Living in Antigua Guatemala (with Kids)

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Antigua Guatemala is a stunningly beautiful city in Guatemala. Its architecture, history, and culture are sure to delight, along with the volcanoes that smoke around it. Antigua is a vacation destination popular with many and a popular location for retirement and expats. We were lucky enough to spend a full month there to really get to know this Guatemalan city. Luckily, we were there for Easter, when Antigua hosts spectacular processions, events, and the famous flower carpets. An Antigua travel blog, with insight into living in Antigua as a family with kids

antigua guatemala beautiful architecture
A beautiful square, ancient buildings, flowers, and fountains. Antigua Guatemala.

I posted on Facebook the other day that life was pretty fine, the kids were in the pool, I had a glass of red and all was right with the world.

Normal family life has been resumed for a month of living in Antigua Guatemala.

That is exactly how life used to be back home in Port Douglas before we set off to travel the world. Same life, different spot.

 being normal in Antigua a month in Antigua.
Home, and our base for being normal for a month in Antigua, a beautiful villa with pool in a gated compound.

We have a lovely pool, a cute rental apartment, a safe enclosed residence with a guard and time to be a family in this beautiful town.

Travel, or any exposure to life outside of our normalities, is a wonderful thing for kids and Antigua was a very pleasant place to live our lives for a while.

More on what a fabulous country Guatemala is will follow, today’s post is about life in Antigua and the things to do we have enjoyed here.

Antigua Guatemala

We are staying in a gorgeous villa just outside the old town of Antigua Guatemala, rented at just $30/night and we’re quietly living our lives.

a month in Antigua Guatemala
A quiet month in Antigua is letting Chef keep up with his IronMan training. He’s swimming and running, very normal for him.

We rarely use AirBnb, but in Antigua this time, it was the best, and cheapest, way to find a family rental. The owners were a dream and fluent in English, being American.

There IS a language barrier in Central America. That’s rare in many parts of the world, but the Spanish-speaking countries of the Americas are an exception.

Fun Facts About Antigua Guatemala

  • Antigua Guatemala is about 1,530.17 m above sea level.
  • The area is highly volcanic and prone to earthquakes.
  • Antigua Guatemala has been destroyed over the centuries by fire, flooding, and earthquakes which prompted to capital to be relocated in a safer place, Guatemala City.
  • Much of the city of Antigua Guatemala was inspired by Italian Renaissance design.
  • The grid pattern of its streets is a very early example of town planning and dates from 1543.
  • Antigua Guatemala is a religious centre in the region and in the 16th and 17th centuries exported religious art and statues to the world.
  • The city of Antigua Guatemala is a UNESCO listed. World Heritage Site.
  • Antigua is packed with Christian churches, monasteries, and religious buildings dating back to the Spanish colonial era.
  • The city isn’t just beautiful, it also has Baroque features designed to withstand earthquakes, such as the low clock or bell towers.
  • This beautiful city has brightly painted buildings, stunning public plazas, cobbled streets and fountains. It really is a beautiful place to visit with much to see and do.
  • Antigua Guatemala isn’t a cheap place to visit, we found it quite expensive compared to other countries.
  • We felt safe in Guatemala by day but were warned to not go out at night and be careful with valuables. I know people who have been victims of pickpockets here and we recommend anti-theft bags and devices.
  • We had to take a child to a doctor in Antigua. He was great, and inexpensive.
  • The Easter Celebrations and flower carpets of Antigua Guatemala were absolutely stunning and absolutely worth going to see.
  • Antigua Guatemala simply means old Guatemala.

Where is Antigua Guatemala?

Antigua Guatemala is in the country of Guatemala in Central America. It is a city and is referred to as Antigua or La Antigua. Calling this city Antigua Guatemala distinguishes it from the island of Antigua which is one of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean Sea.

Antigua Guatemala was the capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala and is not the capital of Guatemala, Guatemala City is the capital city of Guatemala. Antigua is the capital of the Captaincy-General of Guatemala.

It is in the southern part of the continent of North America. Central America consists of just seven countries and Guatemala has borders with Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Guatemala has coastlines with the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

Antigua Guatemala is in the southwest of Guatemala and is not on the coast. It is about 40 Km west of Guatemala City, which is where you’re likely to arrive by air.

You can reach Antigua Guatemala for your visit or vacation, from La Aurora International Airport in 40 minutes to an hour. There should be taxis and buses available.

Life in Antigua Guatemala

So we get up, get washed and dressed and I throw the kids out of the house to play while I cook breakfast.

We all eat together, outside overlooking the pool. Big breakfasts with eggs, fruit and lots of vegetables.

We’re off wheat and dairy at the moment to try to fix D’s rash, so we’re being ultra-healthy and I’m dropping the pounds from our USA road trip and cruise ship blow-out .

In the mornings we’re getting through some school work. Written work in the excellent books I picked up in the UK and blogging for the kids.

Blogging is covering loads of educational bases at the moment. My 7-year-old won’t read, but he’s more than happy to blog, so, if that’s the way he wants it, that’s what we’ll do.

His blog is called Boy Around The World, click the link if you’d like to take a peek. D, now 9, has decided he’s a food blogger, his blog is called World Food Kid. I’m waiting for them to start making some money and keep me for a change.  

But the obvious school work isn’t where the most learning is happening, there is so much more besides. Christianity, the Mayans, the Spanish invasion, music, art, language, it’s all going on every day.

a month in Antigua
A pre-Easter procession. So much learning for the kids.

