From Miami we flew to Guatemala City, the jumping off point for our five months in Latin America.  Guate has a pretty bad reputation so we decided to skip exploring this sprawling capital city and head straight for nearby Antigua; apparently a near-universal decision for arriving tourists.

Volcanos abound

Antigua was one of the original colonial capitals of Guatemala, but it was semi-abandoned after a bad earthquake in the 1700’s and the capital shifted to it’s present day location.  These days it’s the hub of Guatemala’s tourism.  An easy one hour taxi ride straight from the airport (about $20 us) dropped us off at Antigua’s central park, a pretty plaza filled with trees, flowers, strolling Guatemaltecos and teenagers making out on park benches.  Not to mention more than a few tourists fending off shoeshine boys and textile vendors.

Arroz con leche, delicious sugary gloppy rice milk for about 35 cents US.

We walked around a while trying to find a cheap hotel, but ended up settling for an overpriced but decent place near the market for about $20 us a night.  Next it was time to explore a bit and check out the city. Antigua feels small.  Most of the streets are cobblestone (it was here that I saw the world’s most determined and vibration resistant roller-blader; tip of the hat to your sir)  and the place oozes so much colonial charm you have to wash it off your shirt afterwards.

It’s a place filled with “Artist’s light,” wafting woodsmoke, a perfect climate, friendly colorfully dressed locals and beautiful old architecture, with a soundtrack of roosters and churchbells.  A little Disney.  Still lots of fun, although a bit expensive and filled with classy restaurants and bars that we couldn’t afford; the town is definitely gentrified in the tourist zone.  We only stayed a couple nights and are looking forward to going back to explore more.

Our ride out of town; took me right back to being 10 years old on the way to school but the seats aren't so roomy these days


2 responses to “Antigua

  1. Now the adventure really starts! $20 is an expensive hotel? We ARE old ;>). Does WordPress allow you to link your blog posts to FaceBoook?

  2. I have walked under that very yellow arch many times, I can smell the wood smoke and hear the foreign bird noises and see the the birds-of-paradise flowers growing like weeds and Pointsetias as big as trees and every color of threads beautifully woven into brilliant cloth’s. I am so looking forward to returning there soon….It sounds like Guatemala has woven itself inside of you as well. 🙂

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