13 – 16 June 2016
Travellingross Rating: 10 out of 10
This city in Guatemala is an infusion of places I have been before. Fortunately the best parts of those places. A bit of Peru, Costa Rica, Cuba and Mexico.
But different to those countries (I know I’m broad brushing entire countries and not comparing to all of Guatemala just yet), here in Antigua city, it’s like the tourist doesn’t exist. Sure there are people trying to sell tacky jewellery and cashews. But other than that everyone goes on with life and it’s authentic. Not like Cuba with their vintage taxis and tourist pesos made solely for the foreigners. Or like Costa Rica where everyone seemed to target the assumed wealthy foreigner. Here kids play basketball with archaeological digs and repairs in the background. A volcano erupts smoke in the near distance. And the stalls on the streets are intended for the locals, not the tourist. All in a relaxed, simple atmosphere that is safer than my minimal research lead me to believe.
A world heritage listed city that literally has an historic site or ruin on every corner. I did not see anything outside the core but I felt that, unlike other world heritage listed towns, this one is a working lived in, functioning city. I really enjoyed my time here and it was a great way to kick off my Guatemala and Belize trip.
How to Make this Trip
Flights: Copa Airlines via Panama City. Long layover in Panama so I paid $50 USD to enter the lounge which was a great decision.
Transport: Pre-arranged an airport pick up and transfer to my hotel through Around Antigua for $43 USD. I read that Guatemala City is hazardous for tourists and not much to see, so I was happy to see someone holding my name on a sign and get straight outta there to my hotel in 45 mins.
Accommodation: Hotel Meson de Maria for $56 USD per night via booking.com. Quiet, perfect location and with a delicious included breakfast. Only downside was the weak Wi-Fi signal.