Antigua

For me Antigua was the most beautiful city I visited in Guatemala. Back in the days, Antigua was the capital of Guatemala. But because of nature’s power (read: a lot of earthquakes) they moved the capital more east: Guatemala City. I stayed in the Jungle Party Hostal which was fun because they had a nice bar (with swings) and you can sleep in a giant room with the matrasses on the floor. We thought it was very cosy, but if you want a bit more luxoury you can book a ‘normal’ room for only a bit more.

Antigua is a beatiful city  with old colourful houses, but the most impressive part of Antigua is the amazing view because of the enormous volcano you will see when you’re walking through Antigua. And that brings me to the part of Antigua most travellers are heading to this place: the volcano hikes. You can chose different hikes based on how fit and healthy you are. We chose the two days hike on the volcana Acatenango. It’s about a 6,5 hour hike all the way up which is very hard because it’s only up up up and because of the altitude (it feels like you’re out of breathe when you’ve taken two steps). And you have to carry your tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, food an drinks with you, which make it even harder. So big tip: be prepared! When we booked our hike they didn’t really inform us so we had to rent a backpack which made it harder because it didn’t fit us. If you can bring your own bag, do it! It will be way better for your back which will made this hike a lot better.

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The hike was hard, but it was so beautiful! It’s amazing when you’re walking in the clouds, it’s just like walking in a movie scenery. And when you’re above the clouds it’s even more beautiful. You truely feel like you’re on top of the world! I will let the pictures speak for themselves. After the 6,5 hour hike we arrived at an amazing little spot where we set up our camp. And the most amazing part: you will be right in front of the volcano Fuego, which was extremely active when we were there. It erupted almost every fifteen minutes! This truely felt like a major bucket list check in my life. It’s even more spectacular at night because you can see the lava! We were on 4000 metres (wow!) which made it a very cold area. So tip #2: bring enough clothes with you! When you’re hiking you’ll be very warm but as soon as you’re standing still you will be colde very quickly.

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So at this place we spent our night. We had amazing hot chocolate at the campfire which the guide had for us. And the view was just breathtaking. For sure this was the most amazing sunset I have ever seen in my life. At 4am in the morning we woke up because the last part of the hike. The last hike will take you about an hour and it’s very slippery and steep, so it’s not easy! We didn’t bring any flashlights so we decided not to continue this part. Which was sad, because this part of the hike will take you to the top of the volcano which will give you a 360 degrees view! So major tip  #3: bring a flashlight! Still we had a good time while a part of the group was gone, because we had a very beautiful sunrise on top of this amazing volcano.

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Amazing view at night. Photo credits: Sunil Patel

After the group was reunited again we had breakfast together and started our hike downwards. Because the volcano is so steep we couldn’t really walk down, because it turned into running! So we were back in no time (about two hours). For me this hike was the hardest but also the most impressive thing I’ve done in my life so far. So I defenitely would recommend to go! Last tip #4: take enough food and water with you! You will get some food during your hike, but it’s not a lot.

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We returned to our hostel in Antigua in the end of the morning. We decided that we deserved some luxoury so we had an amazing lunch at Luna de Miel, a restaurant where they serve sweet and savoury crepes and fresh and tasty smoothies. If they still have the crêpe with goatcheese and honey: take it (it’s heaven)! After that we had a massage which was just what we needed. Antigua has a lot of spas so just walk around Antigua and you find something you like in no time!

Another thing we’ve done was a day trip to Chichicastenango. This little town has the biggest traditional market of whole Central America. The market is every Thursday and Sunday. I absolutely loved this place! The market is so colourful and there are a lot of Mayan people still wearing their traditional clothes. This market the perfect place if you want to go souvenir shopping or if you want to dive in the mayan culture.

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