25 Awesome Things To Do In Antigua (Guatemala) In 2024

Cazzy Magennis
Written By:
Cazzy Magennis
Last Updated:
January 23, 2024
Antigua is the beautiful old capital of Guatemala and is surrounded by volcanoes. Check out my guide on the best things to do in Antigua Guatemala...
Antigua Guatemala

Antigua is probably the most famous place for tourists and backpackers alike in Guatemala!

It was once the capital of the country, until a volcanic eruption ruined the city and they had to move it to what is now “Guatemala city”.

Antigua is a colonial style city that’s bursting in culture, amazing views, delicious food and incredible nightlife. Not only that, but the geological landscapes in this area are incredible.

If you’ve always wanted to see a volcano erupt, but not be in danger, then this is the place to achieve that!

The city has also been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and upon your arrival, you'll see why...

Bradley and I spent 3 nights in Antigua and below we discuss some of the best things to do in Antigua (Guatemala) alongside some practical information that will help you plan your trip.

Note: Some posts may contain affiliate links. Read more in our Privacy Policy. Learn more about how we create and update content in our Publishing Guidelines.

How to get to Antigua?

Guatemala in general doesn’t have the world’s best transport links by any stretch of the imagination, but getting to Antigua is fairly easy.

  • Fly: Lots of people fly to Guatemala city, which is only around a hours journey away and then get a shuttle or taxi to Antigua from there. If you’ve booked a package with a hotel, you can most likely arrange for them to pick you up from the airport to save any hassle.  Uber is also available, but I don’t know the price as we didn’t use it for that long a distance.
  • Shuttle Bus: If you are already in Guatemala then chances are you will be getting a shuttle bus to Antigua. They run from all over the country, and we got ours from Lanquin to Antigua for 140 Q, but you can get it for around 125 Q.
  • Chicken Bus: I assume you would be able to get chicken buses from Guatemala City to Antigua, but I honestly didn’t see a lot of chicken buses on our route from Lanquin, so I’m not sure how that would work.

But chicken buses don’t have air con, and they tend to be even slower, so I think it’s worth just getting an organized shuttle. It’s not expensive for what it is!

Getting around Antigua

chickenbus in Antigua

Antigua is one of the most compact cities in Guatemala so the best way to get around is simply to walk!

This is actually the case for many locations in Central America, as you'll find that most of the tourist attractions are located close together.

In Antigua you'll find that plenty of the tourist spots are located in an 8-by-8 block, and it only requires a 15-20 minute walk to get from one side to the other.

Just make sure you're cautious of your surroundings as the cars seem to whizz by quickly, and the cobblestone streets are very uneven! Not only that, but there are endless potholes which can become a problem - especially if it's been raining.

Other ways to get around Antigua

Here are some other ways to get around the city if you don't wish to walk:

  • Taxis - only really needed at night or if you're outside the city
  • Scooter/motorcycle - you'll find plenty of companies where you can hire one of these and they're a great way to explore Antigua's surroundings
  • Buggy car - another rental option if you're looking to explore
  • Tuk-tuks - great for short journeys
  • Chicken buses & shuttle buses - more for long journeys but there are routes for day trips out of the city

The best places to stay in Antigua

breakfast at casa de leon
It was a great breakfast and free!

Antigua has lots of great places to stay, and there is literally something to suit every budget.

Actually I've written a whole post on where to stay in Antigua with hotel recommendations and how to save money.

We booked one night at Casa De Leon which is a guesthouse that offers a brilliant breakfast on the rooftop with a view of the volcanoes, a wonderful comfortable bed and good WiFi. It’s about a 15 minute walk to all the sights.

Then we used Airbnb to find an awesome colonial style house that had large rooms, free washer/dryer use, and it had a fire inside!

You can check out all the hotels in Antigua Guatemala on Booking.com.

Why not check out our post on all the best places to stay in Antigua for inspiration! 

The 25 Top Things To Do In Antigua Guatemala

Okay, let’s get right down to it, my list of the top things to do in Antigua Guatemala!

1. Wander around The San Francisco Church

Iglesia de San Francisco in Antigua

One of the most visited and photographed destinations in all of Antigua, the San Francisco church has become a significant religious and cultural center for the whole region! 

