Santa Catalina Arch

Santa Catalina Arch: Our most recommended tours and activities

Antigua Guatemala Full–Day Walking Tour from Puerto Quetzal

1. Antigua Guatemala Full–Day Walking Tour from Puerto Quetzal

Antigua Guatemala is the best-preserved colonial city in Latin America. Tourists visit every year from around the world to enjoy its natural beauty and historic monuments. The Spanish Colonial style permeates every part of the town: its houses, churches, squares, parks and ruins, also its traditions and folklore. Antigua is a city of charm and color with an overwhelming variety of attractive, handmade products that honor the traditions of generations of artisans. Start with a 3–hour walking tour with a visit to La Merced Church, one of the most important churches in Antigua. Explore one of the distinguishable landmarks in Antigua Guatemala, Santa Catalina Arch. Built in the 17th century, originally it was connected to the convent of Santa Catalina, allowing the cloistered nuns to pass from one building to the other without going out on the street. Walk through Central Park to appreciate the The Cathedral of San Jose. The original church was built around 1541, but suffered several earthquakes throughout its history, and the first church building was demolished in 1669. The cathedral was rebuilt and consecrated in 1680. By 1743 the cathedral was one of the largest in Central America. Continue to a Jade Factory where you can appreciate the sacred stone of the Mayan civilization. After some free time to buy souvenirs, return to Puerto Quetzal to board your cruise.

Combo Tour: Colonial Antigua & Guatemala City Explorer Tour

2. Combo Tour: Colonial Antigua & Guatemala City Explorer Tour

You will be picked up at your hotel in Guatemala City before transferring to Antigua Guatemala to meet your local guide and begin your soft walking of approximately 3 hours. Below is a brief summary of the attractions you will see on your way: La Merced Church of Guatemalan Ultrabaroque style. This temple has two bell towers and on the facade of the church in its upper part is a sculpture of San Pedro Nolasco, founder of the Mercedarian Order.Santa Catalina Arch. Built to connect the nuns between cloisters to avoid being seen due to the votes that the religious order took. After the earthquakes of 1773, the arch became important due to the alterations that were made. These alterations included the construction of a turret and the inclusion of a Lamy Amp Lacroix clock of French origin.Central Park. Situated in the traditional grid pattern used frequently in urban planning in the Spanish colonies. The park is surrounded by the Palace of the General Captains, the Town Hall, the Cathedral of San Jose, and the Trade Portal. Here in the park, you will also find the Las Sirenas fountain. This fountain has a traditional folk story where the Count of La Gomera ordered the fountain to be built in memory of his daughters, who in giving birth did not want to breastfeed their children. The count then ordered his daughters to be tied to a trunk in the center of a waterhole, where they died of thirst and hunger. You will continue your tour with a visit the La Unión tank, which is one of the most iconic laundries in this city (only the big houses possessed laundry facilities). For this reason, most of the inhabitants (housewives) went to public laundries. This was inaugurated on February 3, 1853. You will then be given time for lunch (not included).  You will then transfer to Guatemala City to start your sightseeing tour through this city. First you will visit Las Americas avenue. The road in its central garden has several Plazas and monuments in honor of the countries of the American continent.  Continue to Berlin Plaza where there are three pieces of concrete brought from Germany. These are original sections of the Berlin Wall and from here, you can view part of the city and the landscape of the volcanoes.  Next you will visit La Reforma. It was built inspired by the avenues of France and for this reason, various statues carved in stone, bronze, and marble were brought from Italy. The next attraction is Yurrita Church. This is a private chapel of mixed Baroque style, with Romanesque and Byzantine elements. The church was built as a votive offering by Felipe Yurrita, a native of Arevalo, Castilla, Spain, to the Virgin of Our Lady of Sorrows, patron of that town, for favors received (in particular, for saving her life during the eruption of the volcano Santa Maria). At the Civic Center of the City, you will see a set of buildings constructed between the 50s and 60s: The Supreme Court of Justice, the Ministry of Public Finance, City Hall, the Social Security, the Bank of Guatemala, the National Mortgage Bank, and the Guatemalan Tourism Commission.  You will then arrive at the Major Plaza of the Constitution. This Plaza is the heart of the Historic Center of the city. It is surrounded by important monuments such as the National, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Portal of Commerce and Centenarian Park. The tour includes a visit to the Central Market, which is located behind the Metropolitan Cathedral, in the basement of the Tabernacle Plaza. There, visitors can buy a variety of art and handicrafts from all over the country; ceramics, textiles, leather, wood, and silver. At the end of the walking tour, head back to your hotel in Guatemala City.

