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* '''McDonald's''' and '''Burger King''' accept US Dollars, and give change in local currency with a 3% service charge.
 
* '''McDonald's''' and '''Burger King''' accept US Dollars, and give change in local currency with a 3% service charge.
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PALACIO DE LA INDIA - TANDOORI INDIAN RESTAURANT -  "Simply a journey to India" All authentic Tandoori Indian Cuisine. Call 7832 0547 or 5088 1294 for reservations.
  
 
==Drink==
 
==Drink==

Revision as of 03:40, 11 September 2007

La Antigua Guatemala (commonly referred to as just Antigua or La Antigua) is a city in Guatemala. It was the colonial Spanish capital of Central America, it is a World Heritage site, and is perhaps the most popular tourist destination in Guatemala.

Contents

Understand

Antigua's famous arch

Antigua's streets are mostly laid out in a rectangular grid aligned with the compass, with the Parque Central as an origin point. North-south roads are avenidas or avenues, numbered from 1st to 9th from east to west. The avenidas are further divided into sur (south) and norte (north). East-west roads are calles or streets, numbered from 1st to 7th from south to north. The calles are further divided into oriente (east) and poniente (west). The street intersection at the north-east corner of the Palace of the Captains-General, i.e. at the south-east corner of Parque Central, is the origin of this division. Avenidas are sur south of 5a Calle, and norte north of it. Calles are oriente east of 4a avenida, and poniente west of it.

Some roads have names that don't follow the avenida/calle numbering scheme, and some roads away from the center don't follow the grid.

Addresses are numbered sequentially outwards from the origin point. Even-numbered addresses are on one side of the street and odd numbers are on the other. Street addresses are written with the street or avenue number first, followed by the letter "a" (because 1a signifies "primera", 2a is short for "segunda", 3a for "tercera", etc); then "av." (for avenida) or "Cle" (for calle), then "ote" (oriente, east), "pte" (poniente, west), "sur" (south), or "nte" (norte, north); then the street address number. For instance:

  • "5a av. nte #5" is address #5 on 5th Avenue North. The small number shows it is just a little north of the north-south divider, 5a calle.
  • "3a calle ote #28" is address #28 on 3rd Street East. The relatively large number shows it is some ways east of the east-west divider, 4a Avenida.

It's helpful to memorise that the north and south sides of Parque Central are 5a and 4a calles, and the west and east sides are 5a and 4a avenidas. Parque Central is the reference point for east, west, north and south in street addresses. "5a av. nte #5" is north of Parque Central. "5a ave. sur #5" is south of Parque Central. Essentially, if you understand which way is north of Parque Central, you can find anything in the city.

The Inguat Tourist Office is on the south-east side of the Parque Central. Open until 5 pm Monday to Friday. Open Saturdays. Closed Sundays.

Get in

Located just 30 miles (45km) West of Guatemala City, you can get here in 45-60 minutes from La Aurora Airport.

You can catch a crowded chicken bus(recycled US school bus) from Guatemala city for US$1 or Q7. The Antigua bus station has moved about 1km west of the Lonely Planet address. As of February, 2007 there was construction on the road to Antigua in both directions so be prepared to spend an extra 45 minutes or so in stop and go traffic.

There are regular shuttle vans directly from the airport to Antigua. These cost around $10 US each and leave regularly all day until 8 PM. You don't need to prearrange anything; just show up.

A charter tourist van costs about USD $30. The driver will meet you at the airport with your name on a sign. For first-time visitors, the convenience and security of arranging a van like this might be worth the cost.

Transportation by bus is cheap compared to taxis or shuttles, but would be less convenient and take a longer time. For Antigua, you would need to take a cab to the second class bus station that does this route and get on a chicken bus.

There is no commercial air or train service for this town.

Get around

Antigua is very compact and easy to walk around. Most tourist destinations are in an 8-by-8 block area less than 1km across. You can walk across it in 15 minutes. Be careful: the sidewalks are narrow and not always in good repair, you may have to walk in the street with traffic whizzing by you, and at night it's worth being cautious and aware of your surroundings.

