Antigua is by far one of the more interesting places I've visited in the past year. It's the total opposite of what you might think of when you think Guatemala.
The flight landed at 4 AM, and the cab ride was about an hour to Antigua. I stayed at Los Olivos. It is located in the city center and around the corner from the main square. One of the advantages of getting into a country overnight is that you can head out early in the morning to start exploring.
The first stop was the Santa Catalina Arch. After a few pictures, I walked to the Hill of the Cross. (Take my advice, take a taxi) It was farther away than it looked on the map. I spent the remainder of the day doing a self-guided walking tour I managed to find online.
By nightfall, I was starving and, the only place I wanted to eat was at Frida's. The food is by far one of the best meals I had in the past few months. After spending the night to live music and a few cold ones, I walked back to my hotel for a nap.
Three hours later, I was on a bus heading to Lake Atitlan. After a 4-hour bus ride, we stopped for breakfast. (Included in the tour) Then we walked to the pier and caught a ferry to a series of villages.
San Juan, San Pedro and Santa Cruz. Each village had something different to offer, and it showed great insight into life on the water in Lake Atitlan. After spending the day on the lake, I returned to Antigua for dinner at Los Tres Tiempos to try its famous Pepian.
After that headed to Fridays for a few drinks and live music.
The next day started with drinks at the Antigua Brewing Company.
Tacos followed at Ta'cool. Then I went on a four-hour walking tour where I did everything from buy jewelry to making chocolate. It was a great experience.
The city of Antigua is an ideal destination for travelers that want an authentic experience and still have the benefits of great nightlife. It's safe, and a must-see for any traveler.
Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any parties mentioned. None of the entities mentioned has reviewed, approved or endorsed the content listed in this post.