Few places in the Americas hold such a repository of colonial architecture as Antigua does. Some still serve their original purpose, whereas others have morphed into hotels, restaurants, shops, and homes. Still others stand magnificently in ruins. If ever there was a place you could overdose on history, Antigua is it. Avoid the temptation to rush from church to convent to monastery to palace and off to another church, all in one morning. (You'll see dazed tour groups doing exactly that.) Build in some down time and delight in the small things (ice cream, music, or shoe shines) that make this one of the hemisphere's special places.

Nearly everything of interest (sights, restaurants, hotels, and services) sits in a 10-by-10-block grid in the center of the city, and you could possibly narrow that down even further by focusing on the immediate orbit of the central park. Most of the sights lie east, south, and north of the park.

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  • 1. Arco de Santa Catalina

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    The only remnant of the once-enormous Convent of St. Catherine is this beautiful orange-yellow arch that spans 5 Avenida Norte, a street locals...Read More

  • 2. Casa del Tejido Antigüo

    Historic Home

    This is the place to come for background information on the rainbow of textiles you'll see when you head out to the highlands. Exhibits present...Read More

  • 3. Casa K'ojom


    K'ojom means "music" in various Mayan languages, and Casa K'ojom–-one of the three museums that make up Centro Cultural La Azotea–-highlights...Read More

  • 4. Casa Popenoe

    Historic Home

    A short loop through this beautifully restored colonial mansion takes you through courtyards and several rooms containing decorative objects...Read More

  • 5. Catedral de Santiago Apóstol y San José Catedral

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Upon your first peek inside, you may wonder why the cathedral of Central America's preeminent colonial city seems so small. That's because what...Read More

  • 6. Centro Cultural La Azotea


    Three modest museums–-Casa K’ojom; Museo del Café (temporarily closed); and Rincón de Sacatepéquez (not worth visiting)–-make up this cultural...Read More

  • 7. Cerro de la Cruz


    The view from this hillside perch north of the city, with its cross in the foreground, city rooftops and Volcán Agua in the background, is Antigua...Read More

  • 8. Convento de las Capuchinas

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Antigua's largest convent was built by Capuchin nuns, whose number had swelled because they, unlike other sisterhoods, did not require young...Read More

  • 9. Convento Santa Clara

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Shortly after it was founded in 1699, the Convent of St. Clare grew to be a rather elaborate complex housing nearly 50 nuns. When it was destroyed...Read More

  • 10. Finca Filadelfia Estate


    The estate has been family-owned and run since 1870. Coffee tours are offered daily at 9 and 11 am and 2 pm, and take you from cultivating and...Read More

  • 11. Iglesia de La Recolección

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Despite opposition from the city council, which felt the town already had plenty of monasteries, La Recolección was inaugurated in 1717, the...Read More

  • 12. Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de La Merced

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    The Church of Our Lady of Mercy is one of Antigua's most eye-catching attractions, known for its fanciful yellow stucco facade that incorporates...Read More

  • 13. Mercado Central


    The smell of fresh fruits and vegetables will lead you to this unassuming market, the place where local residents come to shop for all manner...Read More

  • 14. Monasterio San Francisco

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Guatemala points with pride and reverence to its very own saint, Pedro de San José Betancur (1626–67), a native of the Canary Islands who came...Read More

  • 15. Museo de Arte Colonial


    Antigua's Museum of Colonial Art sits on the former site of the University of San Carlos, with its cloisters left largely intact through the...Read More

  • 16. Palacio de los Capitanes Generales


    A multiyear restoration project (primarily reinforcement of the walls) is currently underway at the Palace of the Captains General, easily recognized...Read More

  • 17. Palacio del Ayuntamiento

    Government Building

    As in colonial times, the City Hall continues to serve as the seat of government. Today it also houses two museums, the Museo de Santiago (Museum...Read More

  • 18. Parque Central


    Surrounded by old colonial buildings, this tree-lined square is the center of Antigua and one of Latin America's most pleasant central parks...Read More

  • 19. Paseo de los Museos


    The Casa Santo Domingo hotel complex features six small museums on its Museums Promenade: Colonial; Archaeology; Pre-Colombian Art and Modern...Read More

  • 20. The Avocado Tour


    Transportation can be arranged to this avocado plantation 20 minutes outside the city with pick-up in front of Antigua’s cathedral on the Central...Read More

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