mention above, one of the best ways to get around Guatemala is by using Uber. I did use Uber a few times and I also got to ride the chicken bus when I was at Lake Atitlan.

If you’re trying to figure out what to do to get around Antigua, Guatemala at an affordable cost, I recommend taking a tuk-tuk, which is also an authentic way to go about a specific city.

A vintage car in Guatemala

Even though they are more common in Southeast Asian and African countries, tuk-tuks are a motorized rickshaw that has three wheels. As a foreigner, you may need to haggle the cost of your ride like you would with a regular city taxi.

Where to Stay in Antigua, Guatemala:

What to do in Antigua, Guatemala - enjoying the views from a rooftop

There are a lot of beautiful hotels ranging from all budgets in the heart of Antigua. During my two nights in Antigua, I stayed at Good Hotel, which is a boutique hotel that “does good”. 100% of Good Hotel’s profits goes towards helping people in need. (In addition to Antigua, Good Hotels are also located in Guatemala City, London and Amsterdam.)

Good Hotel in Antigua supports the local community by helping disadvantaged children go to school. Each room at Good Hotel Antigua is named after a student.

Good Hotel in Antigua

Whenever I solo travel, I always like to stay at hotels that either have a bar, lounge, restaurant or a social area. What I liked about staying at Good Hotel was that it was located right next to L’Osteria Saúl, which is a Mediterranean restaurant, lounge and bar that uses local ingredients to put together delicious meals. The restaurant only partners with companies that offer healthy work environments and pay fair salaries.

L’Osteria Saúl is a great place to enjoy dinner and drinks, get work done, sip a warm beverage and just relax or have fun with friends. If you’re wondering what to do in Antigua, Guatemala at night, I suggest visiting this fun spot.

Other great hotels to stay at in Antigua are listed below:

There are also a lot of Vrbo options in Antigua!

Where to Eat in Antigua, Guatemala:

What to do in Antigua, Guatemala - enjoy local food

If you’re trying to figure out what to do in Antigua, Guatemala, you MUST check out the restaurant and food scene within the city. Due to the growing digital nomad and expat population in Antigua, the number of vegan options within the city are growing. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you won’t have an issue finding a great restaurant with a plethora of different options!

La Cuevita de Urquizú:

Dinner at La Cuevita de Urquizu

The first restaurant I visited in Antigua was La Cuevita de Urquizú. It was recommended to me by an Instagram friend, Chrissy from Where is She Now, who has family in Guatemala.

How this amazing spot works is that all of the food is served in clay pots and you get to choose between two or three stews and two or three sides. You can choose between chicken, pork, beef and vegetarian options. I got two types of chicken stews with rice and veggies, guacamole and it also came with a bean-paste tamale and fresh corn tortillas. Everything was incredible!

Café Sky:

Breakfast at Cafe Sky

One of the best places to enjoy good food, drinks and views is at Café Sky! It is one of the most popular restaurants and bars in Antigua.

The best times to visit Café Sky are either in the morning for breakfast, when the sky is clear and you can enjoy volcano views, or in the evening during sunset! I visited this spot for breakfast one morning and it did not disappoint!

A breathtaking view of Antigua, Guatemala

Café Sky has a rooftop and that is where I sat to enjoy the breathtaking views of Antigua and Guatemala’s beautiful Volcan de Agua! On certain days, you can also see Volcan Fuego erupting, which is the volcano I saw during my Acatenango trek.

During my morning at Café Sky, I enjoyed Guatemalan coffee with fresh pineapple juice and a breakfast sandwich with fried plantains and tropical fruit. Everything was delicious!

If you decide to visit Café Sky during the evening, you can enjoy live music!

La Bruja:

Vegan mushroom tacos

For lunch on my second day, I visited La Bruja, which is one of the many awesome vegan restaurants in Antigua.

I loved visiting this awesome spot in Antigua because it is hidden in a charming courtyard in the city. If you’re wondering what to do during your time in Antigua, Guatemala, you must visit this courtyard because not only is it beautiful, but it also has a bunch of great restaurants, cafés, chocolate shops and souvenir stores. It’s also a nice spot to sit and relax!

La Bruja has a plethora of different vegan dishes to choose from such as empanadas and tacos to burgers and sushi. I got the roasted portobello mushroom tacos and they were mouthwatering! (Yes, vegan food can be delicious too.)

Tartines:

Enjoying the sunset at Tartines in Antigua

Another great restaurant that Chrissy recommended to me was Tartines. It is a French restaurant that features beautiful views of Antigua’s ruins.

