Diary: Antigua

Fourteen hours in aeroplanes, six hours at four different airports and another hour in the car and we arrive at our destination: Antigua, our first stop on our trip through Guatemala.

When we arrive at our hotel, it is already nine o’clock. After all the travelling, we are tired and want nothing more than to sleep. Quickly we take a short shower and then we fall into bed. Tomorrow we will discover Antigua!


Day 1 | City centre and Cerro de la Cruz

We don’t have a real jet lag, but the time difference ensures that we wake up at 06.00. Not bad at all, because it is still nice and quiet in the city, so we decide to get up right away to discover the city. We stroll along the beautiful colonial buildings, squares and churches while the city slowly awakens. The large central square is still completely silent, except for some marketers who build their stall. My stomach is rumbling, yesterday I fell asleep during the last flight and I missed the dinner. The breakfast at Y … Tu Piña Tambien, therefore tastes extra good, accompanied with very good coffee. Guatemala is a country where many coffee beans are grown, but oddly enough, soluble coffee is the norm.

After breakfast, we walk through the city for a while, where in the meantime it has become a lot busier. Shoe polishers, street vendors and marketers are everywhere to praises their own goods. Sellers are not intrusive, and if you indicate not to be interested, they walk away.

Antigua is not very big, and one of the highlights to see is Cerro de la Cruz, the big cross in the north of the city. From here you have a great view of the city and the many volcanoes that surround it. We take some photos, view the two large statues, and then walk back down the hill to the centre. The city is dotted with ruins, formerly all beautiful churches and cathedrals that were destroyed by an earthquake in the 17th century. All these churches used to be connected via underground tunnels, unfortunately, these have also collapsed completely during the earthquake. We visit one of the ruins and enter the tomb, formerly the entrance to the corridors. The tomb is not very spectacular, but the huge arches of the cathedral that are still standing are beautiful.

Lunch is done with fresh bread from the San Martin bakery while we look out on the hustle and bustle of the city. It is Sunday today and quite busy with local and foreign tourists. We are here in low season, October is the last month of the rainy season, and so it is actually very quiet regarding tourism.

The rest of the afternoon we drink coffee, view the many interior squares and end up in a very nice wine bar. Together with a Brit and two Americans we taste different glasses of wine and talk about their experiences with Guatemala. It is very nice, but around 8 pm we are really tired. We have a quick bite somewhere and then go to bed early.

Day 2 | Hobitenango

Again we wake up at 06.00 in the morning and again we go straight into the city. Since the sky is still very clear early in the morning, we can see the tops of the different volcanoes. From the window of our hotel, we already have a view of one of these beautiful volcanoes, but we would like to make the famous photo of the volcano underneath the Santa Catalina Arch. We are lucky, there is no one on the streets yet, and the volcano is clearly visible. I think the result is cool!

After shooting these photos, we return to our hostel and dress. We plan to make a small hike, and since the weather is getting hot today, we pack enough water. The first part of the hike is done by Uber, then we walk up a steep path ourselves, while occasionally a 4X4 passes by. We are on our way to Hobitenango, a reconstructed Hobbit village, in the hills around Antigua. Upon arrival, memories of our time in New Zealand come up. It looks like Hobbiton. Everywhere there are small hobbit huts, between which a winding path leads even further up the hill. There is a restaurant, a big swing, life-size Jenga or other games and enough viewpoints from where you have a view over the different mountains, hills and volcanoes. It is also possible to stay in one of the Hobbit houses.

We relax here for a few hours, drink a coke and eat, lying on the grass. There are no other western tourists, only Guatemalans, and because it is a public holiday (we didn’t know this before coming here), it is fairly busy. Normally it seems to be very quiet. On our way back we think for a second of taking on the 4X4’s that all other visitors seem to take. But when we see the queue and the decision is taken quickly, we will walk relaxed back to the starting point. Once there we get a lift from a nice Guatemalan family, who takes us back to Antigua.

Back in Antigua, we go to the Fat Cat Coffee House, where we spend a few hours reading. Then we walk to the Sky Bar for a sunset and a drink. We see a cloud of eruption in the distance above the volcano Fuego. Tomorrow we will climb the volcano Acatenango, a difficult hike, where we will sleep on the volcano, and have a beautiful view of the volcano Fuego, which is very active. We really look forward to it, and after we have a plate of pasta as good soil for the climb of tomorrow, we go to bed early!


Are you curious about all my tips regarding accommodations, food and activities in Antigua?

Click here for the Travel Guide!


Blogs on Guatemala

All my other blogs about Guatemala.


Other blogs about Guatemala

Diary: hiking the active volcano Acatenango
Travel Guide: everything you need to know about Antigua!

4 Comments

  1. by Lynne Marie Hickey on 6 November 2018  18:31 Reply

    Thank you for sharing your travel stories. We r going to be in the Lake Atitlan area I’m Panajachel for the month of January and it is nice to read about Guatemala.

    • by Charlotte van de Sande on 9 November 2018  13:53 Reply

      Hi Lynne Marie! What a sweet message! Soon I will share a new blog about our time in Lake Atitlan!!

  2. by Joanna Hughes on 13 November 2018  20:12 Reply

    Thanks for sharing, I’ll be in San Pedro for a month this winter, it’s great to see ahead of time a few things to see and do.

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