If you don't know the city streets too well, and it's past about 11pm, it is best to get a taxi back to your accommodations from Parque Central, especially if you're alone, or going more than a few blocks away from the well light Central Park area.

Tuk-tuks and taxis can take you to destinations within the city center for Q10 or less -- negotiate the fare with the driver in advance. Flag down a cruising tuk-tuk, or pick up a taxi from the queue at Parque Central.

See

The whole city is full of historic buildings, monuments, fountains and ruins. This city was founded by the Spanish in the XVII Century, and it follows the traditional design of a Main Plaza surrounded by Government and Catholic Church buildings. You'll find worthy to visit La Catedral, el Palacio de los Gobernadores, Convento de Capuchinas, Convento de Santa Clara, el Arco de Santa Catarina, Iglesia La Merced and the Handcrafts Market.

The Parque Central is, strangely enough, a park in the center of town. The park is a city block in size, with concentric circular walkways threading among trees and a fountain in the center. The trees are decorated with lights, and there are plenty of benches for sitting and people-watching. The Inguat tourist agency, the city hall and police office, the cathedral, and several banks and tourist businesses line the four sides of the park. Many Antiguans hang out in the park, and it has a pleasant, bustling, friendly feel day and night.

A large cross is prominent on a hill to the north of the city (Cerro de la cruz). It is a pleasant, moderately strenuous 30 minute walk to the cross from the Parque Central. On a clear day there is a fine vista over most of Antigua and the Volcán de Agua rising high to the south. Note: there are persistent reports of robberies on this trail. The Tourist Police lead a free walk up to the park at 10am and 3pm daily. Check-in with the Tourist Police office which is on the north side of City Hall at the north east corner of Parque Central (Central Park).

The Experimental Station Valhalla is a nursery of macadamia trees with an interesting environmental and economic agenda. Valhalla has donated over 250,00 macadamia trees to indigenous communities in Guatemala. Macadamia nuts are a cash crop, with the potential to provide a better livelihood for Guatemalan peasants than does coffee. The farmer can use the trimmed branches of the trees for firewood. Additionally, macadamia trees take carbon dioxide out of the air and form it into wood, nuts and shells. The shells can be used a street paving, sequestering carbon dioxide. And Valhalla have found a way to provide the trees as genetically diverse complete plants, instead of as grafts. This allows natural selection to adapt the trees to changing environmental conditions. The station turns macadamia nuts into snacks, chocolates, a fine skin cream, a pure oil, and a flour which can be made into pancakes. Pancake breakfasts are served all day, every day until 15:30. The breakfast includes 3 pancakes made of macadamia flour, served with macadamia butter, homemade blueberry marmalade and a drink of your choice. No reservation required.

Experimental station Valhalla is a few km out of Antigua in the direction of San Miguel Dueñas. Chicken busses run every 30 minutes on this route, and the fare was Q2.75 one way as of December 2005. The station offers tours in Spanish, English, and sometimes other languages as well. At the end of a tour they offer samples of their various macadamia products. tel +502-7888-6308, fax +502-7831-5799, web http://www.exvalhalla.net, email [1]. Open 8am - 4:30pm, Monday through Sunday.

Do

Cultural walking tours of Antigua are offered six days a week. They are the work of Elizabeth Bell, who came to Guatemala in 1969 from the U.S. and stayed. She has literally written the book on Antigua, twice (Antigua Guatemala: the city and it's heritage and Lent and Holy Week in Antigua). This tour is an interesting "peek behind the door" of Antigua -- telling you about the people and forces driving Antigua today and in its past, as you go to a few of the main destinations of Antigua. Since Elizabeth Bell is one of those people driving Antigua, her perspective is hard to beat. An essential complement to a more conventional tour of the of the top monuments and their histories. USD $18 per person (USD$15 for project volunteers), includes entrance fees. Some proceeds donated to cultural foundations in Antigua. Available in English and Spanish. Depart from the fountain in the Parque Central.

  • Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, 09:30am - 12:30pm, with Elizabeth Bell
  • Mondays and Thursdays, 2:00 - 5:00 pm, with Roberto Spillari
  • Reservations requested from Antigua Tours, 3a calle ote #28, web antiguatours.net, tel +502-7832-5821 and +502-7832-2046.

For those who like hiking, two trips near Antigua are highly recommended: Hiking up the active volcano Volcán Pacaya and/or the dormant Volcán Acatenango.

  • Going up the active Volcán Pacaya is quite easy and you will find dozens of travel agents who will be very happy to sell you tickets for a Pacaya-trip that normally costs between USD $7-9, depending on your bartering skills. This includes a bus-shuttle to and from Pacaya. Pacaya is an active volcano, and you get to go right to the craters edge. And yes, people do fall in occasionally! The hike is not too hard except for the last 100 meters or so that go over very loose rocks. Generally though, even unfit people of all ages can do this hike. It takes approx. 1.5 hours up and 45 minutes down the mountain. Note that there are a couple of kiosks at the bottom of this hike that offer cold beer.
  • Going up Volcán Acatenango is an entirely different cup of tea: This hike takes you from Antigua (1.500 meters) all the way to 3.976 meters (13,044 feet) in one day. I.e.: You need to be fit, carry gear and have to take precautions against Altitude Sickness. Most people who do this trip spend the night on the mountain though some go up an down within a day. Currently there are two outfits in Antigua who offer trips up Acatenango. If you have the gear though you can safely do the trip by yourself since there is only one way up.
  • The dormant volcano Volcán Agua stretches up invitingly to the south of Antigua. As of December 2005, some tourists report climbing without problems as part of a tour with police escort. There are other reports of unaccompanied tourists being robbed. Definitely take the security situation seriously, ask at the Inguat office for advice, and go with a tour that has security you trust.
    • Guatemala Ventures is reported to have competent tours with security to Agua.

Mundo Guatemala, [2]. Antigua-based tour operator for Guatemala and Central America, with tailor-made travel for individuals and groups which is distinct, personal, and out-of-the-ordinary. Options include: short excursions (1-3 days) to 8-day and longer trips with focus on Mayan culture and traditions, relaxation, archeology, nature and/or soft adventure. Can also arrange Spanish lessons and homestay (see below). Also offers trips to Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico, Costa Rica or Cuba.

Viaventure[3] offerers high-end day- and multi-day trips from their base in Antigua Guatemala. Best to contact them with advance notice as they are not really set up for "walk-ins." They can arrange helicopter excursions, VIP guides, 4x4s, etc. Their services tend to be more expensive than other local agencies but they offer different products than what you will find at the many travel agencies around town.

Learn

  • Antigua Cooking School for the best Guatemalteca cuisine. www.antiguacookingschool.com - Subanik, Tamales Colorados Chiles Rellanos, Tamalitos, Pepian, Enchaladas, Chuchitos and more. In the heart of Antigua, beneath the arch, 5a Avenida Norte, #25B. 59448568 or 59903366.

Antigua is the most popular - though not the cheapest - place to learn Spanish in Guatemala. There are more than 100 Spanish schools to choose from. You can choose from group or one-on-one instruction. As of December 2005, one teacher charged Q25.00 per hour for one-on-one instruction. A typical schedule is to take classes Monday-Friday, 8am-noon, leaving the afternoon for sightseeing. The price in February 2007 was US$90 for four hours of one on one instruction Monday through Friday either in the morning 8-12, 9-1 or in the afternoon 2-6pm. The homestay with a Guatemalan family costs US$70 for 7 nights in your own room with shared bath and 3 meals daily except on Sunday.