At Tartines, you can enjoy sweet and savory crepes, high-quality produce, meat and seafood dishes and, of course, delicious pastries! During my last evening in Antigua, I enjoyed a sunset over the ruins at Tartines and ate a delicious savory crepe that consisted of smoked salmon, spinach, herbs and mozzarella cheese on top.

Once Once:

Vegan lunch at Once Once in Antigua

After arriving back in Antigua after hiking Acatenango, I was starving, so I grabbed lunch at the restaurant located inside Wicho & Charlie’s (the company I did the trek through). The restaurant is called Once Once and it is also a vegan restaurant with a lovely courtyard to enjoy.

Once Once has a variety of vegan dishes to savor. I got a raw cacao smoothie, pad Thai and a Guatemalan vegetable soup. Everything was yummy!

What to do in Antigua, Guatemala – Fun and Unique Things to do:

A woman exploring Antigua, Guatemala

There are incredible things to do in Antigua, Guatemala. From hiking to taking a cooking class, discover unforgettable activities that are perfect for anyone and everyone!

Walk through the UNESCO World Heritage Site:

What to do in Antigua, Guatemala - explore around Arco de Santa Catalina. A woman traveling in Guatemala.

When you first visit Antigua, I highly recommend walking around and exploring the city. Antigua features cobblestone streets, so I suggest bringing comfortable walking shoes! All around the city are colorful Spanish-Colonial buildings, flowers, vintage cars, Baroque ruins, historical landmarks, beautiful churches and lovely plazas.

Because Antigua is an earthquake-prone city, most of the buildings aren’t high. As you stroll around, you will notice that there is a color pattern within the architecture. Most of the colors you’ll see on buildings are sky blue, rust, mahogany, ochre, white and mustard. All these colors are regulated by the National Council for the Conservation of Antigua, Guatemala.

Beautiful buildings in Antigua, Guatemala

If you have the opportunity, I recommend doing a walking tour of Antigua and learning the depths of its history. Guatemala has been home to the Mayans since 300 BC. In the 16th Century, the Spanish came and converted indigenous people to Christianity. Guatemala then gained independence from Spain in September 1821.

Below are what to see in Antigua, Guatemala as you wander around the city:

A woman at Santa Catalina Arch in Antigua, Guatemala
  • Arco de Santa Catalina: One of the most iconic landmarks in the city is the Santa Catalina Arch. It was built in 1694 and on both sides of the arch are two convents – the Convent of the Virgin and the Convent of Santa Catalina. There is also a school by the arch and for nuns to remain secluded, a secret footbridge and passageway was built below the bridge. Santa Catalina Arch has suffered damage over the years, including from the 1773 earthquake, but it is a beautiful structure that you cannot miss out on seeing during your time in Antigua. (You can also see Volcan de Agua through the arch on a clear day.)
  • Parque Central: All throughout Antigua are beautiful parks and plazas for you to relax, enjoy street performers and shop from local Mayans. I loved visiting the stunning Parque Central, which is surrounded by the beautiful Catedral de San Jose. There is a gorgeous fountain located in the center that features mermaids.
  • Tanque La Unión: If you’re wondering what to do to see the best of Antigua’s history, I recommend visiting the Union Tank, which was used as a public laundry space during the colonial era in the city.

Participate in a Bean to Bar Workshop:

What to do in Antigua, Guatemala - take a Bean to Bar Workshop

The history of chocolate can be traced back to the ancient Mayan time. In fact, the Olmec, which are one of the earliest civilizations in Latin America took the cacao plant and turned it into our favorite sweet treat!

One of the top fun things to do in Antigua, Guatemala is to visit Chocomuseo and participate in their Bean to Bar Workshop. This unique and interactive experience will teach you how to make delicious chocolate straight from the cacao bean. From there, you’ll prepare and taste test ancient Mayan and Conquistadores drinks.

During the Bean to Bar Workshop, you will also learn about the chocolate making process that starts from the cacao tree in the jungle and you will then make milk or dark chocolate using different flavors.

If you’re wondering what to do in Antigua, Guatemala, especially during a rainy day, I highly suggest visiting Chocomuseo. They are open every day from 11am to 3pm, except for Tuesdays. The workshop is available in both English and Spanish and the cost is $20 USD for children under 12 years old and $25 USD for anyone 12 and older.

Hike to Cerro de la Cruz:

A woman at Cerro de la Cruz

Another one of the top free things to do in Antigua, Guatemala is to hike to Cerro de la Cruz. Overall, this easy to moderate hike consists of a 1.10-mile, loop trail. Once you get to the top, there are beautiful views overlooking the city of Antigua and Volcan de Agua.