It attracts a large amount of the local population and tourists alike who come to visit the shrine inside; the shrine of Peter of Saint Joseph Betancur.

San Francisco Church (or Iglesia de San Francisco as it's known) has been around since the 16th century, although not much of the original church remains from this era.

This is due to multiple deadly earthquakes that hit the region, and as a result the building has had to be reconstructed several times over the years. However, it's still just as important today as it was back then.

In fact, whilst many of the churches and convents in Antigua are a little worse for wear due to these earthquakes, a lot of them are still used today and are full of colonial charm! 

The San Francisco church is located 4 blocks south-east from the Plaza Mayor, and is usually open from 8:00am until 5:00pm (Tuesday through to Sunday). It’s important to note that schedules may change during religious holidays.

We highly recommend joining this walking tour in Antigua, where you’ll visit the San Francisco church along with various other city gems. It’s great since you’ll have a knowledge bilingual guide to show you everything you need to know, and also get to see some lesser-known attractions along the way. 

Alternatively you can book this private walking tour on Viator, which is better for those who want a more intimate and customized experience.

2. Stay at The Historic Hotel Casa Domingo

Hotel Casa Domingo

There are lots of memorable stays worth considering in Antigua, however the Hotel Casa Domingo has to rank as one of the all-time best.

We stayed in an Airbnb which was minutes away from this famous hotel. It was actually a Canadian couple who said we should definitely go visit!

Even if we weren't eating, it’s the historical significance of this place that draws people in (Although according to our Canadian friends, they do an awesome Sunday brunch!)

Hotel Casa Domingo is a 5 star hotel and museum that's located on the grounds of the Santo Domingo Monastery. This monastery was once one of the most significant and grand convents in all of the Americas.

The hotel is well known for its baroque architecture, and there are also a number of treasures on display. 

Of course if you want the full experience, you could stay here too at the Hotel Museo Spa Casa Santo Domingo. We think it would be a great place to base yourself given its fantastic location, and also with all of its amenities which include an on-site swimming pool.

The Hotel Casa Domingo is located just a few blocks east of the Plaza Mayor, right next to the San Francisco Church.

3. The Acatenango Volcano Hike

Acatenango volcano
That's what you're climbing...

Guatemala is known for its variety of wild and fiery volcanoes, and around Antigua we can find some of the very best for hiking.

Volcano Fuego is a very active volcano located somewhat close to the city, and still expels ash and lava every now and then. Its last big eruption was in 2018, where up to 70 people were killed.

You can’t hike that volcano, but you can hike the nearby Acatenango volcano which will give you a few close-ups of Fuego. If you’re lucky you may even see Lava coming out!

Two friends we met in Antigua managed to see lava from the volcano and it looked bloody amazing - I was super jealous.

Our friend has actually written a post on all you need to know and how to book your trip!

Now, this volcano hike isn’t for the faint hearted or the unfit.

It’s pretty much a direct incline and once you get to the top, it can feel like you could topple over at any stage. It’s also important to know that it’s a two day, overnight hike.

You hike up to the summit on day one, where you camp overnight and see an amazing sunrise view of Fuego (followed by a hike down the next day).

Prices vary and I know someone who got the experience for 250Q per person, but others pay more (around 350-400Q) for a tad more luxury.

What that basically means is they give you an air bed to sleep on instead of a mat!

Your rental will include your food, your equipment and all you need for an overnight hike up a volcano.

It’s truly a lifetime experience, and you should definitely go for it if you’ve got the time and necessary fitness.

A great tour option is this Overnight Volcano Hiking Adventure! Here your bilingual tour leader will lead your small group up and down Acatenango, where you’ll also have all equipment, meals and hot drinks included.

We think hiking Acatenango is a must for anyone Backpacking through Guatemala.

4. Roast marshmallows at Volcano Pacaya

Volcano Pacaya

This is one of the coolest things to do in Antigua Guatemala. I mean, not everyone can say they’ve got to make smores on a volcano!

So, this is an active volcano that can be climbed (to a certain extent) in Antigua.

Pacaya Volcano is located around an hour and fifteen minutes from the city and it’s an easier hike than the one above.

