Spend the day discovering the jewel of the Guatemalan colonial urban development and architecture, La Antigua. This marvelous city served as the capital to all of Central America from 1543 to 1773 until it was destroyed by an earthquake and the capital was moved to its present location of Guatemala City. Amazingly, this historical city has preserved its original features as though time has stood still.
Boarding your coach it is a 90-minute drive to this UNESCO World Heritage Site, so named in 1979 because of its immense historical and cultural value. Draped in bright bougainvillea and having breathtaking views of emerald volcanoes in the background, the ruins provide inspiration for artists and tourists alike.
Some of the important sites here are: the University of San Carlos, the third university in the Americas founded in 1676, the central park with a mermaid fountain in its center bound by the Palacio de los Capitanes built in 1549 and reconstructed in 1735, the Municipal building which dates to 1743, and the Cathedral, constructed from 1543 to 1680.
Following a delightful walking tour that allows you to witness up close the charm of this former capital, you will be treated to lunch at the Porta del Lago Hotel. After lunch, your tour will continue on for a visit to the Jade House. There is no other stone as resistant to breakage and chipping as jade. Its inherent toughness made it a superior weapon and tool for the ancient Maya. To the Mayans, it signified survival and its colors were reminiscent of nature. At the Jade House, you will have the opportunity to learn how jade is transformed from heavy rock to reproductions of outstanding Mayan fine jewelry. Time allowing, you will have some free time for shopping before re-joining your coach for the return to Puerto Quetzal and your waiting ship.
Please note: This tour is not available to guests who utilize a wheelchair and those guests with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of ability and stamina. There are some uneven surfaces and cobble stone streets to negotiate in La Antigua. Casual clothing, a light jacket, flat comfortable walking shoes, sun cap, sunscreen and sunglasses are recommended.