The start of the Cerro de la Cruz hike is located right off 1A Avenida. From the city center, just take that road all the way north. There will eventually be a sign that says “Bienvenidos Cerro de la Cruz”.

The hike is free and it is open from 7am to 6pm every day. I recommend doing this hike sometime in the morning because that is usually when visibility is the clearest. I went in early afternoon when the clouds started to come in.

Views from Cerro de la Cruz

It is safe to hike Cerro de la Cruz and there is police patrol all around. Most of the hike is on a staircase through a wooded path that provides a lot of shade, greenery and birds. It takes around 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how fast of a hiker you are, to get to the top.

If you’re wondering what to do in Antigua, Guatemala that will help you stay active and see gorgeous views, you must hike Cerro de la Cruz! I recommend wearing comfortable shoes for this hike and I also suggest avoiding this hike near sundown, it is unfortunately notorious for theft when the police leave.

There are local vendors at the top selling fresh fruit, helado (ice cream), water, snacks and more.

Haggle Your Way through Mercado de Artesanías:

Mercado de Artesanias - Best things to do in Antigua, Guatemala

From Thailand to Cambodia and Peru to Guatemala, there is nothing like visiting a local market during your travels. One of the top things to do in Antigua, Guatemala is to visit the Mercado de Artesanías and bargain with local vendors.

At this awesome market, you can find everything from jewelry to handmade rugs and artisan souvenirs to clothing items. This thriving market is also a great spot to purchase fresh fruit!

Sip Brews with Views at Antigua Brewing Company:

A craft beer flight from Antigua Brewing Co.

For my fellow beer lovers, a great place to have fun and socialize is at Antigua Brewing Co. It is a brewpub that sources and combines local ingredients to present the best craft beers in the country.

Known as one of the best activities in Antigua, Guatemala, I truly enjoyed spending an afternoon at this awesome brewery. Just like a lot of the other restaurants and bars in the city, Antigua Brewing Co. has both an indoor area along with a rooftop that overlooks the entire city and nearby volcanos. (It opened in 2015.)

I sat on the rooftop and enjoyed a flight of different brews. My beer flight consisted of the Fuego IPA, Inpunidad IPA, Shute Pale Ale, Canchona Blonde, Imperial Stout and the Coffee Stout. I loved them all, including the darker beers. (You can also get food at Antigua Brewery.)

Visit Catedral de San Jose:

Catedral San Jose in Antigua, Guatemala

If you’re also wondering what to see in Antigua, Guatemala that showcases some of the best architecture in the city, I suggest taking a tour of the cathedral.

Catedral San Jose is a Baroque-style Catholic church that opened in 1541. It has been through several earthquakes and the cathedral standing today was rebuilt and opened in 1680. There are five entrances to the church, but to see the ruins, you must enter from the south gate on 5a Calle Oeste.

Check Out Antigua’s Ruins:

The ancient ruins of Antigua, Guatemala

If you’re wondering what to do to get a glimpse into Antigua, Guatemala’s past, you must visit the ancient ruins throughout the city! At one point, Antigua was the capital of the country. Because Antigua is an earthquake city, the capital was forced to move to Guatemala City, which sits at a more stable location.

For a while, Antigua was abandoned until it became famous in coffee production. The latest earthquake happened in 1976 and it wasn’t until 1979 that Antigua became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The best spots to see the ancient ruins are at the cathedral (mentioned above), Santo Domingo Monastery, La Merced and the older convent.

Challenge Yourself on the Acatenango Volcano Trek:

A woman on the Acatenango hike in Guatemala

Read all about my experience on the Acatenango hike, how to prepare for it and everything the trek thoroughly entails. In this article, I will briefly explain that it is an epic adventure and MUST DO during your time in Antigua, Guatemala!

I did my hike with Wicho & Charlie’s who are based right in Antigua! The trek itself is two days and one night and it is affordable Q500 (around $75 USD) for a shared cabin and Q1200 (around $199) for a private, two-person cabin).

The start of the Acatenango trek is located a little less than an hour from Antigua and Wicho & Charlie’s will provide hikers with a shuttle there. All food served on the trek is vegan and delicious. You can also rent gear from Wicho & Charlie’s office and store your belongings there!

Volcan Fuego in Guatemala

Hiking Acatenango Volcano was far from easy, but what I got to experience along the way was rewarding! It takes over four hours to hike up to Base Camp with some stops along the way, including an hour lunch break.

Base Camp had the best views of the active stratovolcano – Volcan Fuego! (You can also hike Fuego as well at an additional cost. The hike there is at night.) Seeing the lava from the volcano erupting at night was magical and the views while hiking to the summit early the next morning were breathtaking!

