Frequently Asked Questions
The functionality of your cell phone depends on the phone plan you use. You can use roaming or an international plan in Antigua, however it is much cheaper to buy a local SIM card. You can learn more about buying a local SIM card here. The other option is keeping your phone on airplane mode and only using your phone over wifi. Wifi is available in most places throughout Antigua.
The weather in Antigua us beautiful! Most of the days are in the 70s or 80s. In the evening the temperature can drop into the 60s so make sure to bring a sweater with you if you go out at night. There is a rainy season and a dry season, but even during the rainy season it mainly only rains in the late afternoon or evening. You can learn more about Antigua’s climate here
The currency in Guatemala is the quetzal. The present-day exchange rate can be found here (link to a reputable currency convertor). Please keep in mind that a few locations may accept dollars, however, the dollars need to be in PERFECT condition (no rips, tears, or discoloration), or else they will more than likely be refused.
High season is the dry season/ summer time. This is from December until March/ April. The low season takes place during the rainy season/ winter time which is from May until October.
The official language is Spanish, however, you will find that many people, especially in the tourism industry also speak English. In addition, locals may speak one of the 20+ Mayan languages found in Guatemala. Antigua itself is a very international city, therefore do not be surprised if you hear various other languages while walking down the street.
Antigua is located in the Central Standard Timezone (UTC/ GMT -06:00) Guatemala does not utilize Day Lights Savings Time.
Fuego is one of Guatemala’s most active volcanoes, frequently having small eruptions every 15-20 minutes. However, if you’re planning to hike Acatenango and want to know if you’re going to see spewing lava, keep in mind nature is unpredictable. The only real guarantee is that it’s going to be cold at the top, and if you’re lucky, you’ll see a breathtaking view on a clear day and fiery-red lava flows at night.
You can expect to find chicken buses, tuk-tuks, taxi cabs, Uber, and private drivers ready to service any long or short-distance trips. If you need a private driver, you can ask your accommodation to refer you to a trusted one. Otherwise, you can find taxi cabs parked in front of the Cathedral in central park daily.
There are several ways to book a tour in Antigua. You can ask the front desk at your accommodation for direct booking. Most hotels and hostels offer this service. You can also ask your hotel to refer you to the closest travel agency in your area. For more specific information you can go to the tourism office called INGUAT.
Antigua is a safe city. It has cameras and surveillance systems 24/7 by the town’s municipality, tourism police, and panic buttons placed throughout the city ready for assistance in case you may have an emergency.
Keep in mind that walking alone late at night should be avoided.
Don’t be too flashy with valuable objects like cameras, phones, and gadgets.
The best time to visit Antigua is during Easter to observe the newly designated UNESCO Intangible Heritage Lent traditions. These processions and celebrations happen between March and May each year, varying accroding to the lunar calendar.
The dry season, or Verano, lasts from November until the beginning of May. If you’re looking to spend a substantial portion of your time outdoors, this is the best time of year to go.
Because Antigua is a small city where everything is accessible by foot, we recommend comfortable sneakers for daily walking. Due to the cobblestones throughout the city and rough patchy sidewalks, we cannot stress this advice enough.
Also, mountain hiking boots protect your ankles for excursions and countryside tours. The trails could be a bit rough at times so this would avoid twisting your ankle and having to be injured during your trip.
In a nutshell, jeans, shorts, or lightweight pants and comfy shoes. A warm jacket for early mornings and chilly nights.
Guatemala uses 110 volt, 60 cycle electricity, same as the US. Plugs are typically the 2 pronged flat type so US travelers will not typically need a converter or adapter. Outlets rarely have 3 holes so if your device has a third prong, bring an adapter.
If you’re coming from Europe chances are you might want to get an adapter before your trip.
If in case you didn’t bring one you can get them at hardware stores, markets or computer and electronic shops in town.
Avoid drinking water from the tap.
We recommend using the “ecofiltro” which most Airbnbs and hotels will have. These are designed to filter tap water successfully and there is no danger in drinking this type of filtered water.
If there is no ecofiltro in your accommodation then you can buy bottled water for your safety, sold at any corner shop or convenience store.
This depends on what you’re looking for. For a quiet night’s sleep, try to stay away from the city center and the central market area.
For easy reach, to shops and restaurants, we recommend staying as close to the central park as possible.
To observe local people and some real Guatemalan vibes, try the surrounding villages of Antigua like San Juan El Obispo, Panorama, Jocotenango, Santa Catarina Bobadilla, Santa Ana, San Pedro El Alto, San Cristobal el Alto, Milpas Altas or Ciudad Vieja.
