Antigua Guatemala Map – Find Your Way Around Town

You’d think in a city as small as Antigua, actually more of a town masquerading as a city, it would be easy to find your way around. Well, it’s not that it’s difficult, just fairly disorienting. But don’t worry, we have just the right Antigua Guatemala map to help you get your bearings.

Guatemala On A World Map

The country of Guatemala is located in Central America and borders four countries: Mexico to the north and west, Belize to the northeast, Honduras to the east, and El Salvador to the southeast. Here’s a map of Central America:

Guatemala, Central America Map

The capital of Guatemala is Guatemala City and the location of La Aurora International Airport.

Fortunately, Antigua Guatemala is about a 45-minute to 1-hour ride from Guatemala City, making it a convenient place to stay once you arrive in Guatemala. Lake Atitlan, another of Guatemala’s best attractions, is located about 2-hours from Antigua Guatemala – day trips to the lake and its surrounding communities are easy.

Map of Antigua Guatemala

[bgmp-map placemark=”country″ zoom=”5″]

Antigua Guatemala is a small town, easily walkable from end to end – it is also packed with lots of things to do and great restaurants. That said, it’s very easy to get lost here. But don’t fret. Here are a few tips on how to find your way around town – you’ll be strutting about like a local in no time!

Tips For Finding Your Way Around Antigua

As a UNESCO Heritage site – there are three in Guatemala: Tikal National Park and Quirigua Ruins are the others, a lot of effort has gone into keeping Antigua Guatemala in as original a condition as possible. If time here looks like it has stood still, it’s because someone has made sure it does. The fact that this is a UNESCO site both helps to make Antigua easy to get around in and makes it confusing to navigate.

Here are five facts that will help you find your way around Antigua Guatemala:

#1 – Everything Starts at the Center

Antigua’s Parque Central (Central Park) is the center of this small universe. It’s the go-to landmark everyone knows, and the largest and easiest to find. If you ever get lost, you’ll be hard press to find someone who can give you exact directions. Most people never seem to know where exactly anything is. Everyone knows where Parque Central is – even Police Officers!

Central Park Fountain - Antigua Guatemala

Fountain of the Sirens, Parque Central

#2- Streets Go Side to Side, Avenues Go Up and Down

Antigua is laid out in a grid pattern, like most old Spanish colonial cities. Streets run east to west and vice versa, and avenues run north to south. Unless you’re carrying a compass, that won’t mean a thing unless you’ve got the point of reference…

#3- Here’s Your Ginormous Point of Reference!

Antigua Guatemala Cerro de la Cruz

View of Agua Volcano from Cerro de La Cruz lookout

 

Look down the road you’re standing on both ways. See a massive volcano?

No?

Then you’re probably on a street, which runs east to west. Walk around the corner.

Do you see a huge volcano now?

Good! Turn around to face it. When you do, you’ll be facing south, towards Agua Volcano.

Depending on the avenue you’re in, you’ll able to spot Cerro de la Cruz, the hill north of Antigua that overlooks the city.

The giant volcano towering over Antigua is as good a landmark as you’re going to get. You can view (dormant) Volcan Agua from anywhere in Antigua. This is because in Antigua, construction of any structure higher than two stories is forbidden within city limits – a large enough bribe and anyone can get around those restrictions, but I digress.

Calle de los Pasos Antigua Guatemala

Quiet Calle de Los Pasos

 

Another UNESCO rule forbids signs that are perpendicular to the street. The only signs allowed are those placed flat against the wall, which makes all streets look the same from a distance. It’s almost impossible to find any business until you’re close enough to see the sign on the wall.

To recap, here’s a whiz-bang high-tech computer graphic summarizing everything I just made you read:

Antigua Guatemala Avenues and Streets

#4- Locating Addresses

Back in the day, streets all had names. Some names are understandable based on the city’s religious tradition (Calle del Espiritu Santo – Holy Spirit Street). Someday I’ll figure out the why of Calle Sucia (Dirty Street), as it doesn’t appear to be any dirtier than any other random street in town.

At some point, main streets and avenues inside Antigua center, referred to as “El Casco,” were numbered to make easier to find. Which is why you’ll often see signs that display the name and its commonly used numerical designation. No one bothers calling street by their names, as most people go with the easier-to-remember street number.

Antigua Guatemala Street Signs

Streets often have more than one name

Here’s a quick hint: An Alameda is a broad two-lane road separated, or lined by trees on both sides. The most important ones are Alameda Santa Lucia, on the far west end of the city and where the Mercado starts, and Alameda El Calvario, to Antigua’s southeast and home of wealthy El Calvario neighborhood (below).

Alameda El Calvario Antigua Guatemala

Alameda El Calvario

Inside Antigua proper, avenue numbers start from the east with 1a Avenida (First Avenue) and end with 7a Avenida (Seventh Avenue). Street numbers start from the north, starting with 1a Calle (First Street), and ending with 9a Calle (Novena Calle). Outside of Antigua’s number grid, streets are given proper names.

