Antigua, Guatemala is city that does not fit in Guatemala. It’s the outlier. It’s the city that belongs more in Europe with its cobblestone streets and impressive Parque Central. The capital of Guatemala from 1543-1774, Antigua has lots of history. And to go along with its history, it has old buildings, many of which have been lying in ruins for decades, but are being preserved. Krista and I went to one such ruins, an old school in fact, and after exploring the site, we sat on a bench in the shade for hours reading in the quiet tranquility.
Our “posada” (guest house) was called “La Casa Amarilla” (Yellow House) which was appropriately named. We stayed in a unusually large room. Large by Guatemalan standards means that my whole body fits in the bed and there is extra space to put my bag. Our room was great, with a couple of trees right outside our window. With the entire room being made of wood, it felt like a real treehouse. Included at the posada was breakfast, an incredible feast to start the day, including fresh fruit, oatmeal, pancakes, black beans, eggs, cooked tomatoes, and tea.
The rest of Antigua was great. Very relaxing, with lots of time to explore artisan markets and coffee shops.
The increased temperature from Xela meant it was time to find the best ice cream in town, which usually followed a couple hours after chocobanana time, which became a staple afternoon snack for about $1.5 Queztales (a little more than twenty five cents $US).
Other highlights from our time in Antigua included waking up before sunrise one morning and hiking up to a lookout spot overlooking the city with the massive Volcán Agua (3766m) rising on the other side of the city.
Watching the sun hit the Volcano first, then the city afterwards, was indescribable. Two other volcanoes, Fuego (3763m) and Acatenango (2976m), are a little more distant to the Southwest and are tougher to see.
After three nights in Antigua, we are heading to Semuc Champay (a 7 or 8 hour bus ride awaits).