  • guatemala365.com: "Looking for a Spanish School in Guatemala? This is your site!"
  • Mundo Guatemala, [4]. can arrange customised spanish language training, volunteering, and homestay accomodation. Well-trained and experienced teachers mix traditional conversation style with modern language training; adopting a real-life context that reflects multiple perspectives of daily life, culture and social environment of Guatemala. Housing is selected based on student’s individual profile – special diets (vegetarians/vegans), allergies, medical conditions.
  • Escuela Tecun Uman Run by Mario Castellanos, one of the most experience teachers in the City. Its reputation is world wide known, and his rates are moderated. If you want to learn Spanish, don't miss this Spanish School. [5]
  • Luis Castellanos Private teacher with over 25 years experience. Excellent guide, extensive cultural knowledge, amiable and perceptive. Competitive rates. Good references. Flexible scheduling. 011-(502)5551-0282 or luisre81@hotmail.com
  • Spanish Academy Sevilla, 1st Avenida Sur # 17C, (502)7832-5101 (fax: (502)7832-5101), [6]. Offers private Spanish lessons. All teachers are said to be certified and experienced. Also offers choice of Student houses or Family stays accommodation, each with 3 meals/day 6 days/week, and private bathroom on request. Daily activities such as cultural exploration or just having fun.

Work

You can easily get a job as waiter, waitress, bartender, host in any of the many bars, restaurants and hotels in Antigua. Usually they pay from 8USD to 20USD a day plus tips. It's important to speak spanish but in some places they don't really care because most of their customers are foreigners. Also you can join as volunteers in local projects... there are a few good ones.

Buy

When you change money at the bank you need your passport but not a fancy hotels who take a 3% service fee.

  • Laundry can be done by various lavanderias around town. You drop off your laundry, they weigh it and charge you a price per pound (not per kilogram, interestingly). As of 2005, one lavanderia charged Q5.00 per pound, and it is expected that others charge about the same. The laundry is dried and available for pickup in two-four hours. Locals advise that you inventory your laundry, to be sure that none is lost or exchanged with another load. Two full backpacks of clothes weighed about 16 pounds.
    • Rapi Lavado, 6a Calle Pte No. 14, between 5a and 6a Ave Sur. As of December 2005, charged Q5,00 per pound.
    • Colonial Laundry, 4th Ave North #42, all the way to the end.
    • Spring Laundry, Primera Avenida Sur near Iglesia de San Francisco.

Eat

Antigua has cafes and restaurants for all tastes and budgets. The town is the most touristy place in Guatemala so you will find anything you are looking for: There is even a McDonalds, a Burger King, a Dominos Pizza and a Dunkin Donuts! So, no, you will not starve while in Antigua.

