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La Merced Church (Iglesia de la Merced) Tours

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53 Reviews
La Merced Church (Iglesia de la Merced)
Canary yellow with white trim, the baroque La Merced Church (Iglesia de la Merced) is one of Antigua’s few colonial churches to survive earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Inside its thick walls are notable artworks such as a sculpture of Jesus carrying a golden cross, which is paraded through the streets on Palm Sunday and Good Friday.
 
The Basics
Built atop two 16th-century monasteries—both turned to rumble from earthquakes—the enduring 18th-century La Merced Church is a marvel of ingenious design. Inside, admire the arabesque-patterned stucco and the dazzling gold-leaf retable behind the altar. Then climb into the bell towers for a bird’s-eye view of the UNESCO World Heritage–listed city.
 
Visit the church as part of a walking tour of Antigua to discover the city’s colorful Spanish baroque architecture, and top attractions such as Casa del Jade and a working coffee plantation. End the day atop Cero de la Cruz or with a dip in hot springs heated by Pacaya, the most active volcano in Guatemala.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • La Merced Church is an ideal spot for architecture buffs and the faithful.
  • Admission to the church is free.
  • Remember to wear modest clothing to enter houses of worship in Guatemala.
  • Follow the signs (in Spanish and English) for a self-guided tour.
  • Relax in the cloister within the ruins of the monastery where monks used the grandiose fountain—the largest in Central America—to farm fish for their meals.
  • The church is wheelchair accessible from the side entrances.

How to Get There
La Merced Church is centrally located at the corner of Calle Poniente and 6a Av. Norte, on the north side of Plaza Mayor, the main plaza in Antigua. It is within easy walking distance of any part of the city.

When to Get There
The church is open from 6am to 12pm and 3pm to 8pm; the monastery ruins are open from 8:30am to 5:30pm daily. La Merced is at its most festive during Lent and Holy Week (Semana Santa), when the floors are decorated with colorful sawdust carpets depicting intricate religious scenes, and the church serves as the starting point for the seasonal procession through the streets.

Quake-Proof Architecture
After two cataclysmic earthquakes felled two monasteries on this spot, Spanish colonists employed the talents of Juan de Dios Estrada, who created a house of worship impervious to the whims of Mother Nature (so far). Starting in 1751, he lowered the traditionally airy baroque ceilings, and made extra-thick walls and buttresses. The only other place in the world with this style of architecture is the Philippines, where it’s known as “earthquake baroque.”
Address: 1a Calle Poniente and 6a Avenida Norte, Antigua, Guatemala
Admission: Varies
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21 Tours and Activities to Experience La Merced Church (Iglesia de la Merced)

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La Antigua Cultural Walking Tour

La Antigua Cultural Walking Tour

star-5
Step onto the cobblestone-clad streets of colonial Antigua for this flexible-length walking tour. Stroll the streets of this UNESCO World Heritage Site as you visit top landmarks like the ‘Ayuntamiento’ (City Hall Palace), Palace of the Captain’s General, the main cathedral, and Santo Domingo, a well-known hotel and cultural center. A final stop at a local jade factory provides additional insight into Guatemala’s Mayan culture.
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Antigua City Sightseeing Tour

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Get a short introduction to the Spanish-colonial charm of Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage site, during this 3-hour morning tour from Guatemala City. This atmospheric city was the country’s capital for more than 200 years, creating a wealth of historic architecture and gorgeous scenery for you to discover during your walking tour. Tread on Antigua’s cobblestone streets as you explore sites like the Cathedral of Santiago, Central Park and the city's iconic Arch of Santa Catalina. Your Antigua visit includes a guide and round-trip hotel transport (except during Holy Week in April).
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Colonial Antigua Afternoon Walking Tour

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Get acquainted with the colonial treasures of Antigua, Guatemala, on a 3-hour afternoon walking tour. Replete with charming churches and brightly colored buildings, the UNESCO-listed city of Antigua is ideal to explore by foot. Alongside your guide, you’ll stroll past landmarks such as La Merced Cathedral and the Cathedral of San Francisco while listening to history-rich commentary. See, too, the recognizable yellow Santa Catalina Arch, backed by the mighty Agua volcano, and Palacio del Ayuntamiento. Receive personalized attention from your guide on this small-group tour, limited to 15 people.
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Experience Antigua Walking Tour

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Visit several Antigua highlights in one convenient walking tour, ideal for first-time visitors or those with limited time in the region. There’s no need to worry about getting lost or overlooking lesser-known spots, as your guide will escort you from point to point, providing context for each attraction along the way.
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Antigua Guatemala City Tour

