Antigua - as good as it gets
Sep 28, 2008
Leaving for Antigua marked marked 60 days on the road. And, what an incredible city to celebrate in. Let us first start by saying that if any of ya´ll are considering a vaca in Central America, we highly recommend this one...and yes, even to you non-backers!
Although Guatemla is a fairly short distance from Nicaragua it took 1 bus, two short flights, and a cab to arrive - but well worth it! We are often surprised at our smooth sailing (or should we say trailing), and again on our first attempt landed a fab hostel where we parked for the next 4 days.
In a nutshell, Antigua defines the word "colonial" - our one word. The city was destroyed by a terrible 1773 earthquake, but it´s been restored with all the old charm + character with cobble stone streets and colorful single story buildings. It´s not a city rich with culture per se, but it makes up for it in every other way. It´s nestled in between 3 picturesque volcanoes, the weather is perfect with sunny days and cool evenings, power lines run underground, there aren´t stray dogs at every step (uuugghhh...you have no idea all the stray dogs + cats in these countries constantly begging at your feet!), trash is actually found in garbage cans vs. the streetside....you get the idea.
We admit, it´s not the ideal backpackers spot to land for too long as it leans on the expensive side. And, it´s very easy to spend money here, let us tell you...with all the chic restaurants and shops. However we maintained fairly well as were are completely addicted to street food and could be found several times a day buying some type of snack!
We spent most of our time just walking around the city as there are a ton of historic sites planted directly within the city limits. Everything from a pretty Parque Central, to numerous beautiful churches which are now ruins + museums, old colonial arches, and several artisean marketplaces with beautiful traditional embroidery items.
Our main event was hiking Volcan Pacaya - still a very active volcano. We hiked uphill through forest, lava gravel, and cool lava rock until we reached the top which had bright orange hot moultan lava streaming down where the volcano had cracks. It was ALOT of sweat to get there, but a truly incredible experience. To give you an idea of the heat penetrating out...it was so hot people´s shoes were melting and some even brought marshmellows to roast!
This was our first city with rain every evening, but it really wasn´t so bad, especially with our so loved North Face rain jackets (man, they rock!). What brought Jenn the most joy was the absence of mosquitos....aaahhhh so nice!
We are off to San Pedro next...
P.S. - we sadly lost our Antigua pictures so what you see is all we got. Jenn is crushed!