Guatemala is famous for its woven textiles, so if you’re interested in learning more about these beautiful designs, head to Casa del Tejido. Mayan textiles are far more important than one might think, and at Casa del Tejido you’ll learn all about the significance and history of the different Guatemalan weaves. Essentially a museum, market and workshop in one, entrance to Casa del Tejido is free, although donations are strongly encouraged; the money goes towards supporting the work of indigenous Mayans.
1a Calle Poniente, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala +502 7832 3169
On a sunny day, taking a leisurely walk up to Cerro de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross) is an extremely enjoyable activity. Located on the edge of town and perched upon a hill, this large cross looks out onto the best views of Antigua and its volcanoes. The walk itself only takes about 30 minutes, and when you reach the top its dramatic views will unfold beneath you – so don’t forget your camera! There are often food and drink stalls here, as well as locals selling trinkets and souvenirs, so it’s a great spot to chill out.
Wandering through Antigua’s colorful market is a great way to get a feel for this city, and it’s entirely free. Forget the touristy handicraft markets – the mercado is the local market, and you can buy everything here. If you’re on the lookout for cheap souvenirs, this is the best place to come, but you don’t have to spend a penny to get your money’s worth. Stroll through the maze of passages in the covered market, watch the locals going about their everyday business, and snap some photos which are quintessential Guatemala.
Staying at Antigua’s Casa Santo Domingo is definitely not for people on a budget (it’s a five-star hotel) but this unique place has many other free activities worth visiting for. Part museum, part art gallery, part exotic gardens, entrance to the grounds is free, and on a fine day there’s nowhere nicer to be in the city. Stroll through gardens adorned with stately fountains and historic crypts, admire the spa pools and spot the host of exotic birds that live here. Entrance to the chocolate factory, candle factory and multiple museums can also be accessed for free.
3a Calle Oriente 28 A, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala +502 7820 1220