antigua

The picturesque ancient capital of the country is an excellent tourist destination.

We arrived at the airport in Guatemala city late at night, but immediately continued on to Antigua. It is only an hour away from the airport by taxi.

We had to get used to how touristy the town was but if you take the time you can find quieter, less touristy parts of the city. We now understand why everyone comes here, it is a beautiful colonial town with lots of color. 

GUATEMALA

antigua - lake atitlan -  chichicastenango  -  antigua

Local Market

 

Tartines - restaurant

After a lovely lunch we had a very nice meeting with the Spanish hostess of the restaurant Tartines. She gave us some great tips for places to go and people we should meet.

www.tartines-antigua.com

4a Calle Oriente, No. 1C  

 

Por Qué No? Cafe

This was our favorite place. A tiny little bar next to a restaurant with jazz music playing. It is decorated with fur and packed every night. This is expected with such a great atmosphere, good food, and great hosts Carolina and her husband Carlos.

2a Avenida Sur y Casa 9, 9 Calle Oriente

Eric Ledoigt

Through connections we came into contact with Eric Ledoigt.

 

Eric is a French designer who has lived in Antigua for many years. Behind the red colonial facade we found a surprising interior. A combination of modern and ethnic, lush greenery, and architectural designs.

GUATEMALA

antigua - lake atitlan -  chichicastenango  -  antigua

san marcos

lake atitlan

We took a bus from Antigua to Lake Attila, a high altitude crater lake that is surrounded by  12 volcanoes. 

Around the lake there are various villages, all with their own unique atmosphere. We had heard great things about San Marcos. The final stop on the bus route was the dock in Panajachel where small boats take you to the lakeside villages. 

San marcos is located in the north-western corner of the lake and is known for the spectacular views you have of no less than 3 volcanoes. 

Lush

Although we do not usually spend more than a few days in a specific location, we will change where our “home base” is to experience the different atmospheres of the place. 

Lush is located on the lake and is luxurious and beautiful. The hotel consists of imaginative structures reaching up a couple of stories. 

 

The restaurant is run by different cooks. This time it was Cathie and Justin, from the USA who cooked for us. 

www.lushatitlan.com

Textiles

Nativo's

Guatemala is known for its textiles. On the street you are offered things left and right.

Textiles in Nativo’s collection are of a different quality. It is a carefully assembled collection of original designs from across the country.

5 Av. Norte 25B

Cafe Estudio

4 Avenida Sur 2 Calle

 

Hotels

We stayed in hotel Santa Ana just outside the center of the city. A quaint and quiet hotel with a beautiful garden, and very sweet and helpful owners really making feel at home. 

www.hotelstana.com

Calle del Hermano Pedro, entrada principal a Santa Ana 

 

We also visited Marie, a French woman who has lived in Guatemala for a long time and therefore could tell us lots of interesting things about the country. She rents two rooms as a bed and breakfast.

www.casamarie.com

3ra. Avenida Norte #10 

 

The view from the rooftop meshes a run down 17th century church with the imposing volcanoes surrounding Antigua.

La Paz was one of the first “posadas” in the village. The owner, Benjamin Herrarte, knows everything about the town and gladly took time out of his day to show us around. 

The posada is located in a landscaped garden, it has six individual cottages and a large space in the middle with an open kitchen. The food there is delicious.

www.lakeatitlanlapaz.com

spiritual village

The village is very small with no more than one path with on the left and right side, small tracks that lead to the various posadas and all kinds of little spiritual, yoga, and massage areas.

Yoga Forest

Yoga forest is a retreat where you can follow a program for a couple of days. 

We were very charmed and impressed by what they had managed to create in a relatively short amount of time. A vegetable garden with an ingenious irrigation system, and even a small amount of cattle to be as self-sufficient as possible. When we were there a goat had just been born.

 

The location is truly spectacular with views of the lake and volcano. It is located in the mountains an hour away from the village. 

www.theyogaforest.org

Yoga forest in Happinez magazine

I photographed Jonathan early in the morning while he was meditating. 

 

Later he turned out to be a yoga teacher. Jonathan is originally Canadian but decided six years ago, to take a trip around the world and see where the wind takes him. He ended up here, at Yoga forest where he has lived for half a year. 

 

Life here is his dream. Self grown food, the simple life in nature and daily yoga.

santiago

lake atitlan

From San Marco we made the day trip to Santiago. 

We took the water taxi to San Pedro right across the street from San Marcos. When you arrive in San Pedro you have to take a Tuk Tuk to another dock, where you get on a boat to Santiago.

Santiago is a small town with a large indoor market. A very colorful display mostly due to the clothing of the locals. They wear traditional clothing made of woven and embroidered cloths to create the most unusual color combinations. 

chichicastenango

 

Every Thursday and Sunday there is a huge market in Chichicastenango. 

We had bought a bus ticket that would take us from Panajachel to Antigua, but with a stop in Chichicastenango. 

The market takes up almost all of the streets of the town. It is very busy, and attracts a lot of tourists, but if you take the time to walk through a couple of the streets, it becomes well worth the effort. 

GUATEMALA

antigua - lake atitlan -  chichicastenango  -  antigua

Iglesia De Santo Tomas

 

Chichi is a small town, with in the middle somewhat higher situated church, the famous San Tomas church.

The two steps leading up to the church is quite a spectacle because of all of the Indian sacrificial rituals that took place there, which fire plays an important part of. 

Diagonally across from the church is a market building, with mostly fruit and vegetables. This is worth a visit, and from the first floor there is a great view of the market life going on. 

© 2016 by Mirjam Bleeker and Frank Visser / all rights reserved