A Perfect Day in Antigua Guatemala
It’s been six weeks since I moved to Antigua, Guatemala, literally a dream come true. I have definitely had some ups and downs, but all in all it’s been an amazing adventure. From learning how to navigate the city on my little scooter (and nearly knocking over a line of motos), figuring out how to barter for bananas, and finding the most amazing licuados (smoothies) and coffee in town, I’ve never doubted this is where I am supposed to be.
The perfect day for me would include waking up and riding into town and sitting with a cappuccino from San Martin or a smoothie from Union. After spending a bit of time reading I might head over to the main square and walk through the park. I love seeing the lovely Mayan women out with their little niñitas all dressed up in colorful Mayan skirts and Huipiles. Later that afternoon I might catch a chicken bus to the Macadamia nut farm Valhalla for some Macadamia nut pancakes (so worth it).
To finish my perfect day, I would probably take a shower (it’s been hot hear, which I’ve heard isn’t the norm) and then meet a friend at Angie Angie for some amazing pizza (La Flaca is my favorite).
Why You Will Love Antigua, Guatemala
Antigua is a city that invites anyone to feel accepted walking the cobblestone streets, practicing your Spanish (or English). It has a small town feel and is a melting pot for foreigners learning Spanish, Expats, Mayans, students, families, and business owners. Truly, I believe there might be someone from every country here, it’s beautiful.
The Guatemalans are wonderful people, and are very gracious to share this pretty city with the travelers and expats. I know it’s probably not always an easy thing to do. I really admire them for that. If you walk down the street you are sure to get stopped by a few lovely women selling scarves and beautiful tapestry.
If you have a longer stay in Guatemala then Antigua is a great place to start, and you will love the options of tours that leave from Antigua. Some very popular day tours are Volcan Pacaya (hike a volcano), Filadelfia Coffee Tour, and Valhalla Macadamia Nut Tree farm.
If you have a little more time and want to do a longer tour and would like to get out of Antigua then Lago Atitlan, Semuc Champay, and Monterrico (imagine cheering on sea turtles after they hatch on a black sand beach with the sounds of waves and an orange sunset in the background) are great choices.
If you are planning to make a trip to Guatemala and Antigua is on your list, I hope you find this itinerary useful!
Where to Go and What to Do in Antigua
Free and/or Inexpensive Things To Do:
People come here to relax, you will see many different families or couples sitting down just enjoying each others company. Also you will see many travelers either buying (as many Guatemalans come here to sell their hand made products) or reading a book. There are many benches to sit at and do some serious people watching.
While this hotel is one of the prettiest in Antigua, it’s also one of the most expensive. Don’t let that stop you from visiting! You can walk around the hotel for free! It’s beautiful. The hotel is a popular for weddings, but also has a candle shop, chocolate shop, rum tasting room, spa, and a crypt! Walk around and experience a little bit of Antigua’s history.
A church and a convent that is definitely worth checking out. They also occasionally have concerts and music there.
There are a few different Artisans markets in town. One on the square next to La Casaca, one by the market close to the bus station, and the other is on the corner where 3 calle poniente meets 3 Avenida.
The Coffee Tour is very informative and the coffee is top notch. The tour is not free, but you can visit the farm for free, as it is a 15-20 minute walk from Antigua. (Here is my review of the coffee tour.)
Valhalla Macademia Nut Farm–
Even if you don’t love Macadamia nuts (which I do) you will love the free facials with Macadamia nut oil! How many other times in your life will you be able to visit a Macadamia Nut farm? I hope you go!
This is an easier volcano to hike, and once at the top you can roast marshmallows over the smoldering lava. It’s an experience you don’t want to miss. You should be in some kind of shape to enjoy it, but you are only hiking up half way as the the shuttles drop you off half way up the volcano.
This is a lovely chain. The service is wonderful, and there is a variety of food including great breakfast options. Even if you don’t eat there, go to the bakery, the mini eclairs are to die for and they have the best croissants in town.
