Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Antigua

Several friends have raved about Antigua, Guatemala, the former colonial capital, and in our pre-trip rankings of Central American destinations it made the top three along with Tikal and Copan; we even put in on the itinerary for a 5 night stay over the Christmas holiday. Would it live up to our ranking? Would it be too touristy?

We settled into in a comfortable room on the old courtyard in Posada Don Diego located just across from the Iglesia La Merced. This turned out to be a great location as the Iglesia La Merced and its plaza were a beehive of activity all through the holidays: weddings, marimba band, Christmas Eve fireworks, food vendors, and the very cool ruins of the adjacent convento. Not to mention its proximity to the landmark El Arco de Santa Catalina and the Parque Central beyond.

Antigua has tons of hotels, cafes and restaurants which on the weekends and holidays handle an influx of tourists from all over the world including many Central Americans. The streets around the Arco and Parque Central were teeming with tourists and ambulatory vendors most evenings. But hey, it's the Christmas and New Year holidays and Antigua welcomes all. We enjoyed all the activity.

So "yes" Antigua did live up to its ranking even though we had one bad moment. Our favorite all-purpose-stuffs-in-its-own-pocket bag was slashed in the market and is no longer usable. However, none of the bag's contents were lost and though we realized we were "under attack", we could not prevent the slashing.

Lots of good photo ops in Antigua. Some are below, the whole set is here at flickr or here at flickeflu.

View of Antigua from the Cerro de la Cruz mirador with one of the three nearby volcanoes (Volcano Agua) in the background.
From the Mirador - Antigua, Guatemala

The ruins of the La Merced Convent with fountain and volcanoes.
Convento La Merced - Antigua, Guatemala

Christmas Eve dinner at Restaurant Club Sandwich. Vegetarian Lasagna and Burrito.
Veggie Entrees at Restaurant Club Sandwich - Antigua, Guatemala

Christmas Eve marimba concert at La Merced.
Iglesia La Merced - Antigua, Guatemala

The very cool nativity scene in the church in Ciudad Vieja, an hour walk from Antigua. Check out the costumes of Mary and Joseph.
Iglesia - Ciudad Vieja, Guatemala - Antigua, Guatemala

Some shots of El Arco de Santa Catalina.
Antigua, Guatemala

El Arco de Santa Catalina with reflection.
Arco - Antigua, Guatemala

Evening concert under The Arch (El Arco).
Band under the Arco - Antigua, Guatemala

View from under El Arco towards the Parque with Volcano Agua (over 13,000 ft) in the background.
Arco - Antigua, Guatemala

We couldn't get info the charcoal-roasted ears of corn bought from street vendors for about $1 US and served on husks with plenty of salt and lime juice.
Antigua, Guatemala

One of the many churches decked out for the holidays.
Antigua, Guatemala

An finally, enjoying a courtyard breakfast at Posada Don Diego with calla lilies we bought at the local market.
Posada Don Diego - Antigua, Guatemala

2 comments:

Crash Eddy said...

You've got to be joshing! You celebrated NY more than we did alone at home. The corn husk looks like great fare, with lime yet.

john said...

Ed, That was just the Christmas celebration......See post on Lago Atitlan and upcoming post of Xela for NY festivities. ;-) Guatemalans know how to enjoy the holidays.