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Antigua Guatemala: Starting my Adventure in Latin America

The Start of an Adventure

After half a year of living in Mexico City, I had finished my exchange and it was time to do a bit of travelling. Guatemala was a country high on my list for a while and I thought why not get the Volaris flight from Mexico City to Guatemala CIty. It only took an hour to fly and the process of getting in was straightforward.

I was able to get a taxi to my hotel without getting ripped off. I spent my first day in Guatemala not doing much as I was still recovering from Montezuma’s revenge and Guatemala City seemed a bit sketchy to be walking around alone. Getting from Guatemala City to Antigua was easy as I was able to get an Uber which picked me up in a matter of minutes.

Heading Down to Antigua

The drive from Guatemala City to Antigua is about an hour and it’s a completely different change of scenery. Guatemala City is a noisy, modern and busy place, while Antigua is a place with only cobbled roads and colonial architecture. The Uber recommended to have coffee at this one place right in the centre called cafe Condesa and I’m glad he gave me the recommendation.

The cafe has good Guatemalan coffee and I had some decent pancakes for breakfast, I recommend coming here for the coffee. One thing I’d criticise about Antigua is that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of places to try Guatemalan food that aren’t fancy restaurants, I mean there’s also street food, but just having recovered from Montezuma’s revenge I didn’t fancy it.

Feeling like my beard was getting too long, I needed to find a barber and after walking through the old colonial streets, I found a place. I got a full shave for only 40 quetzales which is not much more than 4 quid. I then went for a walk around the town just before checking into my hostel, the main plaza is the busiest part of the town.

Although this is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, it still felt very authentic. It’s a very common site to see Guatemalans wearing traditional clothes and a lot of the people visiting Antigua where from other parts of Guatemala.

Santa Catalina Arch

Getting my Backpacking Bearings

One of the most famous sites in Antigua is the Santa Catalina Arch which you’ll see a lot of people getting their picture in front of. This arch, along with a lot of buildings within the town date back to the 1600s, when Spanish colonialists came to the Americas. After passing through the arch I made it to the hostel.

I got to meet some other people visiting from the UK and I was telling them I missed getting a chippy so much. I stayed in Casa Amarilla which is both a hotel and a hostel. The rooftop has a great area to chill out with hammocks and views all around. There’s also free breakfast which is made by the people working there, which I got to try some Guatemalan food.

During my time in Antigua, I went to Cerro de la Cruz which is an area on top of a hill with some incredible views of the town. It only took about 10 minutes to get to the top from my hostel and nearby was a really nice garden which has been well-kept.

The Incredible Architecture

Another place I went to is the art museum located in the plaza, it’s a small museum with not too much, however it’s free to go in, so I recommend going even if it’s just a brief visit. One of the places in Antigua is the Convento Santa Clara which is the remains of a Spanish colonial church, this place is huge and has a peaceful feel to it. It cost me 20 quetzales or not much more than £2 to go in and I have to say that this place is amazing.

Antigua Art Museum
Contento Santa Clara

The main part of the church

What I have to say about Antigua was that my time there was very brief and I feel like an idiot for not bringing shoes for walking. Antigua is surrounded by 4 volcanoes and you can see lava. Unfortunately it was also very cloudy meaning that I was not able to see the volcanoes from the streets of the town.

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