Each spring, Guatemala’s colonial city of Antigua hosts an elaborate celebration in honor of Semana Santa (Holy Week), the seven days that lead up to Easter. During the holiday, you’ll see colorful religious processions, somber holy vigils, and cobblestone streets blanketed in stunning “carpets” made of sawdust, flowers, and pine needles. It’s a fascinating, well-organized event that provides a glimpse into a unique part of Guatemalan culture. For those planning to visit Antigua during Semana Santa (the dates for 2014 are April 13-20), here are a few tips to keep in mind:

• Hotels fill up quickly, so book your reservations NOW.
• Many hotels require a minimum stay of four nights during Semana Santa; be sure your itinerary takes this into account.
• If you can’t travel the week of Semana Santa, consider visiting earlier in the Lenten season (the six weeks leading up to Easter). You’ll still see processions, vigils, and street carpets, just fewer.
• For more information on the holiday, check out our round-up of Semana Santa stories here.

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