The beautiful vibrantly painted buildings, old cathedrals with designed with dramatic architectural details, cobblestoned streets– These are only a few of the things that might attract you to visit Antigua Guatemala. Exploring this former Spanish capital of Central America is as if you were frozen in time being surrounded by old colonial charm and various ruins scattered throughout the city. Antigua Guatemala is nestled between three stunning volcanoes, Acatenago, Fuego, and Pacaya and is near many other must-see natural and man-made attractions such as Lake Atitlan and Tikal. Besides from the amazing attractions that Antigua Guatemala has to offer Guatemala’s low cost of living is what attracted me the most. I’m cheap and enjoy getting the most for my money. Besides from my hotel and Airbnb costs, out of the 4 weeks that I was in Antigua, I only spent a total of $350 USD (excluding the cost of hotels and Airbnb’s)! If you’re seeking to get the most adventure for your dollar and to explore a city that’s filled with rich culture and history Antigua Guatemala should be at the top of your destination wish list.
See My Antigua Guatemala Travel Guide Below!!
Where To Stay
The Good Hotel offers a luxury hotel experience with a boutique style setting. This restored mansion is situated right in the heart of the city. The Good Hotel will offer a relaxing stay for an affordable price. No matter what room you choose for your accommodation, it will be just as amazing as the rest of the hotel. The Good Hotel takes doing good to heart by supporting the local Guatemalan community. The hire local staff and just about everything that is in The Good Hotel has been made locally from the food, artisan craftwork inside the hotel, and even the complimentary soaps and other body products offered. What sets The Good Hotel apart from the many other hotels that are in Antigua is that they take pride in being a ‘profit-for-not-profit’ establishment. For every booking that is made with The Good Hotel, $5 USD is donated to NGO, Ninos de Guatemala, that assists the children in receiving a quality education.
If adventure is what you seek then Base Camp Hostel is a must stay accommodation. The hostel works directly with OX Expeditions to assist travelers with Antigua’s various outdoor activities. Base Camp Hostel provides transportation to and from 3 of Antigua’s volcanoes. They offer a variety of extreme tours to those who are in top physical shape, offer trips to Lake Atitlan, surfing at the Pacific Ocean, and zip lining. If all of this isn’t enough of an encouragement to book your stay at Base Camp they offer free wifi, free traditional Guatemalan breakfast, bag storage, a terrace that gives travelers amazing views of Antigua’s surrounding areas and its three volcanoes. Unlike most hostels in the area, Base Camp provides travelers with comfortable beds in a safe and secure area. Their cheapest accommodation will run your wallet a friendly price of $9 UDS per night!
Where to Eat
Hands down, La Casaca was one of my favorite places to go. Although I was in Antigua for pleasure, I also had the responsibility of running my brand. I heavily relied on a strong and consistent wifi connection. La Casaca provided just that and with a relaxing and quiet upstairs room, where often times, I would be the only one there for hours at a time. Along with this being an amazing workspace. La Casaca offers delicious food options such as crepes, smoothies, authentic Guatemalan coffee, and a variety of sandwiches.
Rincon Tipico was another one of my favorite food options. Being that I wasn’t eating much meat during my stay, I only ate here once. However, my meal was nothing short of delicious! I was served a huge portion of chicken, potatoes, guacamole, and 2 tortillas. My meal came with a traditional Guatemalan drink which all came out to the price of Q30, which equals $4 USD. Rincon Tipico is a well-kept cafeteria-style restaurant that’s full of locals, Mayan families, and tourist. There’s no menu, but you have the choice of chicken, beef, or pork with your choice of sides. Drink options are kept simple. You have the option of choosing their freshly-made fruit juices, filtered water, or local beer. Their tortillas are made right in front of the restaurant so you’ll be sure not to pass it by.
What to Visit
After my first week in Antigua, I rented a room at an Airbnb. The accommodation was only a few blocks away from Caoba Farms. I often took many tranquil runs to and from the farm. Caoba Farms offers locally grown organic products, a cafe, community events such as yoga, farming courses, a craft market, live events, meditation, and volunteer opportunities. Currently, the farm produces and sells more than 100 different varieties of organic crops. Along with the crops that are produced on the farm, Caoba Farms houses several types of farm animals such as chickens, ducks, lambs, goats, rabbits, and pigs.
(Anyone that volunteers at Caoba Farms will leave with a bag full of free produce!)
During my 1-month stay in Antigua, I set aside a week to visit and explore Lake Atitlan. The lake is surrounded by several towns with Panajachel, San Marcos, and San Pedro being the most popular towns. My first accommodation at Lake Atitlan was in San Marcos at this stunning Airbnb. The accommodation was placed in a slightly remote area of the mountains that overlooked the lake. In order to reach my stay, I had to trek through I small Mayan village and then through the forest in order to reach my destination. Due to my poor Spanish-speaking skills and my misfortune of being directionally-challenged, I got a little lost trying to find my second accommodation in Jabailito, a different town in Lake Atitlan. Three boat rides later, I was able to reach my destination that was right at the corner of another Mayan village. Just like to the previous Airbnb, this accommodation also overlooked Lake Atitlan. The views of the lake were phenomenal and it was relaxing being able to wake up and fall asleep to the sound of raindrops hitting the roof.
Lastly, visiting the Mercado Municipal is an amazing experience for any traveler that wants to immerse themselves in true Guatemalan culture. Don’t expect to see all of their offerings in one day unless you’re preparing to spend all day at the Mercado. The market offers everything imaginable such as seasonally grown produce, textiles, clothing, and personal care products. If you’re looking for an authentic market experience where locals frequent, then the Mercado de Municipal is where you should be visiting. Because I was staying in Antigua for a month, I limited how much I ate out at restaurants and opted to cook my meals instead. I frequented this Mercado on many occasions and I’m pretty sure that I still haven’t explored all of their offerings.
Join Our Tribe!
Subscribe to get our EXCLUSIVE list of our 35 LIFE CHANGING beauty secrets!