Antigua, Guatemala is one of my favourite cities in the world. When I got there I was expecting a big bustling city, that would would make me want to escape back to the comfort and chilled out vibe of the Caribbean in Belize. I was surprised to find a cozy, quaint little city, with cobblestone streets and a very homely feel. I met a few expats living here and I can see why a few weeks could turn into a few years. It’s clean, the locals are friendly, it’s cheap and of course it’s a stunning historically rich city. My journey through Antigua was cramming as much sightseeing and activities in as possible. For a small city there is so much to do! If you have a short time here, I’ve broken down what you absolutely have to do to make the most of your time in Antigua.
I unfortunately didn’t do the volcano hike, simply because I ran out of time. I told you, there is so much to do in Antigua! I met so many people through Guatemala and Central America that had done it and loved it. One couple I met along the way said, that only half way up they were overwhelmed by the view. When they made it to the very top it took their breath away. How can a view like this exist in a city? Don’t you love that description!? It is the one thing I truly wish I had done when I was there. You can do day hikes, or there is the option to get your camp on and stay up there overnight. You can see the embers from the volcano glow of a night, and see the sunrise when you wake up in the morning.
Cerro de la Cruz
Translated into Hill of the Cross, this hike gives you an amazing view of the whole city. Don’t get deterred by the 300+ steps up, I promise it is easy! It isn’t much of a hill and the stairs are spaced out, so it can be done by all levels of fitness. The best way to spend time up at the cross, is to gather a picnic style lunch and enjoy your time up there. This isn’t a view you stand at for a few minutes and head back into town. If your lucky, it might be a clear day and you get some great snaps of the volcano towering over the city. The walk up there is safe. I passed lots of families, couples and solo walkers on my way up and down.
Antigua Street Food Tour
If you’re a food lover like me especially a lover of street food, you have to take this food tour! Hands down Guatemala was my favourite place for food through Central America. Oh gosh, it was mouth watering! I was lucky enough to be the only person on the tour, because a group of 5 got their geography wrong and thought it was in the Antigua in Spain. Olga, my guide was awesome! She showed me where to get the best street food, traditional Guatemalan dishes, showed me some crazy fruit I had never seen before, handed me the best ceviche I had throughout Central America, and introduced me to some seriously addictive desserts. For $50 this tour was incredibly worth it. It’s an all day gig so wear comfy shoes for walking over those cobblestone streets.
The Chichi Markets was one of the best days I have had on my adventures around the world. The culture and tradition you see here is an experience you will cherish forever. It is held on a Thursday and Sunday. There are numerous tour companies that offer day trips to and from Antigua. It only takes 2 hours to get there and back, an easy journey to fit in if you are on a tight schedule.
Eat At Toko Baru
This restaurant is the definition of ‘hole in the wall.’ It’s not hard to find and an absolute gem of a place to eat at. I am a street food lover through and through. Most of my travels are based on a budget, so it is hard for me to fork out (pardon the pun) the money to eat at a restaurant. Toko Baru is an exception, the prices are only slightly higher than street food vendors, and totally worth the extra dollars. Oh, and how was the food you ask!? Frickin delicious! Just when I thought that every ‘fusion’ of food had been done, I was excited when my eyes ran over this Indian/Guetamalan fusion menu. Don’t you love when two completely different foods marry together and make a really awesome couple! (Insert emoji with heart eyes.) I was so distracted by the food, I didn’t even get any pictures!