Not to be confused with the popular Caribbean Island, the city of Antigua in Guatemala holds its own special charm. This richly preserved Spanish American city, visited by thousands every year, is filled with gorgeous houses, historic monuments, stunning churches, and beautiful parks and ruins. The city is colorful, friendly, and full of tradition and charm. We have no doubt about the fact that you’ll appreciate all that you find as you explore.
WHEN TO VISIT ANTIGUA
The city of Antigua is located in a tropical area and, as such, really doesn’t experience much bad weather. The high mountain elevation prevents summer temperatures from soaring too high and, as a result, the temperatures actually stay relatively stable throughout the entire year. The typical daytime temperature hovers around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius) while the evenings can become as cool as 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 Celsius).
The city of Antigua, despite its nice temperatures, does have a rainy season. Between the months of May and September you’ll find rain on a daily basis, usually during the late afternoon or evening hours. If you don’t mind a little rain, visiting during this time shouldn’t stop you from exploring Antigua.
TRANSPORTATION THROUGHOUT ANTIGUA
La Merced Church, Antigua – Guatemala
While you can get around Antigua by car, you’ll find that renting a car really isn’t necessary. Taking local transportation systems is one of the best ways to meet new people and get a closer view of the city itself.
The bus to Antigua, Guatemala
One popular mode of transportation is the “chicken bus.” Chicken buses are actually old school buses that have been renovated to be a part of the public transportation system. Some travel along set routes throughout Antigua while others run dedicated routes between Antigua and Guatemala City. The buses are safe and inexpensive but have no predetermined schedule and can be a bit slow.
Street scenary, Antigua, Guatemala
The new trolley system is especially popular amongst tourists. They not only allow visitors to hop on and off, but you can use them to take a guided tour (in either English or Spanish) as well.
HEALTH & SAFETY IN ANTIGUA
Antigua is considered a relatively safe place to visit but, as you’ll find in most major cities, you should take precautions. Robberies and theft related crimes are most commonly committed against tourists, but the targets are those who appear to be well off.
Ruins of colonial building, Antigua, Guatemala
When visiting Antigua, take special care to make yourself appear modest. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry, try not to carry large amounts of cash, and don’t let others know you have expendable income (by doing things like over-tipping). If you are backpacking through Guatemala, make sure you have a lock on your pack.
ETIQUETTE IN ANTIGUA
Mayan Woman weaving in Antigua, Guatemala
While tipping in Antigua, and throughout Guatemala, is not generally mandatory, it is expected by service staff members and you should leave something in return for good service. Hotel staff members, for example, are likely to continue to provide you better service if you remember to tip them. Keep your eyes peeled when reading your restaurant bills. The word “propina” indicates the tip has been included, but if you feel the service was subpar you can reduce the amount you pay.
THINGS TO SEE IN ANTIGUA
The city of Antigua is filled with dozens of incredible historic and cultural landmarks. Your only challenge will be deciding where to begin.
Central Park, Antigua, Guatemala
Start with a trip to the Plaza Mayor, otherwise known as Central Park. There you will find a gorgeously landscaped area littered with gorgeous monuments and buildings, some dating as far back as 1739.
Antigua cathedral, and central plaza air view
The Catedral Metropolitana, built in 1543, is a stunning example of Spanish architecture. A series of earthquakes had at one point caused significant damage to the cathedral, but it has since been restored.
City square palace
Don’t forget to visit the Palacio del Noble Ayuntamiento as well. During the mid 1700’s, the Cabilido Espanol used the building as their headquarters. Years later, it was used as a prison. Today you’ll find several municipal buildings and museums on the premises.
The city of Antigua is especially popular amongst students looking to take their foreign language skills to the next level and tourists simply looking for a new place to enjoy. Book a hotel in Antigua, pack your bags, and prepare for one of the most enchanting vacations you’ve had in a very long time.