One Day in Antigua, Guatemala: Itinerary to Transform and Travel
From the time you even see the photos of Antigua, Guatemala to the moment when you step foot in the cultural and colonial city, you will fall in love! I know I did!
Antigua was founded in the early 16th century and built about 1,500 meters above sea level in an earthquake prone region. In 1773, parts of the city were destroyed by an earthquake. However, many parts of Antigua remain preserved as ruins. Antigua was one of the first cities in the New World to use a Spanish grid system for its streets. The ancient colonial city was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.
That's one of the reasons why I decided to spend not just One Day in Antigua or in Guatemala, but about one and a half months! am spending about two weeks in Antigua, Guatemala.
While there is plenty to experience one day in Antigua, Guatemala to transform and travel whether you come solo, with family, or with a group, you will definitely want to consider staying longer.
Follow this One Day in Antigua, Guatemala Itinerary to Transform and Travel. It will help you make your travels transformational even it's a short trip. These are my recommendations for the top experiences for your one day in Antigua, Guatemala!
(Guatemalan saying means "I'm cool!"
Santa Catalina Arch
My Experiences with Antigua, Guatemala
This is my first time in Antigua, Guatemala. Thanks to Guatemala and my Airbnb at 36 Los Pasos, it may not be my last!
There is so much to experience in and near Antigua, Guatemala including the historical, cultural and experiential with walks, nature, and food!
Although I am staying in Guatemala for about a month and a half,. I love to create adventure days to share for myself and others whether you are somewhere short or long-term and want to create adventure days too. That's why I created One Day Travel guides.
At Soy Chilero by Cafe Cafe Guatemala near Guatex in Antigua, Guatemala
Put Guatex for Antigua in your GPS and you will find this a few doors down!
They just opened on Good Friday in 2021!
Travel fills me up. New people, adventures, and experiences are something I love. My story includes being conceived in Bulgaria, born in Poland, and in 4 countries by the time I was 2 (including a refugee camp in Italy.)
My travels in Guatemala include a focus on nature, adventure and healthy travel experiences. If you didn't know, I lost over 55+ lbs 5+ years ago and have kept it off. In addition, I haven't drunk alcohol for over 5 years now. I feel healthier than High School. Disclaimer: Average person who uses Herbalife Global Nutrition loses 0.5 to 1 lb a week with healthy active lifestyle.
Airbnb in Antigua, Guatemala
For my first stay in Guatemala, I stayed at a beautiful colonial home near the center of Antigua I found on Airbnb. I loved the preservation of the home by Dido and her family, beautiful gardens, and warm hospitality!'
I am forever grateful to Dido, Mama Carolina, Yolanda, and the guests for priceless and precious memories! It is easy to see why she has over 400 super positive reviews!
You may find the Airbnb via https://www.airbnb.com/users/show/5625720
All shots are my own on Canon EOSM100, Sony A330, and/or my iPhone 12 Mini or Airbnb photos.
Fun Facts About Antigua, Guatemala
Guatemala means land of the trees. Antigua was founded by the Spaniards in the early 16th century. It is easy to see with the influence of the baroque architecture and preserved cobblestone streets reminiscent of European cities.
Built about 1,500 meters above sea level, many parts of Antigua were destroyed in the 1773 earthquake. At the same time, the UNESCO designated site has done an incredible job at preserving what was not destroyed, as well as showcasing what remains.
What you may not know is the country has been inhabited for over 20,000 years with over 22 languages regularly spoken in Guatemala. Interestingly, the CIA overthrew the socialist government in 1954. In addition, Guatemala experienced the longest civil war in Latin American history, and its effects are still experienced today.
Antigua boasts beautiful colonial architecture, churches and ruins all along the city. It is surrounded by villages, as well as views you may see from places like Cerro de La Cruz.
I love visiting Antigua, Guatemala. I enjoyed spending the day experiencing Caoba Farms, Arch, Cerro de La Cruz, Markets, Choco Museo, Cathedral, Central Park, Merced and Tres Tiempos.
Shot on my iPhone 12
One Day in Antigua, Guatemala
Let's explore the experiences I recommend for one day in and near Antigua, Guatemala! Depending on when you arrive in the city, and where you stay, feel free to modify your experiences!
What I love about Antigua, Guatemala is you may experience a ton for free!
I'm sharing here a full 24 hours for your one day in Antigua from morning to night! I've already shared La Fortuna, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica as well. I'll have One Day and Top 10 Guides coming up for villages and Lake Atitlan as well!
Caoba or Mahogany Farms Organic Farm and Restaurant is a great way to start your day in Antigua, Guatemala. You will love the farm, shop, and to die for breakfast! I experienced the avocado toast and smoothie chia bowl. Where are my breakfast lovers at?
They host events and markets as well so be sure to check out their events calendar!
Santa Catalina Arch
You can't visit Antigua, Guatemala without seeing the Arch! It is not only stunning, but has historical significance as it originally connected the Santa Catalina convent to a school, allowing the nuns to pass from one building to the other without going out on the street.
Cerro de La Cruz
The hike up to Cerro de La Cruz, or Hill of the Cross, is relatively easy with a paved staircase. Most will be able to go up in less than 20 minutes. It is a great place to pray, reflect, and see views of Antigua, Guatemala from up above.
Did I mention this is currently free?!
For a preview, scroll down to my Instagram Reels video!
A fun activity to do in any city is street and fresh markets! If you have read or tuned in to my One Day and Top 10 Guides before like San Jose, Costa Rica, you know I love street markets!
Antigua, Guatemala with it's plentiful options does not disappoint! I visited the Central Street Market, Market in Central Park on Thursday evening, Carmen's Artisan's Market and more!
I have traveled since I was a baby. I learned early on in 95% of countries you bargain at markets with souvenirs and artisan goods. Do not haggle on fruits and vegetables. They are very very cheap.
I used to not like bargaining, but now I embrace it. I keep it sweet and playful, and ask things like "is this your best price" or "if/when I walk away you won't chase me with a better price". I usually get a price lower by anywhere from 30-75% depending on the country and place.
Even if you are not in the mood or market to buy, it is a great and free activity to do!
Central Park in Antigua, Guatemala
After you have browsed the markets, grabbed some fruits and/or souvenirs, walk to Central Park! You will love the fountain, street food, souvenirs, cathedral, and nearby attractions!
One of the things Guatemala is known for is it's incredible Cacao! Choco Museo in Central Park in Antigua, Guatemala does not disappoint with a free experience to learn all about how chocolate is made from seed to feed!
You may elect for their two hour or 30 minute experience. Not only that, you will walk away with your own custom created slice of heavenly chocolate! Yes please!
They have an adorable place to sit and sip your cacao too! I highly recommend the Mayan and /or Comedor!
La Merced Church
Depending on your time in Antigua, Guatemala, you don't want to leave off La Merced Church. It's beautiful baroque exterior and interior will not disappoint. I loved being in Antigua right before and during Holy Week.
Although Semana Santa or Holy Week was not the same I imagine as previous years, the city did a beautiful job still honoring the traditions. I loved seeing the rugs (alfombras) made out of sawdust in the church's like La Merced and around Central Park on Good Friday.