The beautiful ancient city of Antigua in Guatemala attracts young travelers with language schools as it is known as the best city in Central America to learn Spanish. The city is surrounded by volcanoes and is especially known for its colonial heritage. Book your trip to Antigua with KILROY!
Coffee and colonial charm
The charming old capital of Antigua is located about 35 km from Guatemala City. Spanish colonists founded the city in 1543 and today the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1773 several violent earthquakes destroyed large parts of the city, but today all buildings are completely renovated.
Antigua is located in a valley surrounded by three big volcanoes. Volcan de Fuego is active and you can often see it smoking. The city is dominated by the Spanish colonial architecture with picturesque courtyards and cobblestone streets. Living in Antigua is very relaxing!
Taste one of the world's best coffees, harvested on the volcano slopes in one of the cozy cafes and enjoy a delightful meal in a fine restaurant. Antigua is also perfect for party people - there are plenty of trendy bars and cozy restaurants. Additionally, you also find good shops, art galleries and museums. Something for everyone, in other words.
The city center is concentrated around Central Park. Arco de Santa Catalina is one of the many remarkable architectural gems of the city. Cathedral Metropolitano was partially destroyed by earthquakes in 1773 but has since been well restored.
Language Schools in Antigua
In Antigua you can find good, cheap language schools, and since the city has more than 75 schools to choose from, this is the place to learn Spanish. Many travelers choose to take a Spanish course and then travel further around in Central America, and you quickly notice that it pays off to know even just a small part of the language. Language Schools attracts many young travelers and staying with a host family is very common. Some choose to be in Antigua for months to learn Spanish, others will be in town a few days.
The schools La Union and Sevilla are the greatest. The schools organize a wide range of fun daily activities even included in the accommodation price, so you can simultaneously meet many new friends.
Antigua is known for its spectacular religious celebrations of Easter week in April, also known as Semana Santa. This is the year's biggest festival and each year thousands of locals and tourists come to experience this magnificent ceremony. The processions throughout the city are definitely worth a look. Be aware of pickpockets however!
This well-known market takes place on Mondays and Thursdays. Here the Indians sell quality handcrafts, textiles and coffee, among much else, and it's a wonderful experience to walk around here.
Activities in Antigua
Take a day trip to the 2,552 meter high active volcano Pacaya. It's a great experience to see the lava flow right in front of his eyes. Mountain biking and horse riding are both good ways to explore the surrounding countryside.
You can also bring your dancing shoes and try salsa dancing or maybe merengue. There are a multitude of dance schools, where you can either dance with a team or with a private teacher, and most places you can even try the first time free. Various bars also organizes salsa evenings.
Accommodation in Antigua
It is not difficult to find a cool hostel in Antigua, except during Semana Santa celebrations, where you should always book in advance. If not you may end up having to stay on the street or pay exorbitant prices.
There are many travel agencies and transport companies in Antigua. They organize all kinds of tours, including tours to Monterricos seaside resorts, Panajachel in Atitlan Lake, Chichicastenango or to the Mayan ruins of La Ceiba in neighboring Honduras.
In Antigua, it is easy to get around by taxi, but walking is definitely the best way to get around as the city is quite small and easy to navigate in.
Antigua is among the safest cities in Guatemala, but it is still recommended that you do not walk alone on the streets after dark. Almost all of the country's pickpockets come to Antigua during Semana Santa, so beware of these resourceful thieves.