Antigua Guatemala: Morning Tour from Guatemala City

3. Antigua Guatemala: Morning Tour from Guatemala City

Antigua Guatemala, once the third largest city in all of Spanish Colonial America and for 200 years the capital of Guatemala, is today a peaceful, beautiful, and partially restored colonial city. Cobblestone streets wind through the city of majestic churches and monasteries. After pickup in Guatemala City, transfer to Antigua Guatemala to meet your local guide and begin your gentle 3-hour walking tour. Visit the Jade Factory and Museum to admire ancient Guatemalan carving traditions. Continue to the ruins of El Carmen church and browse for souvenirs at the craft market beside the ruined building. You will see La Merced Church of Guatemalan, which features an ultra-baroque style, as well as two bell towers. On the facade of the church in its upper part is a sculpture of San Pedro Nolasco, founder of the Mercedarian Order. You will also see Santa Catalina Arch, built to connect the nuns between cloisters to avoid being seen. After the earthquakes of 1773, the arch became important due to the alterations that were made. These alterations included the construction of a turret and the inclusion of a Lamy Amp Lacroix clock of French origin. You will then see Central Park, which is situated in the traditional grid pattern used frequently in urban planning in the Spanish colonies. The park is surrounded by the Palace of the General Captains, the Town Hall, the Cathedral of San Jose, and the Trade Portal. Here in the park, you will also find the Las Sirenas fountain. This fountain has a traditional folk story where the Count of La Gomera ordered the fountain to be built in memory of his daughters, who after giving birth, did not want to breastfeed their children. The count then ordered his daughters to be tied to a trunk in the center of a waterhole, where they died of thirst and hunger. Continue your way you will visit the La Unión tank, which is one of the most iconic laundries in this city (only the big houses had proper washing facilities). For this reason, most of the inhabitants (housewives) went to public laundries. This was inaugurated on February 3, 1853. At the end of the tour you’ll be transferred back to your hotel in Guatemala City.

Antigua Guatemala: Half-Day Walking Tour

4. Antigua Guatemala: Half-Day Walking Tour

Experience a city where time has stood still on a half-day walking tour of Antigua Guatemala, once the third largest city in Spanish colonial America. For 200 years, Antigua Guatemala (commonly referred to as just "Antigua" or "La Antigua") was the capital of Guatemala, but today it's a peaceful place of cobblestone streets, majestic churches and monasteries and partially restored architecture. Visit La Merced Church of Guatemalan and see its ultra-baroque style. This temple has two bell towers and on its facade in the upper part, is a sculpture of San Pedro Nolasco, founder of the Mercedarian Order. Proceed to the Santa Catalina Arch, built in 1694 as part of a convent first established in 1609. Hear how the arch served as a bridge connecting the convent with the gardens on the other side of the street. Go to Central Park in the heart of the city, surrounded by the traditional grid pattern that was frequently used in Spanish urban planning in the colonies. Admire the monuments surrounding the park, such as the Palace of the Captain Generals, City Hall, the Church of San José (formerly the Cathedral of Guatemala), the Archbishop’s Palace and the Portal of Commerce (Bakers’ Portal). Look at the Mermaid´s Fountain, built by the Count of Gomera in memory of the story of a king whose daughters gave birth but did not want to nurse their children. Continue walking to visit the La Unión tank, which is one of the most representative laundries in this city (historically, only the big houses had a proper laundry facilities). Benefit from drop off at your hotel in Antigua Guatemala at the end of the tour.

