Antigua- bring a jacket.

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Bumpy roadways and the cold crisp air indicative of a drastic change in altitude welcomed us to to Antigua. Arguably the most popular city amongst tourists in Guatemala, the trip from El Salvador’s beaches took only 6 hours. The change in environment is so noteworthy, it feels like we must have been on the road for days.

In Central America, half of a day of travel can bring you to an entirely different universe. From the tropical surf scene of El Tunco to the cold mountains surrounded by mirrored lakes and volcanos covered in dense clouds. Dressed in shorts and t-shirts, we were nearly frozen by the time we found a guesthouse. Three layers later, with hats and close-toed shoes, we felt better prepared to discover this well loved city. Our shivering bodies drew many laughs from the locals.

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Our first impressions of Antigua (other than the weather): Colonial architecture, an easy grid system layout, a lot of signs and advertisements in English, and a lot of good strong coffee. Coffee so good that it deserves a second mention– really good coffee. There are a lot of tourists here, and the biggest concentration of Peace Corps volunteers that we’ve met on this entire trip (we arrived just after new year, so we met a number of volunteers on vacation). Understandably so, for anyone in Central America long term, or anyone on vacation in need of a dose of home, Antigua would be the place to come.

Antigua is a well funded community recognizable by the historical preservation, clean cobblestone streets, well kept street lighting, and artsy rubbish bins on every corner. We’ve come to recognize the ornamentation adorned upon a town with a World Heritage listing, and Antigua is no different. As many have told us, it may not offer a correct interpretation of ‘true Guatemala’, but it is nevertheless a symbol of pride.

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