Maya Pedal doesn’t work on the weekends, so I headed to Antigua on Sunday. Antigua was once the capital of Guatemala. It has seen its share of disasters. Earthquakes in 1717 and 1773 destroyed the city. Church ruins today are tourist attractions, but they are relics of past disasters.
Similarly, the city is surrounded by three volcanoes. One volcano is still active and smoke can be seen leaving its peak daily. Eruptions are rare, thankfully.
Central Park is in the middle of the city and, like Xela, contains some government administrative offices. But there are also souvenir shops, cafes, and banks. The cathedral is also located in Central Park.
There are other impressive churches in Antigua besides the cathedral. As mentioned above, there are many church ruins throughout the city. Below is just one example of the ruins.
Volcan de Agua (Volcano of Water) is very close to the city and towers over it from the south. At 12,356ft/3766m, the volcano is visible whenever you look south. It offers impressive views, though unfortunately the day I was there clouds covered the peak of the volcano. Below are some pictures of the volcano from different parts of the city.
Antigua has a lot of foreign influence. It is a hub for students learning Spanish. Many are American/Canadian, but today around town I heard just as much German as English, for example. Students come here because Guatemalan Spanish is quite standard and it is very cheap to live here.
As a result, there are more hip coffee shops, an organic food store (which I have not seen so far in Latin America) with all imported goods, a book store that buys/sells English books, and more.
My aunt collects souvenir spoons and these might be the most interesting ones I have come across so far in all my travels. They are very beautiful and colorful.
I found this funny t-shirt at a souvenir shop. I sound exactly the same in Spanish, so I wish I could find a shirt that has something representing my gringo-accent in Spanish.
The bus station is next to the central market, so you have to walk through it a bit to get to the city. I had some awesome tortilla topped with vegetables in the central market before leaving Antigua. The same stand had tacos duros (hard tacos).
Below is also a picture of a fruit stand. These are common, but I wanted to show what oranges look like here. They are yellow or green! They taste like orange oranges, but their color is different here.
Lastly, there are stands that say “Chevere” on them. Strange.. After living with Peruvians in Spain, I know that chevere is their word for “cool/awesome”. Here, however, it means hot dog!
Antigua is a beautiful city and I hope I can come back before I leave Guatemala to see the volcano in all its glory. Again, from Antigua there are amazing day-trips you can take to explore the natural beauty this country has to offer. Visit if you ever get a chance!