Guatemala   /  
  • L'Arche de Santa-Catalina

  • Les rues colorées d'Antigua

  • L'église et couvent de Nuestra Seńora de la Merced

  • Des vendeuses de tissu

  • Une gallerie le long du Parque Central

  • La fontaine du Parque Central

  • Une vue sur le volcan depuis la ville

  • Un marché devant les ruines de la cathédrale

  • Vue depuis Cerro de la Cruz sur le voldcan

  • La cathédrale Saint-Joseph, sur le Parque Central

  • Les rues d'Antigua

  • Faire griller des marshmallows sur le volcan Pacaya

  • Vue sur le volcan depuis le Terrace Hostel

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Antigua, the former capital of Guatemala, is a charming colonial city protected by UNESCO. Just chill out by walking through the beautiful streets with their colorful houses.

What to visit in Antigua?

To enjoy a magnificent view over the city, climb over a hill called Cero de la Cruz. You must go there before 5pm because after there is more police patrols on site. After 10 min of stairs, you will have a beautiful view of the city and its volcano.

It is quite easy to find its way around in the city once you understand how the street names work. The vertical streets are named Avenue and range from 1 to 7 East to West and horizontal streets are called Calle and range from 1 to 7 North to South. The Plaza (Parque Central), downtown, marks the boundary between north-south and east-west.

There are a lot of shops and a large craft market, which offers a selection of souvenirs, jade and textile. There is also a small market in the city center, in a large shed on the street with the Arch, the Nim Pot. Even if you have nothing to buy, go take a look, it’s worth it!

BEST PLACES to eat in Antigua?

  • Mono Loco is the international bar in the city, all backpackeurs meet there. Food is a bit more expensive than elsewhere but is really delicious. We recommend you Fajitas for 10€ and Nachos for € 7 (huge plates you can take for several people).
  • Travel Menu: Take “Typical Plato”: guacamole, bean paste, tortillas, nachos, chicken, beef or Toffu, rice and sauces. One of the best local food we ate. Their motto is “little place, big portion.” There are also vegetarian dishes!
  • Sushi (South Avenida first number 7). This restaurant offers  sushi dishes at half price on some weekdays. It’s really cheap and super good. The terrace of the restaurant is also very nice. We paid € 25 for 3 people, 16 sushi per person.
  • A very typical place with only locals in there:  El recognition tipico (3 Avenida Sure 15). It is not expensive, but do not expect sophisticated food or varied choice  because they serve only two different dishes. You can eat a plate for 20Q  (2 €). Women are cooking at the restaurant entrance and tables are in the back in a small courtyard.
  • The Whisky Den is a bar that serves good cheap food! We recommend the huge burgers and chicken wings with a great super spicy sauce.
  • An Indian restaurant in a beautiful courtyard and garden but quite expensive: the Pusha (4 Avenida)

Visit also our page about the Guatemalan typical cuisine.

NIGHTLIFE: Where to HAVE A drink in Antigua?

All bars must close at around 1am because of local laws.

Go to the Sky Bar (1 Avenida Sure 15) for a drink with assorted nachos. The cocktails are also super good and you can enjoy the evening with a beautiful view of the volcano on a terrace.

Café No Sé is a small bar that has lots of character with its strange decoration, especially a room where you have to go through a small door to go drinking shots. Truly a must see!

WHICH HOSTEL in Antigua?

We really liked the Terrace Hostel. In the morning you can enjoy breakfast on the terrace on the roof of the hostel enjoying the view of one of the volcanoes of the city. Breakfast is free but drinks are for pay. The atmosphere is very friendly and many activities are organized in the evening. The place is especially famous for its Pub Crawl on Mondays. It starts at 3pm ! Do not miss it! The owner of the hostel takes you to the best bars in the city where you can drink Cuba Libre for € 0.6 (and other stuffs) !

Excursion to Pacaya Volcano

It is better to take a group excursion (to book in travel agencies on site) for security issues. It is not uncommon to hear stories of robberies. You can take the tour in the morning at 6am or in the evening at 2pm. With the evening you have a chance to see the sunset on the days of clear sky (which we did not have). The climb is quite difficult because you can not go at your own pace. In deed, you are driven by local with horses, awaiting the time when you will give up and take their “taxi” (horse) for 100Q. It really makes the climb a very difficult time for non sportive people.

We took the evening tour to see the sunset, unfortunately we were not very lucky as it was very cloudy and we did not see anything. Bring marshmalos with you to grill at the top of the volcano. Back at 8pm in Antigua.

Travel agency in angitua

For excursions, including Pacaya volcano, or to take the shuttle to go to another city, you will need to use a travel agency. We used the agency Barco, with which we have never had any problems.

Where to go After Antigua?

Usually, travelers go to Chichicastenango or Panajachel, or to Semuc-Champay, or like us to Livingston.

To go to Livingston, we booked a shuttle for 170Q through Guatemala City, where we changed to a larger and more comfortable bus. This is a very long drive, lasting a whole day: the start was at 9 am with the arrival in Puerto Barios at 6:30pm.

question ? Other tips to add ?

Share your experience with other backpackers to enrich this article! Feel free to ask questions or leave comments below, we will answer with pleasure!


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