Casa Popenoe

Casa Popenoe is a historic house in Antigua, Guatemala that has been restored and transformed into a museum. The house was built in the 18th century and has been occupied by several prominent families throughout its history, but most notably, American Agricultural Explorer F. Wilson Popenoe. The museum showcases the architectural and artistic features of the house, as well as the history and culture of Antigua and Guatemala.

Guest Reviews:

“I am a graduate of the Pan-American Agricultural School (EAP), class 72, a school founded by Wilson Popenoe, therefore, I was proud to step foot in the house where such an illustrious figure lived. The house is beautiful and is kept in excellent condition.” -Kan Fu

An extraordinary place and fascinating tour. Don’t miss this site when you are in Antigua! Use the website to book an appointment and pay for tickets ahead of time.” -Betsy Lewis-Moreno

Casa Popenoe
Entrance Fee:
Q40 for foreign visitors, and Q10 for Guatemalan citizens – Students and children have a discounted rate
Opening Hours:
Tues-Sun 9am – 5pm
Days Closed:
Social Media:

Casa Popenoe offers guided tours, which are led by knowledgeable and friendly staff who are happy to share the history and stories of the house and its former occupants. The tour highlights the architectural elements of the house, such as the wooden ceilings, the central courtyard, and the decorative furniture. The museum also features exhibitions of artwork and artifacts from the colonial period, as well as contemporary art. Overall, it’s a great place to visit for anyone interested in history, architecture, or simply looking for a peaceful and beautiful oasis in the heart of Antigua.

But you may be asking yourself, who were the Popenoe’s and why are they significant? For one, La Casa Popenoe is “the first restored house following archaeological principles in the colonial style,” according to the Universidad Francisco Marroquin, who currently own and maintain the property. Casa Popenoe symbolizes the love affair that British Archaeologist and Botanist Dorothy Hughes and her American husband, F. Wilson Popenoe had with Central America during Wilson’s research on tropical and subtropical fruit, most notably the avocado.

Acquired by the Popenoe’s in 1929, the house required extensive restoration work to bring the home up to inhabitable standards. Though there may be historical debate over whether the structure the Popenoe’s restored was the home built in 1632, a house built on the property by wealthy businesswoman, Doña Venancia López in 1736, or yet another home built by royal scribe, Andres Guerra in 1762, one thing is certain, whichever structure it was, was declared “almost a complete ruin” after decades of neglect.

The restoration took 5 years to complete, while Wilson was living and working in Honduras for the United Fruit Company, and sadly, Dorothy would not live to see the home completed, dying of possible fruit poisoning in 1932, at the age of 33. Wilson would marry his second wife in 1938, American Art Historian Helen Barsaloux, who is credited with much of the decorations viewed in the home today.

F. Wilson Popenoe’s major publication, the Manual of Tropical and Subtropical Fruits (1924) is still referenced today. He also had a major influence on the introduction and propagation of the Guatemalan-sourced avocado in the United States. He served as the chief agronomist and director of tropical agricultural research for the United Fruit Company in Honduras from 1933 to 1940. The 800 acre site where his research was conducted was renamed “Jardin Botánico Dr Wilson Popenoe” in 1974. Lastly, Wilson was the founding director of the Zamorano Pan-American Agricultural School in Honduras, chartered to train Latin American students in the most up-to-date information related to agriculture, serving in this role from its inauguration in 1944 to 1957. Some of his botanical discoveries bear his name, such as Begonia Popenoei Standl, or simply “white begonia” native to Guatemala.



Antigua Guatemala by Elizabeth Bell, Popenoe House pages 127-131

Please note that many of the entrance fees for landmarks, parks, and museums are subsidized by the government for Guatemalan citizens. You may notice a price difference for foreigners.