  • Antigua Cooking School for the best Guatemalteca cuisine. www.antiguacookingschool.com - Subanik, Tamales Colorados Chiles Rellanos, Tamalitos, Pepian, Enchaladas, Chuchitos and more. In the heart of Antigua, beneath the arch, 5a Avenida Norte, #25B. 59448568 or 59903366.
  • La Peña de Sol Latino is a bar and restaurant featuring live music by Guatemalteco and Central American bands (featuring Paco). Their macadamia dish is highly recommended. La Peña is located at 5 Calle Poniente (just along from El Sitio and opposite La Bodegona supermarket), Antigua Guatemala.
  • The Bagel Barn, 5a Calle Poniente #2, centrally located (10 meters off central park), travellers come here to get their fix of bagels, excellent coffee and wifi internet for those travelling with their own laptops. Bagel sandwiches include different breakfast and lunch selections using quality ingredients such as fresh mozzarella cheese, real cheddar, etc. Its a home away from home, a very cosy environment, movies showing in the afternoon and evenings. A great meeting place and starting point for your day in Antigua Guatemala.
  • Restaurante Doña Luisa Xicotencatl, 4a Calle Ote 12, has the feel of a well-run corporate restaurant set in a gorgeous leafy courtyard of a historic building. Menu includes well-executed breakfast, hamburgers, and Guatemalan interpretations of Tex-Mex food. They use purified water on their vegetables and for drinking and ice, which means their menu is in-bounds for tender First World stomachs. There is a bakery in the building, which means that when you get close you can follow the delicious smells the rest of the way in. Speaking of the bakery, it is absolutely incredible. Highly recommended, especially for the cookies and daily selection of delightful breakfast breads.
  • Estudio35 Nice place, fine atmosphere, excellent pizza and tasty crepes and large variety of drinks. Free WI-FI, Prices from 8USD TO 12USD. Arc street #35
  • La Fonda de la Calle Real has generous helpings of Guatemalan specialties, with reasonable prices and a touch of corporate efficiency in their operations. The "De Todo Un Poco" ("a bit of everything") platter combines steak, chicken, and sausage for Q91. The vegetarian "Pepian Vegetariano" offers green beans and other vegetables in a unusual smoky-flavoured sauce for Q44. The green salad is fresh and overflows the large plate at Q28. The 5a Ave Nte 5 location features a rustic three-story wood-frame building just off the Parque Central with pleasant second-story open balconies. Uses purified water for all drinks, ice, and preparation. web http://www.lafondacallereal.com/ . tel 7832-0507. Three locations: 3a Calle Pte 7, 5a Ave Nte 5, 5a Ave Nte 5 (the last two just north of the northwest corner of the Parque Central).
  • Y tu Piña, también. 6a Calle Oriente and Primera Avenida Sur. Breakfast. Lunch. Licuados. Benito's flavored rums. Luisa's famosa hangover soups. Proper espressos - usually. Manu Chao daily. Gratis Wi-Fi. Detox at Y tu Piña. Retox across the street at Café No Sé.
  • Travel Menu promises "small place, big portions", and delivers. It seats perhaps 20 people at about eight tables, in small, dim room painted to look like a underground European keller, lit only by candles on stands overflowing with waterfalls of wax drippings. They offer dinner entrees for Q25-30 (as of Dec 2005), with vegetarian options for everything. The portions are indeed generous. Beer and wine are also available, but not desserts. Topping it all off is the friendly proprietor, Jesper Nilsen of Denmark. Attracts a traveller crowd. 6a Calle Pte #14, one block south and partial block west of the southwest corner of Parque Central, on the north side of the street.
  • Rainbow Restaurant and Bookshop offers tourist-friendly and wholesome breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. An early-bird breakfast special of tomatoes, beans, eggs, rice, and tea or coffee is Q22 (as of Dec 2005). Sandwiches are Q32 or so, dinner entrees run from Q40-50, and salads and big desserts are also on offer. Use purified water for all drinks, ice and preparation. They have a rich schedule of live music, poetry readings, and interesting lectures about Guatemala. tel +502-7832-1919. 7a. Ave Sur #6 at 6a Calle, one block south and two full blocks west of the southwest corner of Parque Central.
  • The Sabor Cubano restaurant has a slightly up-market feel. It has live Cuban music on Thursday through Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons. 4a Calle Oriente 3A, a half-block east of the north side of the Parque Central.
  • Cinema Café Bistro offers food and a full schedule of movies from mid-afternoon to late evening. Stop by for the current week's schedule. 5a Ave Sur #14, two blocks south of the southwest corner of Parque Central on the west side.
  • Sangre Fancy place, great food, fine atmosphere... prices from 10USD to 20USD... large selection of wine per glass. Arc Street
  • Helados Sarita ("despues 1948"), which seems sort of like the Baskin-Robbins of Guatemala. Several dozen flavours of ice cream in three different choices of cones, sundaes and other more elaborate concoctions. Simple cones are Q4-9. 5a Ave Nte, just up from the northwest corner of Parque Central on the east side.
  • Helados Marco Polo offers ice cream dishes in a more polished atmosphere. 5a Ave Nte, just up from the northwest corner of Parque Central on the west side, opposite Helados Sarita.
  • Street ice cream carts are common through the city and popular with the locals, but of unknown safety for tender first-world stomachs. Price unknown.
  • El Pelícano Dorado Authentic Food from Livingston: fresh fish and seafood, tapado, caldo de mariscos, ceviches, rice and beans, giffity, etc. Also traditional Garífuna punta music played live on the weekends. At the South end of Alameda Santa Lucia, where it leaves for Ciudad Vieja, Nos. 7&7A. tel: 78327242
  • El Mix, 4 avenida sur local 4a (half block from central park), 78328934 (). Music, patio, vegetarian dishes, happy hour, Israeli food.
  • Dabbawala Tandoori new curry delivery service in Antigua. Samosas, Onion Bhajis, Chicken madras, Vindaloo, Naan Bread, the works. One of the English owners, Felix or Mick, will bring your order round on a motorbike. Most small hotels are happy for you to have food delivered if you ask. Remember to ask the guys for plastic plates and forks if you need them! Phone 7832-9976. Web: http://www.dabbawalatandoori.com.
  • Reilly's Irish Tavern [7] located at 5a ave. nte. #31 is Antigua's only Irish pub. Serves Guinness, amongst other things.
  • Mono Loco, located just off Parque Central on 5a ave. sur, is a funky tourist friendly joint with cheap international calling and a few computers for internet use. The food is very "gringo-esque" but tasty nonetheless. There's a large bar on the ground level, as well as a covered open air second floor eating area. Very nice place - lots of tourists frequent it, but it's a good place to meet and greet, or enjoy a burger.
  • McDonald's and Burger King accept US Dollars, and give change in local currency with a 3% service charge.