Walking is the number one way to get around in Antigua.
Speaking Spanish is always a plus when in Antigua but most touristic services will be able to communicate with you in English. Expect English to be spoken in travel agencies, restaurants, cafes, bars and hotels.
The tip is usually included in the bill in most places, except markets and more informal businesses. It’s a 10% charge (look for “propina”) and in some cases it is optional.
If you feel like the service was poor you have the right not to pay the tip, however, it is frowned upon not to tip your waiter or waitress as locals earn low salaries and they count on tipping to compliment their wages.
Pleasantries, politeness, and small talk are commonplace in Antigua. This means that people will say hello, god morning, and good afternoon while walking down the street. Don’t be surprised and try to embrace it and return the gesture.
If you could brush up on Guatemalan culture before your trip, especially if you’re not fluent in Spanish, it would be beneficial for your stay in Antigua.
The volcanoes surrounding Antigua are Pacaya, Fuego (active), Agua, and Acatenango.
“Bombas”, as the locals call them, are usually related to church celebrations. Hearing loud bangs is a common phenomenon of walking through Antigua, and you can spot first-time visitors by their flinching.
Yes. There are many family-oriented tourist attractions within Antigua and the surroundings.
In Antigua, most hotels are colonial-style hotels. The city has all ranges of comfort from basic and low-budget accommodation to luxurious 5-star hotels. You can find five-star resort types of accommodation. In general, the majority are 3-4 star hotels and boutique hotels with the unique charm of Antigua, great terrace views, and excellent service.
Thanks to the many tours, hostels, bars, and clubs, Antigua can be an excellent place to meet new people, making it a solo traveler friendly city.
Usually, hotels and hostels can arrange this type of transfer. Otherwise, Uber is available in the country. Also, shuttles leave the airport daily for Antigua. This can cost between 200-300 Quetzaes or $35-$40.
That depends on the season.
Summer months are busy in Antigua. We advise you to make your reservation a few weeks in advance.
Holy week, Christmas and New Year are the busiest seasons in Antigua’s tourism-based economy. You will need to book your accommodation a couple of months in advance if you plan to visit during those times.
For the rest of the year, weekends are always busy in Antigua. Make sure you book a couple of days in advance.
On weekdays it’s easy to find accommodation. You can book on the spot or the day before without a problem.
Cash would come in handy for shuttles from the airport, tuk-tuks, and small purchases in corner shops. Travelers’ checks aren’t used in Antigua anymore.
Yes, ATMs are scattered all around town. The central park and central market area have ATMs, the supermarket “La Bodegona” and Hotel Antigua.
You can use credit cards in most restaurants, travels agencies, convenience stores, cafes, hotels, and bars. Corner shops are only cash-based. In the surrounding villages of Antigua, ATMs might not be available, so take cash with you.
No, Antigua still does n not have this payment modality.
Yes, make sure you purchase travel insurance before your trip to Antigua.
Close to Antigua, you can find the surfing beach of El Paredon, Monterrico, Chichicastenango for its handicrafts market, Guatemala City, Xela, Lake Atitlan, and Semuc Champey.
An important festival in Antigua is Semana Santa, a UNESCO-designated intangible heritage of humanity, or Holy Week. A week-long each year of processions, colorful artsy carpets made of sawdust. Celebrations and religious activities also take place in the center of town and surrounding villages keeping the Spanish tradition and the lunar calendar during the spring months.
El Festival de las Flores or, The Flower Festival, is also a picturesque festival in town.
Independence Day, September 15, holds many sports events. Marching bands parade across town and the surrounding villages in Antigua.
July 25, in honor of the patron saint of the city Santiago Apóstol, is considered the anniversary of the founding of Antigua. Although their most important day is one, the Antigüeños have celebrated this date for a whole week for several years.
Acatenango Volcano is one of the most iconic adventure experiences in Antigua. Get to see lava eruptions from the nearby volcanoes in the daytime or nighttime.
Walking tours are commonly available from travel agencies. There are plenty of historic sites where you can hire a local guide in the central park or outside tourist attractions.
Casa Santo Domingo is a great place to spend the day in its various museums, art exhibits, and ruins and enjoy their restaurant, spa, and bar.
Additionally, ask to be taken via shuttle to Santo Domingo del Cerro, a mountain complex with amazing views of the volcanoes, and an art museum featuring one of Guatemala’s finest visual artists, Efrain Recinos.
