Destinations in Guatemala:
La Antigua Guatemala
Founded in 1543, Antigua Guatemala was the capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala (the area that is now Guatemala, Belize, Chiapas, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica) until the city was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1773. The capital was subsequently moved to present-day Guatemala City and Antigua was largely abandoned.
Only at the end of the 19th century, when coffee plantations took hold in the area, was Antigua rediscovered and the first efforts were made to restore its colonial splendor. Antigua was declared a National Monument in 1944 and in 1979 UNESCO recognized Antigua as a World Cultural Heritage.
Visitors will find an amazing array of colonial monuments in Antigua, some of which have survived the earthquakes, some lie in ruins, and others were painstakingly restored according to their original construction plans. Many of those buildings are open to the public and give their visitors a fascinating glimpse into what life was like in Antigua more than two centuries ago.
Antigua and the surrounding villages have about 30,000 inhabitants. The town's historic center is quite small, about eight by ten city blocks, and can easily be explored on foot.
Due to its location in the Central Highlands of Guatemala, only about 40 km (25 miles) from Guatemala City, Antigua also makes for an ideal base to explore the rest of the country. Daily bus service to all places of interest to visitors make traveling to and from Antigua easy and convenient.
Places of Interest Around Antigua Guatemala:
- La Azotea Cultural Center
- La Azotea Cultural Center, located in the suburb of Jocotenango only a short distance from Antigua, features three museums that will give you lots of information about the culture and history of Antigua and the surrounding area: the Coffee Museum explains the history, cultivation, processing and marketing of coffee; Casa K'ojom is all about Mayan music, with instruments from pre-Columbian times to the present; and Rincon de Sacatepequez features the customs and costumes of the indigenous villages around Antigua. Also on the premises are a restaurant and an equestrian club where you can take riding lessons or go on guided excursions.
- Valhalla Experimental Station (a.k.a. The Macadamia Farm)
- Valhalla Experimental Station, commonly know simply as The Macadamia Farm, is located on the road from Antigua Guatemala to San Miguel Dueñas, at the foot of the Agua volcano only a short distance from Antigua. During a tour of the farm, you will learn about the Macadamia tree, the Macadamia nuts, their harvest and processing, as well as environmental protection and sustainable agriculture. As an added bonus, you can sample the delicious Macadamia nuts and try out cosmetics made of it.
Tours including a visit to Antigua Guatemala:
- Guatemala by Land and River (10 days)
- Spend four days sailing the Rio Dulce on our sailboat Las Sirenas, then continue to Tikal, Chichicastenango, Lake Atitlan and Antigua.
- Maya Guatemala (14 days)
- The grand tour of Guatemala! Visit Antigua, Chichicastenango, Lake Atitlan, Tikal, Copan (Honduras), Livingston, Coban, and climb the Pacaya Volcano.
- Maya Guatemala and "The Caribbean Experience" (21 days)
- The grand tour of Guatemala plus seven relaxing days on our sailboat Las Sirenas to the Belize Barrier Reef and Islands.
- More tour packages ...