Antigua, Guatemala

The Santa Catalina Arch, Antigua

Still surprisingly off the radar, this tiny Central American country has firmly situated itself on our 2017 bucket list. In an area smaller than England, this vibrant and captivating country offers a wealth of spectacular natural beauty, picturesque towns and historical sites.

Painted colonial houses and a striking volcanic landscape characterises this charming city and UNESCO World Heritage site in South West Guatemala. Founded in the early 16th century, Antigua is filled with the crumbling ruins of beautiful churches and traditional convents, beautiful colonial houses with faded paintwork and all set to the backdrop of a prominent and active volcano. Wandering these traditional cobbled streets and visiting local artisan shops makes for a pleasant afternoon pastime but, as the sun sets, a cosmopolitan and vibrant city comes to life. From hidden underground Mezcal bars to the buzzing central square, both locals and tourists come out to enjoy the balmy evening weather and everything this beautiful city has to offer.


Colonial houses and a view of the Volcán de Agua


Hotel Museo Casa Santo Domingo | 3a Calle Oriente 28 A, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala

A beautiful luxury hotel, the Hotel Museo Casa Santo Domingo is filled with a rich history. Once a 16th century convent, this now five-star hotel is characterised by its pillared walkways, religious relics and preserved ruins. With a fine dining restaurant, bar, outdoor pool and luxury spa under its belt, this hotel offers the ultimate comfort only a few minutes’ walk from the centre of Antigua.


View from the Hotel Museo Casa Santo Domingo


Frida’s | 5a Avenida Norte #29, Arco de Santa Catalina, La Antigua Guatemala 03-001

Our favourite spot for dinner, head to Frida’s for some authentic Mexican fare, Frida Kahlo inspired décor and quite frankly massive frozen Margheritas. The menu has everything you would expect of a Mexican restaurant: smoky meat-topped nachos, overflowing tacos and traditional dishes such as chongos zamoranos, a dessert made with milk, sugar and cinnamon. Much like the Margheritas, the portion sizes are generous (to say the least) but this makes the perfect excuse for a leisurely evening, soaking up the atmosphere and regular live music.

Café No Sé | 1a Avenida Sur, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala

Just like any underground ‘speak easy’ bar in London or New York, a hidden room never stays secret for long; there is nothing under the radar about nightlife hotspot Café No Sé.  A whiff of turn of the century Montmartre is in the air, as musicians, artists and creatives flock to debate, listen to the live music and explore the succinctly-curated bookstore next door. Although many visitors find themselves waylaid in the first room by the live music and jovial atmosphere, those who make it through the secret entranceway into Café No Sé’s Mezcal bar will not be disappointed. Candle lit, with its own brand of once-illegally-smuggled Mezcal, this little bar effortlessly oozes cool and authenticity, making it a popular spot with locals and visitors alike.


Colonnade by the Parque Central


Hike the Pacaya Volcano

This active volcano lies a short drive from Antigua and is one of the most easily accessible volcanos in the area. With glowing lava visible on the surface until recent years, it has become a popular destination for its short hike and the ability to toast marshmallows over the lava. Despite the cooling surface lava (don’t worry – you can still toast marshmallows in hot vents just under the surface) this volcano still remains a ‘must see’ on any trip to Antigua.

Jewellery shopping

Take to the streets on the search for silver and jade. Trust us, they won’t be hard to find, with artisanal shops perched on almost every street selling authentic, hand-crafted jewellery. More than your usual shopping experience, learn about Mayan history and find out your Animal Spirit from the local shop-keepers whilst purchasing these beautiful local products.

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