How to spend a day in Antigua Guatemala

How to spend a day in Antigua Guatemala

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, that turned into a few months as I continued to extend my Guatemala travel adventure.

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!

How to spend a day in Antigua Guatemala

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.

How to spend a day in Antigua Guatemala

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!

How to spend a day in Antigua Guatemala

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.

How to spend a day in Antigua Guatemala

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.

 

Shower

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.

Dinner

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!

How to spend a day in Antigua Guatemala

 

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.

How to spend a day in Antigua Guatemala

Out Out

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. Alternatively, if you want an Airbnb I can’t recommend this house enough. The owner Chelsea is a very good friend and I stayed in the larger one last time I was in Antigua. For hotels, I recommend Hotel Mesón de María, Barbara’s Boutique Hostel, or Hotel Paseo de la Merced.

Would you like up to $29 off Airbnb? Just use this link.

 

How to spend a day in Antigua Guatemala

 

Looking for more things to do in Antigua? I have a whole load of ideas for you here.

Things to know before visiting Antigua

How to spend a day in Antigua Guatemala

How to Spend the Weekend in Antigua, Guatemala

How to get from Antigua to Semuc Champey

Guatemala Guides | 5 tours not to be missed in Guatemala

Is it safe to visit Guatemala? Guatemala Safety Advice for Solo Female Travelers

Book your trip now

Are you ready to book your trip?  To help you get the best deals and service here are the companies that I personally use to book all of my travel online. I always shop around before booking anything, but these are my tried and tested starting places.

  • Skyscanner – I’m a bit fan of Skyscanner, it is who I use to book all of my flights. I often will check other like Google Flights or Momodo, but I always go here first and it is who I book 99% of my flights with.
  • Booking.com – I LOVE booking.com especially when I can book and cancel free up until a certain point, mostly because my plans are forever changing. It’s easy to use and has one of the widest selections.
  • Airbnb – I’m not a huge user of Airbnb, but sometimes I do like to use it, and I ALWAYS check it before I book anything else. You can get some really cool places to stay here, and it is especially good in places like Cuba. If you don’t have an account and you click on this link then you will get $36 off your first booking.
  • Hostelworld – If you are looking for hostels then this is a great place to check first. They often have additional places that you won’t find on Bookin.com.
  • Agoda – Although I don’t use it as much as booking.com, Agonda is especially good if you are traveling in Asia as they really do dominate there.
  • Worldpackers – If you want to travel on the cheap and save money on accommodation then you need Worldpackers in your life. You can read more about it here. If you click this link to sign up and use the code CLAIRESITCHYFEET then you can get a 40% discount on your membership!
  • Book a Way – If you are traveling in Asia and want to pre-book your transportation then bookaway.com is a fantastic site to do so. They have buses, trains, and cars.
  • RentalCars – Looking to rent a. car while you are away? I always book through Rental Cars as they do a search of all of the big sites and find the best deals.
  • Welcome Pickups – Very occasionally getting from the airport to my accommodation is a total pain in the butt, or I’m traveling in a group and it makes sense to arrange a pickup. When I do I use Welcome pickups.
  • World Nomads – If you are looking for flexible travel insurance then it’s World Nomads all the way. I wrote all about insurance here if you want a more thorough review.
  • SafetyWing – AsI’m a Digital Nomad and not moving around quite so much anymore I personally use SafetyWing now for my health insurance. I wrote a full review here.
  • Viatour – Sometimes it can be a little expensive, but I like Viatour for somethings, especially if you can get a discount code! It’s also great for inspiration.
  • Klook – If you are traveling in Asia, then Klook is great! You can book all kinds of tours, activities, and train tickets, plus they even have sim cards and WiFi.

Claire Summers

Dancer, producer, traveller, photographer, cake maker, dog lover and knitter of Christmas scarfs.

This Post Has 31 Comments

  1. Antigua is a UNESCO site, so it is high up on my bucket list. I’ve always been interested to visit Guatemala. This country is one of my bucket list items in South America. I love the culture, history and architecture, as shown in your photos!

  2. I love that your one day itinerary includes both the old city itself and the volcano walk, giving a great blend of both natural and city scape. I love the old architecture!