Then it’s time to cook lunch, more fruit and veg, and eggs or beans, we’re not eating meat at all. Another family meal and then it’s up to them what they do.

They can use screens, watch movies, play Minecraft or Lego, swim, whatever. That gives me some time to work on the blogs.

The kids’ special Lego spot outside our beautiful AirBnb villa, within a gated compound.

Maybe we’ll take a walk down into town.

Antigua is so pretty, a glorious little town overlooked by volcanoes that intermittently worry us with dark smoke. It’s normal, apparently, they just do that all the time.

Yep, that’s one of the volcanoes around Antigua, The view from our favourite café. Cafe Sky.

All that fruit and veg we’re going through necessitates lots of trips to Antigua Market, it’s a hike and we lug it all back up the hill in our backpacks.

Our Spanish is coming on quite well, nobody here speaks English. The produce market is huge and the fruit and veg are delicious.

We’re trying new dishes, fried bananas and plantains, homemade guacamole every day and frijoles with everything.

We wander and explore, we’re always finding little shops, galleries and interesting hidden courtyards. There are endless craft markets and stalls and we keep discovering doorways that lead to more hidden treasures.

a month in Antigua courtyard market
Another hidden courtyard, another market.

On weekends there is music in Central Park. Wonderful Central American musicians with flutes and pan pipes.

It’s the sort of park where people just hang out, locals and tourists, to see what’s going on and pass the time quietly.

The kids have their own drums and pipes bought from a friendly street vendor, they practice at home.

normal antigua living in Antigua for a month
Music in Central Park Antigua on weekends.

Every now and again we come across something totally unexpected, like our neighbours here, the emergency services guys, making their sawdust and flower carpet for a pre-Easter church procession.

We hung around for a few hours, watched the art, enjoyed the carnival atmosphere, tried the foods from the street vendors and saw the sombre but magnificent parade go by.

Making a sawdust and flower carpet ready for the procession.

We cook another meal, maybe watch a movie and head off to bed to read or sleep.

And that’s it, that’s all we’re doing. Normal isn’t it?

We’re hardly eating out and we’re not going on any sight-seeing trips. We’re not travelling. But just check out the learning. With almost zero effort, just living our lives, we are all picking up so much.

This is why we travel. Back to the Guatemala Travel Blog round up page.

If you'd like to hire a car during your stay, use this car rental comparison tool to find the best deal!

We also suggest you take a look at this company to get a quote for all kinds of the more tricky adventure or extended travel insurance.

Try Stayz / VRBO for an alternative way to find rentals on homes/apartments/condos in any country!

About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

18 thoughts on “Living in Antigua Guatemala (with Kids)”

  1. One thing you missed and I would definitely recommend is volunteering 2 or 3 days for a few hours at Hermano Pedro/Virgen del Socorro orphanage / Hospital for disabled children, all of whom are in wheelchairs. I have been volunteering there since 2009. I take the chicken bus from the marketplace for a 15 minute ride do the orphanage. I promise you it is a life-changing experience. Contact Xiamara the volunteer coordinator at Virgen Del Socorro.

  2. My favorite part was the 100 ads and the video autostarting talking about constipation.

    • I’m sorry you have constipation, I hope whatever product it was is helpful to you. Thanks for looking at our ads, that’s how we make a living and are able to provide you with free information. The ad ratio we use on this site is below Google’s recommendations.

  3. Thank you for sharing about our beloved country Alyson! Greetings from Antigua, Guatemala 🙂

  4. How/where did you find a (nice) place at $30/night?! Especially IN Antigua, not a nearby city… So many Americans bought up real estate there as of late, so it costs the same as any random city in the US, I noticed. Still affordable, but nowhere near $30/night, especially w/ a pool.

  5. BTW tell your hubbie to consider Dubai for chef work. My brother is an executive chef here and the restaurant scene is bursting — crazy good. It’s a great place to live for awhile too:)

  6. We did three months in Costa Rica a few years ago similar to your description. It was nice and we want to explore more in that region but Asia keeps pulling! Heading somewhere that way for 2.5 months starting in June. Thinking of Hua Hin as a base and then Laos and Burma with possible Bali (of and Hanoi LOL). So many places to see but I do love those chilled out months of just living. Slow Travel is best.

  7. Sounds really nice! We are back in Thailand after a stint in Burma and although we’ll likely move around to a couple of places we have no sightseeing planned, just a routine of blogging, research and planning for summer in the UK and sorting out where we’re going to live beyond that – with lots of nice food and some massages thrown in. Sometimes you just need time in one place to recover from constantly moving around – it sounds like you guys have the perfect apartment there; amazing pool! Great to see that the kids have taken up blogging, I’ll check their sites out!

  8. Don’t you just love slow travel! Antigua seems to actually be one of the best places for a real travel break…have fun!

  9. It is lovely in Antigua Heidi, and having this break from travelling is great, but I have to say, I don’t love it. I’m an Asia girl and the wider I travel the more I know that for sure, I can’t wait to get back over to my side of the world.

  10. Oh this is just wonderful Alyson, a good refueling for the family. I just loved Guatemala, oh so many years ago, in my single days. Perhaps, we we will end up down there one day and the entire family can fall in love with it too.

  11. I love these type of days on my travels. You villa looks like a great place to hangout and just chill. Love the pool and wish I could eat breakfast with you – sounds so yum 🙂


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