This volcano frequently erupts, but only with hot ash that collects on the rocky surface. Walking along you can find several spots which are close to the lava - and are hot enough to roast marshmallows.

Lots of people do this trip with an organized tour as they will sort all of the transportation and bring the marshmallows for you. You'll just need to pay the entrance fee to the national park in which the volcano is located, and you're required to have a guide with you by law.

Pacaya Volcano stands 8,373 feet tall and it will probably take you around 2 hours to hike up and down. Due to activity at the moment, you can't reach the actual peak of the volcano, but you can get close enough. It’s a relatively short hike, but it is steep.

We highly recommend heading with this organized tour, where you’ll have all transport included as well as your own guide who will lead the way. This alternative tour is another convenient option, which includes hotel pick-up and drop-off in Antigua.

If you wish, you can rent walking sticks to help, although you'll get plenty of rest stops along the way anyway. This gives you the chance to make it all the way up, get some awesome pictures and roast your marshmallows!

You can even head to the souvenir shop after and buy a piece of lava to take home with you as a memory if you wish.

Take your time when hiking and don’t feel pressured to go quick. It is a high altitude, so if you have type 1 diabetes (like me), my guide on dealing with altitude with type 1 diabetes might be of use here.

You will not see LAVA! So if you are told you will, they are lying.

Are you planning on heading to El Salvador after? Then the Santa Ana volcano hike is another must hike which we loved.

Book your Volcano Pacaya Trek right here for a FANTASTIC price!

5. Day trip to Lake Atitlan

lake atitlan

Lake Atitlan is located roughly 2.5 hours west of Antigua, and it feels like you’re being transported to another beautiful world within Guatemala.

Lake Atitlan is known as the “eternal spring” because it’s always a constant temperature of 25 degrees Celsius, but due to the high level of the place, this is still very warm!

About 98% of the population surrounding the lake are indigenous, so it’s an awesome chance to meet local people and experience different cultures. Some of the lake towns include San Pedro La Laguna, Santa Cruz and San Marcos.

If you don’t have time to stay overnight at the lake, then you can also take a day trip from Antigua instead.

There are plenty of tour organizations who will offer you a package deal that includes your transport there and back, and also your lunch and transport on the lake.

We highly recommend heading with this day tour, which includes all land and lake transport, as well as a knowledgeable guide to teach you all about the culture here.

Or, if you want to do it alone, just book a shuttle bus there and back and explore on your own schedule. This is better for those who have the extra time free, and want to also visit the Chichicastenango Market.

Shuttles start at 6 am and it’s a standard cost of around 85 Q ($10). Don’t pay more than this, and if you get it for less, then even better!

If you do decide to stay at Lake Atitlan, then we can recommend the Sunset Lodge for breathtaking views on the lake.

Those who prefer a more “hands on” experience will love this ATV adventure Tour around Lake Atitlan, where you’ll visit several towns whilst tasting locally grown chocolate and coffee.

Read: Things to do in Lake Atitlan

6. Get your picture at The Santa Catalina Arch

 Santa Catalina Arch

The Santa Catalina Arch was built in 1694, and its purpose was to connect the two convents that were located on either side (making it easy for the local nuns to pass between them).

Although this isn't the case today, it's probably still the most iconic area of Antigua making it a popular photography spot! 

When the sky is right, you can get a picture of the arch with Volcano Fuego in the background perfectly, and it's truly something else.

The sky wasn’t perfect when we were there, so I didn’t get that “iconic” picture, but I did take a picture of the arch! Your best chance is to head here around 5pm just before the sun begins to set.

There are “professional” photographers there who can take your picture for you, which is cool if you don’t have a high quality camera and want a cute souvenir!

The Santa Catalina Arch is located on 5a Avenida Norte, which is just 3 blocks north of the Plaza Mayor.

Here's a brief history of the Santa Catalina Arch if you want to know more!

7. Enjoy the sunset at Cerro De La Cruz

Sunset at Cerro De La Cruz

Translated as “Hill of the Cross” from Spanish, this mirador is only a short and easy 30 minute “hike” up from the center of Antigua. It offers stunning views across the city, and is the perfect place to watch the red sunsets take over the sky.

