Antigua is a small town with cobbled streets in the middle of three big volcanoes. It used to be the capitol of Guatemala until three big earthquakes in the late 18th century ruined much of the town and they decided Guatemala City was a safer place. There are still remains of the old city with several ruins scattered around town.
Antigua is called the backpacker central of Guatemala, and not without reason. There are more hostels and Spanish schools here than in any other town in Guatemala. It seemed that not only backpackers come to Antigua as there are also quite a few more upscale hotels.
The tourism in Antigua has increased the property prices so much that many of the Guatemaltecos need to move out of town to find property and houses that they can afford. Still, we found the town to be quite charming and spent 10 relaxing days there without doing very much.
Here are some of our highlights:
- Villa Esthela is a little, cheap hostel with a great roof-terrace and nice staff. It’s a little outside town, but the distances in Antigua are all quite small
- Spanish Academy Sevilla
- El Frijol Feliz cooking school
- Por Que No? – a nice, little bar run by some lovely owners
- Monoloco – Best. Nachos. Ever.
- Cerro de La Cruz is just a small walking trip (no need for police escort during the day, although a lot of guidebooks say so)
- Visiting some of the many ruins after the three big earthquakes in the 18th century
- Walking around and looking at the town and its people
- The Artisan market, where you usually can haggle the prices to 20-50% of their initial quote
More pictures from Antigua and the rest of our Guatemala travels can be found here.