In the fall of 2014 we took a last minute surf trip to El Tunco in El Salvador. After a week of enjoying the laid back lifestyle, chilling, surfing and eating too many pupusas we decided to change the scenery and go to Antigua in Guatemala. There are plenty of shuttles ( $35-50 ) you can catch from El Tunco and the drive took about 5 hours, not bad at all.
We arrived just before sunset in time to check in to our lovely colonial style boutique hotel D’leyenda and explore the night. We end up at Cafe Sky, one of the most popular places in town for sunset drinks and snack at their rooftop. The panoramic views of the city, as well as the magnificent Volcano de Aqua are not to miss. If you never tried a Michelada, there is a great place to start ( try it with the local beer Gallo ). The Michelada or Chelada is a beer cocktail popular in Mexico as well as Guatemala. Made with beer, tomato juice, fresh lime juice, and assorted sauces, spices, and peppers. It is served in a chilled, salt-rimmed glass. Cheers.
At this point, without even seen the city in day light we were in love with it. It’s like there was something in the air, it was a feeling of happiness, content and love.
Rooftop at the D’leyenda Hotel
After our delicious breakfast at the rooftop of the hotel with the most breathtaking view of the volcano and the city, we were ready to explore and be wowed.
Antigua is nearly 500 years old Colonial city, well preserved with rich history where time has seemed to stopped. The city has plenty to offer for every traveler style. From great food, authentic shopping experience, exploring the nature to just wandering around the cobblestone streets and admiring the many churches with their orange and yellow facades. It’s hard not to fall in love it.
Our favorite thing to do was strolling around town, enjoying it’s vibrant colors and the Spanish Baroque architectural treasures, visiting churches and ruins, stopping for a sip of great coffee and some street tostadas before we continuing on. It was the most peaceful feeling and the true meaning of enjoying life.
After this long intro if we still haven’t succeed to convince you to go visit Antigua, here are Top 5 reasons why you should visit.
1. The Ruins at the Church of San Francisco
One of the oldest Antigua churches, you can wander around the ruins for at least an hour, it’s a magical place.
2. Delicious food.
Antigua is place where you can enjoy some amazing food. From the locals street food ( which we enjoyed the most ), to the exquisite international restaurants restaurant with astonishing food mixture of contemporary cuisine with a traditional central american influence.
The most simple but yet delicious street tostadas.
Endless options for vegan food.
3. Drink locally grown coffee
One of our favorite, Cafe Estudio, they roast the coffee right there in front of you. If you can, try visiting a local coffee farm and try the coffee there.
4. Shopping at the local Markets.
Colorful art markets and street vendors to choose some unique gifts and souvenirs and support the locals.
5. Wonder around the colorful cobblestone streets.
We only had 2 days to spend in Antigua and we had to go back to El Salvador but we wish we had more time. If you can, stay longer than us and if you like outdoor activities you should definitely hike up the volcano. Take advantage of the affordable Spanish lessons or take a cooking or salsa class.