La Antigua Guatemala was the colonial capital of Central American Spanish. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and perhaps the most popular tourist attraction in Guatemala. Normally just called “Antigua” (or La Antigua), most city streets are arranged in a network of parallel streets, forming a rectangle, and the Central Park as a point of origin. The roads north-south avenues are numbered 1-8 from east to west. The avenues are divided into sur (south) and north. The east-west roads are calles or streets, numbered 1-9 from north to south. These are in turn divided into east (east) and Poniente (west). The intersection at the northeast corner of the Palace of the Captains Generals , ie at the southeast corner of Central Park, is where the avenues and streets are divided. The avenues are sur 5 south of the Calle, and north of the north. AS are calles east east of 4th Avenue and poniente west of this.
Some roads have names that do not follow the numbering scheme, and some roads outside the center does not follow the same plan. Most of the corners has no sign showing the name of the streets through which it passes. All roads are made of stone and of poor quality. The house numbers are counted from the point of origin. Even numbers are on one side of the street and odd on the other.
Help decorate the north and south sides of Central Park are the 4th and 5th Calles , and east and west sides are the 5th and 4th avenues. Central Park is a useful reference point in your journey. “5th Ave. Nte # 5″ is north of Central Park. “5th Ave. Sur # 5″ is south of Central Park. Basically, if you know that Central Park is located north, south, east or west can move smoothly in the city.
You can take a bus crammed from Guatemala City by Q8. More than 100 bus drivers were killed due to conflicts between gangs. Drivers who refuse to pay exorbitant sums of money for protection are dead. Despite this, many still consider buses, public and ‘private’ safer than take a taxi or tuk-tuks (small tricycles with doors of tissue). The tuk-tuks antiguenses are famous for bringing tourists to bad areas of town, where they are stolen – so it is advisable that only ride a tuk tuk driver to know. In countries like Guatemala, where security is a major concern, is to call a taxi company.
There are shuttles that go directly from the airport to the city by Q80, which run regularly throughout the day until 20.00. You may want to buy your ticket in advance because the bus can be full or not, depending on the number of flights that arrive at the same time. A taxi from the airport to Antigua should cost about Q350, but the price may significantly decrease the share with one or two people. There are numerous travel agencies in Central Park who arrange travel back to the airport. The cost is usual Q55-80. To catch the bus from the airport, go to the bus stop near the car park. However, sometimes the buses are not allowed to stop there (at least those who are not officers), and must be prepared to walk a good bit to get to another station outside the airport complex. However, a tourist dragging luggage behind him are an easy target for a thief to spot. The second problem is that catch buses are often crammed with people, and so can be difficult to store your bags and ensure that no Lhas steal.
Antigua is a very compact and walkable. Most tourist attractions are in an area of 8×8 blocks, less than 1 km wide. You can cross it in 15 minutes. Be careful: the sidewalks are narrow and are not always in good condition, may have to walk the streets with cars passing right on your border, and at night you better be careful and always attentive. The normal tourist maps are very linear and are only accurate in the city center, the periphery being blurred and imprecise. better get a precise topographic map if you want to go to places far from the city center, because the blind alleys and streets that are not right are not accurately represented. If you do not know very well the city streets, and spend 23.00, you better take a taxi back to your hotel, especially if you are alone, or if for more than a few blocks away from the well-lit area of Central Park. The tuk-tuks and taxis can take you to any destination within the city center by Q10 or less – negotiate the price with the taxi driver before entering. If you do not, they usually charge 50-100% more than normal. Motion for a tuk-tuk or arrange a taxi at Central Park, or along a main route in the city outskirts.
Antigua is the most popular – although not the cheapest – to learn Spanish in Guatemala . Prices and hours vary and may change depending on the season. Stay with a local is cheaper and more culturally enriching than a hotel, the average price of a room in a Guatemalan family cost Q585 for 7 nights in a private room with en-suite and 2-3 meals daily (except Sunday). It’s worth paying a premium for an en-suite shower or bathroom, and find a family that accepts only one or a few students for a total immersion in local culture. Some family-visit each other on Sundays, and therefore may not be available to prepare meals. If the only student of that house, you may be invited to these family gatherings.