Antigua Guatemala: Gastronomic and Cultural Half-Day Tour

5. Antigua Guatemala: Gastronomic and Cultural Half-Day Tour

Meet your guide at the meeting point and start the tour at the Central Park with an introduction to the Guatemalan gastronomy history. You will walk to Antigua's food market to learn about the history of the grains, vegetables and fruits used in traditional cooking. Admire the architecture of the colonial city of Antigua as you walk through the streets. You will have the opportunity learn how to make corn tortillas from local people. Then you will taste local dishes and learn about their history, and the fusion of pre-Columbian cuisine with ingredients of Spanish and Arabic origin. Most of the dishes are made with vegetables, meats and spices. Visit a famous restaurant known for its variety of local dishes. Discover what kitchens were like in ancient times, and taste a delicious Guatemalan dessert. Then you will continue to a typical Guatemalan candy shop where you can taste handmade candies and made from local ingredients. Afterwards, you will walk to the Santa Catalina Arch. Next you will visit La Merced Church, an amazing Baroque church and one of the most recognizable buildings in Antigua. At the end of your tour, you will be transferred back to your hotel.

Antigua City Tour Full Day From Guatemala City

6. Antigua City Tour Full Day From Guatemala City

Visit Antigua, Guatemala, a town where time stands still. Once the third largest city in all of Spanish Colonial America and for 200 years the capital of Guatemala, it is today a peaceful, beautiful and partially restored colonial city. Cobblestone streets wind through the city of majestic churches and monasteries. You will be picked up at your hotel in Guatemala City before transferring to Antigua Guatemala to meet your local guide and begin your soft walking of approximately 3 hours. During your tour, visit the La Merced Church of Guatemalan with its ultra-baroque style. This temple has two bell towers and on the facade of the church in its upper part is a sculpture of San Pedro Nolasco, founder of the Mercedarian Order. Here, you will also see the Santa Catalina Arch. This was built to connect the nuns between cloisters to avoid being seen due to the votes that the religious order took. After the earthquakes of 1773, the arch became important due to the alterations that were made. These alterations included the construction of a turret and the inclusion of a Lamy Amp Lacroix clock of French origin. Next up on the tour is Central Park. Situated in the traditional grid pattern used frequently in urban planning in the Spanish colonies. The park is surrounded by the Palace of the General Captains, the Town Hall, the Cathedral of San Jose, and the Trade Portal. Here in the park, you will also find the Las Sirenas fountain. This fountain has a traditional folk story where the Count of La Gomera ordered the fountain to be built in memory of his daughters, who in giving birth did not want to breastfeed their children. The count then ordered his daughters to be tied to a trunk in the center of a waterhole, where they died of thirst and hunger. You will continue your tour with a visit the La Unión tank, which is one of the most iconic laundries in this city (only the big houses possessed laundry facilities). For this reason, most of the inhabitants (housewives) went to public laundries. This was inaugurated on February 3, 1853. You will then be given time for lunch (not included).  Then, you will continue on your tour to visit the surrounding villages, San Antonio, and the town of Aguas Calientes. This town is characterized by its elaborate weavings made in waist looms by women of the community. In your visit to the market you can see how they make these textiles, and you will continue with a visit to Ciudad Vieja to learn about its history. To end your tour, you will visit a Macadamia farm where you will learn about the cultivation of macadamia nuts, their agro-industrial process, and the reforestation project, before relaxing with a facial massage with macadamia oil. At end of the tour, you’ll be transferred back to your hotel in Guatemala City

