fun things to do with kids in antigua guatemala   Travel for Kids
  | Western Highlands


Antigua, founded in the 16th century, was the capital of Spanish Central America. The city became a center of religion and culture, with many churches and monasteries, a university, parks and gardens. Over the years, Antigua has been somewhat crumbled by earthquakes, but it remains a charming city, and it's a great place to explore with kids.
Kids playing in the Antigua ruins, Guatemala
  Ruins, ruins ruins – In 1773 a huge earthquake rocked Antigua, wrecking the great churches, convents and monasteries. Some churches were rebuilt, but acres of gardens, courtyards, cloisters and naves are unrestored. The ruins are the perfect place to for kids to hide from your parents, climb on rocks, and investigate old fountains, go in and out the archways. "Very fun," says a friend who spent two weeks with her kids in Antigua.
      Cathedral of San Jose – This is the main cathedral on the plaza. To enter the ruins, go behind the church. Bring a flashlight to peer into the dark corners of ruined nave.
      Las Capuchinas – This 18th century convent has an unusual circular cloister and cells for nuns with spiffy plumbing. Don't miss the subterranean chamber beneath the cloister.
      Santa Clara – The ruins of this 17th century church and convent has a large nave, open to the skies, double-story arches in the cloister, grass and bougainvillea in courtyard in the center.
Antigua ruins
    La Merced – The church was dedicated to the patron saint of Antigua, Nuestra Senora de la Merced. The monastery featured a huge library and elegant fountain in the cloister. After an earthquake, the lovely yellow and white church was rebuilt, but the monastery is still a magnificent ruin. Don't miss the big fountain, Fountain of the Fish.
      Candelaria – Candelaria is a light airy church ruin with lovely grass and flowers growing around the rubble.
      La Recoleccion – On the outskirts of town, this big church ruin has big grassy areas to run around. The church took years to build, and shortly after it was built, an earthquake demolished it.
    Casa K'ojon Musica Indigena – Casa K'ojon is a museum of traditional Mayan musical instruments, including dioramas and a video presentation of people playing the instruments. You can buy (and play) instruments in the gift shop.
    Mercado (Market) – Antigua has a huge market with fresh flowers, fruit, candles, meat stalls, vegetables, woven baskets, handicrafts, open every day, but a bigger market on the weekend. It's a crush of people, a colorful maze.

Language schools – Take advantage of the language schools in Antigua to learn Spanish. Kids learn quickly and it's a way have a good time, to connect with people who live in Antigua You can try out your Spanish with trips around town. A highly recommended school is Projecto Linguistico Francisco Marroquin. Call (from the U.S.) 502.8.322.886 or 502.8.323.777.

Ik'bolay Serpentarium (Calle de los Duelos) – Any budding herpetologists will want to stop into the serpentarium to learn about snakes native to Guatemala and Central America. A walk-through aviary has a large collection of lovely hummingbirds.
Swimming pool – Need a day to relax by the pool? Many hotels in Antigua don't have pools, but you can go to Radisson Villa Antigua hotel and buy a pool ticket for the day.

Fun food


Antigua is famous for it's pastries and candies. Stop in the Pastelerias to indulge your sweet tooth.




The markets have plenty of handicrafts,"artesenias," such as dolls, reed baskets, zippered pouches, pot holders, candles, creches, and are always a fun place to shop.