Only have a day to explore the beautiful Guatemalan City of Antigua? If you have just a day in Antigua you are going to want to make the most of it!
Ideally, Antigua is somewhere you want to come for a few days at least to really make the most of it. I arrived planning on staying for a few weeks, which turned into a few months as I continued to extend my Guatemala travel adventure.
Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared for anything! Travel insurance has always been high my list of things to get before I travel but now more than ever its at the top of my list.
I’m pretty sure we have all had travel plans messed up because of COVID and not all insurers covered this. So when looking for travel insurance it’s important to check it covers travel disruption due to COVID-19, Hey Mondo, Passport Nomads, Safety Wing, and Travel Insurance Master all provide cover for this.
Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single trip cover, annual multi trip cover, and long term travel cover. You even have the option to start the cover when you are already on your trip, although you won’t be covered for the first 72 hours. For me my favourite feature is their app which offers you a 24/7 Dr chat and the ability to file a claim direct in the app.
Passport Nomads provides the most comprehensive cover for Digital Nomads. The game changer with them is that you have a red card and if you find yourself in need of medical care you just contact them and they will pre load your card with the funds to cover your treatment, meaning you won’t need to pay out of pocket and then put in a claim later.
Safety Wing is great value with monthly cover starting at $39. It’s super easy to use and it just renews each month. They have an excess of $250 and it’s simple to make a claim through their website. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy and I like that it renews on a monthly basis, so I don’t have to pay out a big lump sum up front.
I also use Travel Insurance Master for some short vacation type trips.
If you are doing shorter trips or an extended backpacking trip then Hey Mondo or Travel Insurance Master are the best option. If you are a digital nomad or planning travel of at least 6 months then go for Passport Nomads or SafetyWing.
So Here is my 1 day in Antigua itinerary:
Breakfast with a View
Start your day right by having breakfast at The Breakfast Club. It is also a hostel so walk in and through the garden and up the stairs. You will find yourself up on a beautiful terrace with amazing views of Antigua on a clear day you will be able to see all three volcanos. They have a great breakfast menu served all day. Comfy seats and great wifi!
Take a Historical Walk
Once you have filled up on breakfast it’s time to go exploring. If you don’t already know Antigua is a UNESCO world heritage site and it is full of beautiful ruins. Every corner you turn around you will see another hidden gem. The ones you are able to enter you will have to pay a small entrance fee. But even if you don’t want to go in you will be able to get a great street view.
Lucky for you I have created a walking tour of all of the key ruins in Antigua. You can download the map at Walkli and it starts at Cerro De La Cruz so make sure you have some good walking shoes on!
Lunch at Rainbow Cafe
Once you have finished your walk head over to Rainbow Cafe for lunch. Be sure to try one of their Iced Teas. While you are there take a look at their community notice board and schedule as there are always things happening there in the evening from NGO talks to Live Music.
Hike Volcan Pacaya
Still got some energy left after your historic walk? You really must hike a volcano in Guatemala and Volcan Pacaya close to Antigua is the easiest hike you will find. Pacaya is one of the most active volcanoes in Central America. I would recommend going with OX Expeditions they offer a half day tour that leaves their office at 2pm and returns around 6pm.
You can expect around 2 hours of hiking (an hour up and then the rest is exploring the lava fields and hiking down). So long as you have an average fitness level you won’t struggle on this hike. I wore my head cam the last time I want and you can take a watch below.
I also did an overnight camping trip to Pacaya which you can read about here.
Once you get back from Pacaya you are going to want to shower that volcano off you! So go and take a shower, put on some clean clothes.
Hands down my favorite place to eat in Antigua is Toko Baru its freshly prepared, plenty of choice for vegans and Vegetarians as well as meat lovers. There is no Wifi and you will often have to share a table. I recommend any of their curries, the falafel and make sure you order a portion of sweet potato fries!
Or if you are just too tired to even contemplating sitting down to eat then skip the shower and head straight up to Iglesia La Merced on 1a Calle to get yourself some street food. Word of warning make sure they heat up the chicken on a hot plate if that’s what you want, otherwise go for a different meat of stick to vegetarian!
Or cross over the road from OX on 7 Calle and get some tacos or a burrito from Taqueria Doña Lupita they are the best in Antigua.
If you still have energy left and fancy hitting the town? Antigua is known for its nightlife in Guatemala and you will be spoilt for choice of places to go. That said most of the good places are a little bit hidden. I have also created a Nightlife Tour/ Map of the best watering holes in the city which you can also download from Walkli here. Your welcome!
Looking for Accommodation in Antigua?
There are 3 places I recommend Selina or Yellow House Hostel if you are looking for a hostel. For hotels, I recommend Hotel Mesón de María, Barbara’s Boutique Hostel, or Hotel Paseo de la Merced. And I have gathered all the best places to eat in Antigua here in case you need any recs.
Wednesday 17th of April 2019
I'm going to be in Guatemala City for 2 weeks for work but trying to work out what to do in the middle weekend. Antigua looks like the perfect option for a couple of days, not too far from the capital.
Thank you so much for the in-depth descriptions and ideas as without them I'd be clueless! Can't wait to delve deeper into your work!
Thursday 18th of April 2019
Thanks Freddie. Antigua is the perfect place for a few days. I'll be back there myself next month and I can't wait!
Tuesday 12th of June 2018
Would love your walking map but your links don’t seem to work.
Thursday 12th of July 2018
Hi, Claudia thanks so much for letting me know. I'm not sure what happened but I've fixed the links now so they should work. Sorry it if it too late for you to use them.
Saturday 26th of May 2018
Claire - thanks for making this, way a great itinerary, will definitely do this tomorrow!
Monday 4th of June 2018
Ah I'm so glad Erin! Hope you weren't too affected by Fuego!
Thursday 28th of September 2017
You have done all the research for me for Guatemala! Absolutely love it short sweet and to the point! Now we need to get transport sorted from one place to the next! Thanks Claire please share good contacts for transport if you can.
Tuesday 10th of October 2017
Haha, happy to help! I try to write the things I needed to know when I arrived, no fuss, just to the point. I spent 9 months there (I love Guatemala) so I picked up a lot on my travels. Transport is super easy to sort out! It's best to book the day before and prices don't change much so you are unlikely to get ripped off. Where are you wanting to travel to and from?
Sunday 10th of September 2017
This seems like a perfect one day itinerant for Antigua. It's good to know that The Breakfast Club has a hostel too besides a view. That way I don't have to worry to wake up early for the breakfast.