"Antigua" Antigua Guatemala by gfinesilver
Antigua Guatemala Travel Guide: 641 reviews and 1,874 photos
Antigua can be a magical place for any traveler. Certainly there are many foreigners here to volunteer and study languages and party. But sometimes that's a fun place to be too, and it can sometimes be relaxing to feel safe and have friends around and be surrounded by beautiful volcanoes and colonial architecture.
There is tons to do in and around Antigua. A hike to nearby Pacaya volcano is quite popular. You can also climb the closer volcanoes, bike, visit villages, shop and organize your Guatemala trip.There are tons of restaurants and bars and a few of them are actually good and well priced although you have to know your way around. Salsa lessons are a popular thing here as well as language instruction, both of which are very inexpensive.
My experience in Antigua is varied. It goes something like this:
August 2004 - Arrive after two weeks deep in the jungle of the Petén. During the first 2 weeks i stayed in a hostel and made friends and tried to get myself established and take a course in Kaqchikel, the local Mayan dialect.
August to Dec 1, 2004 - I stayed in two different houses on the same street at the East end of town. I lived with Guatemalans, Germans, Mexicans, French and some other stragglers here and there.
I worked with an organization called Camino Seguro, getting kids in the City into school, and once a week I worked with a women's group in a village nearby called Santiago Zamora.
May 2005 to March 2006 - I went to Antigua with different groups as a Tour Guide for several days each time. In total 8 times.
November 2007 - As a favor I went back to lead a trip from Antigua to San José.
Learn Spanish - There are dozens of schools to choose from. Ixchel is a good one.
Costs $60-180/week depending on number of hours of 1 on 1 instruction. Schools can also organize homestays. Guatemala is one of the cheapest and best places to learn Spanish, but in Antigua you have to force yourself to practice.
Volunteer - There are lots of organizations where you can give your time
Proyecto Mosiaco Guatemala can help you find organizations throughout Guatemala for a small fee.
Camino Seguro/Safe Passage is a educational reinforcement program helping families of Guatemala City's garbage dumps.
Casa Alianza works with street kids in Guatemala City.
El Buen Samaritano is a project located in nearby Jocotenango.
Salsa Classes - Tons of dance schools and cheap lessons to hone your skills. Gloria is the best, across from Sky Cafe.
Pacaya Volcano - Available through most agencies. $5-10 for a big group tour.
Acatenango Volcano - Overnight trip giving you an early morning view of active Fuego Volcano.
Cerro de la Cruz - Short walk to a nice view over the city. Led by local police departing from the Municipalidad.
Visit a Village - Go with a group to the village of Santiago Zamora.
Great tour leaving weekly from Proyecto Mosaico offices.
Nightlife - Antigua has a lot of night life and really gets going on weekends when people come in from the City. Things end at 1AM but there are often afterparties somewhere.
La Sala - best place with live music on weekends
A Sin Ventura - salsa on tuesdays on a cramped floor with a latin mix on weekends
Toreros - salsa on thursdays. located behind the market
Red's - English pub with free pool
- Pros:Many opportunities, good starting point, good nightlife
- Cons:Very touristic, lots of gringos, expensive (comparatively)
Buses depart from main Bus Terminal behind the Municipal Market. There will be a sign on the front of the bus indicating... more travel advice
Very interesting village tour organized by a Women's Collective. Learn about local culture and history and see... more travel advice
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