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"The heart of the city" Top 5 Page for this destination Parque Central Tip by toonsarah

Parque Central, Antigua Guatemala: 12 reviews and 25 photos

  In the Parque Central
by toonsarah
  • In the Parque Central - Antigua Guatemala
      In the Parque Central
    by toonsarah
  • Fountain of the Sirens, Parque Central - Antigua Guatemala
      Fountain of the Sirens, Parque Central
    by toonsarah

As in most Latin Americana cities, the central square or Parque Central is truly the heart of the city. In some (Guatemala City, for example), park may seem an odd name as you contemplate a wide expanse of paving stones, but here in Antigua it is a green oasis, with plenty of shady benches where both tourists and locals like to rest and watch the world go by. So why not grab a coffee from one of the nearby coffee shops, or maybe an ice cream (Marco Polo at the bottom of 5a Avenida Norte is very good), and join them?

Over there is a juggler trying to impress the tourists and earn a few Quetzales for his act. And on that bench, three local women, out to sell scarves and other handicrafts, have paused in their assiduous selling to gossip for a while. A couple of nuns stroll past, from one of the still active convents; shoe-shine boys tout for business; young children run around playing and calling to their friends, and only slightly older ones hassle tourists to buy gum or cigarettes; and everywhere those tourists do as we are doing – relax, take in the scene, and take lots of photographs!

In the centre of the square is the impressive Fountain of the Sirens – a 1936 copy of the 1738 original (lost, like so many of the city’s treasures, in the Santa Marta quake of 1773) – see photo 2. On the east side of the square is the cathedral, gleaming white in the sun, and on the north the arcaded Palacio del Ayuntamiento, which houses the city’s municipal offices and a couple of museums, neither of which we found time to visit (the Museo de Armas de Santiago, with its collection of weapons, paintings and furnishings, and the Museo del Libro Antiguo or Antique Book Museum). Opposite this in the south side is the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, which unfortunately was covered in scaffolding and hidden under netting when we were there, presumably under restoration – it houses the police department and regional government offices. Finally, on the west side facing the cathedral, is the arcaded row of commercial premises (shops, cafés, banks etc) known as the Portal del Comercio.

Directions: In the centre of the old city – you won’t miss it!

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Dec 11, 2010
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