This full day tour gives you a look into Guatemala's history by visiting some of its most important cultural sites. Starting off from the pier, you will embark on a scenic 90-minute drive to La Antigua Guatemala, taking in the picturesque landscape of the surrounding countryside and back-drop of dramatic volcanoes.
Upon arrival, you will visit Casa Santo Domingo, whose development started to take form in 1989. The main goal of the project here is to rescue what remains of the ancient convent and temple that were buried under tons of debris. To reach this goal, it was necessary to sign an agreement with the National Council for the Protection of Antigua Guatemala that included the archaeological history of the monumental complex. In this way, Hotel Casa Santo Domingo has emerged, a fortunate example of rescue and preservation of patrimony unprecedented locally, that allows the world to see and appreciate Guatemalan architecture.
One of the sites you will visit here is the Cultural Center where work is continuing to organize and promote a large cultural center that will house a chamber theater, a main room for multiple uses that will seat more than one thousand people, the Carlos Merida Museum-Gallery of Modern Art, the Colonial Art Museum, a Handicraft Museum and a research laboratory dedicated to studying architectural, pictoric, ceramic, glass and funerary findings.
You will also see the Church, whose construction began in 1542. Completed around 1666, the Church had a massive façade, large turrets, bell towers and three naves, with the chapels located in the lateral ones. Many well-known artisans worked on the church, such as Felipe de la Cruz and Martin Autulfo who built the triumphal arch all in stone as well as the steps leading to the seat beside the main altar.
Following lunch at the Hotel Casa Santo Domingo, you will continue on to the Capuchinas Convent. Built in the mid-1800's, the ruins include a small museum, gardens, bathhouse and restored nun's cells.
Before traveling back to the pier, you will also have the opportunity for a glimpse of the city of Santiago de los Caballeros, known today as La Antigua Guatemala, which was founded in the Valley of Panchoy in 1543. In 1979 UNESCO declared it a World Cultural Heritage Site. Cobblestone streets, colorful facades and tiled roofs, as well as restored and un-restored ruins of churches, palaces, convents and mansions covered with colorful bougainvillea, make this Spanish colonial city a favorite with visitors from all over the world. Time permitting, you will have a visit at the Jade House, where you can learn how jade is transformed from heavy rock to reproductions of outstanding Mayan fine jewelry and shop for some pieces of your own.
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 cobblestone streets to negotiate as well as tiled surfaces. Casual clothing, a light jacket, flat comfortable walking shoes, sun cap, sunscreen and sunglasses are recommended.