Arrive at any time to your fully equipped comfortable private home with picture-perfect views of the Agua Volcano. Decorated in a traditional style, it is a great base for exploration. Please try to arrive before 6pm for an important group meeting where you can meet the Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members. Once the third largest city in all of Spanish America, Antigua served as Guatemala's capital city for more than 200 years until it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1773. Antigua today is a peaceful, partially restored colonial city that is a pleasure to explore. Your tour leader will give you an orientation walking tour to help you get your bearings. Walk through quiet cobblestone streets past rebuilt stucco homes with heavy, beautifully carved wooden entrances. It is a short 45 km from Guatemala City on a lovely winding road. The natural scenery is some of the most beautiful anywhere with high mountain peaks surrounding deep valleys, every inch of land covered with lush growth. The point of reference for finding one's way around Antigua is the Central Park, which is directly in the centre of town and the place to be in the late afternoon or early evening. You can pick up a map from the tourist office located on the ground floor of the Palace of the Captains-General on the south side of the Central Park. Explore the museums, the colonial buildings and other sites in this delightful town. Antigua has various specialties that make shopping here very worthwhile. Textiles sold here and in the nearby towns are of the highest quality, beautifully designed and woven on foot looms or the more traditional back-strap loom. Jade, in carved statues and jewellery, is sold in several factories and shops in town and silver jewellery is sold in the better shops and also in a silver factory in nearby San Felipe de Jesus. The city also offers good buys in ceramics and antiques as well. For the museum and gallery buffs, one of the best in the Central America is found in the Hotel Casa Santo Domingo. It houses colonial religious, contemporary Latin American and pre-Colombian art pieces. These form only part of the galleries and museums of the 5-star Hotel Santo Domingo, formerly a Dominican monastery. Antigua is a popular centre for Spanish study, and here you will find dozens of schools and a collection of students from around the globe. Because of the international population, there is no shortage of restaurants, bars and activities available in Antigua. You’d have to try very hard to get bored!
Dig into the included starter kit of breakfast essentials and local delicacies to start your day off right. Take an orientation walk with your CEO then enjoy free time to explore the town. In the evening, a local chef will join you for dinner and teach you how to make pepian, a regional speciality and delicious dish.
Do as much or as little as you like during your stay in Antigua. Wander the cobblestone streets to see the various city ruins, museums and artisan workshops, shop the stores selling beautiful Guatemalan textiles, paintings and jewelry, relax with a massage at one of the many spas and rest in one of the many cafés serving delicious Guatemalan coffee. Get out of the city to climb the nearby Pacaya Volcano, visit a macademia farm, cycle to nearby villages, tour an Antigua coffee farm or visit a Mayan town. Best of all, you have a comfortable home to rest in before catching your second wind for Antigua's nightlife—you might want to take a salsa or Spanish class, then show off your skills.