Guatemala, Modern and Colonial

Guatemala City is the most flourishing city in Central America with its modern buildings and business centers that contrast with La Antigua Guatemala, colonial and romantic city, with a combination of ancient buildings and rooted customs and traditions.

The city of Guatemala is one of the boldest cities of Central America, with modern buildings and business centers; in contrast, La Antigua, Guatemala, is a charming and romantic city with traditional colonial architecture 

Guatemala City is the most modern and cosmopolitan city of the Central American region. It is the ideal setting for conferences and conventions, has renowned golf courses, medical centers equipped with the latest technologies, and world-class shopping centers, amongst other perks. 

When visiting, the Historic Center is a must. With more than 200 years of existence, its cathedral, iconic buildings, churches, and museums- are a true testament to the country’s historic evolution. 

The neighborhood of “Zona Viva” is one of the city’s top entertainment hubs, with exclusive hotels, restaurants and bars. 

Very close to the city is the picturesque and charming La Antigua Guatemala- the principal icon of the Hispanic colonial heritage of Guatemala- located in the valley of Panchoy, and surrounded by three volcanoes, mountains and coffee plantations. Due to its historic significance, La Antigua was declared a UNESCO Patrimony of Humanity in 1979. Its cobblestone streets and ancestral edifices transport travelers and vividly illustrate the religious and cultural traditions of Guatemala. Every corner of La Antigua exudes romance. The city is the ideal stage for weddings and special events. Travelers can choose from stunning colonial-style hotels and chic boutique hotels with world-class accommodations and quality installations to host congresses, business meetings and celebrate events.  

La Antigua Guatemala is the ideal destination for religious tourism, especially during the festivities of Semana Santa (Holy Week). Travelers can attest to the catholic fervor of the Guatemalan people and witness colorful street processions. 

Guatemala, Modern and Colonial

Destinations in Guatemala, Modern and Colonial

Cathedral of San José, Antigua Guatemala,

This building was constructed between 1543 and 1680. Its façade boasts an exquisite baroque style set in white mortar with the characteristic flair of Antiguan churches. It has smooth shaft columns. The body and belfry had to be rebuilt after the Santa Marta earthquake in 1773. The regal construction of the Cathedral justified the title of “Metropolitan,” which was granted in 1743 by the Pope Benedicto XIV.  Surrounding the main entrance, visitors can admire beautiful stucco decorations dating back to the XVII century. On the back are the ruins of the...

Archeological Site of Mixco Viejo,

Mixco Viejo’s original name is Jilotepeque Viejo. It is located at the far end of the departments of Quiché, Chimaltenango and Guatemala. It was one of the few sites that was inhabited and functioning during the Spanish conquest. The site’s name appeared for the first time in the text, “Recordación Florida” by Captain Fuentes y Guzmán, where he describes it as a city with a strong military and religious character.  Its cultural roots date back to the XII or XIII centuries. It’s possible that during its origins, the site was used...

Capuchinas Convent, Antigua Guatemala,

Constructed in 1736, Capuchinas was the last female convent in the city.  Its true name was Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragoza (Our Lady of the Pillar of Saragossa). The architectural complex was the work of Diego de Porres, a great architect of Antigua, Guatemala. The interior highlights a circular patio with arches that mark each of the 18 nuns’ cells.  This section is called the “Torre del Retiro” (Tower of Retreat). Additionally, there is a second patio, which made up the principal cloister, with a central fountain and arches formed by Tuscan...

La Aurora National Zoo,

It is located at approximately 5 minutes from Zona Viva and two minutes from the airport. It occupies an area made up of 17 blocks with green and rest areas. In the center is a French-style banquet hall (Tea House) decorated with Italian marble statues, which was built during the twenties.  The mammal habitat has two original Mayan stelae.  In the African savannah, the Asian zone and tropical forest, there are approximately 70 species of animals (700 animals), some of them endangered, roaming in open areas separated from the public by a ditch...

Ruins La Recolección, Antigua Guatemala,

This site’s sturdy walls are a tribute to the greatness of this Order (los Recolectos). In spite of natural disasters and depredation it has been exposed to, these historical monuments offer an interesting perspective of convent life of the time.             ...

Museum of the Popol Vuh,

The Popol Vuh Museum offers visitors a unique look at the history of Guatemala, illustrated by one of the best collections of pre-Columbian and colonial art of the country.  The museum, part of the University Francisco Marroquín, is a private, nonprofit scientific institution. Its objectives include the conservation, research and dissemination of the cultural and archaeological heritage of Guatemala. Adress: Universidad Francisco Marroquín 6 calle final zona 10 Guatemala 01010 Hours of operation: Monday-Friday 9:00-17:00, Saturday 9:00-13:00, closed on Sundays   Admission prices Adults Q35.00 Students (student id required) Q15.00 Kids ages 2-12 years old   Q10.00 More information: www.popolvuh.ufm.edu.gt  ...

