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12 Easy Things To Do In Antigua, Guatemala - Updated 2020

12 Easy Things To Do In Antigua, Guatemala
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In the heart of Guatemala is the ancient city of Antigua. While most of Central America remains a rough place for travelers because of unreliable transportation and questionable safety, Antigua makes for a convenient hub for exploring all sorts of activities. Whether you are the adventurous type or the romantic type, there is something for everyone. Here are 12 easy activities that will make you never want to leave.

1. Book a tour to just about anywhere

The Ruins of Tikal

Let’s face it, traveling by chicken bus is no fun. Fortunately, once you are in Antigua, you can book tours to all the desirable destinations near and far. There are one day hikes up Volcán Pacaya, overnight camping trips to Volcán Acatenango, or multiple day tours to Lago de Atitlán or the ruins of Tikal. No matter what your time frame is, there is a tour for you. Two highly rated tour companies are Adrenalina Tours and Rainbow Travel Center.

Rainbow Travel Center

Address: 7th Avenida Sur No. 8. La Antigua Guatemala

Opening Hours: Hours Monday through Friday, 9:00 am - 6:00 pm Local Time (GMT -6) Lunch Time 1:00 to 2:00pm. and Saturday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. Lunch Time 1:00 to 2:00pm.

Contact: (USA dial 011) +502 79 31 7878

Near by Food: Rainbow Cafe

Website: Rainbow Travel Center

2. Hike up to Cerro de la Cruz

Antigua guatemala 2009
Source: Photo by user chensiyuan used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you prefer to just stay in town, you can hike up to Cerro de la Cruz. It is about a 45 minute walk from Parque Central. At the peak is the landmark giant stone cross and a breathtaking view of the whole city. In the distance is Volcán Agua. It is a nice place to have a picnic while you take in the view. There are vendors selling local fruit so you can grab a bite right there.

Cerro de la Cruz

Address: 1 av. Norte, Antigua, Sacatepéquez, 03001, Guatemala

Price: Free

Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm. Closed on public holidays.

Duration: 45 minute hike from center of town.

Access: Head North on 1 av. Norte, Antigua

Near by Food: Food Stands

3. Walk the garden at Hotel Casa Santo Domingo

Casa Santo Domingo in Antigua, Guatemala
Source: Photo by user Dru Kelly used under CC BY-ND 2.0

This luxury hotel rivals the extravagance of those in any major city but you do not have to be a guest to wander the grounds. There are art installations and macaws in the garden so there is no need to shell out any cash to enjoy the place. If you do want to spend a little more time and money, there are multiple restaurants and museums on the premises. You can find local Guatemalan cuisine or experiment with fusion dishes. You can enlighten yourself in their archaeology museum or just appreciate the Pre-Columbian art and ceramics.

Hotel Casa Santo Domingo

Address: 3a Calle Oriente No. 28 “A”, La Antigua Guatemala

Price: from 184USD

Contact: +502 7820-1220

Book Now

4. Explore the art and food at El Tenedor del Cerro

Tenedor del Cerro
Source: Photo by user Josué Goge used under CC BY 2.0

From Hotel Casa Santo Domingo there is a free shuttle departing every hour that takes you to their restaurant up on the hill. Both the shuttle and the restaurant have a canopy roof design so you cannot miss it. This place is not just a restaurant, it is an extension of everything Santo Domingo embodies. You will find more art installations up the hill, including the oversized fork sculpture that is the namesake of this place. If that is not enough, there is even a chocolate store and a zipline.

El Tenedor del Cerro

Price: From about 80 GTQ

Opening Hours: Open Tuesday to Sunday Breakfast 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Lunch – 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Dinner – 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Access: Free shuttle from Casa Santo Domingo

Contact: +502 7955 8314

Website: El Tenedor del Cerro

5. Have a Mezcal at Cafe No Sé

Ilegal Mezcal
Source: Photo by user Renata Avila used under CC BY 2.0

Situated adjacent to a Libros Dyslexia bookstore is Cafe No Sé, but this is no cafe. This is the most well-known bar in Antigua. The front room looks like any typical dark grimy dive bar. However, concealed behind a refrigerator door is a speakeasy serving up Mezcal, a once-illegal liquor smuggled in from Oaxaca, Mexico. Grab a drink here and enjoy live music any night at this venue. It is the one place that has it all: books, music, culture, and alcohol.

Cafe No Sé

Address: 1a Avenida Sur, Antigua Guatemala

Opening Hours: 2pm-1am Daily

Access: 3 blocks east from Parque Central

Contact: +502 5501 2680

Near by Food: Toko Baru.

Website: Cafe No Sé

6. Have a Cup of Guatemalan Coffee

Guatemalan coffee beans drying

The elevation of the Guatemalan highlands are supposed to make for good coffee beans. Antigua proves that with cafes everywhere. Right across from the Parque Central is Cafe Condesa which, despite the touristy location, is enjoyed by locals and tourists. If you are booking a tour at Rainbow Travel Center, they also have a Rainbow Cafe next door. Don’t disregard the cafe so readily just because it is next to the travel center, they actually serve good food and coffee. However, if you want the most highly rated coffee, go to Fernando’s Kaffee. They serve food, coffee, and chocolate. You can take care of all your gift shopping here too, by picking up some coffee or chocolate to bring back.