PALACIO DE LA INDIA - TANDOORI INDIAN RESTAURANT - "Simply a journey to India" All authentic Tandoori Indian Cuisine. Call 7832 0547 or 5088 1294 for reservations.

Drink

  • Cafe Sky. One of the best places in Antigua to take in the view of Volcan de Agua and the sunset.
  • Estudio35 Arc Street #35 the largest variety of beers in town, fantastic cocktails, great music. Fine place, reasonable prices.
  • Nokiate. Primera Avenida Sur. Just up from Cafe No Se - Super Fresh Sushi, Great Gin Tonics (ask for the TALL Glass) and Proper Martinis.
  • Y tu Piña, también. 6a Calle Oriente and Primera Avenida Sur. Breakfast. Lunch. Licuados. Benito's flavored rums. Luisa's famosa hangover soups. Proper espressos - usually. Manu Chao daily. Gratis Wi-Fi. Detox at Y tu Piña. Retox across the street at Café No Sé.
  • Café No Sé. Primera Avenida Sur. Bohemian beacon. Raconteurs. Live Music. Bad attitudes. Bad art. Colorful personalities. International. Essential. Cubano fajitas. Ilegal Mezcal. World-famous Tequila Bar. Perros: Pulque, Anoche, Alfombra and Feo.

Sleep

Antigua offers a wide variety of hotels at all price levels. Additionally, many local families open their homes to students of Spanish and travellers.

