Antigua Oct 2014

Antigua was founded in the early 16th century and was the colonial capital of Guatemala.  It is less than an hour away from Guatemala City.  Antigua is an outstanding example of Spanish colonial architecture and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The city is filled with colonial-era mansions, churches, and convents.  We did a cultural walking tour with Elizabeth Bell focusing on the city’s history, culture, and restoration efforts.  We wandered around the small city and visited the City Hall, Palace of the Captain’s General, the San Jose Cathedral, a jade workshop, and Paseo de los Museos inside the Hotel Casa Santo Domingo.

We stayed at the El Convento Hotel which is a nicely restored former convent with only 26 suites.  It is located across the street from the Capuchin Convent and about 10 mins walk to the main square.

DSCF2098El Convento Hotel






The city of Antigua follows a traditional colonial design where the main plaza is surrounded by Government buildings and Catholic Churches with a park in the middle.  Many Antiguans like to hang out in the park especially in the evenings and on  weekends.

DSCF2115Outside the City Hall building.

DSCF2129City Hall building


DSCF2160On the terrace of the City Hall Building.


DSCF2147Looking out onto Parque Central.



DSCF2124Outside the Palace of the Captain’s General

DSCF2143View of San Jose Cathedral from the City Hall.

DSCF2128San Jose Cathedral was damaged by earthquakes numerous times and now partially restored.

DSCF2188Behind the rebuilt San Jose Cathedral are the ruins of the first Cathedral, of what remains after the earthquake of 1773. The ruins are beautiful and have a ancient Roman feel to them.

DSCF2182Ruins of San Jose Cathedral

DSCF2183Ruins of San Jose Cathedral



DSCF2200Beautiful carvings still remain.

DSCF2209Ruins of San Jose Cathedral






DSCF2277Arco Santa Catalina (Santa Catalina Arch) is one of the most distinguishable landmarks in Antigua. The arch was built as a safe passage to connect the original convent to the expanded convent across the street because the nuns were supposed to live in isolation with very limited contact from the outside.


DSCF2269La Merced Church




DSCF2279Clothes washing station in town.

DSCF2231The Capuchin Convent completed in 1736 is now partially intact and partially in ruins.

DSCF2340The Capuchin Convent

DSCF2343The Capuchin Convent


DSCF2349The Capuchin Convent

DSCF2350Cells where the nuns lived built in a circle.

DSCF2301San Francisco Church

DSCF2292San Francisco Church



DSCF2364Guatemalan Chicken Buses are old American school buses all glamed up in different colors and are the main mode of transport from town to town.

DSCF2369Another church ruin in town.

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