Antigua, Guatemala was on our itinerary but I wasn’t sure what to expect. Before our visit, I imagined the Antigua travel scene to be mostly young backpackers and not very family-friendly.
Well, I was partly wrong. The travel scene did consist mainly of young backpackers but there were also a lot of families visiting (we ran into two different families we had met in Tikal) and there are plenty of family-friendly things to do in Antigua, Guatemala.
Family-Friendly Things to do in Antigua Guatemala
Check Out the Artisan Market
On the west side of Antigua is a bustling street market with rows of colorful vendor stalls. You’ll find everything from bright textiles, purses, wallets, and crafts; to food, flowers, pharmaceuticals, electronics, and toys. The shopkeepers are very friendly and fun to talk to. With so much to look at, it’s a great place to spend a few hours.
Before leaving for Guatemala we’d told Eli about the Market in Antigua and he was so excited to see it. Our hotel was a few blocks past the market and we drove by it when we first arrived in town. It was evening time and the shops were closing up for the day so we waited until the next morning to check it out. Eli had $10 he’d saved the entire trip to spend at the market and it was burning a hole in his pocket. After much shopping, he decided to spend his money on a flute and a notebook with a tapestry cover. Eli still considers these his prized possessions.
Mini Chocolate Workshop At The Choco Museo
The Choco Museo offers a mini-workshop that’s only 45 minutes instead of the usual hour and a half. It’s perfect for kids and adults. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything by not doing the full hour and a half workshop.
We stopped into the Chocolate Museum one morning to see if there were any available workshops that day. To our surprise, they got us into a private mini-workshop right away. The workshop cost 100
We met our workshop instructor Edwin, put on the aprons he provided, and picked the kind of chocolate and mold we wanted. After filling the molds with melted chocolate we were provided with coconut, ginger, almonds, and sprinkles to use as toppings.
While our chocolate was cooling Edwin took us on a tour of the museum and explained
Edwin then explained how chocolate is made from cacao paste. We learned how important sugar is in chocolate after tasting the paste and beans without sugar (yuck).
Our chocolate was ready for us to take home when the tour was done.
Hike the Cerro de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross)
One of our favorite experiences in Antigua was hiking up to the cross on the hillside. Not only was it a nice hike with epic views of Antigua, but it was also free.
We caught an Uber (Yes, Uber is now in Guatemala and it’s cheap and convenient) from our hotel to the base of the Cerro de la Cruz trailhead. The trail is paved the entire way and it’s a nice easy 10-15 minute hike to the top. When compared to hiking Pacaya Volcano, Cerro de la Cruz is actually more like a leisurely walk.
Once you arrive at the top the views are breathtaking! You can look down on the entire town of Antigua with the beautiful Volcano Agua as the backdrop.
We had read that the trail used to be known as a prime spot for pickpocketers but the problem has been resolved somewhat in recent years due to security guards being placed along the trail. Our hotel warned us that we should hike during the day because there aren’t any guards at night.
Take A Ride In a Tuk Tuk
Ok, what kid doesn’t want to ride in a Tuk Tuk? You absolutely have to take a ride in a Tuk Tuk if you are visiting Antigua with children. It was one of Eli’s favorite things to do in Antigua. Tuk Tuks are all over and it’s easy to catch one in the center of town. It was well worth the few dollars we spent to take a Tuk Tuk from town back to our hotel one evening.
Take a Self-Guided Walking Tour Around Antigua
A guided walking tour of Antigua with a tour group didn’t sound like much fun with a five-year-old. But, a self-guided walking tour where we could take our time, stop when we wanted, check out whatever looked interesting, and grab a beer on a rooftop patio for us and a McDonald’s cheeseburger for Eli? Perfect!
Antigua is such a fascinating city. There’s so much to look at with the natural beauty of the surrounding volcanos, cobblestone streets, ruins, and beautiful Spanish Colonial architecture. We spent hours walking around different parts of the city and still didn’t see it all.
Adding to the charm of Antigua is the huge variety of restaurants. It’s such a small town to have so many restaurants and there are so many different food options. You can choose local Guatemalan cuisine or cuisine from all different countries. There is also fast food, street food, bakeries, and ice cream. You could stay in Antigua for weeks and not eat at the same restaurant twice.
I was pleasantly surprised to find so many family-friendly things to do in Antigua, Guatemala.
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