The Santa Catalina Arch is one of the most iconic structures in Antigua. Arco de Santa Catalina in Spanish, the notable arch is located on Fifth Avenue North and was built in the 17th century to connect the Santa Catalina convent to a school. This allowed the cloistered nuns to pass between buildings without ever having to enter the street and come into contact with the general public, thereby violating the strict laws regarding seclusion. On either side of the arch you will find the Convents of Virgin and Mártir Santa Catalina.
The Santa Catalina Arch is one of the most photographed spots in Antigua, and its prime location creates a beautiful frame for the Agua Volcano in the background. Although technically owned by the Guatemalan government, the Santa Catalina Arch is looked after by the Santos family, which also owns the Reino del Jade store and Hotel El Convento.
If you’ve been to Guatemala City, this arch may seem familiar, and for good reason; the Guatemala Post Office Building was patterned after this iconic arch.
The Santa Catalina Arch is one of the most popular tourist sites in Antigua. If you want to beat the crowds, come early. Aqua Volcano, south of the arch, is primarily only visible on clear days.