My name is Max and welcome to my article on the best things to do in Antigua Guatemala! I’m 28 years old and I was born and raised in Germany. I started traveling the world in October, 2019 – a few months before the pandemic hit. I traveled to Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand, and then got stuck in the Philippines for six months on a wonderful island.
My very first flight was all the way to Australia back in 2008 to visit my brother (who lived there for a year). Since then, I have been hooked on traveling and knew that I wanted to see more of our beautiful world with my own eyes. I then saved some money and quit my job to go traveling.
Traveling to Guatemala for a Month
Recently, I made my way to Mexico and was deciding on where to travel next. A YouTube friend of mine visited Guatemala and posted photos of an erupting Volcan de Fuego – and at that moment I knew Guatemala would be my next destination. I travel slowly and so I decided to stay in Antigua Guatemala for a month, using this city as a base to go exploring.
I spent my time doing the Acatenango two day hike (it was so magical!), hiking the Corazon de Agua trail, visiting Altamira and just enjoying the city of Antigua Guatemala. Also, I had the chance to check out Lake Atitlan for a few days which was definitely another highlight of the entire trip.
Why Antigua Guatemala is so Wonderful
I instantly fell in love with Antigua! It was awesome to relax at the many cafes and restaurants of the city – many of which had these beautiful green gardens inside. I couldn’t get enough of them! The view of the volcanoes was just amazing and walking around the city was a lot of fun.
Cities surrounded by volcanoes/mountains are some of my favorite places to visit and Antigua Guatemala blew me away for this very reason. Visiting Altamira and Hobbitenango, and hiking the Corazon de Agua trail were some of the highlights for me – the views from these spots were epic!
Best Things To Do in Antigua Guatemala
Antigua is the perfect base to explore some of the highlights of Guatemala. The city is famous for its pastel colored buildings and beautiful colonial architecture, but there is so much more that makes this city great. Below are my recommendations for the best things to do in and around Antigua:
- Check out the Catedral de Santiago
- Stroll through the markets – Mercado, Nim Po’t, Artisan Market, Mercado El Carmen, Museo Casa del Tejido and more!
- Get lost in the cobblestone streets, alleyways, shops and cafes.
- Hike the Corazon de Agua trail
- Tour Acatenango Volcano for two days with CA Travelers
- Visit the ChocoMuseo (free) or join a chocolate workshop
- Take some amazing photos at the Santa Catalina Arch
- Experience Hobbitenango (20 minutes drive away)
- Marvel at the gigantic wooden hand at Altamira
- Head out to Lake Atitlan for three days (minimum)
- Watch the sunset at Cerro de La Cruz
- Roast a few marshmallows on a trip to Pacaya Volcano
- Try to witness an eruption of Volcan de Fuego.
My favorite experience from these recommendations was seeing the eruption of Volcan de fuego at night! It was one of those moments that gives you goosebumps. I had never seen lava prior to this, so witnessing the explosion in timelapse with my own eyes was an indescribable feeling!
Where to Eat in Antigua Guatemala
The different foods and restaurants in Antigua Guatemala are amazing! Places like Fonda De La Calle REAL offer some of the best local cuisine, while Toku Bar and Angie Angie Cafearte had some nice falafel and pizza dishes. I would also recommend going to Cafe Bocetos – a cool 2D cafe!
Need to Know Before you Go
I suggest coming to Antigua Guatemala for at least five to seven days because you really want to do a volcano hike and see the views from Altamirama, and packing all that in only a few days is way too stressful. If you have the time then I would suggest a month, like I did. This way you will really immerse yourself in the city and have time for many trips.
Most of the people in Antigua Guatemala only speak Spanish, so knowing a few Spanish phrases is definitely helpful! I improved my Spanish a lot in Mexico, before coming to Guatemala, and so I was quite happy that I could use it in Guatemala as well. But other than that, the locals are very nice and everything in the city is walkable. Thanks for reading and enjoy your stay!