Overall, hiking Acatenango is one of the most unforgettable things to do during a trip to Guatemala. It is a great adventure to challenge yourself and, if you’re solo, it’s a wonderful way to meet new friends.

Do a Coffee Tour:

A coffee tour

Coffee lovers must do a coffee plantation tour during their visit to Antigua, Guatemala. The country is renowned for its gourmet coffee and on a tour, you will get to visit a plantation and local village, learn the history of coffee in Guatemala and experience the roasting process. Of course, a tour wouldn’t be complete without actually tasting the coffee!

In addition to a coffee plantation tour, you can also do regular tasting tours in Antigua as well as participate in latté art classes.

(You can also enjoy a Guatemalan cooking class and a street food tour!)

Enjoy a Half Day Trip to Hobbitenango:

Hobbitenango in Guatemala

Situated 20 minutes from Antigua, Hobbitenango is a fun eco-park that was founded for people to escape busy life and have fun in nature. If you’re wondering what to do near Antigua, Guatemala that isn’t in the city, Hobbitenango is the place to go!

Hobbitenango opened in 2015 and is in Vuelta Grande. There is a hobbit-style hotel and restaurants and there are fun adventures and games for both adults and children to enjoy!


A woman solo traveling in Guatemala

I hope you all enjoyed reading this Antigua, Guatemala blog and discovering what to do in and around the city. If you have any questions about my time in Guatemala, please email me at [email protected]

Basic Facts of Guatemala:

Currency: Guatemalan Quetzal, Capital: Guatemala City, Time Zone: Guatemala does not follow Daylight Savings. During the summer months, Guatemala is on Mountain Standard Time and then it is on Central Standard Time during the winter months.

*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

Shop my Guatemala Look:

Click here to shop my Poshmark closet!

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4 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on March 29, 2022 at 9:29 pm

    Really loved reading about beautiful Guatemala ~ did not realize there was so much to do and see there! What a beautiful country ~ their architecture is stunning! The mountains look so beautiful ~ hiking had to be so much fun! I need to visit there since they make my 2 favorite things in life ~ chocolate and coffee ~ right up my alley. A lot of great history and beautiful catholic cathedrals. Loved all your photos and the guide was very informative ~ Guatemala is now on my bucket list! Love you, mom 👩🏻 ❣️ xoxo

    • Taylor Deer on March 31, 2022 at 11:04 am

      Thank you mom! It was a great destination! Love you too! <3

  2. Jessica on March 31, 2022 at 12:15 am

    Antigua appears to be a lovely and interesting place to visit. Thank you for sharing your thoughts; I really like your photographs. May I ask where you got the lovely dress you’re wearing in these photos?

Leave a Comment





Taylor-Antigua6

An Antigua, Guatemala Travel Guide
A woman visiting Antigua, Guatemala

Antigua, Guatemala is a charming city filled with colorful, Spanish-Colonial architecture and a thriving culture. It is a city filled with rich history and was founded in the early 16th Century. Surrounded by volcanoes, Antigua is a great spot to enjoy 360-degree views, great hiking and preserved ruins. If you’re trying to figure out what to do in Antigua, Guatemala, there are endless activities for everyone!

Guatemala is in Central America. Spanish is the official language of the country and the predominate religion is Catholicism. There are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Guatemala and one of them is in fact Antigua! (The other two are the ancient Mayan archaeological site of Quirigua and Tikal National Park.) Chocolate originated from Guatemala and its cuisine is influenced by Mayan and Spanish culture.

A woman enjoying 2 days in Antigua, Guatemala

During March 2022, I did a wonderful Central and South America trip. I started my trip solo in Guatemala where I spent two nights in Antigua, one night hiking Volcan Acatenango and the remaining two nights on Lake Atitlan. I then flew to Colombia where I met Caitlin of My Darling Passport. We spent two nights on Isla Barú, which is an island off the famous city of Cartagena and concluded our trip in the city.

In this Antigua, Guatemala travel guide, discover what to do in this beautiful city and where to visit.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

Antigua, Guatemala - A Travel Guide. What to do in Antigua, Guatemala

Is Antigua, Guatemala Safe?

Colorful buildings in Central America

One thing I would like to address before I go into this travel guide is that visiting Antigua, Guatemala is safe and makes for a great solo trip. Antigua boasts a major digital nomad community and people, of all ages, travel there from around the world.

In all honesty, a lot of loved ones were concerned about me traveling to Guatemala on my own and tried to talk me out of it. (I’m glad I didn’t listen to them.) I understand that the media covers a lot of bad things that happen around the world, but I didn’t find Guatemala to be unsafe at all during my solo travels, so PLEASE don’t let that determine if you should travel to Guatemala or not.

