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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.

Volcan de Agua (Volcano of Water) is in the background.  The top was always covered in clouds.

Volcan de Agua (Volcano of Water) is in the background. The top was always covered in clouds.

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You can just barely see the active volcano off to the right.

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.

There was one residential tree lined street on the edge of town by our hotel.

There was one residential tree lined street on the edge of town by our hotel.

Antigua

Antigua

Templo y Convento La Merced

Templo y Convento La Merced

Inside Templo y Convento La Merced

Inside Templo y Convento La Merced

Arco de Sta. Catarina

Arco de Sta. Catarina

This is a common sight.  Too bad we couldn't take any home across the border.

This was a common sight. Too bad we couldn’t take any home across the border.

Streets of Antigua

Streets of Antigua

Streets of Antigua

Streets of Antigua

Feeding the homeless pups in town

Feeding the homeless pups in town

Arco de Sta. Catarina

Arco de Sta. Catarina

Streets of Antigua

Streets of Antigua. Many people get around on bikes and scooters.

We are at Plaza Central with the Cathedral in the background.

We are at Plaza Central with the Cathedral in the background.

We explored Convento Santo Domingo, which is part hotel and part ruins.

One of the many fountains within the hotel

One of the many fountains on the hotel grounds

The hotel had a collection of marionettes on display.

The hotel had a collection of marionettes on display.

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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.

Our hotel room.  Too bad it was too warm for a fire.

Our hotel room. Too bad it was too warm for a fire.

We had a spa tub on our patio.  After walking on cobble stone streets all day, our ankles and calfs really appreciated a soak in the tub.

We had a spa tub on our patio. After walking on cobble stone streets all day our ankles and calfs really appreciated a soak in the tub.

The restaurant had a break ceiling.

The restaurant had a brick ceiling.

View from the inner courtyard

View from the inner courtyard

The upstairs terrace had a pretty view of the rooftops and the volcanos.  Adding my handsome hubby makes it even better.

The upstairs terrace had a pretty view of the rooftops and the volcanos. Adding my handsome hubby makes it even better.

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.

Puffs of smoke but no lava.  Guides lead hikes to the top and roast marshmallows.

Puffs of smoke. You can see where the lava has flowed down the hill and it even appears to have come up to the road at some point.

conduct hikes

Guides lead hikes to the top where you can roast marshmallows in the hot spots.

La Antigua did not disappoint. The bonus was great restaurants and actual bars that made cocktails with some craft beer here and there.

Fair winds
Cindy