Catedral de Santiago (Antigua Cathedral)
Entrance to the rebuilt church is free, but you have to pay a small fee to wander the atmospheric cathedral ruins. Bring a camera to capture the haunting architectural remains, among them intricately carved moldings depicting angels and religious figures as well as giant pillars and arches. For more background on the colonial history of Antigua and the impact of the devastating 1773 earthquake, visit the cathedral with a guide. Some guided sightseeing tours of the city include entrance to the ruins.
Things to know before you go
- The Catedral de Santiago is a must for travelers seeking a moment of quiet away from Antigua’s bustling Central Park (Parque Central).
- Bring your camera: the roofless ruins provide ample photo opportunities.
- If you plan on entering the church, dress conservatively and remember to be respectful of worshippers.
How to get there
The main entrance to the church is on 4 Avenida Sur at the east edge of Central Park. The ruins can be accessed via the church or by a separate entrance on 5a Calle Oriente. It’s in the historic center of Antigua and is best reached on foot. Walking from Antigua’s bus terminal takes about 15 minutes.
When to get there
The cathedral ruins are open daily from early morning to late afternoon. The church operates different opening hours than the ruins, typically closing for 2–3 hours around lunchtime. Revisit the cathedral exterior at night to see the facade lit up.
Discover Antigua’s Ruins
Following the 1773 earthquake, Antigua was essentially abandoned and the country’s capital was moved to Guatemala City. The cathedral is one of several haunting reminders of Antigua’s once-glorious colonial structures, most of which were toppled by destructive earthquakes. Other notable examples include the ruins of La Recolección monastery and Las Capuchinas (Convento de las Capuchinas).
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- Museum of Colonial Art (Museo de Arte Colonial)
- Jade Factory and Museum (Jade Maya)
- Antigua Central Park (Parque Central)
- ChocoMuseo Antigua
- Palace of the Captains General (Palacio de los Capitanes Generales)
- Santa Catalina Arch (Arco de Santa Catalina)
- Las Capuchinas (Convento de Las Capuchinas)
- Antigua City Hall (Palacio del Ayuntamiento)
- Church of San Francisco (Iglesia de San Francisco)
- La Merced Church (Iglesia de la Merced)
- Casa Santo Domingo (Monasterio de Santo Domingo)
- Cerro de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross)
- Pacaya Volcano