Beautiful views of Antigua, Guatemala

Of course, bad things happen everywhere! (Even in your hometown.)

Some great safety tips for visiting Antigua, Guatemala, and anywhere in the world, is to always be aware of your surroundings; do not put yourself in sketchy situations; watch your alcohol intake (mezcals are delicious, but one too many could be dangerous); DON’T DO DRUGS EVER; do your research and book a hotel/Airbnb/hostel in a safe area (I like to stay in accommodations close to the heart of the city); negotiate the price of a cab before you hop in (Guatemala has Uber, so I recommend using that to get around); learn how to say NO; don’t walk around by yourself late at night; don’t show off your valuables and don’t be afraid to ask a staff member from your hotel to assist you somewhere.

Traveling to Antigua, Guatemala:

What to do in Antigua, Guatemala - Explore the Ancient Ruins

It is easy to visit Antigua, Guatemala. I took a flight from Newark Airport in New Jersey to La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City with a layover in Miami. You can find affordable flights through Skyscanner!

Other great ways to get around the country at a more affordable cost are by buses. Guatemala is known for its camionetas, which are also known as chicken buses. Recognized as the most affordable and authentic mode of transportation in Guatemala, chicken buses are old North American school buses that are used to transport everything from luggage to live animals (like chickens)!

What to do in Antigua, Guatemala - ride the chicken bus

If you plan to use the chicken buses, make sure to have cash on you and be aware of getting scammed as a foreigner. You can hail a bus at public terminals, near a lot of markets. They are hard to miss!

The Pullman is usually considered a first-class bus in Guatemala and they are also a great way to get around the country. With a 25 percent higher cost than the chicken buses, the Pullman bus tickets can be bought in advance. Most Pullman buses leave out of private offices.

Inside of a chicken bus

Another way to get around Guatemala is by renting your own vehicle or organizing private transportation through your accommodation. During my time in Guatemala, I organized all my transportation to and from each destination through my hotels.

As I mention above, one of the best ways to get around Guatemala is by using Uber. I did use Uber a few times and I also got to ride the chicken bus when I was at Lake Atitlan.

If you’re trying to figure out what to do to get around Antigua, Guatemala at an affordable cost, I recommend taking a tuk-tuk, which is also an authentic way to go about a specific city.

A vintage car in Guatemala

Even though they are more common in Southeast Asian and African countries, tuk-tuks are a motorized rickshaw that has three wheels. As a foreigner, you may need to haggle the cost of your ride like you would with a regular city taxi.

Where to Stay in Antigua, Guatemala:

What to do in Antigua, Guatemala - enjoying the views from a rooftop

There are a lot of beautiful hotels ranging from all budgets in the heart of Antigua. During my two nights in Antigua, I stayed at Good Hotel, which is a boutique hotel that “does good”. 100% of Good Hotel’s profits goes towards helping people in need. (In addition to Antigua, Good Hotels are also located in Guatemala City, London and Amsterdam.)

Good Hotel in Antigua supports the local community by helping disadvantaged children go to school. Each room at Good Hotel Antigua is named after a student.

Good Hotel in Antigua

Whenever I solo travel, I always like to stay at hotels that either have a bar, lounge, restaurant or a social area. What I liked about staying at Good Hotel was that it was located right next to L’Osteria Saúl, which is a Mediterranean restaurant, lounge and bar that uses local ingredients to put together delicious meals. The restaurant only partners with companies that offer healthy work environments and pay fair salaries.

L’Osteria Saúl is a great place to enjoy dinner and drinks, get work done, sip a warm beverage and just relax or have fun with friends. If you’re wondering what to do in Antigua, Guatemala at night, I suggest visiting this fun spot.

Other great hotels to stay at in Antigua are listed below:

There are also a lot of Vrbo options in Antigua!

Where to Eat in Antigua, Guatemala:

What to do in Antigua, Guatemala - enjoy local food

If you’re trying to figure out what to do in Antigua, Guatemala, you MUST check out the restaurant and food scene within the city. Due to the growing digital nomad and expat population in Antigua, the number of vegan options within the city are growing. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you won’t have an issue finding a great restaurant with a plethora of different options!

La Cuevita de Urquizú:

Dinner at La Cuevita de Urquizu

The first restaurant I visited in Antigua was La Cuevita de Urquizú. It was recommended to me by an Instagram friend, Chrissy from Where is She Now, who has family in Guatemala.

