When someone insisted that we had to visit Antigua, we said of course we are going to that fabulous caribbean island eventually. Well we were soon educated on the other jewel, La Antigua Guatemala. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site there are cobblestone streets with Spanish colonial buildings restored after the 1773 earthquake that ended Antigua’s 200 year reign as the capital of Guatemala. The cathedrals and buildings not restored are now ruins open for tours. So with that information we headed across the border to the central highlands of Guatemala. Relief from the heat and humidity along with the promise of a beautiful colonial town and some restaurants, we couldn’t leave soon enough.
The first thing we did was hike up to Cerro de La Cruz. From there we had this magnificent view of Antigua and the surrounding three volcanos. Guatemala has thirty some volcano’s three of them active. Volcano of Water is dormant and stands at 12,356 feet. Acatenango last erupted in 1972 and is the tallest at 13,045 feet. Volcano of Fire (Fuego) is 12,346 feet high and is one of the active volcano’s.
After we did this hike, which consisted of many steps along a switchback path, I found out we should have had a escort by the tourist police for safety.
We explored Convento Santo Domingo, which is part hotel and part ruins.
We enjoyed our ‘Hollywood’ showers and king size bed at the charming El Convento Boutique Hotel. Carefully restored and opened in 2008, it was ‘the place’ to enjoy time off the boat.
The Volcano of Fire (Fuego) stayed quiet until we were in the van heading home, which is unusual because Fuego is known to emit steam and gas at low levels daily. The last larger eruption was September 2012.
So the following pictures were taken bumping along in the shuttle van with bald tires and no shocks. It was a long five hour ride.
La Antigua did not disappoint. The bonus was great restaurants and actual bars that made cocktails with some craft beer here and there.