If you've heard about Antigua's famed Arch of Santa Catalina but are unsure why, we'll try to give things a little perspective. First of all, yes - it's just an arch. A beautiful, historic, unmistakable arch that once led nuns from a school to their convent and today happens to be one of the most recognizable cultural symbols in Guatemala outside of Tikal, but an arch nevertheless. No hidden stairs or hints at Romanesque grandeur here; just bright yellow stone and white trim that date back to the 1690's, adorned with a French clock that was added during the middle half of the 19th century.
So why pay it a visit? Well, there are a couple reasons. Practically speaking, it's a great meetup spot (hence the "unmistakable" bit), and sits along a bustling street that houses plenty of restaurants and kitschy little shops to check out. But don't be such a Scrooge about the whole thing. On top of its utility, aesthetically speaking, Santa Catalina is also just a really beautiful landmark. Catch it on a weekend morning when the street is closed to automotive traffic and you'll have your quintessential Antigua experience, complete with picturesque Volcan de Agua framed in the background. If you're strolling around town with a few minutes to spare, it would be a shame not to at least walk under it once.