How this amazing spot works is that all of the food is served in clay pots and you get to choose between two or three stews and two or three sides. You can choose between chicken, pork, beef and vegetarian options. I got two types of chicken stews with rice and veggies, guacamole and it also came with a bean-paste tamale and fresh corn tortillas. Everything was incredible!

Café Sky:

Breakfast at Cafe Sky

One of the best places to enjoy good food, drinks and views is at Café Sky! It is one of the most popular restaurants and bars in Antigua.

The best times to visit Café Sky are either in the morning for breakfast, when the sky is clear and you can enjoy volcano views, or in the evening during sunset! I visited this spot for breakfast one morning and it did not disappoint!

A breathtaking view of Antigua, Guatemala

Café Sky has a rooftop and that is where I sat to enjoy the breathtaking views of Antigua and Guatemala’s beautiful Volcan de Agua! On certain days, you can also see Volcan Fuego erupting, which is the volcano I saw during my Acatenango trek.

During my morning at Café Sky, I enjoyed Guatemalan coffee with fresh pineapple juice and a breakfast sandwich with fried plantains and tropical fruit. Everything was delicious!

If you decide to visit Café Sky during the evening, you can enjoy live music!

La Bruja:

Vegan mushroom tacos

For lunch on my second day, I visited La Bruja, which is one of the many awesome vegan restaurants in Antigua.

I loved visiting this awesome spot in Antigua because it is hidden in a charming courtyard in the city. If you’re wondering what to do during your time in Antigua, Guatemala, you must visit this courtyard because not only is it beautiful, but it also has a bunch of great restaurants, cafés, chocolate shops and souvenir stores. It’s also a nice spot to sit and relax!

La Bruja has a plethora of different vegan dishes to choose from such as empanadas and tacos to burgers and sushi. I got the roasted portobello mushroom tacos and they were mouthwatering! (Yes, vegan food can be delicious too.)

Tartines:

Enjoying the sunset at Tartines in Antigua

Another great restaurant that Chrissy recommended to me was Tartines. It is a French restaurant that features beautiful views of Antigua’s ruins.

At Tartines, you can enjoy sweet and savory crepes, high-quality produce, meat and seafood dishes and, of course, delicious pastries! During my last evening in Antigua, I enjoyed a sunset over the ruins at Tartines and ate a delicious savory crepe that consisted of smoked salmon, spinach, herbs and mozzarella cheese on top.

Once Once:

Vegan lunch at Once Once in Antigua

After arriving back in Antigua after hiking Acatenango, I was starving, so I grabbed lunch at the restaurant located inside Wicho & Charlie’s (the company I did the trek through). The restaurant is called Once Once and it is also a vegan restaurant with a lovely courtyard to enjoy.

Once Once has a variety of vegan dishes to savor. I got a raw cacao smoothie, pad Thai and a Guatemalan vegetable soup. Everything was yummy!

What to do in Antigua, Guatemala – Fun and Unique Things to do:

A woman exploring Antigua, Guatemala

There are incredible things to do in Antigua, Guatemala. From hiking to taking a cooking class, discover unforgettable activities that are perfect for anyone and everyone!

Walk through the UNESCO World Heritage Site:

What to do in Antigua, Guatemala - explore around Arco de Santa Catalina. A woman traveling in Guatemala.

When you first visit Antigua, I highly recommend walking around and exploring the city. Antigua features cobblestone streets, so I suggest bringing comfortable walking shoes! All around the city are colorful Spanish-Colonial buildings, flowers, vintage cars, Baroque ruins, historical landmarks, beautiful churches and lovely plazas.

Because Antigua is an earthquake-prone city, most of the buildings aren’t high. As you stroll around, you will notice that there is a color pattern within the architecture. Most of the colors you’ll see on buildings are sky blue, rust, mahogany, ochre, white and mustard. All these colors are regulated by the National Council for the Conservation of Antigua, Guatemala.

Beautiful buildings in Antigua, Guatemala

If you have the opportunity, I recommend doing a walking tour of Antigua and learning the depths of its history. Guatemala has been home to the Mayans since 300 BC. In the 16th Century, the Spanish came and converted indigenous people to Christianity. Guatemala then gained independence from Spain in September 1821.

