City Orientation Walk (Self Guided), Antigua

Surrounded by volcanoes in southern Guatemala, the city of Antigua is a small yet very picturesque example of Spanish colonial architecture, full of historic and religious sights of that period. Among the city's most notable landmarks is the Baroque-style La Merced church which, once a year, becomes center of the famous local Semana Santa, a holy week festival. Follow this orientation walk to explore this and other popular attractions of Antigua.
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City Orientation Walk Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk
Guide Location: Guatemala » Antigua (See other walking tours in Antigua)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 13
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.1 Km or 3.8 Miles
Author: Nick
The Arch of Santa Catalina

1) The Arch of Santa Catalina (must see)

The Arch of Santa Catalina, located on 5a Avenida Nothe, was constructed in the 17th century. In the colonial era, the Arch was part of the Santa Catalina monastery but was partially destroyed at the end of 18th century by earthquakes. Today, the Arch of Santa Catalina serves as the most famous of the city's monuments and easily the most photographed.
La Merced Church

2) La Merced Church (must see)

La Merced Church is a church in Antigua. The Mercedarians were the first to establish a male monastery at the former Santiago de Guatemala.

In 1749 Juan de Dios Estrada was commissioned with the construction of the luxurious sanctuary and cloister. He erected a building of low height designed to withstand earthquakes based on the experiences of the tremor of 1751. Arches and columns are wider to cope with the quakes. It was opened in 1767. The cross in stone at the atrium and the rooms behind the main altar are the oldest structures in La Merced and date from the seventeenth century. The facade in barroque style is flanked by two bell towers of low height. On top looms the effigy of San Pedro Nolasco who foundend the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy in the thirteenth century. He is flanked by two Mercedaries and the crest of the order. The effigy of Our Lady of Mercedes is situated in the central niche of the facade. The effigy of Jesus Christ holding the cross was carved in 1650 by Alonzo de la Paz y Toledo.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
Antigua's Local Market

3) Antigua's Local Market (must see)

Antigua's Local Market, located on the West side of the city, is separated into two sections – a local market on the North side and a tourist market on the South side. The local market is the right place for those who are searching for crafts, gifts, and local accessories.
Craft Market

4) Craft Market (must see)

Craft Market is a large shopping venue filled with a plethora of gift items such as wood carved masks, metal works, textiles, ceramics, high quality handicrafts, clothing, and jewelry. Craft Market also retails the goods at very reasonable prices, especially if you are sharp with your bargaining skills.
San Lazaro Cemetery

5) San Lazaro Cemetery

The San Lazaro Cemetery, all white in color including the main church in the burial grounds, offers stunning views of mass tombs and mausoleums. The burial memorials are decorated with circlets and aromatic flowers, brilliantly landscaped, clean, and well-ordered with tree-lined corridors. The Cementerio is located in the southwest side of the city.
Rafael Landival Monument

6) Rafael Landival Monument

Located on the Alameda Walk, south of the city, the Rafael Landival Monument stands as the funeral memorial for the famous Jesuit poet and priest. Rafael Landivar was born in Antigua and is regarded internationally for his work "Rusticatio Mexicana."
Parque Central

7) Parque Central (must see)

Parque Central is situated in the heart of Antigua. The park serves as the headquarters for churches like the San Jose Cathedral, colonial government buildings (Palacio de los Capitanes), museums such as the Museo del Libro, souvenir shops, as well as restaurants and cafes.
Cathedral of Saint Joseph

8) Cathedral of Saint Joseph (must see)

Saint Joseph Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in Antigua. The original church was built around 1541, but suffered several earthquakes throughout its history, and the first church building was demolished in 1669. The cathedral was rebuilt and consecrated in 1680. By 1743 the cathedral was one of the largest in Central America. However, the devastating 1773 Guatemala earthquake seriously damaged much of the building, though the two towers at the front remained largely intact. These have undergone restoration work, and the cathedral has been partly rebuilt.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
Union Water Tank

9) Union Water Tank (must see)

Jose Maria Palomo commanded the inauguration of the Plaza de la Union in 1853. In that era, only the richest had laundries and baths at their homes. The plaza was later re-named to the "Union Water Tank," as it was the public venue for washing and laundry. While at Union Water Tank, tourists will appreciate the lovely park with tall palm trees near the Tank from which you may admire stunning views of the volcano.
San Francisco Cathedral

10) San Francisco Cathedral (must see)

San Francsico el Grande is a church in Antigua and one of the most frequented sanctuaries by the local population because of the shrine of Peter of Saint Joseph Betancur.

