We awoke at the 'campground' of the Tourist Police station in Antigua Guatemala after getting kicked out of our previous camp spot by the Guatemalan National Police the night before.
We'd last visited Antigua over a year before (on my 32nd birthday) to celebrate Semana Santa (Holy Week.)
Now it was a gorgeous day, and I was excited to explore the city, and meet up with some friends, old and new.
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Once we finally set out and began walking around, I realized that I really love Antigua. Maybe I've been in Guatemala too long, and visiting Antigua felt akin to visiting another country... Whatever the reason, I enjoyed it so much, it's a place I would want to spend some time residing, if we came back to live in Guatemala. Here’s a few reasons why:
It seems like such a silly little thing, but in a country where there’s no shoulders on the side of the road, let alone sidewalks, having a designated, ‘safe’ place to walk is sooo nice (even if those sidewalks are small, crowded and large window sills sticking out into them, which is how Kimball cut open his head while we were here during Semana Santa.)
Sidewalks are great for resting when you're tired, too.
Clean, Pretty and Quaint
There’s still some litter here and there, and a couple piles of dog crap, but for the most part, Antigua is clean.
And not just clean, but they take pride in how their city looks, as in they all have painted their homes and stores in various colors of orange, yellow, pinks and browns. In a country where most homes and buildings remain ‘unfinished’ and unpainted, this really makes a noticeable difference.
Antigua has cobblestone streets... which can be kind of challenging to walk over, but add a lot of character. (And they have horse drawn carriages... cool!)
This city also has many beautiful cathedrals and other old buildings.. I love taking photographs of these aged, stately structures.
Antigua still has some of the culture of the highlands (people wearing the typical dress), and it has a lot of tradition -- festivals like Semana Santa. We even were able to see a similar type procession while we were there -- this one was celebrating Day of the Dead.
As a general rule, we try to support local business while we travel by shopping at the markets, etc. So when we visit a place, it's nice if they have a good market with plenty of variety. Antigua has one of the largest we've seen, and it's fairly clean (always a plus.)
We ate lunch/dinner at this lady's comedor all three days that we stayed in Antigua.
Things to Do
I'm sure if we'd just come from some big city with lots of options for entertainment and shopping, our experience would be different. But we've been living in Panajachel, and then San Jose Chacaya where there's nothing to do... so to us, Antigua was hoppin! And it was fun... with plenty of more we could have done. Restaurants, museums, yoga classes, and lots more.
We even had a meet up with some other family travelers, and did some interviews for our How to Fund Travel series (including this freebie). Plus we did an extreme bungee adventure (post on that soon!)
More about the meet up here.
So... we had a great time. We love Antigua!
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Have you been to Antigua? Did you like it? Tell me about it in the comments below (then go ahead and hit 'Like' or 'Share'). Thanks!
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