Set against the pictorial backdrop of three imposing volcanoes in the central highlands of Guatemala, the beautiful, old colonial town of Antigua is one of the country’s top tourist destinations. Once the noble capital of the Spanish Empire in Central America, Antigua was severely damaged during a major earthquake in 1773, causing the city to lose its sovereignty to what is now modern-day Guatemala City. Nevertheless, Antigua still retains an outstanding collection of well-preserved Spanish architecture, which furnishes the city with an enchanting and romantic atmosphere.
A major center for learning the Spanish language as well as a popular base for exploring other parts of Guatemala, Antigua provides a plethora of impressive sights and activities. Just a simple stroll through the city center awards views of spectacular architecture, historic churches and prominent landmarks like the Santa Catalina Arch. The heart of the city is Central Park, a large green space with trees, walking paths, monuments and fountains, where people can relax or hire taxis to get around the city. A must-do is get lost in the city’s huge market with its maze of tropical fruit stalls and flowers. Museums and art galleries showcase Antigua’s history, culture and art, while the Hill of the Cross presents panoramic views of the city. Just outside Antigua, tourists can hike up the volcanoes or hop on a bus to tour coffee farms, cacao plantations and traditional villages.