Antigua, Guatemala

Antigua, the capital of the Captaincy-General of Guatemala, was founded in the early 16th century. Built 1,530, it is in an earthquake-prone region. It was founded as Santiago de Guatemala. It was subsequently destroyed by fire caused by an uprising of the indigenous population and entirely buried as a result of earthquakes and an avalanche in 1541. The third location, in the Valley of Panchoy or Pacán, dates from 1543 and served for 230 years. It survived natural disasters of floods, volcanic eruptions and other serious tremors until 1773 when the Santa Marta earthquakes destroyed much of the town. At this point, authorities ordered the relocation of the capital to a safer location region, which became Guatemala City, the county’s modern capital. Some residents stayed behind in the original town, however, which became referred to as “La Antigua Guatemala”.

The pattern of straight lines, established by the grid of north-south and east-west streets and inspired by the Italian Renaissance, is one of the best examples in Latin American town planning and all that remains of the 16th-century city. Most of the surviving civil, religious, and civic buildings date from the 17th and 18th centuries and constitute magnificent examples of colonial architecture in the Americas. These buildings reflect a regional stylistic variation known as Barroco antigueño. Distinctive characteristics of this architectural style include the use of decorative stucco for interior and exterior ornamentation, main facades with a central window niche and often a deeply-carved tympanum, massive buildings, and low bell towers designed to withstand the region’s frequent earthquakes. Among the many significant historical buildings, the Palace of the Captains General, the Casa de la Moneda, the Cathedral, the Universidad de San Carlos, Las Capuchinas, La Merced, Santa Clara, among others, are worth noting.

The city lay mostly abandoned for almost a century until the mid-1800s when increased agricultural production, particularly coffee and grain, brought new investment to the region. The original urban core is small, measuring approximately 775 metres from north to south and 635 metres east to west, covering 49.57 hectares.



Posada Del Angel Hotel

Antigua is a fascinating town to stay in, and this hotel is a really nice place to stay. The staff are cheerful, courteous and helpful. If I were in Antigua again , I would stay here. Interestingly Bill Clinton stayed here while President!

9.7 on and on TripAdvisor -7 rooms Located along a cobbled side street, just a few blocks from Antigua’s historic main plaza, the intimate Posada del Angel is one of Guatemala’s premier boutique hotels. Set in an original Spanish colonial casona, the property features just seven uniquely appointed rooms, all situated around a central patio. Decorated throughout with elegant touches, carved wooden sculptures and Mayan textiles, the hotel also boasts a small pool, a lovely garden area and a rooftop terrace that overlooks the impressive slopes of the Volcan de Agua.

We stayed three nights here. It is a traditional Spanish town house with a narrow frontage, leading back through to two small courtyards. The public rooms and the bedrooms are furnished in keeping with this. The bathrooms are ultra modern and have been fairly recently completely redone. Our bathroom was quite stunning. Our bedroom was small, dark and traditional. I liked it, but some might not like its size or darkness. Lighting in the room at night should be improved - brighter bulbs and another light

We really enjoyed the roof terrace. Having breakfast there each morning, watching the varying cloud go up and down the volcano straight in front of you. There is a nice swimming pool, but small and (my wife tells me) a bit cold

They do not do dinner, so you need to walk the 15 minutes or so into town to get a restaurant. Even at night it is a pleasant walk, but although there is street lighting a torch is useful as the pavements are somewhat uneven.

Meson Panza Verde Restaurant

This is in fact a hotel restaurant, rather than a stand alone restaurant. It was close to our hotel, but is a 15 minute walk from the town centre

It is split into a lot of different areas, so the size of it is well hidden. It is effectively an outdoor restaurant, and on our visit it was a bit cold with a swirling wind.

The service is "correct" rather than "warm and friendly". The food is reasonable, without being outstanding. But you really go here for the romantic atmosphere. It is more expensive than most restaurants in Antigua, but I felt it did offer value for money

Bistrot Cinq

It has been designed as a French bistro, complete with zinc bar (actually they are also a bar, and you can wander in and just have a drink at the bar any time). The decor comes off well. I thought that the atmosphere was wonderful, small and intimate. I would not rave about the food, that I felt was very much "middle of the road" tourist food. The open plan kitchen lets you see what the cooks are up to. I felt that my dinner here was worth the cost because of the atmosphere and intimacy

We let Antigua and had quite a long car journey to Lake Atitlan

Central America Holiday