The famed yellow and white municipal building of Antigua with arches, a cornerstone for history enthusiasts on an Antigua, Guatemala itinerary.

Guatemala Travel Itinerary: 3 Days in Antigua

Planning 3 days in Antigua?  This detailed, Guatemala travel itinerary provides the top tips you need to know when visiting Guatemala’s second-largest city!

Picture yourself walking through cobblestone streets, surrounded by vibrant colonial buildings, and gazing up at the majestic volcanoes that frame the sky.

Antigua, once the capital of Guatemala, invites you to explore its rich cultural tapestry.

From marveling at the iconic yellow Catalina Arch to soaking in panoramic views from the Cerro de la Cruz Viewpoint, these experiences are just the beginning. The city’s ruins, remnants of its resilience to past volcanic eruptions, offer a poignant insight into its storied past.

Picture beginning your day with a steaming cup of locally sourced coffee as you plan your adventure through Antigua’s enchanting streets.

Ready to make Antigua your next travel destination?

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Day 1: Classic Antigua

Santa Catalina Arch

Santa Catalina Arch, with its unmistakable vibrant yellow color, stands as a gateway to the past, offering a picturesque frame for the Volcán de Agua towering in the background.

This arch, adorned with a clock tower, was originally built to allow nuns to cross the street without being seen.

Its colonial architecture and captivating history make it a must-visit landmark for those exploring Antigua for the first time.

For the best experience, visit the arch before 10:00am. The soft glow of sunrise illuminates the arch beautifully, allowing for tranquil contemplation and crowd-free photographs, providing a serene moment before the city awakens.

Pro tip: Keep in mind that you might not always have volcano views.  During most of my March visit, the volcano was completely covered by clouds.. even in the dry season!  The volcano only made one appearance during my final night in town (…and it was amazing). 

Cerro De La Cruz

Hike, Uber, or Tuktuk to one of the best viewpoints in town, Cerro De La Cruz!

The cross at Cerro de la Cruz was originally built in the 17th century to overlook the city of Antigua Guatemala, serving as a symbol of protection and faith. 

It offers spectacular panoramic views of Antigua Guatemala and its surrounding volcanoes, including Volcán de Agua, Volcán de Fuego, and Acatenango.

There is no entrance fee. 


The ruins in Antigua, a testament to its rich history, are a must-visit for anyone exploring the city.

Each site tells a story of resilience amidst natural disasters, particularly the devastating earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that have shaped Antigua’s landscape.

Some of the most popular include Santa Clara Convent, San Francisco Church, and La Merced Church. 

Where to Stay in Antigua

Free Walking Tour

It’s also possible to see all of these monuments and more on a free walking tour. 

This is one of my favorite things to do when I visit any new city!  It helps get my bearings set. 

I joined a walking tour specific to Semana Santa because the holiday and processions were taking place when I was in town. 

Day 2: Volcano Hike

Rooftop Coffee

Begin the day with coffee with a view.  I absolutely loved my Acai bowl and coffee to start the day at Cafe Boheme. 

The narrow, quaint, rooftop had a lovely view of the volcano and was a beautiful way to start the day!

Some of the best restaurants in Antigua are:

Pacaya Volcano

Experience the thrill of an active volcano under your feet!

Pacaya Volcano, one of the few active volcanoes in Guatemala, makes an unforgettable day trip from Antigua

Hiking Pacaya Volcano is considered the top alternative to the more demanding, two-day Acatenango Volcano hike (which arguably has better views).

Pacaya Volcano offers views and even roast marshmallows over volcanic vents, providing a truly immersive volcanic experience.

There are two tour start times: 5:00am or 2:00pm.  Most of my visit to Antigua was cloudy, so I’m not sure which time of day has the best chance of views.

During my 2:00pm tour in March 2024, there were zero views at the top.  Like, entirely clouds.  But I researched tremendously and had a feeling this would be the case going into it!  I still enjoyed my hike and went for the experience.

If you only want to go if you know there will be views (which I totally respect), do your research on the weather forecast ahead of time and plan accordingly.  Ask locals and long-term travelers what the odds are you are going to see a great viewpoint from the top.

Other travelers I know who visited years ago also had total cloud coverage, so this might just be common for this volcano.

Visiting Lake Atitlan?  Read Next!

Day 3: Antigua Finale

I recommend spending your final day in Antigua exploring places you missed on day one, or that you wish to re-visit! 

Mercado de Artesenias

Check out one of the biggest craft markets in town! 

Featuring local, hand-made goods, it is a wonderful spot to purchase local souvenirs from your trip.  However, the sellers were quite pushy and continued to ask questions when I said I was just looking. 

I was also one of the only customers in the market at this time.  I found the prices to be cheaper in Panajachel.

Sustainable tourism note:

Do not argue with local sellers while bargaining.  It’s rude!  It is often expected to bargain, but many of the items already have set prices and cannot be bargained on. 

Most of the items were entirely hand-made.  Think about all of the time that goes into hand-stitching immaculate patterns onto purses, blouses, and more.  Arguing is rude.  If you don’t like the price, respectfully walk away.


Nestled in the majestic mountains near Antigua, Hobbitenango offers an environmentally friendly and utterly unique experience.

Explore the beautifully crafted hobbit homes, immerse yourself in breathtaking nature, and enjoy mountainous views.

With eco-friendly activities, such as archery and hiking, and mesmerizing panoramic views, your visit to Hobbitenango will be unforgettable.

Tip: Hobbitanengo can alternately be visited as a full day trip, or in replacement to Pacaya Volcano on day 2!  It depends on how much time you want here. 

If this isn’t your jam, you can alternatively skip it all together and replace it with a tour of local villages on a local chicken bus, or more time wandering and exploring the beautiful cobblestone features of Antigua.


In conclusion, Antigua offers an exquisite blend of local culture, history, and natural beauty, making it a must-visit destination.

Whether you’re exploring the vibrant crafts at the Mercado de Artesanias, experiencing the unique charm of Hobbitanengo, or navigating the intricate transportation options to further explore Guatemala, there’s an adventure waiting for every type of traveler.

Remember to engage with the local culture respectfully, reflecting on the craftsmanship and tradition behind each experience.

Ready to embark on your Antigua adventure? Start planning your trip today and prepare to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of sights, sounds, and colors that define this beautiful region.

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As a full time employee who loves her job, learn how I honor my wanderlust while working a 9:00-5:00 (because I want to!) This blog welcomes all, and specifically provides resources for those seeking travel intertwined into a busy schedule (3 days to 5 weeks).