Fernando's Kaffee

Address: 7a Avenida Norte #43 D, Antigua Guatemala

Opening Hours: 7am - 7pm Daily

Contact: Telephone: +(502) 7832-6953 Email: [email protected]

Website: Fernando’s Kaffee

7. Sample chocolate at ChocoMuseo

Beans from the cacao plant

The chocolate in Guatemala is as highly regarded as its coffee. If you want to explore all the chocolate products available then hit up ChocoMuseo. It is more of a shop than a museum despite what the name might imply. They do have a separate room with some information about chocolate. The minute you walk in they greet you with chocolate tea and other samples. You can basically purchase chocolate in all forms here including chocolate soap. If you are afraid chocolate bars will melt in your luggage, then you can purchase whole cacao beans or cacao nibs and try to make chocolate back home.

ChocoMuseo

Address: 4a Calle Oriente, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala

Opening Hours: Monday - Thursday : 10:00 AM to 6:30 PM Friday - Saturday : 10:00 AM to 7:30 PM Sunday : 10:00 AM to 6:30 PM

Access: 1.5 blocks from the central square of the colonial city.

Contact: Telephone +(502) 7832 4520 Email: [email protected]

Website: ChocoMuseo

8. Shop for local arts and crafts at Nim Po't.

Colorfully crafted Guatemalan bus toys

If arts and crafts are your thing, there is definitely no shortage of that here in Antigua. There are vendors everywhere from the bus terminal to the street vendors surrounding Parque Central. The big question is where to get the most authentic goods? Nim Po’t is supposedly where the artisan products are sold. However, you will pay a little more and they do sell some common goods so shop carefully. At the very least, it is more organized than the street merchants and much less pushy. You will probably find hundreds of postcards and paintings of the landmark Santa Catalina Arch. This is an iconic piece of architecture and is located right outside Nim Po’t, so be sure to take in the sights of this area.

Nim Po't

Address: 5a Avenida Norte #29, Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepequez 03001

Opening Hours: 9am - 9pm Daily

Contact: +(502) 7832-2681

Near by Food: Fernando’s Kaffee

Website: Nim Po’t

9. Visit shrines for Saints and Sinners including the Infamous Maximón

San José Catedral in Antigua, Guatemala
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Erik Albers used under CC0

Churches are abundant in this religious town. There is the unavoidable San Jose Catedral across from the Parque Central. There is the rustic ruins of Iglesia de San Francisco El Grande. You can spend a good amount of time visiting ancient buildings if you are into architecture and religion. Each church is deeply rooted in history and beautiful in their unique way. However, if you want to see something truly unique, then visit the shrine of Maximón, a pre-colonial Mayan deity often dressed in gangster suits. Legend has it that he slept with the wives of all the villagers while they were at work and he is worshiped for his sexual prowess and other dark vices. You can find his shrine conveniently located in Nim Po’t and the path leading up to it is filled with sexually explicit images telling the story of Maximón.

Maximón Shrine

Address: 5a Avenida Norte #29, Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepequez 03001

Opening Hours: 9am - 9pm. Daily

Access: Walk all the way through to the back of Nim Po’t

Near by Food: Fridas

10. Peruse the Parque Central

he Central Plaza of Antigua
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ondřej Žváček used under CC BY 2.5

Parque Central is the unavoidable heart of the city. A popular place for couples publicly displaying too much affection and busy vendors selling food and crafts. Parque Central is the go-to place for people watching or to enjoy a cup of coffee. Banks, ATMs, and money changers are readily nearby. You can catch the game with a big platter of nachos at Monoloco restaurant or grab a bite while watching a movie at the Bagel Barn. With shops and restaurants surrounding the park, you are never short of options here.

Parque Central

Address: 4 Avenida Sur, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala

Price: Free

Opening Hours: 24/7

Contact: +(502) 7832 4801

Near by Food: Cafe Condesa, Bagel Barn

11. Go on a hike up a Guatemalan volcano


When you find yourself in Guatemala, hiking through a volcano is among the activities that you can tick off your bucket list! It’s not as scary as it sounds. Although considered an active volcano, Pacaya is quite safe for tourists who are curious about volcano tours. The hike up usually takes several hours on average depending on one’s pace so make sure to choose a trail that you can handle. Horse rental is also available for those who might not think they can hike up. Make sure to inform your guide beforehand so he can take the necessary preparations. A great day trip from Antigua, don’t miss out on this chance to get up close and personal with one of Guatemala’s famous volcanoes.

Volcan de Pacaya

Address: Guatemala

Price: from 80 USD

Website: Volcan de Pacaya

12. Learn to cook Guatemalan food

Canada and Colombia sharing recipes of their traditional meals while cooking Guatemalan food. #latortillacookingschool

Posted by La Tortilla Cooking School Antigua, Guatemala on Sunday, 15 July 2018

What’s a vacation without sampling the local cuisine, right? Visitors to Guatemala can take this one step further by actually learning how to make the local dishes! La Tortilla Cooking School offers short courses on cooking for both locals and tourists who are interested to try their hand at cooking. It’s a great way to meet new people, make friends, and eat your way through a vacation!

La Tortilla Cooking School

Address: 3 Calle Poniente, #25 Antigua Guatemala

Website: La Tortilla Cooking School

So much history to explore

This is just a small sample of what is available in Antigua. Around the corner of every cobblestone road are unique shops, aromatic restaurants, or ruins of an ancient city. In this city filled with history, everyone and every place has a story to tell. So, go out there and explore all the hidden gems of Antigua.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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