Gastronomic, Cultural and Traditional Antigua Guatemala

7. Gastronomic, Cultural and Traditional Antigua Guatemala

Your tour will start with a transfer from your Guatemala City hotel to Antigua, where you will meet your guide specialized in Guatemalan gastronomy. Your tour will start with an introduction to the gastronomic history of Guatemala and the city's architecture. Then, walk to the Antigua Guatemala Market, where you will learn about the history of Mesoamerican food, such as corn, beans, squash, cacao, and chili. As well as discovering the past, learn how to make corn tortillas from locals. At the end of your visit to the market, you will visit the central park just a few blocks away in the heart of the city and surrounded by the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales (Captain General Palace), City Hall, the church of San José (formerly the Cathedral of Guatemala), the Archbishop’s Palace and the Portal of Commerce. Discover the Mermaid's Fountain, built by the Count of Gomera (a rubber plantation) in remembrance of a popular legend, which tells the story of a King and his daughters' children. Hear the stories and immerse yourself in the history of the city.  Next, you will have the opportunity to learn about the most important dishes of Guatemalan gastronomy. These creations of culinary art were born during the 16th century and represent the fusion of pre-Columbian cuisine with ingredients of Hispanic-Arabic origin. You will also visit an iconic restaurant, well known for its variety of local dishes, and learn what kitchens were like in ancient times. Taste delicious Guatemalan desserts made with local ingredients while appreciating the landscape from the terrace, with a view of the Santa Catalina Arch, La Merced Church, and other important buildings in Antigua Guatemala. Continue the walking tour and listen to the history of the Santa Catalina Arch. You will also the Capuchinas convent, where you can see where many of the native recipes of Guatemala originated. Finally, visit a typical Guatemalan candy shop, learn about its history, and see how these traditional delicacies are made by hand with local ingredients. At the end of the tour, you will be transferred back to your hotel.

Antigua Full-Day Guided City Tour

8. Antigua Full-Day Guided City Tour

Antigua, Guatemala, was at one time the third-largest city in Spanish colonial America and for 200 years the capital of Guatemala. Today it is a lovely, partially restored spot with cobblestone streets that wind through a city of majestic churches and monasteries. For this full-day tour you’ll be picked up at your hotel and head to Antigua. Visit the La Merced Church, of Guatemalan Ultra Baroque style, which has on its facade, in the upper part a sculpture of San Pedro Nolasco, founder of the Mercedarian Order. Its belfry was rebuilt after the Santa Marta earthquake in 1773. Continue on to the Santa Catalina Arch, on which construction began in 1609. From 1694, when the arch was completed, it served as a bridge to connect the convent with the gardens on the other side of the street. The Central Park is located at the heart of the city, surrounded by the traditional grid pattern of streets frequently used in Spanish urban planning in the colonies. You’ll see the Palace of the Captain Generals, City Hall, the Church of San José, the Archbishop’s Palace, and the Portal of Commerce. In addition, your guide will show you the Las Sirenas fountain. Learn about this famous story as you immerse yourself in the colonial history of the city. Continue our way we will visit the La Unión tank, which is one of the most representative laundries in this city, only the big houses had a place where they could wash. Transfer outside of Antigua Guatemala, you will visit surrounding villages, including the weaving village of San Antonio Aguas Calientes and Ciudad Vieja, also San Miguel Dueñas, where you’ll visit a macadamia plantation and learn about this nut. At end of the tour, you’ll be transferred back to your hotel.

Top sights near Santa Catalina Arch

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What people are saying about Santa Catalina Arch

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 50 reviews

We absolutely loved our private experience learning about Guatemalan history. Our guide was extremely accommodating, knowledgeable, and truly made us feel welcomed. We especially enjoyed trying the different local foods and learning which places we should come back to for a great meal. We look forward to visiting and touring with you again.

It was amazing. Experiencing the organic macadamia farm, the entire process to include a face massage with their oil was great. Enjoyed the chocolate class, it too was exciting. I'm glad I brought a credit card...The history and architecture of the area was fascinating. Highly recommend this tour, we found it had the best value in tours.

We had the tour as a shore excursion from a cruise ship. Far cheaper than the on board tours. The tour was fun and easy walking around Antigua. They picked us up at the port in a comfortable vehicle and got us back to the port in plenty of time. A fun no hassles day in Antigua. Great food in a local restaurant was a bonus.

Flawless round-trip transportation. We loved the cultural and gastronomic route and both the guide and the organizer were charming and very professional at all times.

incredible experience Juan Pablo an excellent guide I highly recommend him