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Antigua, the crown jewel of the Central Highlands

The Central Highlands of Guatemala are vast and diverse, stretching to the border with Honduras and meeting the Pacific Slope in a chain of volcanoes that runs north to south. Dominated by the picturesque city of Antigua, this region attracts travellers seeking a one-of-a-kind and enriching experience in Guatemala with its mix of historical charm, cultural richness, and natural beauty.

Antigua, the crown jewel of the Central Highlands, is a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its well-preserved Spanish Baroque architecture, cobblestone streets and lively markets. Highlights include the Santa Catalina Arch, which frames the majestic Agua Volcano, as well as stunning colonial churches and convents, and colourful buildings that have been restored and converted into boutique hotels, cafes, and museums, many of which are walking distance apart. 

During Semana Santa, also known as Holy Week, Antigua's cultural life really comes to life. The streets are turned into a temporary masterpiece by spectacular processions and carpets made of coloured sawdust and flowers.

Holidays to Guatemala start from £3,999pp. Get in touch to find out prices for your perfect trip.

The Area

A short drive from Antigua lies Guatemala City, the country’s bustling capital, which spreads into a forested valley. While Guatemala City offers modern amenities and a vibrant urban atmosphere, the real charm of the Central Highlands lies in the smaller villages that dot the region. Villages such as San Antonio Aguas Calientes, Ciudad Vieja and San Juan del Obispo provide a glimpse into traditional Guatemalan life, with their quaint streets, local crafts, and friendly people.

One of the most fascinating activities in the Central Highlands is climbing Pacaya Volcano, an active volcano near Antigua. Pacaya's easily accessible paths and the chance to see hot lava up close make it a favourite destination for brave travellers. Guided trips provide safe access to the peak, where climbers can roast marshmallows on hot volcanic rocks and enjoy amazing views of the surrounding countryside.

Best Time To Go

The best time to visit the Central Highlands is during the dry season, which runs from November to April. This period offers the most pleasant weather and the clearest skies, perfect for exploring the region's natural and cultural attractions. Beyond climbing volcanoes and exploring historic sites, visitors can enjoy a range of activities including coffee plantation tours, where they can learn about the coffee-making process from bean to cup, and visits to local markets to experience the vibrant local culture firsthand.

Ready to begin creating your perfect Holiday to Guatemala, Simply complete the enquiry form to get in touch, or call our Travel Specialists on 020 3481 9586.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out some of our Guatemala itineraries.

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