Santa Clara Convent, Antigua Guatemala,

Constructed during the first years of the XVIII century, the interior of Santa Clara features beautiful double arches of excellent proportions that surround the convent’s spacious cloister, which was founded to shelter Clarisa nuns. The facade of the temple, elaborately decorated in stucco, is inside the convent and was designed to be seen from inside by the Clarisa nuns, who never ventured out.  ...

Nightlife Sector,

    Zona Viva located in Guatemala City’s Zone 10 has become the most popular entertainment center of the capital city. The city’s most exclusive hotels, bars, clubs, cafes, restaurants and boutiques are located in this area. Various galleries are also located on this zone, where Guatemalan artists exhibit and sale their latest work.  ...

Church and Convent La Merced,

The facade of this church is, undoubtedly, the best example of the baroque style prominent in many Antiguan constructions. The delicate work in ataurique (a plastic relief technique with vegetable motifs) is an example of the architectural quality of the city.  The convent’s spectacular fountain, the largest of the ones remaining in Antigua Guatemala, was built during the XVIII century and restored in 1944. Inside the church the image of Jesus Nazareno is worshiped, a splendid example of colonial imagery.        ...

National Palace of Culture,

The interior of the National Palace of Culture was a contribution of a team of engineers and architects, and some of the greatest exponents of the visual arts that Guatemala has to offer. It is one of the great achievements of Guatemalan architecture. It’s an example of some of the best work of Guatemalan artists from the forties. Visitors can admire murals by Alfredo Galvez Suarez, stained glass windows by Julio Vasquez Urruela and colleagues; Guillermo Grajeda Mena; Dagoberto Vásquez; Roberto González Goyri; as well as decorations from Rodolfo Galeotti Torres and...

The Archbishop’s Palace,

Located north of the Cathedral, the Archbishop Palace’s construction dates back to the early XVIII century. Today, its ruins are few. However, the splendid architectural quality of the building can be clearly admired through the remains of the cloister, in its enormous door and frames made of massive stone that correspond to the western façade.  ...

Miguel Angel Asturias Cultural Center,

  The Miguel Ángel Asturias Cultural Center in Guatemala City is a cultural complex designed by engineer and artist, Efrain Recinos. The building is located in the city’s Civic Center, and was constructed on the site once occupied by Fort San José. The complex is also known as the National Theater.  Its shape, which emulates a boat, stands out from the surrounding buildings.  It consists of the Grand Theater (for opera) with 2,068 seats, the Chamber Theater, the Open Air Theater, small plazas, rehearsal salons, workshops and conference rooms as well as...

The Palace of the City Council (Town Hall), Antigua Guatemala,

This construction retains its original form since 1743, year during which it served as a seat for the council. The impressive two-story façade shows massive stone arches and the eastern wall is one of the few that displays the original coating of carved stones. Due to its magnificent construction, it was used as a prison during colonial times.  Today, it houses the offices of the municipal authorities and the Museum of the Ancient Book. ...

Cerrito del Carmen,

Many Catholic churches are located in the city’s zone 1, which offer an interesting sample of neoclassic architecture. The building’s interiors boast artworks from the XVI and XIX centuries.  Outstanding for their sculpture and artistic works are: La Merced, The Metropolitan Cathedral, Capuchinas, San Francisco, Santo Domingo, and Santa Rosa. Also admirable is El Cerrito del Carmen, considered a historic gem, which houses the first temple constructed in the Valley of La Ermita, from where it derives its name. It was inaugurated in 1620. A beautiful altar piece of colonial art can...

Field Marshals’ Palace,

Located in front of the central park, this palace consists of two levels and a double arched facade.  During the 16th and 17th centuries, it sheltered representatives of the King.  Now, it houses the departmental government offices. ...

Central Market,

Guatemala’s Central Market is located behind the Metropolitan Cathedral, in the basement of the Tabernacle Plaza. There, visitors can buy a variety of art and handicrafts from all over the country; ceramics, textiles, leather, wood, silver, etc., as well as everyday consumer goods. Open every day from 6:00 to 18:00. ...

Raised-Relief Map of the Republic of Guatemala,

A one-of-a-kind work, this three-dimensional map was constructed in 1904 by the lieutenant-colonel and engineer Francisco Vela Irrisari. It shows, in detail, the contrasts in elevation in the Republic of Guatemala.  Construction of the map began in 1904 and was finished in October of 1905. It occupies an area of approximately 1,809 square meters. Made of concrete and stone, this map has a special hydraulic system that simulates the currents of the various watersheds of Guatemala, distributing the water necessary to rivers, lakes and oceans through lead pipes. The vertical scale...

Temple, Convent and Arch of Santa Catalina, Antigua Guatemala,

This temple and convent was established in 1609. The temple was inaugurated on September 15, 1647.  The arch was finished in 1694 over the street that served to communicate the convent to the gardens and orchard.  ...

