There’s a saying about Antigua. “The only danger with this place, is that you might never leave”, and we very nearly didn’t. It took us the best part of three weeks to leave.
After a shuttle bus journey from hell, we arrived in Antigua at 8.30pm, a mere 12 and a half hours after we’d left Lanquin. We checked into our hostel, Matiox, and were relieved to see just how nice it was.
We were checked in by a nice American called Dave, who had moved to Antigua to pursue an art career after working as an actor in the States, most notably on ‘Saved By The Bell’. He showed us to our 4 bed dorm, which was made up of cool little pods, with the most unbelievably comfy beds.
Not much was done that night, after a few beers we retired to our dorms for a well-earned sleep. In the morning we set to exploring Antigua. It’s a wonderfully charming, post-colonial Town. Cobbled streets intersect and criss-cross with resplendently colourful buildings on either side.
Antigua was ruined by a volcanic explosion hundreds of years ago, and dotted around the place are several ruins still standing from the aftermath. To visit the attractions is fairly expensive for Guatemalan standards, and will set you back around £4 per person, but it’s worth it to soak in the atmosphere and history of the place.
On the outskirts stands ‘Cerro De La Cruz’, a large stone cross laying testament to the countries Catholic heritage. A short 15 minute walk and you’re there, looking down on Antigua from above. It’s not the most fantastic view you’ll ever see, but it is a must when you’re there. You can see the entire Town set amongst a backdrop of intimidating volcanoes.
You can visit the cross between 10-4 in the daytime, beware about going at the extremes of these times. Gangs have been known to lay in wait in the bushes on the ascent and rob, assault and even rape unsuspecting tourists. To be extra safe you can get a tuc-tuc up, or go midday when there’s sure to plenty of locals and security up there.
After a few days we decided to base ourselves in Antigua for the foreseeable future. We booked an extra 7 days in Matiox and set about making a plan. In terms of things to do, there’s plenty in Antigua. Spanish school, hikes up Pacaya & Acetanango volcanoes and trips to Monterrico & Lake Atitlan.
We did all those things, and we’ll split the blog into sections from now on to describe our experiences. Below is a list of some of the costs & prices that we paid in Antigua.
Matiox: Dorm room, single bed – £7.50 P/P
Ruins & Cerro De La Cruz: £4 P/P
Lanquin – Antigua | Marlin Espadas – £10 P/P
£5-£10 a day, for two people, using Matiox Kitchen
Daily Budget-Excluding Accommodation