Top 10 reasons to love Antigua, Guatemala

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Top 10 reasons to love Antigua, Guatemala.

I recently fell in love with Guatemala. The reason for going? The flight was so cheap it seemed stupid not to. For less than $80 return I could get a city break, a haircut and have a chance to play dress up. I took it.

There are so many reasons to love Antigua, Guatemala. It is charming, beautiful and truly a delight on all of the senses. Here are my 10 reasons to love Antigua, Guatemala. In no particular order:

1. Sawed off machine guns. Yes it’s true. Security guards all around the city stand lazily around, leaning on stucco yellow buildings toting weapons that look like they’ve been through a few wars and some mob affiliations. At first it was scary, but later, rather comical. I don’t think these men would know what to do with the guns had they the opportunity to pull the trigger and it is a little funny to see armed guards with home-made looking rifles.

2. FOOD. The food in Antigua, Guatemala was delicious and cheap! Guatemalans seem to love flavors and sauces of all kinds. There was an abundance of options and tastes and everything was unbelievably fresh.

3. Markets. Epic shopping is yet another of my top 10 reasons to love Antigua, Guatemala. Colorful wares featuring textiles woven by shop keepers themselves. Some of the finest craftsmanship I’ve ever seen in leather, woodwork, fabric and furniture. Aside from the shopping stoke, the food markets were equally as impressive. It seemed you could by any fruit, vegetable or meat while meandering the covered alleys.

4. Safety. Antigua felt, distinctively safe. As a woman traveling solo through Central America, I am used to being harassed, stared at, ogled and cat-called. In Antigua, Guatemala however, it seemed as though the men were polite and respectful. Teenage petty crime appeared at a minimum as all the youngsters were too busy making out in the city’s parks, which also added to the charm.

5. Architecture. What a gem! From ruins to churches Antigua is a really great city to explore manmade lines and inspirations. Archways, tile work, carved stone, carved wood, iron work, definitely help make the list of top 10 reasons to love Antigua, Guatemala. We stayed at Hotel Candelaria. A recent build but antiquity inspired monastic ode. It was gorgeous. The attention to detail was immaculate and they had employed traditional craftsman work everywhere. The hotel seemed to be a celebration of art and an effort to keep these trades going.

6. Climate. A great reason to love Antigua, Guatemala is the climate. It is fresh, but comfortable. The sun shines bright but not oppressively so. The days were comfortable for walking, the nights were cool.

7.Tricked out city buses. Move over Xibit. Antigua, Guatemala has pimped it’s public rides like I’ve never seen. City buses look like school bus-monster truck hybrids featuring bedazzled frontage and disco lights. Quite the spectacle.

8. Street food. On our first 2 days in Antigua, Guatemala, my friend Isabelle and I spent less than $4 total for meals for the two of us. We went local and bought food off the street from adorable women in embroidered blouses and long skirts. They were a little surprised when we approached them to buy our plates. But then they watched eagerly as we ate and enjoyed every morsel.

9. Cleanliness. Overall, the city was quite clean. There didn’t seem to be offensive smells or excesses of garbage lingering around.

10. Hospitality. Our experience was that Antigua, Guatemala is a very hospitable place. Everyone was kind, helpful and welcoming. Our stay at Hotel Candelaria was especially notable in terms of a perfect abode to rest and a quiet place to work. The volcano views from the rooftop were an added bonus!

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