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48 Hours in Antigua: What to Do, Places to Visit and Day Trips

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48 Hours in Antigua: What to Do, Places to Visit, and Day Trips

square antigua guatemala

Antigua, Guatemala, is this gorgeous little colonial city that is a UNESCO site outside of Guatemala City, about approximately 1 hour away. So if you’re going to be arriving in Guatemala City, I recommend going directly to Antigua. Today we’re going to be talking about 48 hours in Antigua, Guatemala.

2 Days in Antigua, Guatemala

If you only have 48 hours in Antigua, don’t worry about it, because that gives you a lot of time to really enjoy what this little city has to offer.

First, Antigua is about ten blocks squared. You could easily walk everywhere you need to go. Antigua is a small colonial cobblestone little town.

First Day

Visit Parque Central

The majority of the action surrounds Parque Central, which is the Central Park of Antigua.

It’s also where the main cathedral is (one of the many churches of Antigua), and this is where the famous fountain is. And just hanging out in Parque Central is a lot of fun to people-watch, and there’s usually a lot of different fairs and vendors and all this other stuff. Right around Parque Central, there are also a ton of little restaurants and shops, and right off of that main park is Calle de Arco, Arc Street which is the main street. On weekends, they completely close it down, so it’s a pedestrian street.

However, the majority of the streets right off of Parque Central are really fun. That is where you will find all the real restaurants, fun restaurants, bars, and whatnot. So if you’re going to be calculating how much time you’ll need for that, probably be between 3 and 4 hours. So a good half of a day from there.

antigua cathedral central park

Central Market

I definitely recommend going and checking out the central market of Antigua.

Market days are Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. However, when we say market day, that just really means extra fruit and veggie vendors. The rest of the market is always going to be the same, and it’s open seven days per week. So if you get there on market day, it’s more fun because it’s just much more chaos. And for tourism, it’s great if you live there.

I prefer the off days. However, if you are there on a market day, it’s really fun. You’ll just get to see a lot more productivity. But the actual market is there all the time. And if you enter inside the market itself, there are all these clothing vendors.

There are local eateries, called “comedores“, there are butchers, there’s seafood, there’s everything you could possibly imagine, and that’s usually there all the time. You don’t have to go there on market day to see that.

antigua central market

Artisan Market

Then right next to the central market is the artisan market. It’s also open seven days a week. This is where you can find all the different indigenous cloth, the colorful cloth that they’re using, also jewelry, jade, clothes, you name it. Purses, tablecloths. The supply is endless. So this is definitely a place where you want to go and shop around. It’s really cool.

Yes, bargaining is something that we do here in Guatemala, but I don’t really recommend it. The majority of these vendors are really poor. They barely make any money as is. And trust me, this stuff is not expensive. Bargaining, I think at one point, and maybe more in the Arab countries, where it’s actually considered like a sport and almost in good nature here it crosses the line of offensive. That’s just my personal opinion. I don’t really recommend it anyway.

Go Out for Dinner

So here you have that one full day. Then in the evening, you want to go out to dinner, go to a local restaurant. Local restaurants are called Comedores. I recommend you listen to the podcast about Comedores and what is more of the local eateries.

I have several episodes about Guatemalan local foods, drinks, and where to eat. So you really get that idea as well. Go and check them out. They’re only a few minutes long. And it really gives you a much more enriching idea of more in-depth idea of all of this.

inside cerveceria 14 antigua guatemala

Second Day

Now, for the second day, there are many day trips and half-day trips to do right outside of Antigua and many of them are fascinating.

Pacaya Volcano Trip

I really recommend going to a volcano, there are many volcanos in Guatemala, and the most visited are near Antigua. Pacaya volcano is really half a day trip. It’s close enough. You could take a horse when you’re there, or you could hike it to the top.

It’s really cool. It’s not super active, but when it is active, you will know. And there are going to be different precautions you’ll need to take. But it always has hot lava underground, so it’s really cool. You can literally roast marshmallows pretty much any time of the year there.

hot springs in guatemala - pacaya volcano hike

Acatenango and Fuego Volcano Trip

I really recommend Pacaya if by chance you have a little bit more time than just 48 hours, Volcano Acatenango and Fuego trip is one of the best things you’ll go hiking to the top. I have an entire podcast all about how to do this really well, the different kinds of tours, and what to look for. But it is an overnight trip.

So you leave for the second part of the day around 01:00 p.m. And you arrive at 01:00 p.m. The following day. And it’s a really awesome trip to do because as you hike up, you get to see Fuego, which is the other volcano, which is almost always erupting. And then you walk down and there’s camping, and everything is included in that. So this is pretty much what I would recommend.

Visit the Jade Museum

If you only have 48 hours in Antigua, you do Pacaya and you have half of that day.

I would also recommend going to a Jade museum. There are jade stores everywhere because jade is the national gemstone of Guatemala. So going to a jade museum, we can learn a little bit more about where jade comes from and the importance it had for the Mayan indigenous Indians. Fascinating. And it’s only about an hour at most.

And there are all these great coffee shops and places to visit and just stroll around in Antigua. That’s really what Antigua is all about strolling and enjoying yourself there.

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