Antigua

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. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. Parque Central

    Plaza/Square

    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

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