Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Weekend in Antigua, Guatemala

Kristen says...

Well, we made it! After being in either Honduras or the US for the past year+, we finally had the opportunity to visit a second Central American country!

It was a happy coincidence that this trip, my birthday, and a 3-day weekend all collided.

The trip rally started on Friday when one of my classes surprised me with a delicious birthday cake (and a funny story--the student who actually ordered the cake wrote on the instructions to her driver to have the cake say "Mrs. Fink" and be top de mantequilla (buttercream frosting)...what actually happened you can see below:

Either way, it was delicious! :)

That afternoon we took off via plane to Guatemala City...the plane was nice and big, and the flight was good. We were quite surprised with the size and modernity of the Guatemala City airport...much bigger than either Tegucigalpa or Des Moines...

The drive between Guatemala City and Antigua isn't long, but it is windy, hilly, and (inside the city) full of traffic. Oh, and if you haven't heard, we're in a bit of a tropical depression down here, so there were small mudslides and tree limbs that we had to maneuver around. What should have taken 45 minutes actually ended up taking 2+ hours!
We got to Antigua around 8ish PM and checked into our hotel, the Hotel Aurora. Just FYI, if you ever go to Antigua, stay at the's AMAZING! It was built in 1926 and, based on the photos of the outside and inside gardens that they have hanging around in the building, it's exactly the same now. It's been so well kept up!

Our room was absolutely awesome, with a wood-beam roof, antique furnishings, and room to sleep 6(!)...even the door to the bathroom was beautiful with stained glass.

After we checked in we decided we needed some food, and went out to walk until we found something we wanted...we made it a whole block and a half before we were stopped in our tracks by the delicious smell of Christmas...or ginger cookies, whichever you prefer...

The Doña Luisa Xicotencatl Restaurant may be one of the best places ever to eat...we had food from there four times; our first meal, our last meal, on the second day when we needed something warm after being out in the rain, and that same evening when we were too cold and tired to eat at a real restaurant, so we ran down to the bakery and bought ham and cheese croissants and giant ginger and chocolate cookies. OH, DELICIOUS!!

We spent our first full day in Antigua (eating, of course) and wandering the streets of the city...One of the things that really struck me about Antigua were all the ruined churches. I would say we passed 5+ of these structures. Our tour guide to the market explained that about every 65 years or so Antigua is struck by a devastating earthquake, and after a while, it doesn't make sense to rebuild every time...still, the ruins were beautiful to look at!

On our second full day we went to a market that was a 2+ hour drive away from was apparent how much rain there had been by all the mini-mudslides we had to dodge on the way. We had a great time visiting a Catholic church that had small altars all down the main aisle for the Maya to pray to their own gods (no pictures, sorry) and then to a textile/flower/vegetable/thread/anything else you can think of market:

Needless to say, I came home with a "few" things...we all need 3 table runners, right?!

Our last day (my 28th birthday, by the way) was spent back in Antigua, running around buying all the things we hadn't purchased already...and it seemed the purchase of the day was:
Apparently in the '70s a US citizen and her husband had a sneaking suspicion that jade could be found in Guatemala, came down here, found it, and made a gazillion dollars selling it! They have a factory/museum dedicated to the stuff, as well as a couple of stores (so, guess what I got for my birthday present this year :)
That afternoon we drove back to Guatemala City and spent time relaxing at the airport before flying to San Jose, Costa Rica to catch our plane back to Teguc (kind of roundabout, wasn't it?)

All-in-all, it was a GREAT holiday/birthday weekend, and a great trip outside of Honduras. Antigua was a beautiful little city, and I would recommend any of you to visit it (although, be ready to fend of the funny little Guatemalan vendors..."You buy this for your friend?" "You buy this for your enemy?" "Business is business" So exasperatingly funny...

Well, just because I haven't put enough pictures in this post (haha), I'll leave you with a few more pictures of us and beautiful Antigua

Thanks for reading!


  1. what kind of jade thing did you get? was the top of the cake buttercream or did it just say that? apparently we didn't really talk much about guatemala in our last skypeversation because i'm left wanting details! love you. :)

  2. I got a bracelet, earring, and necklace set (quite reasonably priced, considering...) No, unfortunately the cake was not buttercream, it was "delicious" merengue, (and had pineapple filling, ick!) but I ate it anyway! We didn't really get to talk much at all on Wednesday since Timothy was there...but we've got this Wed and the next and the next!! :)

    Love you!!

  3. Awesome pics & travelogue, Krister! You should submit something to the Register travel section or write a book or something!


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