Things to do in Antigua

Itineraries for Your Trip to Antigua

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2 Days in Antigua for First Timers

Curated by Jade HarveyJade is a writer with a passion for travel, drag queens, and baked goods. Her happy place is South America, but when she's not exploring the world, she enjoys cooking and reading Gothic novels in her London flat.

With its wealth of colonial and natural attractions, Antigua should be at the top of every traveler’s Guatemala itinerary. Two days give you time to explore the Old Town and delve deeper into local culture on a day trip. Here’s how.

Day 1: Morning

Devote your first morning to exploring Antigua’s colonial center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s renowned for its brightly-colored churches and cobbled streets. The area lends itself well to walking tours, which reveal hidden details you may otherwise miss if traveling by car.

Day 1: Afternoon

Spend the afternoon on the outskirts of the city in Pacaya, home to an active volcano. There are plenty of tour options for visiting the volcano. Some take you to the summit on a moderate 2-hour hike, while others transport you to vantage points that are perfect for taking pictures of the natural landmark.

Day 1: Night

Back in Antigua, see one of the city’s best views at sunset from the top of Hill of the Cross (Cerro de la Cruz), from which you can see the Pacaya volcano and all of Antigua Old Town. Once you’re back at sea level, toast your first day with a cocktail on a roof terrace in the historic center.

Day 2: Morning

Rise early to discover Antigua’s natural surroundings on a day trip to Lake Atitlan, a mountain lake surrounded by volcanoes and emerald hills. Tours minimize the stress of organizing your own transportation, and many offer a sightseeing cruise on the lake, as well as stops at waterfront villages.

Day 2: Afternoon

Many day trips continue on into the afternoon with a stop in the town of Chichicastenango to explore the Chichicastenango Market, one of the largest handicraft markets in Guatemala. On certain days of the week, locals arrive from the surrounding area to sell crafts, textiles, produce, food, and more.

Day 2: Night

When you return to Antigua, dedicate your final evening to its culinary culture by taking a cooking class that reveals dishes and delicacies that you may otherwise have missed. Classes typically include a walk around the local market and, once you’ve finished cooking, a meal of your own making.

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