Next leg of our trip we spent just under a week in Antigua, Guatemala. It was a relief to spend a little more time in one place, and actually get to know the area pretty well before thinking about how we were going to get to the next place. We arrived after the long journey from Semuc Champey late on in the evening, and as we stepped off the bus it immediately seemed far different from the places we have previously been. Getting off the bus was a breath of fresh air - literally. It was probably the first time on the trip we didn't feel uncomfortably hot, at an altitude of 1,500m, there's far less humidity and the air feels a lot cleaner. Another thing we noticed was that there was a lot of life everywhere, in comparison to the holiday destinations we have been going through, it really felt like a busy town full of life and character.
We headed straight for our hostel which was called Tropicana. The hostel itself was clean and had a pool area and large rooftop terrace, however the dorms slept 14 per room so after a couple of nights of snoring travellers we opted for a private room with 2 other girls, which was only £8.50 per night. The hostel definitely has a party vibe, which at times was great and really sociable, but also at times hard because the dorm rooms are opposite the bar area so it was pretty noisy.
Antigua has an almost European major city feel to it, with its cobbled streets and old buildings around the centre. It's easy to spend a full day just wandering around and taking in the feel of the place. It's also surrounded by beautiful mountains and volcanoes, which are partly covered by the low clouds.
Being the foodies that we are, we were happy to find a real variety in restaurants/cuisine types on offer compared to places we've previously visited. Don't get us wrong - I'm partial to a taco and a burrito any day of the week - however it was refreshing to find cheap restaurants of almost every kind all over the town. Here's a quick debrief for anyone heading this way of where to head:
El Viejo Cafe - Parisian café feel, good for breaky
Rainbow Cafe - also for breaky (eggs etc)
La Cocina de Paula - literally translated as 'Paula's Kitchen', this place gives you the most authentic experience you can get as a traveller, feels like you are genuinely welcomed into a lady's house, she makes seasoned meat, veg etc all for 25 Q (£2.50)
Pizza place - The most incredible giant pizzas for sharing between 2-3 people
Go Green - very cheap salad / sandwiches
Cantonese place - quick, healthy and good value Ganache - cake shop, similar to a Parisian patisserie
What to do:
Acatenango volcano - Have a read here! https://www.findusfaraway.com/single-post/2017/10/07/Acatenango-Volcano-The-Most-Challenging-Day-of-Our-Lives
Famous pool party - Happens every Saturday night... misleadingly a night time affair in a drained pool with no water which goes on till the early hours
Visit the chocolate museum - Not only is there a beautiful cafe inside, you can also make your own chocolate, find a selection of cacao based beauty products, and if you're running low on dollar, there's free samples of literally every single product (and they're not stingy with letting you try). I think we genuinely spent around an hour tasting everything.