An excellent way to figure out the avenue or street number is to count with relation to Parque Central. The 4a Calle (Street) flanks the park to the north and 5a Calle (Street) to the south. 4a Avenida (avenue) is to the east, and 5a Avenida (avenue) is to the park’s west side.

Streets and avenues have an additional designation to help you spot addresses easier. Appended to avenues are monikers such as “Norte” (north) when north of Parque Central and “Sur” (south) when south of it. Streets get the moniker “Oriente” when east of Parque Central, and “Poniente” when west. Here are two quick illustrations to help you visualize:

Antigua Guatemala Norte Sur

Antigua’s avenues run north to south

Antigua Guatemala Oriente Poniente

Antigua’s streets run east to west

Are you thoroughly confused yet?

#5 – Locating Towns Around Antigua

Now, imagine you’ve finally made it to Antigua. Volcan Fuego has just erupted, and everyone is madly dashing for the hills… wait. Scratch that. Got a bit confused there for a sec… Let’s start over…

Imagine I were to place you next to Parque Central, facing Agua (south) – Let’s say you were actually ON the horse in the picture below if you’d like to make it more exciting. From there, it’s easy to figure out the location of surrounding towns.

Agua Volcano Antigua Guatemala

4a Avenida looking South

To the northwest (behind you and looking over your right shoulder): Jocotenango and San Felipe.

To the southwest (looking to the right of the volcano): Ciudad Vieja, Panorama, Alotenango, San Miguel Dueñas and a few other smaller communities.

To the southeast (looking to the left of the volcano): El Calvario, Santa Ana, San Juan del Obispo, San Pedro Las Huertas, Santa Maria de Jesus, and a few other communities.

To the east (behind you and to your left): Santa Ines and the road that leads to San Lucas and Guatemala City.

To the west (a few blocks to your right): El Mercado.

Here’s a bit more of my computer wizardry:

Antigua Guatemala Towns

I probably made it all sound way more confusing than it is. After all, it’s only a 15-minute walk from one end of Antigua to the other.

So what if you get lost? You may discover yet another new favorite spot. After all, what’s the point of having great weather if you don’t enjoy it by walking around a bit?

*****

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Cost of Living In Antigua Guatemala – Buy In Season

Cost of Living Guatemala

I’m constantly reminded of the Rolling Stones’ song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” here. In the US, you can get practically anything, any day, anytime you want. A trip to your local 24-hour Wal-Mart will take care of just about anything. And if you can’t get it locally, jump online to Amazon.com and have it at your door the next day. It’s one advantage of living in a First World country. But that convenience will cost you. This is what makes the cost of living in Guatemala so affordable if you can put up with the lack of items at times. Why?

In Guatemala, you’re never too far away from the source where your food is produced.  When I want avocados, I buy them from the child sitting in front of his house next to a basket full of them. I know the avocados are locally produced because I can see the avocado tree rising out of his backyard.

When I buy chicken, I head to the local butcher, who has a yard full of them running around. If I wanted fresh milk, I can go a couple of blocks over and buy a gallon or two. The dairy place is not hard to find. Just go to the backyard where you hear mooing coming out of. Not kidding about that last one either. Scared the bejesus out of us the first time a cow, sneakily hiding behind a fence, mooed as loud as possible as we walked past it a few feet away. To this day I still think the cow did it on purpose. But I digress.

Fruits in Antigua Guatemala's Mercado

Fruits in Antigua Guatemala’s Mercado

A lot of what is consumed in Guatemala is locally produced, and it makes sense that many of the same items exported to the US never make it here. It’s far more lucrative for other countries to ship their produce to First-world countries and command higher prices. The side effect of these market dynamics is price fluctuations in countries who depend on their local supply.

When produce is in season here, it tends to get dumped on the market all at once. One doesn’t notice this as much in the US. Strawberries might not be in season in California, but they might be in Argentina, so strawberries are always available in the US, if at a slightly higher premium. And because prices are always artificially high on account of shipping and storage, you don’t get as much of the cost-benefit when produce is in season locally.

Here, when those avocado trees are bare… that’s it. Avocados will rocket in price, and only then it becomes profitable to bring some in from Mexico or other places. Same with most produce here.

In Guatemala, items will invariably go up around the same time every year. For example, we used to get limes (lemons are not familiar here) at about five for 1Q, or less than 0.03¢ each. This was until Christmas of last year, when prices for a lot of items skyrocketed (relative to the usual prices), as they usually do. At one point, we were paying 1.50Q (0.18¢) for each lime.

Prices for limes eventually came down slightly and more or less settled at about 1Q each. Still expensive, but even at its highest price, nowhere near the 0.50¢ price I used to pay for limes back in the states.

At the Mercado

I paid a visit to the Mercado yesterday and discovered limes were back in season. Sellers couldn’t give them away fast enough. Limes that we had just bought last week for 1.25Q each could now be had at five for 1Q.

Antigua Guatemala Mercado

Antigua Guatemala Mercado

If you want to save money here, it’s better to eat items in season. We’re eating papaya almost every day now because they are 7-8Q each. Eventually, they’ll go back to the 14-15Q range, so we’ll move on to the next in-season item, just as nature intended.

