Exploring Antigua Guatemala

Central America has always been high on my list of must see places, and when a group of friends and I decided to travel to Mexico I decided to leave a few weeks before everyone else and see what else the region had to offer!

After a lot of research I decided to do a Best Of Guatemala & Mexico tour with Intrepid. Since I was going on my own and I didn’t speak Spanish this was the best option for me. This tour has now changed slightly – I did it back in 2013 and the Rio Dulce was not part of the itinerary. I assume that has been added to break up the long drive from Antigua to Flores which is a great move. I am really happy that I decided to do this tour, everything was well organised, I felt safe and I made friends!

So on with the journey!

I flew from Australia to Los Angeles with Virgin, where I had one night booked in an airport hotel. I stayed at the Radisson, which appears to now be rebranding as a Hyatt. It was fine. Nothing special. I picked it because it was cheap and the Gateway To LA Ocean Express shuttle stops out the front. I used this service to go to some of the local malls and shop at Sephora… to be honest this is half the reason I booked a stopover in LA! Anyway if you find yourself with a stopover in LA I highly recommend getting a ticket for this bus. There’s not a lot in walking distance to the airport hotels – I had dinner at Subway.

In the morning I caught the courtesy shuttle back to LAX, where I boarded my flight. Although there are direct flights, due to a number of reasons I booked to fly LAX – Mexico City – Guatemala City. The flight to Mexico City was straightforward, but I then had to make my way through customs, pick up my bag, check it, and then board my flight. I had a few hours to do this, but unfortunately I got stuck in a very long queue that moved incredibly slowly. You haven’t lived until you have run through Mexico City airport with your name being called over the loudspeakers. What a moment. If you’re doing this connection, allow for more time. The Aeromexico flight to Guatemala was on the nicest plane I’ve ever seen – huge leather seats with just two people to a row, and it was half empty so I had my row to myself.

I landed in Guatemala where it took mere minutes to get through the airport, and then the transfer I had arranged was waiting out the front for me. The drive from Guatemala City to Antigua took about an hour, and it was dark by the time I arrived. I was struck by the number of fast food places I saw on the way, particularly McDonalds!

antigua guatemala

I stayed at the Posada Los Bucaros, which was a cute family run hotel. The rooms were small but nice enough, it was clean, the staff were friendly and it was safe. It was walking distance to everything.

Antigua Guatemala

Antigua is a beautiful little city filled with colonial churches, Spanish Baroque architecture and cobblestone lined streets arranged around a big square. It’s a popular tourist destination, and most overseas visitors come here rather than nearby Guatemala City.

antigua_guatemala

In Antigua the big thing to do is climb the local volcano. Did I do that? No. I was jet lagged and feeling lazy. Instead I spent two days walking around and looking at things. I didn’t even really take many photos, because I was walking around on my own most of the time. One thing to note is that there is plenty of good food and coffee in Antigua. I also met my tour group here, a mix of people from Australia and the UK. I won’t go on about my tour group too much in this blog – the most important thing is we had a great time, and I’d be happy to travel with Intrepid again.

On this trip I travelled with a little point and shoot camera and an iPhone. So while my photos were okay I wish they were better.

Next up: Flores!

Antigua Guatemala

Antigua Guatemala


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