I was meant to spend 2020 traveling the world.. But due to this crazy virus that’s obviously not happening anytime soon. So, I thought I’d write about some of the places I’ve been so far so I can at least pretend like I’m adventuring around the globe and hopefully inspire some people to travel again once it’s safe to do so.
Last year Andrew and spend a few months traveling through Central America, and one of our favourite places was Antigua, Guatemala. It’s wild how many people asked us if we felt safe in Guatemala and I genuinely felt safer their than I did in LA. (don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely unsafe places to go, like there is anywhere) but Antigua it’s self was completely safe and super interesting, surrounded by beautiful mountains and volcanos. It was the colonial Spanish capital of Central America until the earth quakes destroyed it in the 18th century. Walking along its amazing cobbled streets noticing the colonial architecture, Churches and of course taking photos at the Santa Catalina Arch. Getting around the country was super easy and built for tourism as a shuttle bus from Antigua to Guatemala City Airport was less than $10 per person.
The cuisine is a mix of Spanish and Maya traditional food. But you’ll also find different cafes and restaurants with modern food. We ate at least 20 tacos at Taquera El Delirio and Andrew got his morning coffees and I got fresh juice at Unión Café. The best part about the restaurants in Antigua is that you’re bound to find rooftop seating on every street! The Antigua Brewing Company is a must visit (I would definitely recommend their veggie burger!)
There are tonnes of hostels throughout the city. We stayed at Casa Girasol which was in a great location and the breakfast they make for free is delicious. I would recommend this place if you’re wanting something a little more up market than your regular hostel. Anywhere you choose to stay in the city is walking distance as the city is very small.
Acatenango Volcano Overnight Hike was the biggest highlight on our trip and would recommend it to everyone. It towers above the amazing landscape at 3,976m and you can watch an active volcano (Volcan Fuego which has been erupting since colonial times.) You spend the first day hiking up the volcano (this took us only around 5 hours) once you reach the top, you get fed dinner over a campfire looking directly at an active volcano (it’s insane but amazing.) Early the next morning you walk another hour to the top of the mountain where you’ll find 360 degree views of the Guatemalan highlands to the border of Mexico and multiple volcanos.
I would recommend holding out to book until you arrive in Antigua and book through the tour shops on the streets as this only cost us $40US each with food and guides included. Be sure to pack warm clothes as we were definitely not prepared and froze!
The city is very pretty and just walking around looking at the different colours and churches is an activity in itself. I would also recommend visiting Choco Museo where you can make your own chocolate as well as at the northern part of the city you can walk up Cerro de la Cruz. Walk until the end of 1a Avenida Norte, then follow the path to the top of the hill and you have views of the whole city. (this only took us around 20 minutes one way.)
Bartering is definitely expected in Antigua so definitely try negotiate prices for whatever you buy.
Hope you all get to travel here one day, it was such an amazing place.