colonial architecture

A Walking Tour of León’s Churches

A walking tour is the most enjoyable and effective way to treat yourself to the impressive architecture of León’s churches. Ranging from the 16th to 18th centuries, these churches showcase colonial, baroque, and neoclassical styles, and sometimes combine two or even all three with brilliant results. Start at La Catedral de León, near the central park, then head either northeast or southwest.

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Planning Your Time in La Antigua, The Old Guatemala

The former capital of Guatemala destroyed by earthquakes in 1773 is now known as Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rather than rebuild, the country’s aristocracy opted for a fresh start. What remains today is a pleasant mixture of Mayan and Spanish colonial influences. Plan your time around exploring the town, its ruins, museums, and churches, maybe climbing a volcano, visiting a coffee farm, and some shopping.

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Sights in Antigua’s Parque Central

Antigua’s Parque Central is easily the most beautiful plaza in Guatemala and forms the hub of activity for shoe shiners, strolling lovers, tour groups, ice cream vendors, and foreign visitors. A great place for a stroll or people-watch, there are also plenty of sights to see, from historical cathedrals and incredible architecture to informative museums.

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Cuban Colonial Architecture

Cuba boasts the New World’s finest assemblage of colonial buildings. Spanning four centuries, these palaces, mansions, churches, castles, and more simple structures catalog a progression of styles. Learn how to identify the earmarks of each style in your travels throughout Cuba.

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The Churches of Southern Habana Vieja

The southern half of Habana Vieja, south of Calle Brasil, was the ecclesiastical center of Havana during the colonial era and is studded with churches and convents. For those interested in architecture and history, a visit to this area is a must.

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Sights Along Havana’s Calle Oficios

Cobbled Calle Oficios is lined with 17th-century colonial buildings that possess a marked Mudejar style, exemplified by their wooden balconies. Many buildings have been converted into cultural venues such as museums, art galleries, and performance spaces. A stroll along this street is a must for fans of architecture and history.

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Where to Go in Colombia

Deciding where to go in Colombia is a challenge even for those who know exactly what they want from their travels: nightlife in Bogotá is vastly different from Cali when the sun goes down, and outdoor adventures along the Pacific Coast is not at all like those along the Caribbean. Here you’ll find general overviews of each region in Colombia to help plan where to spend your time.

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Featured Travel Guide

Moon Guides Author Spotlight

Elizabeth Linhart Veneman

Elizabeth Linhart Veneman has always viewed growing up in Northern California as both a blessing and curse. There is so much to see, do, and experience all within a short drive—from broad sequoias in the Sierras to ancient lava beds north of Mount Shasta, from creaky Gold Rush towns to the pampering Wine Country—that she began to wonder why anyone would ever leave.

Elizabeth was eventually lured out of the Golden State to Alaska’s far north, where she traveled the Inside Passage, baked bread under the midnight sun in Denali National Park, and chronicled the state’s burgeoning sustainable agriculture for Alaska Magazine. These adventures culminated in penning the travel guide InsightGuides: Alaska.

But Elizabeth knew her California roots were too deep to stay away for long. Raised in Carmel, where her great-great grandmother opened the first restaurant (a soup kitchen with dirt floors!) at the turn of the 20th century, she would always call California home. So she returned and devoted herself to writing about the state she loves most. Her work has included the travel guides SmartGuide: San Francisco and InsightGuides: San Francisco, as well as reporting on food and sustainable agriculture for local publications.

Elizabeth Linhart Veneman is the author of several Moon travel guides, including Moon California and Moon Napa & Sonoma.