When you arrive you’ll have awesome views of the volcanoes that surround you, and there are also locals selling all kinds of drinks and snacks here.

Also, you can legally fly a drone here, so it’s a good opportunity to get some AWESOME footage of the volcanos!

I’d actually say this is one of the romantic things to do in Antigua as you can just relax together and reminisce on your trip so far. Just remember to bring a jumper if coming in the evening given how the temperatures can drop rapidly.

Cerro de la Cruz is located right in the northernmost part of Antigua, and the path is open from 7:00am until 6:00pm all days of the week.

8. Go on a bar crawl

bars in antigua

Whilst it’s great seeing the sights and doing lots of activities during the day, it’s also nice to unwind when the nighttime hits.

Antigua is BURSTING with tons of bars and opportunities to drink, and alcohol here is very cheap. You can get shots of tequila (no thank you) for 5Q which is like 50 pence, and Cuba Libres for 10Q which is £1.

You can do what Bradley and I did which is create your very own bar crawl! We were there for Bradley's Birthday, so we wanted to create a cool list of places to go. Here is where we recommend:

There are also organized bar crawls for those who want to let loose and be led around town (which may be more ideal for those who like to go heavy).

You can book your ticket in advance, where you’ll visit numerous venues with drink deals and extra happy hours included!

9. Shop at one of the Artisan Markets

 Artisan Markets in antigua

There are lots of really cool artisan markets in Guatemala and I love a good souvenir, so that’s why it’s made the list of the best things to do in Antigua.

I collect shot glasses from every country I visit, alongside travel bands, and Brad collects flag patches for his rucksack. There is a market located next to the famous arch and it has literally everything. 

You can also find an awesome indoor market 4 blocks further west, which is full of novel souvenirs and traditional garments (it’s open from 9:00am until 7:00pm all days of the week). You’ll also find that everything is really cheap too, which is surprising for such a thriving tourist area!

Some of the best things to buy include little bags of Guatemalan coffee and chocolate, which make great gifts for family and friends back home.

If you’re stuck for ideas, then we suggest reading this guide for some souvenir hunting inspiration!

Trust me, you'll want to spend some time (and save some cash) to wander around this market during your trip.

10. Take a coffee tour

coffee tour in antigua

Speaking of coffee, Guatemala is a rich coffee region, and is known to be one of the best coffee-growing regions on Earth. I loved the coffee here and this was one of my highlights in Antigua.

So, if you love coffee as much as I do, then be sure to take a Coffee Tour!

There are different types of tours available, but try and get something authentic and in English (if you don’t speak any Spanish) so you can truly learn about the process.

You’ll always get to try a delicious cup of coffee after your tour too.

This full-day tour is a perfect option for those who want all logistics sorted, as well as an expert guide who can help you understand the coffee harvesting process better. You’ll also enjoy lunch at a fine restaurant, as well as visit various historical sites along with a trip up to the Cerro de la Cruz.

Now whilst any travel agent in Guatemala can organize a coffee tour, those who want to save on costs will find it far cheaper to do it independently.

We visited La Azotea which is just 10 minutes from the center. You can take an uber there for just a couple of quid, or you can get the chicken bus for $1 (for a more memorable experience!). 

The entrance here is only 50Q, and includes a coffee tour and tasting, as well as a tour of the music museum which was pretty cool! It’s open from 8:00am until 6:00pm daily, aside from Friday and Saturday where it stays open later until 9:00pm.

It was only Brad and I, so it was basically a private tour which was awesome and our guide was also lovely. I purchased some delicious coffee at the end too.

A tour company will charge you about 25 dollars, when it only costs around 7 on your own...so do it yourself and use the money you saved to buy some coffee instead!

Are you after a more immersive coffee experience? Then you simply must book this memorable ATV Tour, where you’ll head out to a coffee plantation, try a locally made cuppa whilst also getting to ride up to the Cerro de la Cruz in style.

Book the exact coffee place we went too, but as a ATV tour!
la azotea coffee tour
coffee tour angitua

11. Have an ice cream at Central Park

central park antigua

Central Park (also known locally as the Plaza Mayor) is basically like the hub of Antigua, which I just call 'the middle'. It’s got lots of activity and restaurants surrounding it, and there are a few cool water fountains too.

