Samantha and I were booked to go on a cycling tour of the nearby valley at the base of a massive volcano, but as we were the only ones signed up, the trip was canceled. Instead, we found ourselves with seven other staffers on a minivan into Antigua.
Our driver made a few stops along the way; just like in many Asian countries, you’ll have “shop stops” where the driver earns commission from any business he brings in. I’m not sure any of us bought anything, but there was a gorgeous view of the Antigua valley below and some opportunities for colorful photos.
One thing I do find charming about Guatemala is the locals: In the two visits I’ve made to the country, I’ve yet to encounter a rude one. They are all so warm and welcoming, and I love the chance to practice my Spanish. I just sincerely wish I enjoyed traveling through their country more—I really do.
I will say that Antigua was a good town to pal around with friends. It’s small enough that you can cover it by foot. It’s also rife in photo opps.
I wandered the cobblestone streets with Chris, Danielle and Samantha, and it took us ages to find somewhere that served lunch. In the end, we found our way in Fusion, which while pricey, hit the spot.
After lunch, we happened to stumble past this massive crafts market where SVV and I had bought some home accents back in 2008. I came home with a few mugs and some textiles.
Then, we did the typical tourist thing: photos of the iconic arch!
It was a gray, drizzly day just like the last time I was here. I definitely had a feeling of déjà vu: Nothing had changed in the four years since I first visited Antigua, and I was taking all the same photos as I did on the last visit (albeit with different, upgraded lenses!).
When we returned to the spot where our driver was picking us up, we ran into what seemed like the rest of the shipboard community. With the big smiles on their faces—their bags bulging with purchases—I’d say they have a different opinion of Guatemala than I do. Which is a good thing: Not every place is meant for every person, right?