Antigua Guatemala – a photo essay

Antigua Guatemala photos

Two years ago, the girls and I had an opportunity to visit Antigua Guatemala. Wandering about this little city was an absolute delight. It’s well-maintained and pretty, with quirky and colourful colonial architecture along cobbled streets.

However, my favourite feature was the stunning location among mountains and volcanoes.

Antigua Guatemala photos



As we approached Antigua, one of the surrounding volcanoes – Volcan de Fuego – was having a little outburst. Just big enough to be exciting.


Antigua was founded in 1543 and was capital of the Captaincy General of Guatemala (also known as the Kingdom of Guatemala). Considering that encompassed almost all of Spanish Central America, that’s quite impressive.

As often seems to be the case in the Spanish-speaking world, the city’s proper name is in honour of a saint – and very long: La muy Noble y muy Leal Ciudad de Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala, the very noble and very loyal city Santiago of the Knights of Guatemala.

It’s perhaps good, even necessary, to have the protection of a saint. You see, volcanoes isn’t nature’s only threat up here in the highlands of central Guatemala. Antigua suffered a series of devastating earthquakes in 1717 and again in 1773.

Luckily, many buildings and monuments either survived (in some cases as partial ruins) or have been rehabilitated. We enjoyed exploring the ruins of monasteries and churches, and the beautiful gardens surrounding many of them.






Our visit was much too brief, but we saw enough of this colonial city to know we’d like to come back for a closer look later.


unesco logo

Antigua Guatemala is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Here are more UNESCO World Heritage sites around the world.


Have you visited Antigua Guatemala? Did you love it?

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  1. Gabriel 17 July 2013 at 1613 - Reply

    Great shots! I love visiting places like these when there are no people, or very few. It makes the pictures look that much better. You really get a feel for the architecture.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 21 July 2013 at 2238 - Reply

      Thanks. Got lucky. 🙂

  2. Tracy Zhang 18 July 2013 at 0317 - Reply

    Beautiful images Sophie!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 21 July 2013 at 2239 - Reply

      Thanks, Tracy.

  3. Muza-chan 18 July 2013 at 0936 - Reply

    Great photos, Sophie 🙂

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 21 July 2013 at 2240 - Reply

      Thank you, Muza-chan.

  4. Emily 20 July 2013 at 0455 - Reply

    Beautiful pictures! Love the volcano shot!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 21 July 2013 at 2241 - Reply


  5. Digital Nomads 20 July 2013 at 1910 - Reply

    What a lovely town, I loved the photos and so miss South America.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 21 July 2013 at 2242 - Reply

      It’s such a fascinating continent, isn’t it…

  6. Andrea 20 July 2013 at 2026 - Reply

    Gorgeous photos! That volcano is so lively =)

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 21 July 2013 at 2242 - Reply

      It really was lively and interesting.

  7. Vera Marie Badertscher 20 July 2013 at 2207 - Reply

    I love your focus on World Heritage Sites. Since I can’t do it myself, I appreciate your doing that tour for me. And what a gorgeous place Antiqua is!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 21 July 2013 at 2243 - Reply

      Thanks, Vera Marie. I am quite intrigued with the World Heritage sites myself 🙂

  8. Leigh 20 July 2013 at 2219 - Reply

    What a great set of photos Sophie.My husband has visited and said that we must visit. I hear it has excellent schools for learning Spanish as well as that wonderful scenery.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 21 July 2013 at 2244 - Reply

      Yes, I’ve heard the same thing about the language courses there.

  9. Mette 22 July 2013 at 0932 - Reply

    Mesmerizing photos. I’m particularly fascinated by the hot empty courtyard with the purple profusion of bougainvillae.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 30 July 2013 at 1122 - Reply

      Such intense colours of the flowers.

  10. The Nomadi Nepali 30 July 2013 at 1113 - Reply

    Nice photos,thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 30 July 2013 at 1122 - Reply

      Thanks for stopping by.

  11. Christoffer Moen 3 August 2013 at 1726 - Reply

    Wow that volcano shot is spectacular! Must have been quite exciting when it had a little fit. Anitgua looks really lovely.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 9 August 2013 at 0135 - Reply

      It was exciting, especially for us coming from a part of the world where nature rarely misbehaves 🙂

  12. Mary @ Green Global Travel 19 August 2013 at 1707 - Reply

    Your photos are beautiful! It must have been amazing to have experienced even a minor volcanic eruption in person! Such a contrast to the peaceful images you took documenting Antigua’s gorgeous monasteries! You did an amazing job of capturing the light and presenting the photographs in such a way as to hint at the romance and history of the moment.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 19 January 2014 at 1957 - Reply

      Thanks. Antigua is an easy subject in that way.

  13. Beto 6 January 2014 at 1903 - Reply

    I haven’t visited Guatemala but your photos have helped put it on my list.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 19 January 2014 at 1957 - Reply

      Happy to help.

  14. Rich 18 November 2014 at 0957 - Reply

    Loved this place, great photos! I nearly died on a volcano near there!

    Love the way your site looks by the way!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 18 November 2014 at 2101 - Reply

      Thank you – and that volcano episode sounds dramatic.

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