Below are what to see in Antigua, Guatemala as you wander around the city:

A woman at Santa Catalina Arch in Antigua, Guatemala
  • Arco de Santa Catalina: One of the most iconic landmarks in the city is the Santa Catalina Arch. It was built in 1694 and on both sides of the arch are two convents – the Convent of the Virgin and the Convent of Santa Catalina. There is also a school by the arch and for nuns to remain secluded, a secret footbridge and passageway was built below the bridge. Santa Catalina Arch has suffered damage over the years, including from the 1773 earthquake, but it is a beautiful structure that you cannot miss out on seeing during your time in Antigua. (You can also see Volcan de Agua through the arch on a clear day.)
  • Parque Central: All throughout Antigua are beautiful parks and plazas for you to relax, enjoy street performers and shop from local Mayans. I loved visiting the stunning Parque Central, which is surrounded by the beautiful Catedral de San Jose. There is a gorgeous fountain located in the center that features mermaids.
  • Tanque La Unión: If you’re wondering what to do to see the best of Antigua’s history, I recommend visiting the Union Tank, which was used as a public laundry space during the colonial era in the city.

Participate in a Bean to Bar Workshop:

What to do in Antigua, Guatemala - take a Bean to Bar Workshop

The history of chocolate can be traced back to the ancient Mayan time. In fact, the Olmec, which are one of the earliest civilizations in Latin America took the cacao plant and turned it into our favorite sweet treat!

One of the top fun things to do in Antigua, Guatemala is to visit Chocomuseo and participate in their Bean to Bar Workshop. This unique and interactive experience will teach you how to make delicious chocolate straight from the cacao bean. From there, you’ll prepare and taste test ancient Mayan and Conquistadores drinks.

During the Bean to Bar Workshop, you will also learn about the chocolate making process that starts from the cacao tree in the jungle and you will then make milk or dark chocolate using different flavors.

If you’re wondering what to do in Antigua, Guatemala, especially during a rainy day, I highly suggest visiting Chocomuseo. They are open every day from 11am to 3pm, except for Tuesdays. The workshop is available in both English and Spanish and the cost is $20 USD for children under 12 years old and $25 USD for anyone 12 and older.

Hike to Cerro de la Cruz:

A woman at Cerro de la Cruz

Another one of the top free things to do in Antigua, Guatemala is to hike to Cerro de la Cruz. Overall, this easy to moderate hike consists of a 1.10-mile, loop trail. Once you get to the top, there are beautiful views overlooking the city of Antigua and Volcan de Agua.

The start of the Cerro de la Cruz hike is located right off 1A Avenida. From the city center, just take that road all the way north. There will eventually be a sign that says “Bienvenidos Cerro de la Cruz”.

The hike is free and it is open from 7am to 6pm every day. I recommend doing this hike sometime in the morning because that is usually when visibility is the clearest. I went in early afternoon when the clouds started to come in.

Views from Cerro de la Cruz

It is safe to hike Cerro de la Cruz and there is police patrol all around. Most of the hike is on a staircase through a wooded path that provides a lot of shade, greenery and birds. It takes around 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how fast of a hiker you are, to get to the top.

If you’re wondering what to do in Antigua, Guatemala that will help you stay active and see gorgeous views, you must hike Cerro de la Cruz! I recommend wearing comfortable shoes for this hike and I also suggest avoiding this hike near sundown, it is unfortunately notorious for theft when the police leave.

There are local vendors at the top selling fresh fruit, helado (ice cream), water, snacks and more.

Haggle Your Way through Mercado de Artesanías:

Mercado de Artesanias - Best things to do in Antigua, Guatemala

From Thailand to Cambodia and Peru to Guatemala, there is nothing like visiting a local market during your travels. One of the top things to do in Antigua, Guatemala is to visit the Mercado de Artesanías and bargain with local vendors.

At this awesome market, you can find everything from jewelry to handmade rugs and artisan souvenirs to clothing items. This thriving market is also a great spot to purchase fresh fruit!

Sip Brews with Views at Antigua Brewing Company:

A craft beer flight from Antigua Brewing Co.

For my fellow beer lovers, a great place to have fun and socialize is at Antigua Brewing Co. It is a brewpub that sources and combines local ingredients to present the best craft beers in the country.

Known as one of the best activities in Antigua, Guatemala, I truly enjoyed spending an afternoon at this awesome brewery. Just like a lot of the other restaurants and bars in the city, Antigua Brewing Co. has both an indoor area along with a rooftop that overlooks the entire city and nearby volcanos. (It opened in 2015.)

I sat on the rooftop and enjoyed a flight of different brews. My beer flight consisted of the Fuego IPA, Inpunidad IPA, Shute Pale Ale, Canchona Blonde, Imperial Stout and the Coffee Stout. I loved them all, including the darker beers. (You can also get food at Antigua Brewery.)

Visit Catedral de San Jose:

Catedral San Jose in Antigua, Guatemala

If you’re also wondering what to see in Antigua, Guatemala that showcases some of the best architecture in the city, I suggest taking a tour of the cathedral.

