March 28, 2011

Weekly(ish) Photo Essay: Antigua, Guatemala

Here is the last batch of my photos from Guatemala!

We spent the last two days in Antigua, a beautiful little town about an hour outside of Guatemala City. If you didn't know you were in Central America, you would almost say you were in Europe!

There are so many beautiful gardens and courtyards and archways, but the gardens are filled with tropical plants, the courtyards are filled with woven tapestries, and the archways are filled with taco and fruit vendors.

It has all the aesthetic charm of Europe with the passion and vivaciousness of Central America.

We spent the first evening walking around and seeing Antigua by night and hanging out with my friend Osione whom we'd run into in Panajachel.

Apparently MacDonald's is almost a luxury in Guatemala, and we found the most beautiful MacDonald's in the world. It had a lovely courtyard with a fountain, floral arrangements, and even real china!

The next day we walked around some more, taking pictures, going shopping for gifts and souvenirs, and using our last day in Guatemala to take advantage of all the delicious street food we weren't going to be able to eat again.

We visited the only five star hotel in Guatemala, built on ruins and surrounded by beautiful gardens, by day and by night, when all the ruins are covered in candles.

Back to the main square we got some beers and Lee and Osione danced to some drummers.

Later at night we met up with some of Lee's boyfriend's friends and hiked up a hill above Antigua to see the sunset behind the volcano and see the city from above.

On our way down from the hill Barbara and I stopped back at the five star hotel to take pictures of the candles, while Lee and her boyfriend went off to spend a last evening together.

 At this point both Barbara's and my camera batteries dies, so these are the last photos I have. But we spent the rest of the evening getting our last delicious tacos, packing, and getting a drink at the Irish pub, and randomly running into the guys we'd celebrated St. Patty's Day with.

We sadly went back to the hostel around midnight because we had to be up by 3am to make our 4am shuttle to the airport. Miraculously we managed to sleep for three hours and actually wake up in time, and we sleepily made our way to Guatemala city to come back to the US.

Overall this was a spectacular vacation. It was exciting, relaxing, new, delicious, and fun. Not to mention cheap! The entire vacation (air fare, transportation, accommodation, food, entertainment, and gifts... including the costs of the ATM fraud and bank fiasco) cost me about $750. 

Definitely a great vacation option for those on a shoe string budget, as long as you have an adventurous spirit, and can put up with the occasional cold shower.

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