Colonial Antigua At a Glance
Duration: 5 hours
Tour Code: quz-010
Enjoy this opportunity to discover La Antigua, the jewel of the Guatemalan colonial urban development and architecture. This marvelous city served as the capital to all of Central America from 1543 to 1773 until it was destroyed by an earthquake and the capital was moved to its present location of Guatemala City. Amazingly, this historical city has preserved its original features as though time has stood still.
Boarding your coach it's a 90-minute drive to this UNESCO World Heritage site, so named in 1979 because of its immense historical and cultural value. Draped in bright bougainvillea and having breathtaking views of emerald volcanoes in the background, the ruins provide inspiration for artists and tourists alike.
Upon arrival, you'll make your way directly to the Jade Museum and Factory, where you'll learn about the intricate relationship between the Maya and this precious stone. Touring the factory, you'll be able to observe native artisans as they cut and polish this green stone, following the carving traditions of their ancestors. Afterwards, you'll have time to peruse the exquisite jade pieces that are available for purchase.
Next, you'll make the short transfer to the beautifully landscaped Plaza Mayor. Numerous landmarks surround the plaza, including the Fountain of the Sirens, the majestic Cathedral, the Palace of the Captains and the Palacio del Noble Ayuntamiento which houses municipal offices and two museums. After a thirty minute stop in which you are free to stroll about and take in the sights, you'll re-board your coach for a panoramic drive through the city that takes you along cobblestone streets and past vibrant colonial architecture and beautifully restored 17th-century churches and mansions. Following this, you'll retrace your route back to the pier in Puerto Quetzal.
Please note: This tour includes just over 1-hour of moderate walking that includes some uneven surfaces and cobblestone streets. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Casual clothing to include a light jacket; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.