Antigua! Yes, the one in Guatemala. There is a beautiful Caribbean island country by the same name. Not that one.
We spent 5 days here post-Lake Atitlan and before flying out to Costa Rica. While here, we decided it would be the perfect time to hike Acatenango (volcano). A fun, incredibly memorable, experience I will probably never ever do again, but I’m pretty sure Joce is down for another time. Thankfully, we saved that trip towards the end of the week.
Getting to Antigua was an experience in itself. It should’ve been a 3.5 hour trip from Lake Atitlan…it was not. On the road we stopped for what I thought was some regular traffic. After half an hour, one of our fellow passengers said there was a “manifestación”, to which I replied “a manifestation of what??”. Then was explained that means “protest”.
Not sure who was protesting what, but we were in support of democracy. We sat for four hours, made friends with our van mates, and bought some food from some locals walking up and down the street, who I think are very used to some manifestaciónes.
Antigua is a gorgeous town with Spanish influenced architecture and an insane amount of colonial churches. Like so,
We definitely got some steps in walking around town.
The food was amazing as well. Favorite spot was probably Rincon Tipico. This was recommended from one of our fellow passengers we were stuck in the van with for 8 hours. Fresh tortillas made at the front of the restaurant, free horchata, and some hella good food. Wish we could’ve gone there more than once.
But no time because we had a VOLCANO to climb.
I was a little bit more than a tad nervous to do this trip. The reviews on tripadvisor were along the lines of “most excruciating hike and time I have ever experienced…but overall good and the best views”. I wasn’t quite sold.
But, also really like doing things out of my comfort zone…and this definitely met that expectation.
We booked through Tropicana Hostel (and ya’ll know I researched like no other on the best company to go with). They really were the best. We were able to rent jackets, gloves, and hats directly from them, they had camping cots so we weren’t directly on the freezing ground (because we were spending the NIGHT), food menu looked pretty great and the price was right in the middle.
Our sweet, patient guide, Daniel, said it was the worst trip weather wise he’s ever been on. So that seems like a tad bit of an accomplishment.
We could not see a thing. The entire time. It also rained. When we finally made it to camp near the summit, we got in our tents about 4:00pm because it was cold and raining hard and honestly there was not much else to do. So I was asleep by 6:00. We could hear the neighboring volcano erupting throughout the night so it was almost like we could picture it. We woke up the next morning, weather still about the same, and hiked back down. I google image searched some pics of the volcano when I got back to wifi so it’s almost like we had the full experience.
Overall, I am glad I went. Which I didn’t think I would say. But it was really the hardest thing I have ever physically done so I feel good about finishing it.
After Antigua we spent the night in Guatemala City before our flight to Costa Rica. It was the best and nicest Airbnb we have stayed in, and were also told to not go out at night in the city, so we very excitedly and out of character ordered Dominos. Can’t fake these smiles.