This chapel was severely damaged in 1565 and during the next ten years donations were collected to build a new sanctuary located two blocks away in 1579. The chapel and cloister were expanded during the 17th century. In 1684 the structure was reinforced and withstood the earthquake of 1691.

The church itself was built by Diego de Porres and inaugurated in 1702. Its facade, with twisted salomonic columns, is typical of the Spanish-American baroque and is similar to that of San José Cathedral. It has sixteen vaulted niches, each but the lowest two containing a saint or a friar. These include the Virgin Mary, San Diego de Alcalá, San Antonio de Padua, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Clara, Santiago, and Santa Isabel from Hungary. At the entrance of the monastery there are some murals, in which there can be seen the images of some Franciscans friars with a skeleton. Its bell and clock towers from the 17th and 19th centuries remain in ruins.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
Capuchins Monastery

11) Capuchins Monastery (must see)

The Temple of Our Lady of the Pilar of Zaragoza, popularly known as Capuchins, was built in 1725. Nuns of the Roman Catholic order, famous for their brown garments, lived here in severe conditions that demonstrated sacrifice for their religious beliefs. Today, the monastery’s well preserved cells, gardens, and courtyards are open for public viewing.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Ruins of Santa Rosa

12) Ruins of Santa Rosa

The church complex of Santa Rosa was built in 1570 for a sisterhood known for their white clothing. Today, the building is infamous for two cracks running through the main part of the building. The cracks of the ruin tell a devastating story of the monstrosity of the earthquakes that ravished the region in the 18th century.
Cerro de la Cruz

13) Cerro de la Cruz (must see)

Cerro de la Cruz is a large cross at the top of a massive hill. Once you climb to the top of the hill you will enjoy the most spectacular panoramic views.

Walking Tours in Antigua, Guatemala

Create Your Own Walk in Antigua

Create Your Own Walk in Antigua

Creating your own self-guided walk in Antigua is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Antigua Nightlife

Antigua Nightlife

Antigua features a variety of attractive clubs, fabulous discos, and cozy bars, making it the self-designated "capital of Guatemala's nightlife." The city's nightlife starts at 10 PM and offers a terrific selection of venues to enjoy a nightlife adventure.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.6 Km or 0.4 Miles
Antigua Museums

Antigua Museums

Do not pass up the opportunity to discover Antigua's most interesting museums. Here you will admire wide collections of scientific, artistic, and local historical value. Enjoy the rich heritage of Antigua today.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Shopping in Antigua

Shopping in Antigua

Shopping is arguably Antigua’s most popular activity. Tourists find themselves here, in Antigua, spoiled for choice with a terrific collection of souvenirs, textiles, hand-made articles, cigars, and local Jade jewelry. Regardless of your needs, Antigua has something for everyone.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 Km or 0.8 Miles
The Ruins of Antigua

The Ruins of Antigua

It would appear as if the time machine has finally been invented in a place none other than Antigua. The glorious city of Antigua offers so much history beyond its streets and buildings, fountains and courtyards, that the great ruins of the city are almost impossible to explore in a single day.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Antigua Religious Tour (Part 1)

Antigua Religious Tour (Part 1)

Antigua is Guatemala’s most spectacular city thanks to its beautiful architecture and religious artifacts. Unfortunately, several of the prized buildings were partly damaged by the 18th century earthquakes, but have since been rebuilt and undergone restorations. Visit the fairy tale city of Antigua to enjoy beautiful churches, cathedrals, as well as monasteries.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Parque Central in Antigua

Parque Central in Antigua

Parque Central is the most prominent landmark in Antigua. What makes the park so popular is the opportunity to visit a wide number of other famous buildings inside the lush lawns. Take a day or two to visit this special piece of Antigua's history.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.3 Km or 0.2 Miles