This week’s “Wish You Were Here” post comes from Kim of To Uncertainty and Beyond. Kim and Clark from To Uncertainty and Beyond quit their jobs last year to travel the world. They visited 24 counties in about seven months. Their blog is all about how to plan and execute a successful RTW trip. They love photography, food, and beer. Kim is now studying Spanish in Xela, Guatemala while Clark shivers back home in Chicago. Be sure to check out To Uncertainty and Beyond and follow the traveling duo on Twitter @2UNB.
After leaving the noise, pollution, and chaos of Guatemala City, Antigua is a breath of fresh air. This quiet little town was once the capital of Guatemala and is nestled in the valley of three volcanoes: Volcán de Agua, Acatenango, and Fuego. It is because of these volcanoes, along with a devastating earthquake, that caused the city to fall into decay and the capital to be moved. Fuego last erupted in 1976 and is still issuing a steady stream of smoke. Agua, however, is the most visible peak and looms above the south side of the city.
When wandering around the cobblestone streets of Antigua, you’ll find carefully preserved Spanish architecture, carved wooden doors, and intricate iron-work. The buildings are all brightly painted in yellows, oranges, reds, blues, and greens. There are also some great ruins and beautiful decaying buildings.
One of the most beautifully preserved buildings, in my opinion, is La Merced Iglesica. Its bright yellow and white façade gleams in the afternoon sunlight. On the weekends you will find a small market with locals serving up great street food.
The main attraction in Antigua is Parque Central, a charming little square surrounded by colonial buildings, brightly lit archways, and the main cathedral. In the center of the square, the rebuilt fountain is a popular meeting spot in the evenings. You can spend time people-watching on the benches, getting your shoes shined, or browsing some handmade textiles or jewelry from the locals. It’s the perfect place to sit with a tasty cup of
Guatemalan coffee or hot chocolate.
I only spent four days in Antigua and know that I’ve only scratched the surface in discovering its history and beauty. I’ll absolutely be stopping by again on my way out of this beautiful country.