With its cobblestone streets, eclectic cafes and converted colonial-era casas, it’s easy to see why Antigua is a hit with backpackers in Guatemala. It’s the ideal base for visiting nearby Lake Atitlán and Chichicastenango’s traditional Mayan market or simply relaxing after a taxing hike. Here’s our pick of the best places to stay – bookable with Culture Trip.
The Aussie-owned Doozy Koala Hostel is a popular choice for laid-back, sociable travelers. With its ever-flowing happy hours, live music nights and themed parties, you’re sure to meet many gregarious souls to hang out and pass time with. There’s an outdoor courtyard featuring a fountain and hammocks aplenty for downtime, too. You can choose between private rooms or a more budget-friendly dorm, all tastefully designed in a minimalist style to help soothe you to sleep.
Multicolored Guatemalan textiles take center stage at Yellow House Hostel, just a few minutes’ walk from La Merced church. Breakfast is a choice between continental or buffet, and Yellow House is full of nooks and crannies for reading, relaxing or taking in views of the city. If you’re seeking a home away from home, bursting with color and character, then base yourself here.
Whether you’re looking for a private room, a female-only dorm or even a bed in a Bedouin tent, community-oriented Selina has you covered. There’s a pergola-covered garden replete with hammocks, an outdoor pool with an accompanying slide (yes, really), salsa and yoga classes for the supple, co-working space for the diligent and a restaurant serving up contemporary Guatemalan cuisine. Your location is a short walk from Cerro de la Cruz, a cross-topped mirador (lookout) offering views over the city and the imposing cone-shaped Volcán de Agua.
Just moments from the impressive Capuchinas convent, Tunik is in a quieter part of town, but still conveniently central. With an outdoor pool and deck, a garden featuring hammocks and colorful murals, it’s an easy-going, bohemian sort of place. This adults-only hostel has shared dorms offering no-nonsense bunk-bed pods, each with its own blind so you can enjoy some privacy when it’s time to switch off.
Just two blocks from Parque Central, Ojalá offers a flourishing garden, elegant neutral interiors and craft cocktails for a more upmarket feel. Its dorm offers the winning combo of blackout curtains, a personal light, charge point and shelf for each bed and fluffy duvets for the ultimate night’s sleep. If you’re looking for even more privacy, there are eight private rooms offering garden or volcano views and immaculate ensuite bathrooms.
Set in an 18th-century colonial house, just two blocks from the main plaza, Adra Hostel is a hub for the environmentally conscious. Only locally grown produce is served in its restaurant and recycling is taken seriously. Its colorful design is inspired by geometry and you can choose between shared or private rooms, complete with custom-made beds and organic bath products. There are also regular yoga classes and creative workshops to complement your jaunts around the city.
With an emphasis on group travel, Lemon Tree Hostel is ideal for sociable travelers looking to meet fellow extroverts. It’s just two blocks from Parque Central and has yoga, salsa classes and karaoke on offer. A small airplane is casually on display in the central courtyard, showing that travel is at Lemon Tree’s core. Both dorms and private rooms offer a comfortable, no-frills stay so you can get a good night’s sleep after all the fun.
This highly rated (yet surprisingly inexpensive) hostel has plenty of options for both groups and solo backpackers. Female travellers can book into one of the women-only dorms, and there are semi-private rooms for those who want to spend time by themselves. The common areas are comfortable, the kitchen is well-equipped, plus there’s a bar for socialising and a hot tub to help your recovery. It’s located a little further from the city centre, in a quieter neighbourhood.
Wicho and Charlie’s is a volunteer-run hostel that’s a solid option for anyone who’s after a friendly place to stay that still offers a bit of privacy. The ‘pod’ beds come in handy when an early night is needed – they only open on one side, and come with a blackout curtain. For a great way to meet other travelers, sign up for the overnight Acatenango hike. It’s difficult but you’ll make some real friends along the way.
Patrick Foot contributed additional reporting to this article.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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