By now you've probably heard at least a couple rumors about Antigua's Cerro de la Cruz: its highlights, hazards, etc. At the risk of sounding redundant, however, allow us a few sentences to give you a better idea of just what to expect from a jaunt to the top of this notorious Guatemalan hill. First and foremost, the view afforded from the lookout is spectacular. On a clear day, your vision will pass southward over Antigua and straight to the top of Volcan de Agua in the distance. Is it the best vista in Antigua? Nope; in fact it will pale in comparison to anything you'll see on a hike up Fuego or Acatenango. But then again, it doesn't require 2 days of strenuous hiking and the risk of altitude sickness, either. For convenience (you can drive/take a cab to the top) and a little leisure (picnic by the cross or the nearby Plaza del Apostol Santiago, anyone?), you'll be hard pressed to find a better aerial vantage point in any Central American city.
Now for the not-so-fun part. Being surrounded by people living in poverty, Cerro de la Cruz has become infamous for its assaults and robberies. You'll hear plenty of talk on both sides of the issue, but the unfortunate reality remains the same. Your risks can be almost entirely mitigated in a variety of ways, including opting to drive to the top (instead of hiking), walking with a group, or using a police escort that's provided daily around 10 am and 3 pm (small tips are always a good show of appreciation). And it should go without saying that any hike up should be done during daylight hours. To make things slightly more discouraging, the top of the hill has also fallen into a bit of disrepair over the years, so don't go expecting polished stone steps and tidy garbage cans every 10 meters. That said, when done right Cerro de la Cruz has the potential to be one of the most memorable experiences Antigua has to offer. Just use good judgement and you'll come back with some great stories and incredible pics to share.