In case you couldn’t tell from my overly gushing posts, I really, really, loved my time in Guatemala. I found the people warm, the food amazing, and the scenery stunning. No place did this ring truer than Antigua, the picturesque colonial town nestled between 3 volcanoes. I fell for Antigua in the 3 short days I visited. So much so that I was ready to drop my backpack and stick around for a while, even though the warm waters of Belize were next.
Why? I will give you7 reasons why I fell for Antigua:
I mean come on. I could tell you about this street with its volcano backdrop and colourful Santa Catalina Arch but a picture tells a better story.
This iconic street is the most photographed spot in Guatemala…probably. Antigua’s main tourist attraction is lined with street vendors selling colourful products and great shops, restaurants, museums, and bars.
Stepping into the Candelaria courtyard I could tell I was in for a treat. Although hidden from the outside, inside its gates is one of Antigua’s hidden gems. Local handcrafted furniture, upholstery, artwork, and ironwork highlight this great hotel. Then there is the friendly staff, included Guatemalan breakfast, and the amazing rooftop patio.
If the cobblestone streets weren’t scenic enough to make you fall for Antigua, seeing the city from above surely will. Although you can hike the active Acatenango and Fuego Volcanoes that surround the city, with the +30 heat I chose the less sweaty hike up to Cerro de la Cruz, a cross overlooking the city.
No matter your guilty pleasure, Guatemala has you covered. I found Antigua the perfect place to indulge. Guatemala is home to some of the world’s greatest chocolate and at the ChocoMuseo you can sample, make, and buy everything chocolate. From cocoa shampoo to chocolate-covered condoms, they have you covered in it.
Guatemala is also home to some crazy good rum and finely rolled cigars. From the Tabacos y Vinos (cigars and wine) we sampled both. They also have an enticing by-the-glass price model where each one gets cheaper as you drink. Danger?
The food scene was another highlight why I fell for Antigua, notably its street food. Each night around the Iglesia La Merced Church, vendors set up shop selling everything from empanadas to pupusas, an Ecuadorian cheese stuffed tortilla staple.
Then there are the buffet-style restaurants that caught my eye and stomach. This feast offers great value. You pick 3 items (or more) and tuck in. This includes interesting stewed dishes, guacamole, and plenty of beans.
Not only did I find the people of Antigua friendly and helpful, I found the dogs great. Specifically, the bodyguard that escorted us during a late-night stumble home. Although I found Guatemalan’s friendly, crime is common with tourists being targeted. This was on the back of my mind as we navigated our way to our hotel at 2:00 in the morning. Thankfully, a random dog decided to follow us home, chasing away other dogs and a suspicious car that stopped us along the way.
What. A. Country.
Lastly on why I fell for Antigua is the mix of ex-pats in the area. Clearly I am not the only one loving this city. We made Irish friends at an Irish pub, tried to enjoy trivia night with the worst American trivia hosts ever, and partied at the hippest bar in Central America – Café No Sé. Trust. This bar is not to be missed.
What say you?
Thoughts on these 7 Reasons I fell for Antigua?
Let’s hear it!
Where to Stay?
Although I was provided a complimentary stay at the Candelaria Hotel while falling for Antigua,
the experience, opinions, and tough choice to leave are my own.