El Sabor del Tiempo–
A lovely and romantic place to eat, also has a beautiful terrace. The atmosphere here is top notch (and so is the food)!
They have the best nachos, I recommend ordering a limonada as well. The view is spectacular.
A little more pricey but this place has amazing French food.
I am from Texas, so I know good barbecue! When I go to Pappy’s I feel like I am back in Texas, you won’t be disappointed.
In my opinion this place has the best pizza in town. Go on a Friday evening and take your significant other, the garden is beautiful and the music is lovely.
I don’t even like Indian food normally, but I love Toko Baru, plus for around $4.50 you get a lot of food, and it’s extremely fresh! Love this place!
Luna del Miel–
If you are looking for the best crepes in town, then Luna del Miel is your place. Plus the service is good and the upstairs is beautiful.
That perfect sandwich place, where you can also buy amazing cheeses and cold cuts. It also has beautiful garden where you can sit and order a lovely lunch.
The coffee and chocolate here are possibly the best in town. I can’t say enough about this lovely cafe. They have something for everyone, plus it’s run by a lovely Guatemalan family, that will treat you like you are one of them. Don’t miss out.
Best smoothies hands down in Antigua. Plus if you are looking for a quiet spot to read check out the upstairs. The coffee here is quite good too, and they have a great selection of beers!
The food is great here, but imagine sitting in among the flowers with a host of colorful parrots just waiting to welcome you to their secret garden? This is another place you don’t want to miss.
Wednesdays they have open mic, but they have an amazing inexpensive breakfast as well. Their Eggs Benedict are great when you are missing brunch from the States.
Order a coffee and go upstairs, the view of Central Park and the volcanoes will start your day off right.
You can smell the banana bread outside on the street when you walk by Doña Luisa. You can buy a half or a whole loaf. Their wheat bread is delicious as well.
This place is fresh, and has some great vegetarian dishes. I recommend their Choconut or Vita-C (Passionfruit) Smoothies.
Helados Exoticos –
Seriously get ice cream here. For 20Q you can choose from over 10 unique flavors including 5 Flavors of Chocolate, Ginger Peach, Maple Hazelnut (a creamy flavor with Nutella), Pistachio Rose, and so many other unique concoctions you will find a new favorite!
Ganache– For the ladies, it’s beautiful place with lovely desserts and coffees as well as breakfast.
Choco Museo (Chocolate Museum)-
Do you dream of being a Chocolatier? Take a chocolate making class here!
Choco La La–
Located by the famous yellow arch, this chocolate place has the most unique flavors in Antigua.
Tabacos Y Vinos (Wine Bar)-
A lovely place to meet your friends and drink a couple glasses of wine! It’s right under the yellow arch! It’s a must! You will meet some amazing people here as there is one main table to share your travel stories at.
A fun place to hang out and make new friends, plus get the street style tacos, best tacos in town!
This place is has a unique atmosphere, and it makes me think of some bars we have in Dallas. It’s cool spot for sure.
I can’t not mention the Mono Loco, mainly because of the massive nachos and good prices and fun atmosphere. But if you aren’t found of tourist traps…then skip it. There are too many other great places to eat at.
Some of the sweetest people in Antigua and they roast their own coffee here. If you are a coffee lover you won’t be disappointed at GuateJava!
They have great smoothies yes, but their coffee is just as good. I’ve included Union Cafe twice, can you tell I love this place?
This place is super cute. It has a lovely upstairs area where you can escape the city, their coffee is perfect too.
They roast their own beans, and many people think they have some of the best beans in town.
Inside San Martin is a cute little coffee bar if you want a place to sit and read for awhile. The chairs are super comfy and though their coffee is consistently good.
Tours and Shuttles
If you walk around Antigua just for 10 minutes you will probably pass a little tourism shop with information on tours to pretty much any where in the country and beyond. Though you probably can’t go too wrong with any of them, I can only recommend one because it’s the only one I have used.