Check out the humongous papayas I spotted being sold at El Mercado for Q10 each.

papayas at the mercado in antigua guatemala

Papayas at the Mercado in Antigua Guatemala

Don’t be alarmed when prices go up suddenly on stuff. They eventually come down.

The $23 Shopping Basket

I now want to show you a sample of local prices as of May 2013. Here’s what I got for $23 in my latest “shopping spree.”

Cost of Living in antigua Guatemala

Cost of Living in Antigua Guatemala

At La Bodegona (local supermarket):

Can of Tuna – 9.75Q
Brown Sugar (2,000grs) – 13.95Q
Body Lotion – 14.25Q
Liter of Milk – 7.80Q
Coffee – 11.75Q
Chicken Ham – 11.34Q
Scott Toilet Paper (2-ply/12 rolls) – 18.25Q
Tang Powdered Drink (4 @ 1.55Q each) – 6.20Q
Act II Butter Popcorn – 3.25Q
Dietetic Vegetable Margarine (5 Sticks) w/free Instant Soup – 8.65Q
Heavy Cream – 8.75Q
Mayonnaise Bag (390gr) – 9.95Q
Powdered Detergent (500gr) – 6.45Q
Plastic Bag – 0.20Q

Total spent at La Bodegona: 130.54Q

At El Mercado:

Limes (25) – 5Q
Tomatoes (1 Pound) – 2.50Q
Small White Onions (1 Pound) – 2.50Q
Strawberries (2 Pounds) – 8Q
Big Bunch of Fresh Thyme – 1Q

Total spent at El Mercado: 19Q

At the Pet Store:

Rambocan Dog food (2 pounds) – Q11

Rabbit pellets for guinea pigs (2 pounds) – Q8

 

At the local sausage place:

 Six sausage links – Q9

Total for entire purchase: Q177.54/$23USD

A few things to note.

We’ve switched to local brands for nearly everything. I haven’t found the need to pay a premium for any foreign brands, so we don’t.

We try to avoid buying any produce at La Bodegona., as it’s invariably more expensive there. We only stick to canned goods, ham, and packaged products. It’s just a lot easier on the wallet.

Coffee is relatively expensive here, which is odd, considering this is a prominent coffee-producing region. A bag of “good” coffee (Dalton from Finca Filadelfia -the coffee Starbucks uses) is about Q50. While we indulge in “real” coffee when we go out, for everyday use we stick to the cheaper coffee blends.

Regarding cheese, you can find pretty much any type you’d ever want at La Bodegona. Goat cheese, Gouda, Provolone, Mozzarella, Cheddar, and even Manchego cheeses are available, but you’ll pay through the nose for it. Prices start at about $5 a pound, to $12 a pound for the higher priced varieties. But for me, nothing beats a one-pound block of Queso de Capas, or “layered cheese,” which is fresh white cheese. A steal at Q22  for the pound, I can eat the whole thing in one sitting if left in a room alone with it.

*****

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Higher or lower than anticipated?

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Dia Beneful Guatemala: Enjoy a Special Day with Your Dog

Last Sunday, our family had the pleasure to attend Beneful’s annual event, “Un Dia con mi Mejor Amigo” (A Day with My Best Friend), better known as Dia Beneful Guatemala – it’s now held yearly in several countries. In Guatemala, Día Beneful takes place in Antigua Guatemala. Many restaurants open their locations to dogs and their owners.

The event was hosted at VerdeEventos. The weather was great, and due to all the activities planned, we had a great time.

Dian Beneful Guatemala sign

Sponsored by Beneful, a Purina brand

Animal Aware

One of the highlights of attending was discovering the existence of Animal Aware, a non-profit pet rescue organization. Their main site is in Sumpango (home of the Giant Kites).

Animal Aware routinely conduct spay-and-neuter campaigns and take care of pets until they can be put up for adoption. The current fee to adopt a pet is Q250 (~$31). Right now, they have close to 400 dogs/cat in their care at their ranch. They do not put animals to sleep and keep them until they can be adopted.

They accept donations and are always glad to have volunteers. You can sponsor a pet as well, and they accept food donations in lieu of money. Check them out here if you’d like to donate or volunteer.

Animal Aware's booth

Booth for Animal Aware

Arca de Noe, the most well-known pet shop in Guatemala also had a booth. There are no locations in Antigua.

Arca de Noe's booth

Arca de Noe’s booth

VIP Area

For those who pre-registered through Beneful’s Facebook page (we did), they were given a VIP pass into an area with special activities. I must have eaten a whole tray of hors-d’oeuvres while I was there.

Human treats by Beneful

Treats for VIPs

There were challenges for dog and owner to complete to win prizes.

Skills competition

Skills challenge

Our pooch aced the costume challenge.

There were free cartoon drawings.

Sitting still for a portrait

Sitting still for a portrait

Free portraits at Dia Beneful

Portraits were a popular attraction

Plenty of product samples to be had…

Free samples at the event

Free samples everywhere

… and lots of adorable pets to photograph.

It was a great event and I’m looking forward to attending next year.

*****

More events a: https://www.okantigua.com/things-to-do-in-antigua-guatemala/