Antigua, Guatemala

Located approximately an hour drive from Guatemala City, encircled by three active volcanos, you’ll find the picturesque, colonial town of Antigua.

Antigua is gorgeous.  Built in the 16th century, it was rebuilt after a devastating earthquake in 1773 on a grid pattern inspired by the Italian Renaissance towns like Florence or Siena.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its multitude of colonial era buildings, art, archaeology and architecture.

 

This lively town is filled with colonial-era mansions, churches, coffee plantations, tourists artists, and indigenous Indians.  This city offers delicious restaurants, fun shopping opportunities, and bars with live music. 

Antigua also offers archaeological splendors that can be found at the Vigua Pre-Columbia & Glass Art Museum one of five museums inside Casa Santo Domingo monastery complex.  You can find Mayan artifacts like funerary masks displayed alongside current glass pieces.

If you’re an active outdoors type, then don’t miss taking a tour of one or two of the surrounding volcanoes that act as sentries to the colonial city, the Agua, the Acatenango and the Fuego. There are a variety of tour companies that can you take up the mountains via jeep, hiking or horseback.  The Fuego is still an active volcano! Be prepared for a strenuous day!

Ready to shop?  Situated beneath the Santa Catalina Arch, the Nim Po’t is an emporium of artisanal Guatemalan products.  Choose from over 500 local artists creating everything from woodcuts, calendars inspired by the Maya, woven tablecloths or traditional clothing.  You will also find handmade shoes, sandals and handbags.     

At night, choose a restaurant near the lively Parque Central.  Music fills the scented air, as you dine and sip Mexican Tequila.