Hotels

  • Antigua UmmaGumma Hostel, 7a Avenida Norte, #34, +502-7832-4413 (), [8]. Two shared equipped kitchens, communal lounge area with direct TV, wireless high speed internet access, laundry service, international calls service, luggage store and travel agency. Dorms US$5 per person per night.
  • El Gato Negro (Black Cat Hostel), 6a Avenida Norte, 1a., +502 7832 1229 (), [9]. Largest and most fun and funky Hostel in Antigua. Price includes Free BIG Breakfast (anything on the Desayuno menu). Full bar and restaurant. Free Internet, including wireless. There is a movie room of over 350 movies/DVD's for free. Double rooms can only be booked onsite. (Tip, it might pay to book ahead as it is popular) Dorm bed Q55 / Doubles Q130 (as of 05/22/07).
  • Hostel Los Amigos, 2a Avenida between 7a and 8a calle. Dorm 35 Q (4USD) per person.
  • Hotel Casa Rustica, [10]. 6th Ave Norte #8, only 1 block from central park. Gardens, terraces & hammocks. All rooms are private & comfortable. Single with shared bath (USD$10), private bath (USD$15) with TV (USD$21). Double with shared bath (USD$16) or private bath (USD$22) with TV and garden view(USD$28); triple & quad rooms also available. Discounts for large groups, weekly & monthly stays. Continental breakfast in Cafe Rustica for $1, free filtered water, use of kitchen facilities, laundry service, bag storage, wireless internet, travel services, cable TV & hot water 24 hours. [[11]] +502 7832 3709.
  • Hotel Casa Cristina, [12]. This small and charming 10 room hotel is located only four blocks from Central Park in the center of Antigua. All rooms have private bath and hot water. Free coffee, tea and purified water. Wireless accessible from all rooms. Standard single room (USD$18) with cable TV (USD$22), Standard double room (USD$22) with cable TV (USD$26), Deluxe room with Volcan de Agua view and cable TV (USD$35). Callejon Camposeco 3A (between 6th and 7th Avenue North, one block from La Merced church). Discounts for weekly and monthly stays.
  • Jungle Party hostel, From Q60 to Q90 per person, breakfast included. Some travellers praise the great staff, great fun, great chance to meet other backpackers. Other travellers found this place to be very loud, and have very poor foam mattresses. USD $15-20 for 4-6 person bunk rooms, as of December 2005. 6a Avenida Norte #20, between 3a y 2a Calle Pte.
  • Hotel Quinta de las Flores, [13]. A ten minute walk from the central plaza, this hotel offers several quiet, almost free-standing rooms spaced around a central fountain. A special treat is the working fireplace, with firewood at the ready. $58US per night for a double.
  • El Palacio de Dona Beatriz, [14]. Luxury bed and breakfast inside a coffee plantation, near Santo Domingo convent and museum, 40 min from the Guatemala city airport.
  • Casa Santo Domingo is a luxury international-class hotel built in the remodeled ruins of an old convent. Access to three great museums in the Paseo De Los Museos is included in your room rate. Gorgeous landscaping and all the services. 10 minutes walk to Parque Central. Regular rooms USD $170-190, Suites USD $215-360 as of December 2005. web www.casasantodomingo.com.gt. email domingoreservas@intelnet.net.gt. tel +502-7820-1222. fax +502-7832-4155. 3a Calle Oriente No. 28 "A".
  • Hotel Convento Santa Catalina, 5 Ave Norte #28, (502) 7832-3080 (, fax: (502) 7832-3079), [15]. Located at the landmark arch on 5. Ave. US$70-100.
  • La Casa de los Abuelos, (), [16]. A family house, turned in a beautiful hotel, 5 minutes from downtown of La Antigua, a Beautiful view of the volcanoes, special packages for Spanish students and adoption parents.
  • Porta Antigua, 8a calle poniente No.1, (502) 7832-2801 (, fax: (502) 7832-0807), [17]. A beautiful hotel, its just a few blocks away from the park on a quiet street. The hotel has a great pool, parrots that live outside your window and great meals in the dining area. Tip: try their amazing hot chocolate. US$150-225.
  • Posada Dona Luisa, [18]. Located a few blocks from the park. There is nothing fancy about this place, but the people there are warm and friendly and it is clean and quiet. Single, double, and triple rooms available. US$30-45.
  • Casa Madeleine Bed & Breakfast and Spa, Calle del Espiritu Santo # 69, (502) 7832 9348 (, fax: (502) 7832 9358), [19]. checkin: 15:00; checkout: 13:00. A beautiful bed and breakfast located about 6-7 blocks from the central park. Comfortable rooms, hot water, Wi-Fi Internet, complimentary water, shampoo etc. Whirlpool and Jacuzzi, spa services and packages. Great view of their court yard and the volcano. Discount for groups, students, volunteers, adopting parents. USA telephone number +1-877 325 9137. US$95-$205.

Home stays

Home stays with Antigua families can be arranged through language schools or directly with the family in question. As an example, in December 2005 one family charged Q470.00 per person for a room and three meals a day, six days a week. An advantage of a home stay for the Spanish language student is a chance for language immersion, as well as the cultural experience. On the other hand, the housing may be more basic than in a hotel: simple concrete block construction, shared bathroom, and small rooms.

  • Ana & Dany are a friendly, welcoming young couple who offer a home stay. They have four guest rooms (only two with private bath) in their small house on Calle De Los Pasos near San Francisco church. Their two young children also live there, and a mother and several siblings are in and out. Both Ana & Dany speak some English, but are very clear and helpful to travellers trying out Spanish. They also teach Spanish privately and through schools. Travellers in 2003-2005 report warm and memorable memories. Rooms are small and basic, with concrete block construction, but clean and brightly painted. Food is Guatemalteca family cooking, with meat omitted for vegetarians. As of December 2005, Q470 per person per week for a room and three meals a day, six days a week. tel +502-5619-4110 (cell, call anytime), +502-7832-1940 (home, don't call at night Guatemala time). email anaguate at hotmail dot com. And, check out their website created by a past student: http://www.happyspanishhouse.com

Contact

There are many internet cafes and long-distance phone shops in Antigua. Internet time costs from Q5-10 per hour.

