August 31st, 2013
October 28th, 2013
To immerse yourself in the cobble-stoned charm of La Antigua is to become intimately connected with Guatemala’s enthralling history and legends. You have discovered a vibrant destination where Spanish Conquistadores once held sway and legendary craftsman labored to create some of the world’s most exquisite monuments.
Founded in 1543, La Antigua stands as one of the best-conserved colonial settlements in the American Continent. Explore the spectacular San José Cathedral, browse fascinating museums, and tour magnificent ruins and other attractions that have captivated travelers from around the world.
In addition to being designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, La Antigua Guatemala has developed a reputation among travelers as one of the world’s most fascinating cultural cities. The city was awarded the Wanderlust Travel Award for Top City in 2009 and more than 25,000 readers of Condé Nast Traveler have annually chosen La Antigua Guatemala as one of the Top Ten Cities each of the past five years.
Marvel at exquisite paintings in the Colonial Art Museum, visit La Azotea Cultural Center, the textile museum, hotel Museo Casa Santo Domingo or the Capuchinas Convent. Venture into the stunning Church and Convent of San Francisco and then mingle with friendly Antiguans at the markets and cafes or in the bustling Central Plaza.
Outdoor lovers will discover an array of exciting attractions just outside the city. Watch local wildlife while admiring miles of lush trees and colorful flora during a guided canopy tours, tour a Macadamia nut plantation, explore the fantastic local handicraft market, visit the complete process at a working coffee plantation, Go on the most incredible Canopy Tour or hike the active Volcan Pacaya. Plan a day trip to the Mayan city of Iximché, the market town of Chichicastenango or escape to the tranquility of Lake Atitlan. For the most adventurous guests, there are volcano hikes, mountain biking, river kayaking excursions, golf outings or deep-sea fishing charters off the Pacific coast (only 45 minutes away).
For assistance with arranging tours, recreational activities or anything else you might want to experience during your visit to La Antigua Guatemala, please ask our boutique hotel staff.
Semana Santa, or Easter week in Guatemala is one of the most colorful times to visit the country and to admire the religious and Indian folkloric traditions on display in different regions of Guatemala. The best place to be during Holy Week is La Antigua Guatemala.
Other Indian villages with colorful folk traditions are Huehuetenango and Totonicapán, in which the passion of Christ is reenacted live by a regional council of Indians who restage the events that happened on Holy Wednesday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. Holy Week in Guatemala represents a conjunction of Catholic beliefs and of pagan Indian rites in the more picturesque regions of our highlands. We invite you to come and admire our beautiful processions and colored sawdust carpets.
We recommend arriving in Guatemala the Friday before Holy Wednesday and to stay for at least one week after Easter Sunday to have time to visit the major archaeological sites in the Petén area (you can also take an extension to visit the beaches in Belize). Please, be aware that groups stay at a single village. And, since only full-week packages are available, all-day excursions are scheduled to the major villages of interest, such as Chichicastenango, Lake Atitlán, etc.
November 1st is one of the most important days of the year in Guatemala. On this day we celebrate the Day of the Dead. It is a celebration in which cemeteries are visited and decorated in memory of loved ones. It is a union of ancient pagan beliefs and of the Catholic traditions brought over by the Spaniards in the XVI and XVII centuries. On this day two major celebrations take place "the horse races in Todos Santos, Huehuetenango," and the flying of giant kites in Santiago Sacatepéquez. The village of Santiago Sacatepéquez is of Cakchiquel origin, and is located 30 Km from La Antigua Guatemala.
From the early morning hours, the people in this village gather in the narrow streets and begin their procession to the local cemetery. Once there, they take part in one of the most colorful traditions of Guatemala, flying giant kites to communicate with their loved ones who have passed away. The celebration takes place in the local cemetery, and it ends with a sumptuous lunch and a traditional dish called "fiambre." The giant kites are around 2 meters in diameter, and have small messages tied to their tails in which the villagers let their dead know how they are doing and ask God for special favors.
The celebration in Todos Santos, Huehuetenango, takes another perspective. This isolated village in the Cuchumatanes mountains is of Man origin, and the Indians celebrate this day by racing horses and eating the most traditional dishes peculiar to that day. The elder Mayan indians tell us that the traditional meal of this day begins with a prayer and then a black tamale should be eaten.
During the year, Chichicastenango is home to the most outstanding market in Latin America. Every Thursday and Sunday the Indians gather at the main plaza to sell their wares. But every December the celebrations in this Quiche village take on even greater proportions.
Come and admire the rare change of Cofradias and how the Indians commemorate their mythological gods and the Christian god. Admire the Palo Volador, in which the Indians fly around a high pole in the central plaza, suspended by nothing more than a rope. We invite you to come and celebrate these festivities.
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