Lots of people will be selling ice cream here, so it’s the perfect place to sit on a bench and people watch! This place is a cultural hotspot as it's a popular attraction with both locals and tourists alike.

You can also grab a coffee at one of the surrounding coffee shops if you wish as there are plenty to choose from. El Portal Cafe is a solid option that also does breakfast, and is open from 6:00am until 9:00pm all days of the week.

Although there are plenty of things to do in Antigua, sometimes it's just as important to kick back and relax! 

Central Park is located right in the heart of Antigua, and for this reason it’s a great reference point to use when exploring other gems around the city.

12. Learn Spanish

Spanish lesson

Spanish is my favorite language in the world.

It’s beautiful to read, write and listen to, yet I know very little. I know enough to communicate and ask questions, and I’ve taken online Spanish courses to try and learn more, but I do wish I could speak it fluently.

There is no better place to learn a language than the country in which it is spoken. And in Guatemala we’ll find that Antigua offers the most Spanish speaking schools, so if you are there for a week or more, then try your hand at some lessons!

Some of the best options for this include Antiguena Spanish Academy and Spanish School Don Pedro de Alvarado.

It’s great to know another language and Spanish will be super useful to you not only when backpacking Central America, but if you find yourself backpacking South America, or Spain itself!

13. Walk around the cobble streets

antigua sightseeing

Sometimes it’s nice to just wander around a city, and I often find that it's the best way to explore!

Although you'll want to hit up all the popular tourist spots, just walking around Antigua will allow you to discover some unique hidden gems. This includes beautiful buildings, quirky little stores, and authentic Guatemalan restaurants.

Not only that, but you'll get to see how the locals live and go about their everyday life which is always a bonus.

Just don’t wear any dodgy shoes or you might break your ankle - I’m not even joking! The cobbled streets here are absolutely lethal, especially if you've had a drink or two!

And if you get tired of walking around, then you can also hop on a local chicken bus to get a taste of what real Guatemalan life is like.

14. Visit the Chocolate Museum


If you’re a chocolate lover, then the ChocoMuseo needs to be on your list of things to do in Antigua, Guatemala.

Not only will you learn how the chocolate is made, but you can also make it yourself which is an awesome experience!

If you decide to do the chocolate making tour, then you'll get to learn about the different Guatemalan cocoa beans, the history and how they're processed. You'll also get to taste samples and of course, have some delicious treats to take back with you.

The classes vary in length, so just check what's included in each tour before you book.

If you don’t have time to do a tour and make the chocolate yourself, you can simply skip to the visitor shop and buy some delicious chocolate to eat.

You can book your tickets right here, which includes all ingredients you will use, as well as some bonus tastings of some really tasty chocolate drinks!

The ChocoMuseo is located right on the Plaza Mayor (on the north side), and is open from 10:00am until 7:00pm all days of the week.

15. Go to The Chichicastenango market

markets in antigua

This is the market of all markets in Guatemala! 

Chichicastenango hosts market days on Thursdays and Sundays where vendors sell handicrafts, food, flowers, pottery, wooden boxes, and much much more.

It’s one of the largest and most well known markets not only in Guatemala, but all of Central America.

Again, lots of tour operators arrange day trips to the market. This isn’t something Brad and I did, as basically I couldn't buy anything due to space restraints and there is no point in tempting myself further.

However, if you've got room and some extra cash it's definitely a place that you'll want to visit. If you're not easily tempted like me, you can even visit for just the experience!

We recommend heading on this all-inclusive tour where you’ll visit both Chichicastenango as well as Lake Atitlan! You’ll have all transport included, as well as time to enjoy the sweeping lake landscapes from Panajachel.

If you’ve already seen Lake Atitlan, then you can also join this alternative tour where you’ll visit the market and also the highly underrated pyramids of Iximche.

Chichicastenango is located roughly 100 km north of Antigua, which takes around 2.5 hours to arrive by bus.