  • The Bagel Barn 5a Calle Poniente #2, offers free wifi internet for those travelling with laptop computers. Enjoy a nice cup of coffee or a freshly toasted bagel while you browse the net. You are 2 steps away from Central Park.
  • Enlaces is a large, well-run outlet that is perhaps the best value for price (as of December 2005). They have Internet access on dozens of consistent, fast, reliable machines on two storeys for Q6/hour, domestic phone calls at Q2, international calls (price unknown). They offer packages like an "Internet Value Card" at 10.5 hours for Q54 or 25 hours for Q100. They also have a travel agent and bar on the premises. 6a Avenida Norte, between 5a and 4a Calle poniente, one block due west from Parque Central.
  • Escuela Español International Calls has about a dozen machines with internet access for Q5/hour (as of Dec 2005). The price is great, but the machines aren't quite as fast and reliable as those at Enlaces. 6a Calle Pte #8, one block south and 1 block west of Parque Central.
  • Rainbow Restaurant and Bookshop includes internet access in its cornucopia of tourist-friendly offerings (price unknown) (as of Dec 2005). If you spend more than Q20 in the bookstore, you get 25 minutes of Internet time as a bonus. 7a Ave Sur #8 at 6a Calle. tel +502-7832-1919.
  • Funky Monkey Net - Now Known as BambooNet is a tourist-oriented cafe just south of Parque Central, offering good machines and a fairly low Q6/hour (as of Jul 2007). Upstairs is Bamboo Group, S.A. a real estate and business consulting office. Around the same atrium (Paseo de los Corregedores) there are several other tourist-oriented services including the Kinky Afro hair Salon. Their website, bamboogroupsa.com, offers useful information like a tourist map. 5a Ave Sur L-2, Paseo de los Corregedores #6. tel +502-7832-4195. email peter@bamboogroupsa.com.
  • Netplace Internet & Cafe offers Internet access at a low Q5/hour (as of Dec 2005), but with only four machines that are slow and flaky. 6a Ave sur #13, which it shares with Rainbow Laundry.

Stay Safe

Due to the presence of the "Tourist Police" Antigua is much safer than any other city in Guatemala. However, the tourist police are only present within the city. During the daytime your risk of getting robbed in Antigua is very small. However, if you leave the tourist-areas or if you walk the streets at night, there is a considerable risk. This is especially true during the time when the night and the morning shifts of the police change guard.

Almost all bars and restaurants will be happy to call you a taxi. Asking the barstaff to call the taxi for you, instead of looking for one yourself, can be a good idea since they tend to know the drivers they are calling. Ask them what the price should be beforehand, and also ask them to confirm the price with the taxi or tuc-tuc when they call you one.

If you plan to visit sights like "La Cruz" outside town, make sure you go with an officer of the tourist police who accompany tourists there at least once a day. (See the See section).

The municipal water supply in Antigua is treated with chlorine (citation needed). However, don't regard it as completely safe. It's still wise to drink agua del garrafon or agua embotellada (purified bottled water), and not agua del chorro (tap water). Some homes and restaurants have purified water in five gallon bottles and serve it in glasses. It's sensible to ask if the ice is made from purified water.

Cope

Get out

Antigua is a very good base for anyone who wants to explore Guatemala. The city is bustling with language students and you will have no problems finding a bus to anywhere in the country.

Almost all travel agencies in Antigua offer scheduled tourist shuttles to La Aurora airport in Guatemala City. Fares range from USD $5-10. The earliest buses depart at 4:00am, in time to arrive at the airport by 5:00am and catch a 7:00am flight out.

The only shuttle buses from Antigua to Copán leave at 4:00AM and take about six hours and cost $12usd.



This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!



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