- Acatenango Volcano
- Sunflowers of Antigua
- Pacaya Volcano
- Agua Volcano
- Caoba Farms
- Mountain Trail – Finca El Pilar
- Butterfly Sanctuaries
There are several gastronomic tours you can take in Antigua. There are also cooking schools to learn about culinary traditions and see how locals shop and prepare food.
Because of its outstanding Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture, layout, churches, and ruins, and the city’s importance during the early colonial period of the country, Antigua Guatemala was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
There are travel agencies offering day trips to the Pacaya and Acatenango Volcano, Bike village tours, Coffee plantation tours, and Bird-watching trips to the Quetzal Biotope, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala City, Chichicastenango, Iximche Ruins would be some of the most sought out experiences.
Antigua is famous for lava erupting views of the Fuego volcano, Spanish schools, chocolate, markets and scenery, food tours, coffee, jade textiles, cobbled streets, and nightlife, and due to its ruins of colonial edifices that make the city a museum of Spanish colonial history in itself.
Antigua has many scenic vantage points in both the city center. Also, more natural scenic spots. The iconic view from The Hill of the Cross, Altamira, and Hobbitenango are said to be some of the best to take photos of the natural landscape.
In the city center, the Arch of Santa Catalina is the preferred spot to take pictures by local and foreign tourists.
We recommend you hit the streets early in the morning to take pictures of the multiple and beautifully designed house fronts, parks, and landmarks like Tanque de la Union.
Go to the second floor of the city hall or municipality building located right on central park and take in the view. Across the city hall, you will find the Museum of Colonial Art – MUNAG. There you’ll find the corridor facing the park on the second floor, a perfect spot for taking pictures.
The nearest beach to Antigua Guatemala is Puerto San Jose, which takes a little less than 2 hours of driving to get there. However, It’s advisable to go for 30 more minutes and get to El Paredón or Monterrico. The beaches there are much cleaner and better suited for tourists.
Also known as the “Barista Coffee Cup” or simply Antigua Run, this event reached its 14th edition without changing its essence, now turned into a festival for runners.
10K De Leyenda is here to stay. This event refers to the legends of Antigua Guatemala, including El Sombreron, La Siguanaba, La Carroza de la Muerte, La Tatiana, and El Cadejo, among others myths and stories passed down from generation to generation in Guatemala’s folk tales.
“La Carrera de las Rosas” is a 21k – 10k marathon held in Antigua yearly. Roses are the iconic flower of the city, hence the name Marathon of the Roses.
Please refer to the city hall of Antigua for an update on the dates or search for the event details on their social media.
You can contact them at (502) 2290 2810; an English service is available. You may also dial 1500 in Guatemala. And lastly please add the following number on Whatsapp: +50251881819.
An ideal stay ranges from 4-7 days in Antigua for you to cover the basics and soak in the views, experiences, and atmosphere Antigua has to offer.
Budget-friendly accommodation of the most basic kind can start from $10 a night. Most hostels with decent facilities charge anything from $20 a dorm to $100 for private rooms.
Mid-range accommodations range between $40 to $50 and up, depending on comfort and location.
Boutique and luxury hotels can start from $125 a night and up.
Yes, Antigua is a vegan-friendly city. You can find a few cafes and restaurants that cater to this audience. Click on this link to find the best vegan restaurants in town.
Guatemala was once a Catholic-majority nation. However, in the last several decades, evangelical churches have gained more presence. Today around 40 percent of Guatemalans identify as evangelical Christians, according to a July 2022 Gallup poll—one of the largest evangelical populations in Latin America.
500g of tobacco in any form (18 years and older). 5L of alcoholic beverages (18 years and older). 2kg of confectionery. Gifts and goods other than luggage up to the value of US$500. It’s rare for customs officials in Guatemala to check the luggage of arriving tourists.
There is a US$30 (or Quetzal equivalent) airport departure tax usually included in the price of your flight ticket.
The central market operates from 6 am to 6 pm every day. The shops in the city center start opening their doors from mid-morning till about 7 pm to 8 pm daily. The schedules vary. Usually, you can still find shops open in the evening.
Restaurants must close by 10 pm. Bars and clubs are allowed to operate until 1 am.
Antigua’s cafes operate from early morning between 6 and 8 until about 7 pm.
You can exchange dollars and euros at Banco Industrial, BAC, and BAM. All these banks are less than if not one block away from the central park at most. There is a currency exchange on 5th avenue toward the Arch of Santa Catalina.
Clinics and hospitals are available in case of an emergency. Antigua has several qualified general practitioners and specialists in the form of small private clinics and a couple of hospitals. Avoid the public hospital as they are usually understaffed. Also, you might have to wait a long time. There are also well-equipped testing clinics. The healthcare services in Antigua can be considered adequate.