16. Learn how to dance Salsa

salsa in guatemala

What better place to learn Salsa than in a Latin American country that oozes charm and charisma? Salsa in Antigua is fun and readily available, so get ready to learn some moves!

You can arrange private lessons, or you can throw yourself into the deep end and just head to La Sala on a Sunday night for FREE Salsa lessons.

It’s basically a night where everyone dances with everyone and teaches people the moves. It’s a lot of fun, and if you feel nervous, a couple of Margaritas will help ease your mind!

This is also a great way to embrace Guatemala's culture so make sure you get stuck in and move those hips! 

Those after a more intimate and private class can head to New Sensation Salsa. They are open from 9:00am-9:00pm (although it’s best to write to them to find out class times), and are located right next to the La Merced Convent.

17. Take a Guatemalan Cooking Class

traditional Guatemalan dish

Traditional Guatemalan food is delicious and tasty! Some of the most popular dishes include Kak'ik, Hilachas, and Rellenitos, but there are plenty more to try too.

I always think that taking a cooking class in a new country is a great way to learn a new skill, and also to embrace the area's traditional dishes.

You'll also be able to recreate your favorite dishes when you return back home - so what've you got to lose?

There are a few companies that offer cooking tours in the city, or you can book this Guatemala cooking class tour! It's a 5-hour class that will offer you the chance to make one main dish, two side dishes, and a dessert. Alternatively you can book this awesome cooking class which also has vegetarian options.

Book your authentic Guatemalan cooking class right here!

18. Rent a Buggy and go on your own adventure

Buggy car

Are you after a more independent and adrenaline-fuelled experience?

In Antigua, you can also rent your own “car”, which is like a buggy that’s made to handle cobbled roads where you can let loose around the city and nearby region!

This is one of the more unique things to do in Antigua, Guatemala, and actually we saw lots of people doing it when we were there (although many don’t usually mention it).

It was another recommendation from the Canadian couple we met and they said they paid $80 for the day for the vehicle.

You can fit up to 4 people in them, so I guess if you’re splitting it between 4 people then it’s a pretty cool deal for the freedom and fun it will bring to explore the area!

We highly suggest this ATV Mountain Tour where you will see the very best highlights of Antigua. This includes tasting traditional chocolate, visiting El Hato as well as Hobbitenango - a Lord of The Rings themed Eco-Park!

Also be sure to check out this Antigua ATV Villages Tour if you'd prefer a guided tour, rather than hiring a buggy for yourself! This way you can relax more as you’ll follow your guide around a pre-planned circuit.

Read Also: Our Top Travel Tips To Save Time, Money & Stress!

19. Check out Caoba Farms

This is another one of the unique and cool things to do in Antigua. If you like organic produce, then you’ll love Caoba Farms.  

The café serves great meals that are literally farm-to-table, and there is a Farmers Market each Saturday where you can find local artisanal food and drinks, fresh produce, local crafts, and listen to live music as you shop.

You can even request a tour of the farms if you’re interested.

You can volunteer at the farms too which is a great chance to meet other people AND get a large bag of organic vegetables for free as payment!

The great thing about Caoba Farms is that it’s located within Antigua (around a 5 minute drive south of the Plaza Mayor), which is really convenient. The restaurant is open from 8:00am until 5:00pm, Wednesday through to Sunday.

20. View the remains of Cathedral de Santiago

Cathedral de Santiago

Now this is one of the top things to do in Antigua! 

The Cathedral de Santiago (also known as the Parish of San José) is a Roman Catholic Church that was originally built in 1541. Unfortunately, it's been damaged by terrible earthquakes over the years - especially the deadly earthquake of 1773 which turned most of the city to rubble.

Since then, the Cathedral has been partially rebuilt and it's an interesting place to visit. With a beautiful exterior and interior, this cathedral has to be one of the most charming places to visit in Guatemala (let alone Antigua).

You'll also get a great view of the volcanoes that are located behind it, so it also makes for a perfect photo-op destination! 

There are plenty of ruined churches and cathedrals in Antigua so if you've got some extra time why not visit some of the others? This includes the El Carmen Church Ruins, and the Church of Santa Rosa.

The Cathedral of Santiago is located right on the Plaza Mayor, on the street running east of the main park. It’s open from 7:00am until 6:00pm all days of the week, however this may again vary on religious holidays and events.

