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Free Time: Antigua

You’re going to have plenty of free time to explore Antigua! You’ll be spending about 5 hours a day Monday through Friday at your Guatemala volunteer project. After all that hard work you deserve a break, and we encourage you to get out and experience this exciting destination during evenings and weekends.

Antigua is a one-of-a-kind colonial city full of colorful, historical buildings and amazing ruins. You’ll find countless delicious restaurants, a cool nightlife scene, and a great jumping off point to hike up the three volcanos that tower over the city.

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Weekend Exploration

Your weekends are free, giving you a great chance to indulge in experiencing Guatemala’s varied natural and cultural splendors. You’ll find crazy bus rides to explore nearby areas, blue and placid lakes, wildlife, hiking, friendly people, beautiful monuments, and fantastic breweries all within easy reach.

For some must-see attractions you won’t want to miss while volunteering in Guatemala, check out the destinations below:

Iglesia y Convento de Santo Domingo

This is one of the biggest and richest monasteries in Antigua founded by Dominican friars in 1542 and the structure survived three major 18th-century earthquakes. Take the opportunity to explore this extensively excavated site, which is now taken over by the culturally significant Casa Domingo Hotel.


Guatemala has many bustling, colorful markets you can explore. The only one in Antigua aimed at locals is this one, Mercado, so a visit here will give you a glimpse into what life is really like in the city. You’ll find everything from the textiles this region is famous for to fresh fruits and vegetables to delicious and low-priced local foods.

Cofradia San Simón

This place is both symbolic and iconic for the much-venerated Mayan deity known elsewhere as Maximón. A place of religious belief where you will find the effigy of San Simon propped up in a chair. As per local tradition it is moved each year to a different house during the festival of San Simón, held on October 28. This is a very religiously distinct experience you can encounter while volunteering in Guatemala.

Iglesia Merced

This is one of the most vibrant architectural splendors of Guatemala. Its facade is one of the most beautiful in the country and was built to withstand earthquakes. Indeed, even three centuries after its construction it still remains in good shape. Be sure to observe its candlelit procession, accompanied by bell ringing and firecrackers, a spectacle beyond explanation.

Other interesting places to visit during your weekend are:

Visit Reserva Natural Atitlán and relax on the shores of a gorgeous lake surrounded by volcanoes.

Spend time at the Arco de Santa Catalina’ and observe its iconic monuments and a 19th century old clock tower.

Visit the Semuc Champey and traverse its natural limestone bridge and go for a swim in the turquoise river.

Visit the Cofradía Maximón to check out an effigy of the Mayan deity.

Antigua, Guatemala and the surrounding areas have a lot to offer our Guatemala volunteers during their free time! Contact IFRE today to start planning your own volunteer adventure abroad.

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