The Discoverer
The Discoverer
Antigua, Guatemala
Edition 73   |   4‌:‌5‌5 r‌ea‌d t‌im‌e
Antigua, Guatemala | @andersondemata
From its pastel-colored colonial buildings to its crumbling church ruins, you might think Antigua lives up to its name (which translates to ancient). But there’s a youthful energy that permeates the city, from its bustling markets to the slopes of neighboring volcanoes. It’s Guatemala’s most-visited destination, and with a laidback attitude and stunning scenery, you’ll be tempted to join the masses.
Fun Fact:
Antigua was once the capital of Guatemala, withstanding centuries of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The capital was eventually moved to safer Guatemala City, and Antigua remains a stunning preservation of colonial-era historical buildings.
November - April
Like most tropical nations in Central America, seasons are defined by the rain. The dry season runs November through April, and you’ll enjoy clear blue skies and warm sunshine. Be warned though, religious holidays like Christmas and Holy Week tend to attract greater crowds for festivals, and hotels can be booked out far in advance.
Las Capuchinas | @lightsaint
It's Called Antigua For a Reason
As a UNESCO site, Antigua is full of well-preserved buildings, plazas, and churches just waiting to be discovered. The Arco de Santa Catalina is the city’s most recognizable structure - and you’ll find it adorning postcards throughout the town. But beyond the arch, discover the Catedral de Santiago, which was destroyed by the 1773 earthquake and subsequently rebuilt. Explore the front edifice and the roofless ruins out back. From the ruins of the Church of Candelaria to the convent of Las Capuchinas, plenty of religious buildings have been preserved and are ripe for exploration.
Volcán Acatenango | @7vensuns
Go With the Flow
Sitting in the shadow of 3 volcanoes, Antigua offers access to some incredible hiking. Pacaya is great for short hikes while Acatenango Volcano is a full day or overnight affair. Be cautious, as these are very much active volcanoes with the potential to erupt. Another fan favorite hike is Hobbitenango, a hotel and restaurant replica of the Hobbit village from The Lord of the Rings. Whether you choose to stay in these Hobbit holes or not, there are several walking trails in the area. Finally, the hike up the Hill of the Cross (Cerro de la Cruz) is another popular and easy walk and is also accessible via taxi. Be sure to take this one during the day, however, as nighttime wanderings in this region may not always be safe.
Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepequez | @toscano_foto
The Simple Life
Guatemala’s position in Central America gives it a warm, tropical climate prime for agriculture. That’s why Guatemala is a strong exporter of some of our favorite things: chocolate, coffee, and more. While in town, support local farmers and visit the farms that are producing these products in a sustainable, eco-friendly way. First up is the Finca los Nietos coffee farm. This family-run establishment grows beans without pesticides, so you can enjoy a rich experience. Next visit the Valhalla Macadamia Nut Project, another organic, family-run plantation. Try the macadamia nut flour pancakes after your tour. Finally, Caoba Farms is an organic farm and cafe that serves up delicious and fresh food. Visit during the farmer’s market, or just go for the day to taste delicious food with a view.
#perhapsyouneedalittleguatemala | @travel_beasts
Learn the Lingo
Guatemala is one of the best places to learn Spanish. Why? The accent is one of the most neutral and easy to understand in the Americas. The people speak slower and are patient teachers - which is maybe why there are so many schools teaching visitors the language. If you’re planning on an extended trip to Antigua, why not sign up for lessons? There are plenty of schools in the city, and you can even sign up for private lessons if that’s more your pace. Plenty offer homestays so you can be immersed 24/7.
Robert's Discovery
"The colonial city was named a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1979 and it’s visited for its well preserved Spanish baroque architecture as well as a lot of catholic churches in ruins. Take a walk on the Central Park and purchase souvenirs from the locals, including bracelets, keychains, earrings, wooden sculptures, Jade necklaces, even ancient musical instruments made from wood."
Restaurante Fridas | @yourfoodtherapygt
Gourmet Guatemalan
Fresh options abound in Antigua, and your mouth and stomach will thank you. From award-winning Mesón Panza Verde to casual El Rincon Tipico, you can sample the local flavors on any budget. Stop by Fridas, a Frida Kahlo-themed Mexican restaurant with tasty margaritas. When the night ends, head to a bar like Lucky Rabbit to put those Spanish lessons to good use and mingle with the locals. Finally, taste exotic ice cream flavors, from chocolate chilies to mojito, at Sobremesa Helados.
Earth Lodge | @travelingourroots
Bonita Antigua
Whether you’re backpacking through Central America or looking for a relaxing, luxury getaway, Antigua has plenty to offer. If you’re sticking to a lower budget, consider a homestay with a Spanish immersion program, or a guest house. Hostels are also aplenty here, such as the highly-rated El Hostal. To up the experience, boutique hotels El Convento and Casa Santo Domingo offer stunning luxury stays. Finally, to get connected with nature, try Earth Lodge. Located on an avocado farm, this sustainable lodge offers stunning mountain views and delicious home-cooked meals.
#antiguaguatemala | @travelpixeljourney
Time to Fiesta
"If you are the kind of person who is looking for a little bit of fun, Antigua offers you the best parties you can find from small bars to big clubs. Café No Sé is a nice bar we recommend if you are into talking with people, but if you want to dance the night away we recommend Las Vibras or Lucky Rabbit. You won’t be disappointed." – @toledoki
People Watching
"My favorite thing to do was sitting in el Parque Central (the Central Park). It is right next to Cathedral de Santiago and plenty of restaurants and shops. If you like to people watch this is the perfect place. There is so much going on between the music, kids playing or people just walking around. A few times a week there is a market set up in the square that features local artisans. I bought some great gifts there! They have everything from paintings, jewelry, to local chocolate." – @taite.daisey
The Discoverer
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