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Located in the central highlands of Guatemala, this famous ancient city was once the capital of this diverse and colorful nation. Spend the day exploring the historic streets of this picturesque city and get an up-close look at the ruins of colonial churches and Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture. Your friendly, professional guide will unlock the history, culture and traditions of this popular destination and take you to all the top Antigua landmarks.
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LA ANTIGUA CULTURAL WALKING TOUR- Afternoon

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Get a glimpse of Guatemala’s colonial past with this walking tour of Antigua. This former capital is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, beloved for its cobblestone streets and majestic church ruins. Meet your guide in the Central Plaza and visit sites like a jade factory, City Hall Palace, and Santo Domingo, an elegant hotel and cultural center. As you walk, your guide will share information on Antigua’s history and architecture.
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Explore the beautiful Spanish-colonial architecture and beautiful setting of Antigua during this 8-hour day trip. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed city offers a wealth of historic monasteries, churches and monuments to explore, all set among a landscape of towering volcanoes and cobblestone streets. During your trip you’ll visit a number of town’s most important buildings, check out some of the surrounding villages and have time to shop for souvenirs inspired by the ancient Maya. Your Antigua day trip also includes a guide and round-trip hotel transport.
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Cultural Antigua Guatemala

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  • 8 hours
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  • 7 to 8 hours
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US$120.00
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Experience the history and natural surroundings of Antigua on a private tour from Puerto Quetzal.  Upon arrival, your chauffeur is waiting to whisk you away in private transportation. The drive is part of the adventure, as you take in the mountainous landscapes. Explore the UNESCO listed city center independently or hire a private guide to dig deeper into the city’s history. Return to the cruise terminal with time to spare.
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Walking Tour 20 visitors Maximum.

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Immerse yourself in the colonial history of Antigua, plus the idyllic landscape of small villages and farms just outside of town, on this 8-hour excursion. Explore the centuries-old traditions of the tiny hamlets like San Antonio Aguas Calientes, Ciudad Vieja and San Juan del Obispo just outside of Antigua, where you’ll also stop to visit a macadamia nut plantation. Then tread the cobblestone streets of Antigua on foot, visiting city landmarks including the Arch of Santa Catalina, Cathedral of San Jose and much more. This Antigua small villages and walking tour also covers a guide, and round-trip hotel transport.
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Private off-shore excursion specially designed for cruisers arriving at the port "Puerto Quetzal" to visit the city which once was the capital of Central America: Antigua Guatemala. Certified bilingual guide and minivan/bus with authorization to pick up travelers at the port.
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  • 6 to 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
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US$167.00
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Semana Santa Good Friday Processions Tour

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This tour, by Due South Travels, will give you great insight into all of the events, activities and processional traditions taking place during Lent, but specifically, the amazing, famous processions of Good Friday. We will walk part of the processional route before the procession comes through. This will provide an amazing opportunity to view and photograph the carpets that are painstakingly made throughout the night. They are beautiful and elaborate and take many hours to create, and are made with natural materials such as dyed sawdust, pine needles, and flower petals.
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  • 3 hours
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Private Tour: Antigua Guatemala & Villages from Antigua Guatemala

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Start a day full of history, beautiful landscapes and walk on cobblestone streets, We will also enjoy an afternoon tour of the towns around Antigua and a macadamia farm.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
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US$120.00
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Private Tour: Antigua Guatemala & Guatemala City Tour from Antigua Guatemala

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Enjoy of two magical cities with the charm of the Colonial Antigua and the Modern Guatemala City, learn about the history of both cities.
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US$120.00
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For street food lovers in an evening setting, this is the perfect tour for you. This tour is a culinary experience dedicated only to the traditional and contemporary mestizo food of Antigua Guatemala. An adventure full of flavors and colonial history that you cannot miss!
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Private Walking tour of Antigua Guatemala

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Private Walking tour of Antigua Guatemala

You will enjoy the most charming spots of Antigua Guatemala in an authentic and fun way, exploring across its cobblestone streets and enjoying the color and tastes of our culture. You will visit ruins of convents and churches, old colonial houses, emblematic parks, and beautiful markets, accompanied by a local guide.
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$24.00
US$30.00
US$6.00 savings
Price varies by group size
From
US$24.00
US$30.00
US$6.00 savings
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience La Merced Church (Iglesia de la Merced)?

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