DRIVING TIME: 5-6 hours
HWY: CA 1
After surviving the monotonous entry procedures for Guatemala, the drive through the beautiful mountains and lowlands is refreshing. Keep your eyes out for any signs; you want to follow the one or two signs that indicate Guatemala. This is for Guatemala City. After several hours of driving, you will see a sign for Antigua; turn right here and prepare yourself for a horrible road. If you decide to skip Antigua, which would be a shame, you may continue straight along the same road toward Guatemala City, which is about one hour further.
Antigua is exquisite. Similar to San Cristobal de Las Casas, this city is confusing when first entering by vehicle. As you enter the city, you will come to a fork in the road two blocks past the Texaco station, head left at the fork. Approximately one kilometer past the fork in the road is Casa de Santa Lucia, between 5 and 6 Calle Poniente. Santa Lucia is on the right side of the street; the entrance is a large black wooden door. If you go past the bank, you have gone too far. Santa Lucia is one block before the bank. The parking area is located in the rear, but you will need to knock and ask them to open the gates. This is a very secure place. You want to take extra precautions in Guatemala with your vehicle—they frequently disappear.
Antigua was the nation’s capital until 1776. Antigua is among the oldest and most beautiful cities in the Americas. Set amid three magnificent volcanoes Agua, Fuego, and Acatenango. Antigua’s colonial buildings have weathered earthquakes and numerous floods and fires. Resilient and beautiful is how I describe this town. It’s worth hanging out here for a few days.
Hotel & Eats
Casa de Santa Lucia is a nice place. There is a garden lounge great for mingling with other travelers. Rooms are $60. The bank, one block away, is open until 10:00 p.m., and it is a convenient place to get some local money. Turn right at the corner where the bank is located and walk 3 blocks to the town center. Several restaurants offer delicious food—enjoy and relax.
Book this hotel: tripadvisor
Be patient at the border and allow 2 – 3 hours to complete the necessary paperwork. If you are coming from San Cristobal de Las Casas, allocate about 8 to 10 hours for the entire day. I recommend finding a nice relaxing hotel in Antigua and spending some quality time in this fantastic city.
The road conditions in Guatemala are excellent; however, there are few signs or road markers. Look carefully for the signs that do exist—if you miss one, you may get lost.
Give yourself enough time to make it to Antigua from the Guatemalan border. Please don’t drive at night. Violence is a way of life in Guatemala, and there are very few towns between the border and Antigua. The countryside is sparsely populated, and few foreigners are driving through the country.
Next Section of Drive
Antigua – Guatemala City