When you arrive in Antigua, not only will you find a plethora of volcanoes, but you’ll find a small city dashed with colour. Between the volcanoes and colours, the city puts out a charm that will quickly over take you. It is easy to spend your days aimlessly meandering the streets of Antigua. Every direction you go, you’re captured by the ever changing activity on each street. From the markets, to the outdoor spaces and everything in between, there are plenty of things to do in Antigua. Antigua undoubtedly holds the true essence of Guatemala.
Things You should do in Antigua, Guatemala
Central Park (Parque Central)
As the name suggests, Central Park is located in the centre of Antigua. Central Park is an ideal place to relax and take in the feel of the city. Here you can watch Guatemalan life at its fullest. People meet here to relax, street vendors gather to sell their merchandise and children play. Spend some time here and kick back with the locals.
Hill of the Cross (Cerro De La Cruz)
Just on the edge of town, you’ll find a stair case leading up to the Hill of the Cross. This walk is pretty casual and will take you about 10 minutes. And its free! At the top, you will be greeted by the famous cross, Agua Volcano and a view over looking Antigua. You’ll also find vendors selling refreshments and souvenirs. It’s best to visit the hill in the morning when the sky is still clear, allowing you to see Agua and the city in its full glory.
If you’re looking to shop, browse or just sit on the curb, Antigua has many options. From store fronts, stalls and walking vendors, at some point you’ll likely stop and look at the rare items for sale. You can find hats, fine linens, to unique toys and trinkets, remotes and everything in between.
Around Antigua, you’ll find Agua, Feugo, Actenago, and Pacaya. All these volcanos are accessible from Antigua and offer unique volcano experiences. Visitors are able to get experiences from both ends of the volcano spectrum. Avid and daring hikers generally gravitate to Actenago for a more extreme hike and camping out. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a tamer volcano hike, Pacaya would be a great choice as well.
If you’re someone that has no interest in hiking a volcano, you can still take in the lovely volcano views from Antigua. None the less, you will be seeing volcanoes in Antigua if the weather permits.
Santa Catalina Archway (Arco de Santa Catalina)
In the heart of Antigua rests the Santa Catalina Archway leading into Guatemalan culture. Past the archway you will find a number of vendors selling food, souvenirs, trinkets and pretty much anything you could imagine. This area tends to be a gathering spot where people come to socialize and spend part of the afternoon.
All in all, I LOVED my time Antigua. It was a great city to relax and recharge in after a lonnnnng journey from Semuc Champey. We slowly wandered and enjoyed the streets of Antigua, while also taking in our first Guatemalan volcanoes. We quickly realized, that Antigua is truly the heart of Guatemala.
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For other helpful tips read The Backpacker’s Guide to Antigua, Guatemala
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