This place wasn’t the easiest to get to from Belize, let me tell you.
Water taxi from Caye Caulker to Belize City. Taxi to the airport. Flight to Flores on a tiny plane. Flight from Flores to Guatemala City on another tiny plane. Hour long taxi through Guatemala City to Antigua. About 12 hours all told. Worth it.
Antigua is a stunning city in Guatemala. It used to be the capital, but after horrific earthquakes, the capital was moved to Guatemala City. I felt like I had gone back in time in Antigua. The colonial buildings, the cobbled streets, the little courtyards, the crafts. There was so much to look at and enjoy. What amazed me most was the feeling that we were surrounded by volcanos. There was always one on the horizon, peaking out from behind buildings.
As I was a solo traveller on a budget, I stayed in Three Monkeys Guesthouse. A cute little hostel in a great location. But, I fell in love with another hotel called Meson Panza Verde. I walked in having heard they did a great breakfast there. The courtyard was incredible! Huge lemon trees, plants everywhere, sunlight streaming through the trees, and stairs up to the roof, where you could really get a good look at the mountains and volcanos. I could have stayed there all day. Unfortunately, breakfast was closed to external visitors for another two hours and I was huuuunngry. So I had to leave and find somewhere else to get my breakfast.
After getting the biggest portion of French toast I have ever seen, as well as some great coffee, I headed out to explore the town. The market I went to first was a little disappointing, I’ll be honest. It was just more of the same touristy stuff. Nothing that I really wanted to bother bringing home. However, there was a gorgeous market that I went to near the Arco de Santa Catalina. It was filled with traditional Guatemalan clothing, rugs, crafts, art work. It was stunning! There were also some lovely coffee shops, a chocolate shop and restaurants in the area.
Mid way through the day I had to leave my hostel and bring all my things to the hotel my tour group would be staying in for the night. We stayed in a lovely hotel with a beautiful courtyard in the middle. Courtyards are a big thing in Antigua. I nearly filled up a memory card with photos of courtyards! Soon enough, I had to meet my tour group for the first time. We headed out for a simple dinner and a drink to get to know each other. It was pretty quiet out the night we were there, but apparently Thursday nights are Ladies Night in Guatemala, so if you’re looking for a good time, that’s the night to be heading out!
One building I had passed several times that day was a church called San Jose de Viejo. There was so much activity going on there that day, removal trucks, people bringing in crates of different things, lights, chairs. I didn’t have a clue what was going on. It was only later, when we passed it again in the darkness that we realised that there was a wedding inside. You guys. This venue. There are no words! I could literally only see a peak of the room through the doors and it was one of the most stunning rooms I’ve ever seen. Give it a Google because my photos don’t do it justice!
Getting through Guatemala city traffic is apparently a nightmare, so we left our hotel at 4am the following morning to beat the traffic. I really only had a whistle stop visit to Antigua, but having been there, I would definitely recommend it. It’s such a stunning city, the views, the architecture and the surrounding volcanos and mountains. It was such a wonderful place to visit. I absolutely want to go back to Guatemala at some stage and explore more of the country. Let me know if you’ve ever been to Guatemala and where you would recommend going in the comments below!