Framed against the three towering Volcanoes Fuego, Acatenango and Agua, Antigua is among the prettiest colonial cities in the Americas and a crumbling relic of Hispanic glory. Founded in 1543 as Spain’s regional capital, Antigua has done well to survive until present day, the victim of devasting earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that led the capital being moved to Guatamala City in 1776. Today, Antigua exudes an old-world sleepy charm that gained UNESCO protection in 1979 and which draws visitors in from far and wide. Its winding, cobbled streets are lined with crumbling pastel facades, pretty white-washed churches and the rubble of former monuments while elegant wooden balconies drip with bougainvillea and afford glimpses of shaded courtyards and patios beyond. And whichever direction you turn, a smoking volcano looming high above you! The Mayan influence remains equally strong from the street-food and traditionally dressed locals to the colourful markets and exquisite handicraft. Better still, Antigua boasts some of the finest boutique hotels in all Central America - what better way to experience Antigua than from the from the roof-top terrace of a former monastery or colonial mansion?