Antigua, Both Elegant and Rowdy

Palacio de los Capitanes built 1596


Occasionally I find that some space between when I am in a new town or country and when I write about it lends me a different point of view.  That happened for me in Antigua.

A typical downtown street

I instantly fell in love with the colorful, cobblestone street as I rode with others in on the shuttle from Guatemala City. First, it was so much more attractive than the graffiti covered walls where I stayed for a couple of days in GC, but also it seemed a happy place. GC had been an obvious busy work town, with people riding the good transportation system to and from work, then scurrying home afterwards.

Huge crowds came to watch the Catholic procession on the square

In Antigua, I experienced a laidback attitude again, as I have in most of Central America. It was a comfortable place to stroll around the Central Park and the square of merchants that surrounds it. At times, the Park was sparsely populated and mostly with locals relaxing or taking a break. I thought of it as a quiet town.

Just outside the Cathedral of Antigua

It is truly a beautiful little city, with tons of eating options. I enjoyed trying several local restaurants (Café Condessa, for one) and finding the most wonderful bakery (Repositeria). But on Halloween and the Dia de la Muertos, and the days that followed, it became a party town. There was a joy and celebratory attitude in everyone – including many Guatemalans who had come into the city for the festivities.

From high above the city

So, it was both a city of quiet elegance and a place of rowdy celebration. It is not to be missed if you make your way into Guatemala!

Tourists roaming the streets
More locals in town for the celebrations of All Saints Day and Dia de Los Muertos
A completely modern shop along the square
Ruth, a local businesswoman in traditional dress selling her souvenirs

Author: Kathy Lynn Hall

I've embarked on the lifestyle of vagabond as a solitary woman and I'm excited about sharing my experiences with you.

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