Antigua Travel Guide: Where to Stay and What to Do
Entrepreneur: Brittany Garman
Industry: Event Planning
Wedding season is upon us and what better way to kick off this time of year than attend a destination wedding in Antigua, Guatemala. Antigua proved itself to not only be a fabulous place to wed your special someone but is also full of exciting adventures, delicious restaurants, loads of unique shopping and best of all, is absolutely beautiful. We traveled in early Spring and during this time of year the city is filled with lush gardens and vibrant colors at every turn. We could not help but be inspired. Here’s the lowdown on our trip.
Where We Stayed: Casa Santo Domingo Hotel
This hotel was quite a departure from the norm. It magically blended botanical gardens, a museum, spa, restaurant, an art gallery, ancient ruins, local artisan shopping and more to create an impressive experience for it’s guests. You could certainly wander about for hours and still not see all that this property has to offer.
Antigua Activity Highlights
Elizabeth Bell Walking Tour
Any time I travel I like to take a walking tour preferably in the first day or two of my trip. It is an excellent way to get your bearings, discover interesting places and get advice from a local who knows the lay of the land. Our walking tour was with Elizabeth Bell, American born but has spent nearly 50 years living and working in Antigua. She knows absolutely everything about the city and spending an afternoon with her is well worth the time.
Pacaya Volcano Hike
Be advised, you will most likely sweat up a storm with this hike but oh what an extraordinary experience with incredible views of all the surrounding cities and lakes. Our hike was not up the volcano, just the parks surrounding, but you are pretty, pretty close to what is still a very active volcano. So close that various lava rocks are hot enough to roast marshmallows which I did…yum! Very unexpected and situated amidst the lava rocks surrounding the volcano there is a charming little shop called The Lava Store…because what else do you name a store on on the side of a volcano?!? They sell a mix of items using lava rocks and other natural materials made by local artisans.
Filadelfia Coffee Plantation Tour & Zip Lining Canopy Tour
Coffee is a huge part of the Guatemalan experience and there are tons of excellent roasters and growers all over the country. Caffeine addicts rejoice! Finca Filadelfia Coffee Plantation offers a very well organized and in depth tour on how coffee is grown and later roasted. After our tour and getting our fill on all things coffee ended our day with a zip lining canopy tour… it… was…. amazing! It was the perfect way to relax, get some fresh air and let gravity sweep you away.
A Few Other Gems
I could go on for days talking about my Guatemalan experiences, shops I visited and the loads of food I consumed in the six days I was there. I came home with a suitcase full of treasures that I am sure to enjoy in my home and entertaining days ahead. With that being said, we have a few favorite shops to find non-kitsch keepsakes.
- Colibri – Textiles are all over the city and no doubt you could probably find fairly similar looking items cheaper elsewhere. However, the products in Colibri are finished to a high standard so they are well worth the extra bit of cash. Keep in mind, Antiqua in general is pretty inexpensive so you can splurge a little here.
- La Tienda de Dona Gavi – This place is known for their outstanding dairy free ice-cream but they also have an assortment of vintage home decor pieces, clothing and gourmet food items in the shop as well. The artistic styling of the products had us so intrigued we came here multiple times.
- Topis Disenos: Cerámica de La Antigua – All thing serving-ware can be found in this shop filled tiles, bowls, plates, butter dishes, lamps, vases and more. You can trust that each piece is truly unique as everything is handcrafted.
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