Catedral San Jose is a Baroque-style Catholic church that opened in 1541. It has been through several earthquakes and the cathedral standing today was rebuilt and opened in 1680. There are five entrances to the church, but to see the ruins, you must enter from the south gate on 5a Calle Oeste.

Check Out Antigua’s Ruins:

The ancient ruins of Antigua, Guatemala

If you’re wondering what to do to get a glimpse into Antigua, Guatemala’s past, you must visit the ancient ruins throughout the city! At one point, Antigua was the capital of the country. Because Antigua is an earthquake city, the capital was forced to move to Guatemala City, which sits at a more stable location.

For a while, Antigua was abandoned until it became famous in coffee production. The latest earthquake happened in 1976 and it wasn’t until 1979 that Antigua became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The best spots to see the ancient ruins are at the cathedral (mentioned above), Santo Domingo Monastery, La Merced and the older convent.

Challenge Yourself on the Acatenango Volcano Trek:

A woman on the Acatenango hike in Guatemala

Read all about my experience on the Acatenango hike, how to prepare for it and everything the trek thoroughly entails. In this article, I will briefly explain that it is an epic adventure and MUST DO during your time in Antigua, Guatemala!

I did my hike with Wicho & Charlie’s who are based right in Antigua! The trek itself is two days and one night and it is affordable Q500 (around $75 USD) for a shared cabin and Q1200 (around $199) for a private, two-person cabin).

The start of the Acatenango trek is located a little less than an hour from Antigua and Wicho & Charlie’s will provide hikers with a shuttle there. All food served on the trek is vegan and delicious. You can also rent gear from Wicho & Charlie’s office and store your belongings there!

Volcan Fuego in Guatemala

Hiking Acatenango Volcano was far from easy, but what I got to experience along the way was rewarding! It takes over four hours to hike up to Base Camp with some stops along the way, including an hour lunch break.

Base Camp had the best views of the active stratovolcano – Volcan Fuego! (You can also hike Fuego as well at an additional cost. The hike there is at night.) Seeing the lava from the volcano erupting at night was magical and the views while hiking to the summit early the next morning were breathtaking!

Overall, hiking Acatenango is one of the most unforgettable things to do during a trip to Guatemala. It is a great adventure to challenge yourself and, if you’re solo, it’s a wonderful way to meet new friends.

Do a Coffee Tour:

A coffee tour

Coffee lovers must do a coffee plantation tour during their visit to Antigua, Guatemala. The country is renowned for its gourmet coffee and on a tour, you will get to visit a plantation and local village, learn the history of coffee in Guatemala and experience the roasting process. Of course, a tour wouldn’t be complete without actually tasting the coffee!

In addition to a coffee plantation tour, you can also do regular tasting tours in Antigua as well as participate in latté art classes.

(You can also enjoy a Guatemalan cooking class and a street food tour!)

Enjoy a Half Day Trip to Hobbitenango:

Hobbitenango in Guatemala

Situated 20 minutes from Antigua, Hobbitenango is a fun eco-park that was founded for people to escape busy life and have fun in nature. If you’re wondering what to do near Antigua, Guatemala that isn’t in the city, Hobbitenango is the place to go!

Hobbitenango opened in 2015 and is in Vuelta Grande. There is a hobbit-style hotel and restaurants and there are fun adventures and games for both adults and children to enjoy!


A woman solo traveling in Guatemala

I hope you all enjoyed reading this Antigua, Guatemala blog and discovering what to do in and around the city. If you have any questions about my time in Guatemala, please email me at [email protected]

Basic Facts of Guatemala:

Currency: Guatemalan Quetzal, Capital: Guatemala City, Time Zone: Guatemala does not follow Daylight Savings. During the summer months, Guatemala is on Mountain Standard Time and then it is on Central Standard Time during the winter months.

*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

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4 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on March 29, 2022 at 9:29 pm

    Really loved reading about beautiful Guatemala ~ did not realize there was so much to do and see there! What a beautiful country ~ their architecture is stunning! The mountains look so beautiful ~ hiking had to be so much fun! I need to visit there since they make my 2 favorite things in life ~ chocolate and coffee ~ right up my alley. A lot of great history and beautiful catholic cathedrals. Loved all your photos and the guide was very informative ~ Guatemala is now on my bucket list! Love you, mom 👩🏻 ❣️ xoxo

    • Taylor Deer on March 31, 2022 at 11:04 am

      Thank you mom! It was a great destination! Love you too! <3

  2. Jessica on March 31, 2022 at 12:15 am

    Antigua appears to be a lovely and interesting place to visit. Thank you for sharing your thoughts; I really like your photographs. May I ask where you got the lovely dress you’re wearing in these photos?

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