Discover the Churches in Antigua, Guatemala

Antigua is a town of churches, cathedrals, and monasteries. Due to many natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanoes, a lot of these buildings have seen better days. However, you can enjoy the newly rebuilt editions and get a feel of the golden days. Vising the churches in Antigua is one of the best things to do even if you’re not a religious person, those places hold so much history and culture that you will get a lot of fun! So if you are going to travel to Guatemala, don’t forget to take a walk around the churches in Antigua.

Must-Visit Churches in Antigua, Guatemala

Catedral De Santiago (Antigua Guatemala Cathedral)

This cathedral can write a book on earthquakes and the damage it has experienced over the centuries. Presently, you can enter the building, but the one-time expensive decorations have been long ago destroyed. The best time to view the building is at night, as it stands lit in a tasteful way. However, the most impressive part of the cathedral is behind it: the ruins. You can still see many of the brick structures and statues. Plus, behind the main altar are steps leading down to a former crypt, now serving as a chapel with a black Christ.

Where is it? Eastside of the central park. Ruins – 5a Calle Oriente
Schedule: 9 – 5 pm, daily
Admission: church – free, the ruins – $0.40

Churches in Guatemala: Catedral de Santiago

Nuestra Señora De La Merced

This is Antigua’s most impressive colonial church. Construction began in 1548, and even though it was affected by earthquakes, it stands in great shape. Throughout the church, you’ll find a water lily motif. This is a traditional symbol of the power of Mayan lords left by the indigenous laborers who built it. You can visit the monastery ruins where you’ll find the 27m diameter fountain, the largest one in Hispanic America.

Where is it? 5a Avenida
Schedule: 9 – 6:30 p.m. daily
Admission: Church – free, ruins – $0.80

Iglesia de San Francisco

Little is left of the original structure, although the excellent reconstructions and restorations do the trick. This church is well known for the tomb of Santo Hermano Pedro de San Jose de Betancourt (1626-67). He was a Franciscan monk who founded a hospital for the poor in Antigua. In 2002 Pope John II visited Guatemala and made him a saint. On the south side of the church is a museum and ruins of an adjoining monastery. Some people still pray at Hermano’s tomb and you can see the pasillo de Los Milagros, which is full of testimonials of his miracles.

Where is it? corner of 8a Calle Oriente and Calle de los Pasos
Schedule: 8 – 5 p.m. Tue – Sun
Admission: Church – free, museum and monastery ruins – $2

Las Capuchinas

In 1736 the nuns from Madrid inaugurated this building as Iglesia y Convento de Nuestra Senora del Pilar de Zaragoza. In 1773 it was severely damaged by the earthquake and then abandoned. In 1943 restorations restarted and are still going on today. It’s an impressive building with a tower-like building around the patio that housed the 18 nuns’ cells. Now it is home to the Council for the Restoration and Preservation of Antigua.

Where is it? Corner of 2a Avenida Norte and 2a Calle Oriente
Schedule: 9 – 5 pm daily
Admission: $4 adult, $2 children/student

Las capuchinas a Church in Antigua, Guatemala

Iglesia y Convento de La Recoleccion

This was one of the most impressive churches of Antigua during its heyday. However, the 1773 earthquake destroyed the building. Now you can rumble around the well-preserved ruins and relics.

Where is it? Avenida de la Recoleccion
Schedule: 9 – 5 p.m. daily
Admission: $4 adult, $2 children/student

Iglesia y Convento de Santa Clara

It was built in 1702 and greatly destroyed in the earthquake of 1773. You can still see a great deal of this church as you explore the remains.

Where is it? 2a Avenida Sur 27
Schedule: 9 – 5 p.m. daily
Admission: $4 adult, $2 children/student

📖 Recommended Reading: If you’re looking for more useful information, check out Top 14 Day Trips from Antigua, Guatemala You Need to Try.

Iglesia y Convento de Santo Domingo

In 1542 this church was the riches and biggest monastery of Antigua. However, the 18th-century earthquakes destroyed it, while in the 20th-century parts of it were pillaged for construction material. Today, the remains are tastefully scattered throughout the property of Hotel Casa Santo Domingo.

Where is it? 3a Calle Oriente 28
Schedule: 9 – 6 p.m. Mon – Sat, 10 – 6 p.m. Sun
Admission: $6

Iglesia y Convento of La Campaña de Jesus

Walking up towards the famous craft market in Antigua, you are greeted by an imposing and beautiful church ruin. Built-in 1690, the Church of the Campaña de Jesus was constructed in a Spanish Baroque style. Unfortunately the church was hit by the earthquake, and it’s a ruin, but you can view the architecture of the church, it’s still an amazing spot for photos

Where is it? 3a Calle Poniente, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala

Schedule: No

Admission: No

Iglesia El Carmen

Unfortunately, you can’t go inside the church. Only the external of Iglesia El Carmen remains after the earthquake destroyed everything else. The columns in the front are intricately carved and shows how much work they did, and it  really catches the eye. As I already mentioned you can’t actually go inside but you can take a peek into the center of the cathedral through its gate

Where is it? 4 Avenida Sur 7, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala

Schedule: No

Admission: No

San Jose El Viejo Church in Antigua

The San Juan el Viejo church has an interesting and beautiful edification. It was supposed to hold the statue of St. Joseph inside, the church only worked for a few years, because the earthquake ruined it totally. But today, it’s increasingly popular for people to visit the gardens and relax.

Where is it? H738+768, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala

Schedule: No

Admission: No

How to Get to Antigua

The number of kilometers from the Guatemala City Airport to Antigua is around 40. On a good day, it will take you 45 minutes to get there. On a normal day an hour or so and on a bad day with heavy traffic it could take you at least 3 hours max. The best way to get there is by taking a taxi, a private driver or using the chicken buses (local buses are called like this)

Where to Stay

There are many good options when it comes to lodging in Antigua, you can go for safe bets like D’Leyenda Boutique Hotel or Finca Filadelfia Coffee Resort but this time I’m going to recommend you two options that go with the churches and convents of Antigua:

  • The Hotel Museo Santo Domingo is the most famous monastery hotel in Guatemala’s Antigua.
  • The El Convento Boutique Hotel is a cool and unique property. The hotel’s great reviews are just another indicator of how cared for this place is.

Both hotels are really old have an incredible history about the religion in Antigua you can find many paints, statues and other stuff related to the churches and Catholic movement from many years ago

Santo domingo church and convent in antigua

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Discover the Churches in Antigua Guatemala | Travel Experta

Last Updated on November 26, 2023

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