TRAVEL GUIDE // Antigua, Guatemala
With it’s Spanish Colonial architecture, volcano views, and international eateries, La Antigua is a true Central American gem. Located about an hour and a half (depending on traffic) from the capital of Guatemala City, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is a destination for jet setters and backpackers alike. If you’re traveling to Guatemala for the first time, you must include this 400 year old town in your itinerary. Below are a few of our recommendations to help you plan your next visit!
Travel Guide : Antigua, Guatemala
The Good Hotel - $$
This boutique hotel in Antigua lives up to it’s name; everything they do is good. The hotel was a former private residence that has been re-designed in a clean, minimalist style that pays homage to the Spanish Colonial architecture found in Antigua. The hotel is also a social impact business that aims to “redefine the model of how business is done - combining doing business with doing good and quality.” All of the hotel’s profits are invested into their local NGO partner Niños de Guatemala - a non-profit providing quality education to children who need it.
for every budget and style:
Palo Santo // $$ - This colonial style home turned boutique hotel is near the heart of Antigua and boasts carefully curated rooms that honor it’s Guatemalan heritage and crafts. If you’re looking for a bit more upscale stay, the owners also run Mesón Panza Verde located right next door.
Casa Santo Domingo // $$ - After an earthquake left this former convent buried under rubble, the Casa Santo Domingo project was created to save the property and bring it back to life. Even if you don’t stay here, the gorgeous property is worth exploring and has several museums you can visit.
Adra Hostel // $ - I’ve mentioned it before in our Manila Travel Guide that hostels have stepped up their game over the years, and Adra Hostel is no exception. This trendy hostel is located blocks away from the central park, and boasts plenty of amenities for it’s guests.
El Convento Boutique Hotel // $$$ - The perfect mix of luxury, comfort, and history, this former convent houses 26 guest suites and caters to your every need. I haven’t had the privilege of staying here personally yet, but it’s definitely on my list for the next trip!
SAVOR THE LOCAL FLAVOR OF ANTIGUA:
Y Tu Piña Tambien // Hands down my favorite breakfast spot in Antigua! It’s also conveniently located just around the corner from The Good Hotel if you end up staying there. Be sure to try the chilaquiles.
7A Norte Pizzeria // While pizza is obviously not a typical Central American food, 7A should not be missed. I love to end my day on their rooftop patio with a glass of wine overlooking the ruins.
Frida’s // Inspired by the Mexican art maven herself, stop in for tacos and great margs. If you follow our shopping suggestions below, you can refresh yourself at Frida’s after browsing all that Nim Po’t has to offer as they are right next door to each other.
Caoba Farms // A great way to start your weekend, visit the farm’s café for a truly farm-to-table dining experience. On Saturdays they also hold a farmer’s market with local crafts and live music.
Santa Catalina Arch
Iconic as the city itself, Santa Catalina Arch graces the photos of all who travel here. Spend some time simply walking the cobblestone streets while you’re here. Every building facade is painted in one of the 12 approved historic colors for this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hike to Cerro de La Cruz
The best views of Antigua are from the lookout at by the cross. Take in the historical layout of the city below, as it sits in the shadow of volcanos.
explore the ruins
There are ruins everywhere in Antigua. Simply wander the streets and you’ll discover crumbling facades around every corner. My personal favorites to explore are the ruins at San José Cathedral (entrance to the ruins is off of 5a Calle Oriente, just east of central park), and the Convento la Recoleccion northwest of town where 1a Calle Poniente ends.
I love shopping in Antigua. There is always something to be inspired by in the local shops, and it’s a great place to educate yourself on local handicrafts from around Guatemala. If you’re in town, be sure to check out the recommendations below:
Your one stop shop for all things Guatemalan handicrafts is definitely Nim Po’t. Every traditional handicraft from the country is represented here, so it’s a great place to start in order to familiarize yourself with the different regions and talents. I always make sure to stop in and browse their traditional textile sections as it’s incredibly organized. They separate everything by region so you can educate yourself with the different patterns and colors that represent each community.
Both a boutique and co-working space, La Creativa just opened it’s door this Spring in the heart of Antigua. Founded with the vision to build community around brands working with Guatemalan artisans, the shop highlights companies who champion the handmade process, fair wage, and employment for women. Some of the incredible brands represented there are: Uxibal, Casa Flor Designs, Amara Collective, and products by Maya Traditions. The co-working space also allows creatives and entrepreneurs a place to gather, brainstorm, and encourage one another while they continue their sustainable work. If you’re headed to Antigua, be sure to check their schedule of events as they regularly hold various speaking events, craft nights, and business lectures!
Casa de los gigantes
Literally meaning the “house of giants”, Casa de los Gigantes is another shop with great products from all over the country. The store is named after the larger-than-life wooden figures that are used during religious events, and they can be seen placed around the store. The store’s main mission is to partner with artisan groups from around the country to support dignified jobs and fair wage, and then highlight those products in their gorgeous store.
El Telar (Loom Tree)
Founded by a textile designer originally from Italy, Loom Tree employs 35 talented weavers to craft their luxury products. The quality and unique design of their products highlight the traditional weaving Guatemala is known for. Their space is also incredibly inspiring with their color combinations and unique designs.
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