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What does a day in Antigua Guatemala look like?

Antigua Guatemala is 50 kilometers from the capital city, it was declared in 1979 Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco, is described as “a jewel of urbanism and colonial architecture”, retaining its characteristics of the colonial era it has become the main tourist destination of the country and an icon around the world.

The cobbledstone streets invite you to walk through its emblematic places, combining the visit to a museum with a temple, to know the ruins of the Cathedral or an art gallery, and during the journey stop to eat a snack or take an atoll in the outskirts of La Merced or another one of the 19 temples in the city.

Another option is the traditional food stalls on the street or a formal restaurant with native cuisine, or places near the Arco de Santa Catalina.

The offer is so varied that you can also taste the world cuisine. Behind the walls of the old houses, tourists can be surprised with a cozy place and good food.

Walking to the Handicraft Market, near the Central Park, to do your shopping, can be another experience and for the most religious, go to mass in any of the great churches.

Places of Interest

Arco de Santa Catalina

It is one of the most recognized places in the city of Antigua Guatemala. It belonged to the nuns inmates of the convent of Santa Catalina Virgen and Mártir, but after the forced transfer of the capital of the General Captaincy of Guatemala from Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala to Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción after the Santa Marta Earthquakes in 1773, the structure was abandoned. The Arch of Santa Catalina, Convent Cloister and Nave of the Church make up the monumental complex of the Old Convent of Santa Catalina Virgen y Mártir. The arch was reconditioned in the decade of 1890 by the government of General Manuel Lisandro Barillas Bercián and a turret was built on it to place a clock.


Cerro de la Cruz

Cerro de la Cruz (before known like the Cerro del Manchen) is a small mountain that we can find near the city of Antigua Guatemala. Its current name is due to a cross that guards the city. The hill has an altitude that allows to visualize the colonial city of Antigua Guatemala in all its splendor. From the top you can see perfectly the whole city. Its streets and avenues, its Plaza Mayor to the center and all its other buildings that include churches, convents, houses and cobblestone streets. All this makes the sight leave us breathless. Around there is a forest and the place has rest areas where tourists and local visitors feel to appreciate the view and their stay in the place.

Catedral de Antigua Guatemala

The church of San José or better known as the cathedral of Antigua is located in front of the central park of Antigua, the most central and ideal place to start touring the city and discover each one of its corners. The cathedral was started from the year of 1545 and has been rebuilt several times due to earthquakes in the city, the strongest in the year of 1773. The cathedral is a beautiful building and the main church of the many you can find in the city. The best view of the cathedral is from the balcony of the City Hall Palace since you can see the volcano and the facade.

Iglesia de La Merced

It is one of the best exponents of Guatemalan ultra-baroque architecture in the city of Antigua Guatemala, being one of the most important temples in the city and it is convenient that during your stay you visit it. The church of La Merced of Antigua Guatemala was built in the mid-eighteenth century. Its architect was Juan de Dios Estrada and its inauguration took place in 1767. Of its façade stands out the sculpture of San Pedro Nolasco (founder of the Mercedarian Order), the one of the Virgin of Our Lady of the Mercedes, and the one of the shield of the order. The church of Nuestra Señora de la Merced is part of the tourist route commemorating Brother Pedro. You will find it practically in the heart of the city.

Parque Central

The visit of Antigua begins with the central park, with its fountain in the center, known as Fuente de las Sirenas, it was designed and built by the architect Diego de Porres. However, it was demolished when the construction of the park that occupied the Plaza Real began. The fountain was rebuilt until 1936 when the engineer Carlos Cipriani was Governor of the Department of Sacatepéquez.

The Fountain of the Sirens has four mermaids on the sides of which spouts from their breasts. The sirens are placed on the sides of the base, from which rises a column that ends in a cup on which another smaller base is located. All these elements, base, column and cups were built in the center of a pond surrounded by acacias.

To one side of the square is the cathedral, white and of pure colonial style, it is interesting to visit it in Easter. On the other side is the INGUAT office and the police, INGUAT has maps of the city and can help you organize the rest of your trip. On the third side, there is the municipal palace, with a small museum of Antigua. The fourth side is the liveliest one called Portal de Comercio, with a bookstore, a kiosk of sweets and cigarettes, internet coffee and a house of exchange, and two banking institutions.


Principales Ruinas de Antigua Guatemala

Not all the buildings in the city of Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala resisted the seismic movement that occurred in 1773, so some churches, temples, hermitages, convents and monasteries were destroyed, and are currently in ruins. Among those buildings there are some that are open to the public so visitors can appreciate, in these ruins, the style of construction, the type of structures, the facades, the carving on pillars and columns, the fine designs in stucco, the niches, the capitals, the sculptures, the dimensions of the place, the rooms, the main cloister surrounded by arched columns, some fountains and gardens, all colonial architecture.

Here is a list of open and closed ruins to the public.

Ruinas Abiertas al Público

    • Ruinas del Convento de la Merced
    • Ruinas del Convento de San Francisco
    • Ruinas de Catedral
    • Ruinas del Templo y Convento de Santa Clara
    • Ruinas de la Iglesia y Convento de Capuchinas
    • Ruinas de la Iglesia y Convento de la Recolección
    • Ruinas del Colegio de San Jerónimo

Ruinas Cerradas al Público

    • Ruinas de la Iglesia de San Agustin
    • Ruinas del Hospital de Nuestra Señora de Belén
    • Ruinas del Convento de la Inmaculada Concepción de María
    • Ruinas del Convento de Santa Catalina Mártir
    • Ruinas de la Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Carmen
    • Ruinas de la Iglesia y Convento de la Compañia de Jesús
    • Ruinas de la Parroquía de San Sebastián
    • Ruinas del Templo y Convento de Santa Teresa de Jesús