We really have no idea what to expect in Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala. We only know that there is not much happening where we dock and so have arranged to take the tour “Do it yourself Antigua”. To this end we ignore the tourist shops in the arrival area and are soon driving along a well paved dual carriageway through fields of sugar cane and soy beans.
The harbour at Puerto Quetzal and the huge piles of coal delivered from the USA.
As we turn off the highway onto a smaller road, we begin to climb into the hills and the coffee plantations. The coffee trees are planted amid tall grevillia trees which give them shade. Coffee is one of the major exports from Guatemala. It is easy to see how they manage two coffee crops a year here … on either side of the road rise the cones of volcanoes. These volcanoes have already wiped out towns in the area and in the 1700’s caused the earthquake which caused such damage to Antigua, the town we are approaching.
The cloud capped volcano looms above the cobbled streets of Antigua
The powers that be in Antigua have decided in their wisdom, that large coaches are banned fron the old city, and so we transfer to small buses for the ride into city.
The whole city of Antigua is paved with cobbles
These buildings show some grandure but also signs of wear.
Everywhere there are beautiful windows, many with plants and surrounded by brightly coloured walls
Antigua is a UNESO world heritage listed city and it has a number of surprises. We set off to walk the four blocks to the central square, and at first glance the houses seem small and many are still in some state of disrepair. However, glancing into doorways as we pass presents a completely different idea. Through archways we see courtyards filled with plants.
Peeking into courtyards reveals a different story.
This Casa in Antigua is a hotel, so we take a peek into it’s courtyard to find manicured grass and magnificent tree ferns.
And as for the dining room, it’s not at all what we had expected … high class and luxuriously furnished
How about this for a dining table next to the greenery!
Arched colonnades and large flagstones along the sides of the main square in Antigua
Couldn’t resist this one 🙂
It feels like time for a coffee so we go into a cafe. Inside there is as good a coffee shop as you can find anywhere. The cafe fills up, as a rain shower passes through, but not with tourists. Most are young, extremely well dressed locals. Why am I surprised, I ask myself? This idea that a town in the highlands of Guatemala in central america should have third world conditions – where did I get that from? Antigua is, it seems, a vibrant and successful city.
Coffee, cakes and excellent WiFi … what more could we ask?
Not a tourist in sight!
This fruit vendor stall has a tiled roof
Interesting how they only offer their wares to Jacqui.
Many parts of this city are still in need of repair.
This is a furniture shop … love the door!
Ornate columns frame the studded door of this hotel.
This Arch across the road is one of the best known features in Antigua
Under the arch is this entrance with fountains playing in the courtyard beyond
Every now and then, you can spot suspicious people lurking in doorways
Well ordered shops hide behind the preserved outer walls
Dozens of floats depicting religious scenes are locked behind bars until the next festival. The bundle of clothes on the step has a women hiding underneath.
“I’ll swear she was only this tall”, said the street sweeper to the artist.
These doorways were definitely meant to keep people out!
Lovely bit of artwork!
Inside a furniture shop.
Fresh flowers brighten the cloudy day.
The Iglesia de la Merced is extensively decorated.
The main alter in the Iglesia de la Merced in the city of Antigua, Guatemala
In a side alcove of the Iglesia de la Merced, this beautiful shrine.
Alas, even here there are those that need to check the contents on rubbish bins.
The three wise owls look out from their cage.
Yet another glimpse of a lush courtyard
Here, a couple of hobbits are spotted lurking behind the orchids.
As we leave Antigua, we get a reminder that this is a very active volcanic zone as the Fire Volcano shoots a plume of ash into the clouds.
I hope you have enjoyed these http://notesofatraveller.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10 from our stroll around the streets of “The Colonial City” of Antigua, a city largely destroyed by an earthquake in the 1700’s which is now slowly being rebuilt thanks its UNESCO World Heritage Status.
Next time, we cross the equator and arrive in Equador.