21. Go on a food tour

local Guatemalan food

Okay, so if you don’t fancy taking a cooking class, then the next best thing is going on a food tour! 

You could easily arrange this yourself, but I actually think it’s a better experience when going with a tour. This way, you'll be told details about the traditional dishes and the guide can answer any questions that you may have. Besides - it’s always much easier and reassuring to try new and strange things with others in the same boat as you!

Another bonus is that on these tours, they will usually know the best of the best Guatemalan food in town, which is always a bonus! 

One of the most popular companies is Taste Antigua!

These guys know what they're doing and offer a wide range of different tours related to food, so make sure you check them out.

Whilst they haven’t got an actual address (given it’s a flexible tour) or time schedule, you can get in contact with them here.

Those who want everything well organized and pre-booked in advance would benefit from a more official tour, such as this street food tour. During this evening experience you’ll try all kinds of dishes and sweet desserts including Chalupas and Chocolate. We also recommend this alternative tour during the day, which is best for those who want a more immersive experience browsing several vendors.

Book your EPIC street food tour right here!

22. Go on a walking tour

Antigua, Guatemala

One of the best things about Antigua is that it’s a really cheap city to visit (similar with all of Guatemala - which is one of the cheapest countries that you can travel to). This means you’ll find activities here pretty cheap too, like a walking tour.

There are lots of opportunities for walking tours in Antigua, Guatemala, and it’s the perfect way to see all the highlights if you’ve only got a short amount of time.

Travelers who don’t want to spend anything can opt in for a free walking tour, however it’s still recommended to tip at the end (after all you’ll be getting TONNES of value - not to mention a wholesome learning experience).

We recommend this free walking tour, where you’ll make numerous stops at some of the very best landmarks and sites. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Iglesia de la Merced
  • Arco Santa Catalina
  • Parque Central
  • Catedral
  • Ayuntamiento
  • Universidad San Carlos
  • Obras sociales hermano Pedro
  • Tanque la Unión
  • Ruinas de Santa Clara
  • Iglesia San Francisco

Booking an official tour will always have its advantages though, given these companies often make deals with local museums and sites to enhance your experience. This guided half-day tour is great for seeing the best highlights, where your bilingual guide will teach you everything that you need to know.

Those who want an even more private experience will love this Antigua walking tour, where you can customize your stops and time at each destination as you wish!

23. Admire the views and dine from a rooftop café

view of a volcano from Antigua

If you're a fan of volcanoes then you're going to be thoroughly impressed by Antigua! 

There are three volcanoes that surround the city; these are the striking Agua, Acatenango, and Fuego.

You can get a fantastic view of them throughout Antigua, but the best way to appreciate them is by heading to a rooftop cafe!

Luckily, this city has plenty of them...

Some of the most popular options include Cafe Estudio, Cafe Boheme, and Cafe Sky. You've also got the Antigua Brewing Company which is 100% worth the visit as the views are insane! 

All of these places offer incredible views of the city's surrounding volcanoes so head to at least one of them during your trip.

We recommend Antigua Brewing Company above the rest, which is located just a block north of the Plaza Mayor. It’s open from 11:00am- 11:00pm Monday to Friday, as well as from 8:00am until 11:00pm on the weekends.

24.Take a trip out to El Hato

El Hato is a charming village that's just a 20-minute drive from Antigua. It's easily accessible via shuttle bus or taxi too!

One of the best places to visit here is Earth Lodge which offers quirky accommodation, a restaurant, an avocado farm, and yoga classes with a view. It’s a memorable place to stay for the weekend, and you can pre-book your reservation here.

You'll also want to head to Altamira which is home to a wooden hand viewpoint that overlooks the volcanoes - perfect for photographs.

Last but not least, make sure you visit Hobbitenango which is essentially a fantasy park that's home to hobbit holes, incredible viewpoints, and quirky restaurants. It’s open from 8:00am until 6:00pm Monday through to Friday, as well as from 8:00am until 8:00pm on the weekends.

Although there are plenty of awesome things to do in this area, it's the views that will take your breath away! 

