Following the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, Antigua Guatemala became the capital of Central America. During many years of wealthy Spanish rule, palaces, churches, parks, fountains and the cathedral were built. Painstakingly restored, this colonial city looks much as it did 200 years ago, competing with Cusco and Cartagena as Latin America's most beautiful colonial city.
Walking the cobblestone streets, through colourful squares and past whitewashed churches, there is plenty to discover - art galleries, fascinating museums, and traditional markets packed with bright, locally made textiles and other craftwork. When changing money, ask for smaller quetzal notes as market shopkeepers often don't have change so having some improves your haggling power.