Antigua has two telecommunications companies, Tigo and Claro. Pre-paid mobile sim cards are available in several phone shops around Antigua.
Wifi is widely available though out Antigua.
Generally speaking, chicken buses are a sought-after experience for travelers that come to Guatemala. However, it’s worth noting that they have no seat belts. They can get crowded, and there is always a risk of losing your luggage. Like all transport in Central America, there is an aspect of risk.
Chicken buses in Guatemala come from far away. They’ve refurbished school buses from the United States. These U.S. school buses are usually at least 10 years old and have over 150,000 miles on them. They’re auctioned at around $2,000 and sold to people who drive them down to Guatemala.
This depends on whether you’re looking for an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink but here is a list of experiences you shouldn’t miss while in Antigua or Guatemala in general:
- Gallo (national beer)
- Quetzalteca(national spirit)
- Cusha (fermented fruit and cereal liquor)
- Atol de elote (corn porridge)
- Hot Chocolate
- Picocita (hangover cure)
Pepian is a chicken stew considered the most popular dish in Guatemala, so that’s always a winner.
Find the event calendar on this website to learn about upcoming events.
If you’re into people-watching and enjoying a nice drink while enjoying the local scenery, we recommend the following public spaces:
- Central Park
- Tanque de la Union
- San Fransisco Park
- Alameda Santa Rosa Park
- Hill of the Cross
- San Sebastian Park
- Iglesia La Merced
These are the best parks & nature experiences in Antigua:
- Pacaya Volcano Hike from AntiguaAntigua
- Mountain Adventure Tour by Quad, Motorcycle or ScooterAcatenango
- Volcano Hiking ATV Coffee Tour in Antigua
- Night in Acatenango
Breakfast is usually eaten between 7 and 9 in the morning, lunch is around noon, and dinner is between 7 and 9 in the evening.
Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted credit cards in Guatemala. Small corner shops will only accept cash. However, most stores, supermarkets, and restaurants will accept credit cards. AMEX might be less accepted than the two previously mentioned.
Smaller shops may accept credit cards but will charge a fee, usually around 5 to 10 percent of the transaction amount. It depends on the business policies.
Yes, Antigua is considered a wedding destination in Guatemala. Couples from all over the world choose Antigua as their ideal location for an unforgettable experience.
The city offers a variety of beautiful venues like old churches, ruins, farms and gardens, boutique hotels, and luxury hotels.
Antigua could be considered a medical tourist destination due to its affordable and abundant professional dental care services, ophthalmologists, dermatologists, and aesthetic medicine clinics.
Not all restaurants, cafes, and bars accept AMEX cards. However, you can withdraw money at 5B ATMs which are usually located inside some pharmacies, markets, and around the central park area.
Walking at night is generally safe however there is some advice we can give you to avoid any bad experience.
If you are out partying or drinking in a big group it is generally safe to say you can walk together at night to your accommodation.
If you are a solo traveler it is advisable to take an uber or hire a taxi to take you back home, especially after hours.
The city center at night, especially on weekends, is packed with tourists, avoid the empty alleys late at night.
As a female solo traveler avoid wearing shorts or mini-skirts and provocative outfits if you plan to walk to your accommodation after hours as it can attract unwanted attention.
Lastly, avoid being flashy with your valuables like cameras, phones, and money. Be low-key, especially at night. Following these common-sense guidelines should keep you out of trouble at night. If you find yourself in an emergency situation there are several services available to assist you.
There are plenty of places with a great view of the volcanoes and rooftop terraces to enjoy a cup of coffee at any time of day or drinks in the afternoon and night time.
We have created a search engine for you. You can search for cafes and bars with volcano views by selecting your preferences in your cafe and bar section.
Some bars and clubs have a license to close until 1 am. Most bars and restaurants are allowed to operate until 11 at night. Each place has its own schedule.
We have created a list of all the restaurants, bars, and clubs in town and you can check out their hours in our bars & clubs section.
Yes, we have created a complete listing of the available nail salons scattered throughout the town.
Yes, there are plenty of hair salons scattered around town and plenty of other beauty and spa services.
Yes, there are plenty of barber shops scattered around town, as well as plenty of other beauty and spa services.
Antigua is without a doubt a foodie destination. It has a wide range of gastronomic offers from budget eateries to world-class restaurants, specialty cocktail bars, premium coffee, traditional candy shops, fast-food, chocolate porducts, and local markets.
There is plenty of pharmacies in Antigua. Take a look at these pharmacies scattered across town and select the most convenient location for you.