Palace of the Captains General (Palacio de los Capitanes Generales)
The original royal complex was constructed in 1549, although the ornate double-arcaded facade added in the late 1700s is all that remains of the original structure. Visit the palace as part of a Antigua walking tour to discover the UNESCO Heritage Site’s colorful Spanish baroque architecture, and top attractions such as Museo del Jade and La Merced Cathedral. Continue to Cero de la Cruz for a bird’s eye view of the city and the Volcán de Agua or take a dip in hot springs heated by Pacaya, the most active volcano in Guatemala. Travelers taking tours may add excursions to villages just outside the city to learn about thriving local industries during visits to a macadamia plantation, a coffee plantation, and a weaving cooperative
Things to Know Before You Go
- Enjoy Antiqua’s lively main plaza from the comfort of the palace’s shaded arcade.
- Admittance inside the working government building is generally not allowed.
- Events such as handicraft markets, music performances, and art exhibits are often held in front of the palace.
How to Get There
Palacio de los Capitanes Generales is located on Calle Poniente on the south side of Plaza Mayor, the main plaza in Antigua, and is within easy walking distance of any part of the city.
When to Get There
Palacio de los Capitanes Generales hosts cultural and musical events enlivening the plaza in front of it. Visit the square anytime of day, as it's a constant hub of activity. Grab a spot on a bench and people-watch. At night, the palace and the surrounding buildings—Catedral de Santiago, Palacio del Ayuntamiento, and the Portal del Comercio—are illuminated in a golden glow.
La Merced Cathedral
Walk a few blocks north to this lovely 18th-century Baroque cathedral. With a bright yellow facade embellished with crisp white trim, it’s impossible to miss. One of the few colonial churches to survive Antigua’s earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, La Merced holds notable artworks such as a sculpture of Jesus carrying a golden cross, which is carried during Holy Week processions; pretty arabesque-patterned stucco; and a dazzling gold-leaf retable behind the altar.
- Antigua Central Park (Parque Central)
- Catedral de Santiago (Antigua Cathedral)
- Santa Catalina Arch (Arco de Santa Catalina)
- Museum of Colonial Art (Museo de Arte Colonial)
- Jade Factory and Museum (Jade Maya)
- ChocoMuseo Antigua
- Antigua City Hall (Palacio del Ayuntamiento)
- Las Capuchinas (Convento de Las Capuchinas)
- Church of San Francisco (Iglesia de San Francisco)
- La Merced Church (Iglesia de la Merced)
- Casa Santo Domingo (Monasterio de Santo Domingo)
- Cerro de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross)
- Pacaya Volcano