Your ultimate Antigua, Guatemala guide
Table of contents
As you know Antigua Guatemala has a special place in my heart. In fact, that’s the city where Tony and I chose to tie the knot! Plus having the most important people in this magical city made the experience extra special for us. The reason why we chose to get married here was to look for something neutral/centric for both of us as he is from France and I’m from Ecuador. The colors, the people, the food, the security in Antigua specifically and the vibe of the city… who could say no to that!
This city is known to be the heart of the Mayan world located in a country full of life, magic, mysticism and romance. What else could you wish for? Whether you are planning a solo trip or a romantic getaway weekend with your partner or loved ones… The guide I’m about to give you will provide you with all the information you need in order to have the most amazing travel experience and hit the best local spots!
Including Volcanoes, lake Atitlán and enormous gardens scattered around the city, there is no doubt Antigua Guatemala will take your breath away. First stop? We recommend flying into Aeropuerto Internacional La Aurora in Guatemala City, as all major airlines have operations at this airport. Then getting into Antigua will take you around 40 minutes. There are many options you can choose from: like getting an uber/cab or renting a car.
1. Where to stay?
As in every tourist destination, there are plenty of different hotels and airbnb’s in Antigua to choose from but these that I’m going to share with you are our favorite picks! All centrally located with delicious food and great service.
Pensativo House Hotel:
Gorgeous boutique hotel where my family and I chose to stay in! This used to be the house of an ex-president. Beautiful rooms and great food! Filled with romantic gardens, this is definitely a place you will not want to leave.
With gorgeous colonial architecture and a great location just a five-minute walk from “el parque central”, this hotel will make you feel at home.
Hotel Museo Casa Santo Domingo:
Amazing 5 star hotel, bigger than most hotels in Antigua. It has incredible views, a spa -which is a must-, museums, delicious food and museums.
Meson Panza Verde:
Another boutique hotel located in the heart of Antigua. With unmatched ancient architecture, it is well known for its cuisine and romantic vibes.
2. Where to eat?
I have put together a list of restaurants for you to enjoy. Food in Antigua is spectacular, it seems to have a Mexican Influence with their own Guatemalan touch! Full of flavors, colors and diversity.
Breakfast spots: Guatemala is world famous for their coffee and as you might guess, I’m all in for cute coffee shops. Here are a few that caught my eye…
Artista de Cafe:
If you are craving great coffee and pastries, don’t miss this Coffee shop. Also perfect for co-working! Will not disappoint.
It first opened its doors in 1990, which makes it one of the oldest cafes in Antigua.
If you are looking for a healthy, homemade food spot; this is the place to go. Their menu is made with the freshest and organic ingredients
: This spot has been recognized for using whole and local ingredients and making their food from scratch in their own kitchen.
Hotel Museo Casa Santo Domingo:
If you choose to stay in this amazing hotel, you can’t miss its restaurant! This is a perfect place for a special date with your partner or family, even co-workers!
Specialty coffee! It will make your experience of drinking coffee extra special.
Lunch spots: Antigua is full of specialty restaurants you can’t miss. Here are some of my favorites!
Once y Once:
Ok yes this is plant based but you won’t be able to tell! Definitely try the Cauliflower BBQ wings and the Tacos al Pastor, you won’t regret it.
If you are looking for Mexican food, you need to visit this one. And YES do the mezcal tasting!
El Tenedor del Cerro:
If you are a sunset lover like me, you will find this place to be magical. And of course, order a pizza!
Dinner spots: Enjoy awesome dinner dates in the magical city of Antigua
El Convento Boutique Hotel:
Looking to spoil your partner on a romantic evening? Or maybe splurge and take yourself on a fine dining dinner date? You need to make a reservation here.
a must! Fine dining Guatemalan food
Hotel Museo Casa Santo Domingo:
Once again, great place to have breakfast, lunch and dinner!
French bistro in the heart of Antigua!
3. Things to do in Antigua
Self-guided ruins tour:
As Antigua is a colonial city declared a Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO, it has incredible views everywhere and it invites you to experience cultural immersion. Here are some of the sites you can visit that will leave you mind-blown
- Santa Clara
- Church of Candelaria
- Church of Santa Rosa
- Convent of the Capuchinas
- San Jeronimo Convent
- La recolección
Go to Lake Atitlán
If you have some extra time, you can’t miss visiting Lake Atitlán. It’s a true beauty! I like to call it the “Lago di Como” of Central America. If you are wondering where to stay, I would highly recommend Utopia Travels, click here for the hotel! It’s 100% worth the stay… You will be able to get to know their culture which takes you a day or two. The rest of the time I would spend my time relaxing and enjoying the beautiful view.
Walk around the city:
You already know where to go for a breakfast run… make sure to stop at Parque Central, take a look at the markets and handicraft shops, take a bunch of pictures. Then, go to the Arco de Santa Catalina and finish ubering to Tenedor del cerro for lunch (rsvp before!) and have dinner at one of our recommended restaurants
At Frida’s! I recommend the “premium” option!
Learn how to make chocolate:
At Ek Chuah, a family owned business 100% local and then go to the chocolate museum (different place)
Cerro de la Cruz:
Go to El Cerro De La Cruz to have the best views of the entire colonial city.
If you want to spend your afternoon in a different and fun way and like beer with live music, Cervecería 14 is the place for you!
Morning a Caboa Farms:
A farm to table restaurant + farm! You can have a tour. There is even free yoga just check their schedule!
Visit a massage:
Want to have a chill, relaxing day? Treat yourself and Rsvp for a massage at Casa Santo Domingo and their jacuzzi + spa! Will not disappoint
4. First time in Central America? Tips for you
If you are a newbie to the amazing world of Central America, this is for you. I’ve found short, fun and different trips you are undoubtedly going to enjoy! In fact, you will love Guatemala for its rich indigenous culture and home to 23 different languages. Diversity is welcome in all forms and shapes!
- Hiking (easy) El Corazón de Agua
- Hiking + camping at Volcan Acatenango. Here you will see the Volcan del Fuego erupting from up close (at a safe but wonderful distance!)
- Volcan Pacaya + toast marshmallows up top!
- Lake Atitlan, gorgeous location! Try staying at Lush Atitlan and indulge yourself in the Mayan Culture.
All in all, everything that Antigua Guatemala has to offer, from ancient ruins, to amazing gardens, volcanoes and lakes… It’s a magical place for everyone. With unique elements, corners and architecture, Antigua will for sure take you to “another century”.