    1. Thank you Kavey! I tried to get as much in as possible without going ott. But you can’t visit Guatemala and not hike a volcano!

  3. I spent a couple of months in Antigua too, it is so easy to stay there! Toko Baru was definitely my favourite restaurant, I missed curries from back home (England) and this was the closest to that I’ve found on my travels!

  4. I would love to visit the city of Guatemalan, Antigua it looks like a beautiful looking place. Tacos are one of my favourite things to eat and Toko Baru looks great. I love eating at local places, also the prices are usually cheaper too which helps. Thanks for the word of warning to about making sure they heat up the chicken.

  5. This is great itinerary for 1 day in Antigua. Your walking tour of the ruins are an excellent idea, I will remember it for when I visit. The tacos look amazing and win hands down for me, and yes, I’m hungry now!

  6. This is an awesome one-day itinerary. The hike sounds like my kind of hike since I am not an advanced hiker. If I have any energy left after the hike, I would definitely check out Toko Baru. I love curries and sweet potato fries. You must have really loved Antigua if a few weeks turned into months 🙂

  7. Guatemala is high on my bucket list – even more so now! It looks like you had a great – and very busy – day! What a special city.

  8. There is so much excitement packed into a single day, I am sure there is not going to be a dull moment. My favourite parts are walking in the ruins and taking a trek to an active volcano. Antigua is definitely a nice place and your itinerary ensures that it is time well spent in the place.

  9. I never heard of Antigua before, and it sounds like an amazing place from your post. It looks charming with lots to explore, and that trip to the volcano looks awesome.

  10. I’ve never been to South America but would love to go; the pictures of the ruins are so magical! They remind me of Tomb Raider 🙂 The food sounds amazing too, all things spicy! How long would you recommend in Antigua for a family with young kids?

  11. Man, that takes me back–we visited Antigua twice earlier this year and loved it. Cafe Rainbow was our go-to breakfast spot, I don’t even remember how often we ate there! I didn’t climb Pacaya, though my husband did and loved it. We both climbed Acatenango, which was a crazy experience!

  12. This is such a great itinerary you’ve put together! I’m dying to visit here someday; Cerro De La Cruz looks amazing! I’ve saved this to watch the video tomorrow!!

  13. I loved Antigua, such a peaceful town but still with good nightlife. When you hiked Volcan Pacaya could you go all the way to the crater? I must confess when I visit Antigua I had no idea it was a UNESCO city!

  14. This is a fantastic itinerary for a stunning place! Great mix of history, hiking, and of course, food! (Because you need food after all that hiking, right?!) Those tacos look sensational! You just made me crave for tacos!

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

    Thanks,
    Sita

    1. 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?

      1. Hey thanks for ur msg. Wanted to get from Mexico Palenque to Lake Atilan and then head to the volcano Pacaya and then down to Antigua.

        From Antigua we would like to go towards Belize what is the best stops in Guatemala that you can recommend. We have one day going up towards Caye Caulker as a stop. What do you recommend? Between Antigua and Caye Caulker as a stop?

        What’s the transport like going towards Belize?

        Is it easy to sort that out on the ground? Crossing borders etc?

        Thanks for ur tips so jel about all your travels.

        1. So I went from Tikal to Belize but that’s a little out of your way! You have a few options: 1. Night bus to Flores, visit Tikal and then take the 8am bus the next day to Belize. 2. go to Semuc Champey or Rio Dulce for a day then continue to Belize. 3. Get the bus straight to Belize but stop just over the border and do the ATM (It’s an ancient Mayan cave – I didn;t get there but I wish I had! Google it!). If you go from Tikal I wrote a post on Tikal to Mexico and it has details of the bus company I used. They are the best and it’s not too expensive.It’s also easy to sort on the ground, the border crossing was easy and I booked the afternoon before 🙂

  17. Claire – thanks for making this, way a great itinerary, will definitely do this tomorrow!

    1. Ah I’m so glad Erin! Hope you weren’t too affected by Fuego!

  18. Would love your walking map but your links don’t seem to work.

    1. 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.

  19. 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!

    1. Thanks Freddie. Antigua is the perfect place for a few days. I’ll be back there myself next month and I can’t wait!

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