Welcome To The Pretty Town Of Antigua Guatemala

Antigua
Antigua, Guatemala

The city of Antigua was once the Capital of Guatemala. That was before major earthquakes destroyed most of it in the 1700’s.

Today it’s a picturesque town that attracts many local and international travelers.

I met the Vice President of Guatemala himself!

I’ve spent a few days here so far, and even though there are more tourists than some other places I’ve been to in Guatemala, there’s a reason for it. Antigua is very easy on the eyes!

It’s a colorful town, with many interesting ruined churches and monasteries to gaze at every few blocks.

Local Kids in Antigua, Guatemala
New Friends

The area is tranquil and surrounded by mountains & volcanoes. December weather in Antigua is cold at night, but warm and sunny during the day.

The streets are filled with people and activity, it’s fun to just aimlessly walk around.

Antigua has many great restaurants too, but for Guatemalan standards, they’re a bit on the expensive side. Street food is plentiful though, and a trip to the market can score you a great meal for about $15 Quetzales ($1.80 US).

Jose Rafael Espada Vice President

I met the Vice President of Guatemala the other day!  His name is Dr. José Rafael Espada, and his security convoy stopped so he could go furniture shopping with his wife.

With a crowd of onlookers and heavily armed G-2 men (Guatemalan Secret Service) surrounding him, he waved me over for a chat in the presence of a small news crew.

We talked in English for a few minutes about my travels, then he left with his body guards.

The best part was I didn’t find out who he was until AFTER I got done speaking with him! I just saw all the security, the news crew, the crowd, and assumed he was someone I should get photos of.

While we spoke to each other I pretended like I knew him, but later I had to ask a local: “who was that I just met?”.

The guy I asked thought it was hilarious.

I’ll be spending Christmas here in Antigua, and it should be a good time. I can tell there will be a lot of festivities. It will be tough not having family or close friends around, but that’s sometimes the price you pay for long-term travel.

Travel Planning Resources for Antigua Guatemala
Good Place to Sleep: Villa Esthela
Good Place to Eat: Tras la Puerta Verde (9a Calle & 2 Avenida Sur)
Tips: Check out Cafe No Se on the East end of town for a chill bar/lounge/cafe to hang out. If you get sick of tourists, walk to the other towns close by for a change of pace.

Packing Guide

Check out my travel gear guide to help you start packing for your trip. Pick up a travel backpack, camera gear, and other useful travel accessories.

Book Your Flight

Book cheap flights on Skyscanner, my favorite airline search engine to find deals. Also read my tips for how I find the cheapest flights.

Rent A Car

Discover Cars is a great site for comparing car prices to find the best deal. They search both local & international rental companies.

Book Accommodation

Booking.com is my favorite hotel search engine. Or rent local apartments on Airbnb ($35 discount!). Read my post for tips on booking cheap hotels.

Protect Your Trip

Don’t forget travel insurance! I’m a big fan of World Nomads for short-term trips. Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read more about why you should always carry travel insurance.

READ MORE GUATEMALA TRAVEL TIPS

I hope you enjoyed my guide to the pretty town of Antigua Guatemala! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

THANKS FOR READING

Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for the last 9 years as a blogger, photographer, and digital nomad. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel with crazy stories, photography, and money-saving travel tips.
Matthew Karsten
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Comments (11)

  1. Hi, we will be spending 23-25 December in Antigua….and wondered if you had any recommendations for fun things to do on the evening of 24th dec. we are staying at el convento hotel.

    Thanks in advance
    Helen

    • Hi Helen! I recommend finding a rooftop bar/restaurant of some kind for the crazy midnight fireworks extravaganza. Much better view from the roof than from the streets. Although watching kids set off fireworks in the street is also fun.

  2. One of my favorite places on earth. My parents lived near Antigua in Solola for a long time and we visited several times. I actually have photos of little boy in the photo with the caption “Class Differences in Antigua” and other people in his family. Great post, fabulous place to visit.

    • The rest of his family smiled while they performed, he didn’t. I don’t think he liked his job very much…