So, if you've got some extra time I definitely recommend heading out to this charming village. You'll want to pack your camera too! 

We highly recommend heading on this private tour up to Hobbitenango, which includes all transport as well as a certified guide to show you around this memorable site.

Those after more of an adventure can join this ATV tour where you’ll ride up to Hobbitenango in style, as well as visit the Cerro de la Cruz and other important landmarks in the city center.

25. Spend some time walking the Antigua Mountain Trail

Rufous-tailed hummingbird

The Antigua Mountain Trail (or Finca El Pilar as it’s known) is one of the most biodiverse spots in not just Antigua, but the whole of Guatemala.

There are a variety of awesome hiking trails here that will take you through the cloud forest, and this is a great place to spot native birdlife. If you're lucky you might even get to spot tiny hummingbirds that are native to Guatemala

You can also have a go at mountain biking in this area or there's an on-site pool where you can relax.

Finca El Pilar is just a 15-minute drive from the city center and it's a great place to visit if you're looking to get up close to nature. The trail is open from 7:00am until 4:00pm all days of the week.

Just don't forget the bug spray as you'll need it!

The best places to eat in Antigua

food at the londoner
Sunday roast....

There are SO many restaurants in Antigua that it can be difficult to decide, so I thought I’d pop in our favourite restaurants and some photos of the amazing food we tried.

cheap food in antigua

Antigua Travel Tips & FAQ

When is a good time to visit Antigua?

Guatemala has a pleasant climate all year round, so you'll find that you can visit Antigua any time of year. However, the dry season runs from November to April.

Bradley and I visited in February and the weather was warm and pleasant with no rain.

However, even in the wet season, it doesn’t tend to rain more than a few hours a day!

How long should you spend in Antigua?

I’d say the perfect amount of time to stay in Antigua would be 4-5 nights.

You could easily stay longer, and if you want to do absolutely everything on this list of things to do in Antigua Guatemala, then you will probably need to! 

Especially if you want to hike volcanoes!

What is a good budget for Antigua?

Antigua is fairly cheap and really your biggest chunk of money will go on your accommodation, depending on where you have chosen to stay.

Budget backpackers could survive on a budget of around $25 per day, with no tourist attractions etc...

Brad and I averaged at around $35 per day in Antigua because everything was so cheap, and we had a discount for our Airbnb which would have been the most expensive!

A comfortable budget with tours and everything would be around $45-50 per day.

Can you just book a tour for Antigua?

You can absolutely book a day tour for Antigua!

However, just keep in mind that many of the activities and places in this guide won't be included in the walking tours. For this reason, it's best to stay in the city and do a combination of tours and self-guided explorations.

If you're short of time though, you can find day tours to Antigua from Puerto Quetzal and Guatemala City

Is Guatemala safe for tourists?

Yes, yes and yes. Not once in our travels throughout Guatemala did I feel unsafe for a second. The people were nothing but friendly and we didn’t have any bad experiences.

You need to take the usual precautions as you would in any country e.g. don’t put yourself in a vulnerable position.

Don’t walk home alone at night (Especially if you are drunk), don’t have loads of expensive things on show, and don’t get involved in political stuff that doesn’t concern you.

If you do this, you’ll have a wonderful and safe experience in Guatemala and Antigua!

best time to visit anrigua guatemamala

Where to go after Antigua...

I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide on the top things to do in Antigua which kind of turned into some form of Antigua travel guide!

But, hopefully you have lots of inspiration for your trip. There are lots of incredible places to see in Antigua and I can guarantee that you're going to have an amazing time.

After spending some time in this incredible city, you've got plenty of onward travel options.

One of the most popular places to visit in Guatemala is the Tikal Ruins or you can head to the beautiful Flores island! You can also travel to Semuc Champey!

If you're planning a trip through Central and then South America, here are some guides that you may find useful:

Disclaimer: Fully research your destination prior to travel, or any products prior to purchase. We can accept no responsibility for anything you experience as a result of the information found on this website. Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for some purchases, at no additional expense to you. Read more here
Some images courtesy of Deposit Photos.
Tinggly badge
Other posts
Country Guides
Destination Guides

Leave a comment

Let us know what you think!