Located just west of Guatemala City the current capital of Guatemala sits the old capital of Antigua. The city sits surrounded by volcanoes covered in lush green foliage. The view from a terrace shows off the charm of the town. With an average building being one maybe two stories means that getting to a terrace will showcase the beauty and charm of the town. With most of the town sharing the same theme of architecture gives the appearance that time was good to the town and spared it from the 70’s modern contemporary look that plagues so many Central American cities. Even the franchised American burger chains have to comply with a standard that makes them appear as if they have been located in the same building for generations.
Antigua is filled with tourists from all over the world and is a popular stopping point for travelers heading either north or south that don’t wish to stay in Guatemala City. Since the town is full of tourist means that it is also full of great places to eat as well as bars open every night. Since there is always a place to drink means that there is always something to do whenever you make it into town. With several different bistros as well as local food selections means that you won’t go hungry and even though it is a tourist town the prices are still reasonable. The town relies on tourism for a large amount of the businesses income so therefore they wish to keep the tourists safe from any dangers that could give the location a bad name so therefore there is a reasonable presence of police officers that patrol the streets. For many of us that tend to overdo it when we tie one on will take comfort in the fact that even staggering on the cobblestones back to your hostel will still likely be a safe adventure.
Once you awaken and nurse your hangover then it is time to experience the charm. For the adventurous, there are some outdoor activities such as scaling one of the local volcanoes or renting dirtbikes to tour the dirt roads. For those seeking some knowledge of the local history or fans of old architecture will love the many different and inexpensive ruins to explore. These peaceful ruins make for some incredible photo opportunities and are simply fun to run around in and experience the wild flowers growing out of the cracks of a pillar holding up the remains of dome ceiling. The architecture is beautiful and on a sunny day can make for a great and cheap experience. The multiple city parks are quaint and a great place to sit and ponder. The town square is simply beautiful and full of life with many individuals of all ages and nationalities wondering around.
As far as towns go this was my favorite so far for Central America for charm and architecture. The town is clean and offers several things to do and see. I personally would advise for one to stay at least two maybe three days here. For places to stay I would recommend the Terrace Hostel as it is inexpensive and offers a fun relaxed staff and an incredible view on the top floor where breakfast is served in the morning and drinks are served at night.