National Library, Periodicals Library and General Archive of Central America,

These three cultural institutions, located in front of Centennial Park, house valuable information about Guatemala and Central America, including documents from the government of the ancient kingdom of Goathemala (1524-1821), the Central American Federation (1821-1848) and the Republic of Guatemala (1848 to present).   These resources are a valuable treasure for researchers. Library hours: Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 15:00 Periodicals Library hours: Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 17:00 General Archive hours: Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 17:00 ...

Church of San Francisco el Grande,

The interior of the church of San Francisco el Grande in Antigua Guatemala was constructed in 1579. Surrounded by a wall with battlements. Its west façade is known for its remarkable padded spiral columns. Once in the courtyard, visitors can admire the temple’s main façade with its 12 niches.  In the interior, which is accessed through a side door, beautiful baroque altarpieces are conserved- all gold plated, in the same manner as the chapel which preserves the body of the saint Santo Hermano Pedro de San José de Betancur, who has...

United Nations Park,

Located to the North of Lake Amatitlán, United Nations Park has recreational areas, forests and panoramic views.  It also features an area with replicas of Guatemala’s architectural monuments; a colonial plaza, the central plaza of Tikal and typical Guatemalan highland dwellings. ...

La Antigua Guatemala,

The Central Plaza is located at apporximately 45 kms. It is the third capital established by the Spaniards after the terrible flood of the Almolonga Valley on September 11, 1541. It was founded on 1543 and originally named Ciudad de los Caballeros en Guatemala in 1566. After surviving plagues, earthquakes and floods, it was destroyed by the quake of 1773. Despite having been an outcast and abandoned city, inhabitants gradually began given life to the new capital city, and one of the most attractive touristic points of Guatemala today due...

Amatitlán Lake,

Lake Amatitlán is located at approximately 32kms from the capital on the Interamerican highway.  The lake iss around 15 square kilometers in surface and constitutes one of the most important features of the department of Guatemala. A fair dedicated to the lake is celebrated on the 3rd of May. It features colorful wooden boxes made by hand and filled with traditional candy.  ...

Volcano Pacaya National Park,

To get to the volcano, visitors can take highway CA-9 toward the south coast and turn left at kilometer 37 toward the municipality of San Vicente Pacaya.   The Pacaya volcano is 2,500 meters high and is located between the departments of Guatemala and Escuintla. It has been active for over 30 years, spewing out piro-plastic materials, typical of a Strombolian eruption. This volcano also has a secondary conduit called Pico Mackenney, as well as three other peaks, known locally as Cerro Chino (Chinese Hill), Cerro Grande (Big Hill) and Cerro Chiquito...

Archeological Site of Kaminal Juyú,

Kaminal Juyu “Hill of the Dead,” located in the capital city, is an important site because it was occupied from the pre-classic to the late classic period.  The first phase consisted of 200 mounds distributed throughout an area of approximately 5 kilometers squared. At the beginning of the classic period, Kaminal Juyu was reoccupied by groups with teotihuacan influence who controlled the commercial routes of the highlands. Today, only a few mounds have been preserved.  They contain adobe structures covered with burnt clay that supported structures of perishable materials.  The...

Artisan Market,

Located on the Juan Pablo II Boulevard near La Aurora International Airport in Zone 13 of Guatemala City, the Artisan Market occupies an area of approximately 10,200 square meters.  It includes 51 spaces, where vendors exhibit and sell a wide range of handicrafts made all over Guatemala including textiles from various regions, leather, wood, ceramics, candles, paintings, antiques, silver and jade jewelry, baskets and clothing.   The Market also offers artisanal workshops, temporary artisan exhibits, special events, gardens, public parking and security as well as a restaurant where visitors can enjoy...

Meeting Spaces,

Modern hotels in the capital are equipped with the installations and infrastructure necessary to accommodate congresses, conventions, conferences and private meetings amid modernity and comfort.   Among these hotels are: Marriott, Westin Camino Real, Holiday Inn, Real Intercontinental, Grand Tikal Futura, Meliá, Viva Clarion Suite, Vista Real, Conquistador Ramada, Atlantis, Coperex, Radisson and Princess. Additionally, there are open-air venues available such as: El Campo Marte, El Estadio del Ejército, El Estadio de la Pedrera, el Domo de la zona 13, Mateo Flores Stadium, and Hipódromo del Sur for political, cultural, religious meetings...

Guatemala City,

  Metropolitan Cathedral  La Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción is the name of the Republic’s capital, center for all commercial, cultural and religious activities. Modern commercial centers, located in different zones attract tourists looking for world-class shopping. This metropolis boasts a stark contrast in architectural design, showcasing colonial buildings combined with modern skyscrapers. Its important museums and historic monuments, offer travelers a unique cultural experience.  Guatemala City also has the necessary infrastructure to host meetings and conventions for patrons from all over the globe.   Cotton fabrics These fabrics are traditionally used for güipiles (customary clothing), table clothes,...

Contact Us

Instituto Guatemalteco de Turismo -INGUAT-

7 av. 1-17 zona 4, Centro Cívico, Guatemala City.
Phone: (502)24212800
Email: info@inguat.gob.gt