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Things to Do in Central Highlands - page 2


Popol Vuh Museum (Museo Popol Vuh)
2 Tours and Activities

Housed on campus at the Universidad Francisco Marroquin, Popol Vuh Museum (Museo Popol Vuh) contains some of the most famous collections of pre-Columbian artifacts in the country. A private research institution, visitors to the museum have an opportunity here to learn about the history of Guatemala. The goal of the museum is to conserve, research and educate people about both the cultural and archaeological heritage of the country. It accomplishes this with its many exhibits within the property.

For starters, the Popol Vuh Museum contains one of the largest collections of Maya art in the world. Visitors to Popol Vuh can expect to see a varied collection within its small rooms, including stone sculptures, pottery and the Lord Bat sculpture. The museum is known for its ceramic collection, which is considered to be the best in Guatemala City, if not the country. Of special note are the collections of funeral urns, censers and ceramic whistles.

A small area within the museum is dedicated to colonial art and includes items like traditional clothing and more.

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Las Capuchinas (Convento de Las Capuchinas)
6 Tours and Activities

One of Antigua’s most visited ruins, Las Capuchinas (Convento de las Capuchinas) is a Guatemalan convent with a past unlike other convents—women were not required a dowry to join. The building, featuring the work of architect Diego de Porres, is a perfect example of colonial architecture, and there’s an art museum on the convent’s second floor.

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Antigua City Hall (Palacio del Ayuntamiento)
1 Tour and Activity

Antigua City Hall (Palacio del Ayuntamiento) was constructed in 1743 and once served as the Spanish colonial government seat and an 80-person jail during the colonial era. Today, it is home to Antigua’s municipalidad, or city government, the Museo del Libro and the Museo de Santiago. One of the most impressive elements of Antigua City Hall is its two-story façade.

The double layer of stone archways with columns was done in a Tuscan style, which contributes to the building’s striking appearance. A portion of the carved-stone exterior of the east-facing

wall managed to survive the 18th century, though centuries of earthquakes contributed to the need for restoration efforts at the palace.

The Ayuntamiento building was heavily damaged in a 1773 earthquake, and the capital seat was then transferred to Guatemala City. The Museo de Armas de Santiago, an arms and weapons museum, is housed in the section that once served as the jail. The Old Book Museum, or Museo del Libro Antiguo, is in the same area where the first Central American printing press once stood and includes a replica of the printing press, along with copies of works produced by it.

Be sure to head upstairs and check out the scenic views from the second-floor balcony, where you can see the Central Plaza, Metropolitan Cathedral and the three volcanoes surrounding the


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National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (MUNAE)
1 Tour and Activity

There are two ways to experience Mayan treasures when traveling across Guatemala: Either traipse through the jungles, down bumpy dirt roads, to ancient village sites and temples, or visit the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología, or MUNAE) in Guatemala City. Inside this exceptional museum, visitors will find over 20,000 pieces of ancient Guatemalan treasures, from Mayan pottery, artwork, and crafts to traditional textiles and dress. With thousands of years of human history have taken place in these hills, Guatemala is comprised of a fascinating mosaic of different cultural identities. From the first settlers who built villages to thriving days of the Maya, all the epochs are represented inside Guatemala's national archaeological museum, with relics from archaeological sites having made their way to these halls. Learn how people first settled Guatemala as they migrated through Central America, and formed different languages, farming techniques, and ways to honor their dead. And, with so many discoveries still being made in Guatemala today, a museum that’s been open since 1898 continues to grow and improve.

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IRTRA Mundo Petapa

IRTRA Mundo Petapa is more than just another theme park; aside from it's large size, it also features botanical gardens, Guatemalan history, and a zoo. Exceptionally clean and well maintained, Mundo Petapa even features an Olympic sized swimming pool for beating the midday heat, and a towering, 175 ft. “skyscraper” with a thrilling vertical drop. Parts of the park are devoted toward preserving a slice of Guatemalan history, and quieter parts of the sprawling park are built in an old, 1950s style of small Guatemalan villages. You’ll also find a zoo on site with dozens of species of mammals, as well as 60 species of birds that flit and squawk in the aviary. Before you leave for the day, be sure to ride the ferris wheel that towers above the park, where the view looks out over Guatemala City and the surrounding volcanoes beyond. Even the grandiose rainbow archway is an entertaining sight, and Mundo Petapa is a guaranteed day of family fun.

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Museum of Colonial Art (Museo de Arte Colonial)

The Museum of Colonial Art (Museo de Arte Colonial) is known for its extensive collection of sculptures, paintings, and furniture from the 16th to 18th centuries. The museum is housed inside the former University of San Carlos, a beautiful colonial building situated right in front of the cathedral, in the heart of Antigua, Guatemala.

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