Stepping out of the bus into the city of Antigua, we experienced something we haven’t really felt for the past five and a half months – cold (even though it was 18°C!). Jumpers went on, shorts were regretted and we marveled at how good it felt.
To be fair it was still early in the morning, and as we would learn over the three days that we stayed in Antigua, the middle of the day could actually get quite warm. Nights were colder than we are used to which lead to a welcome discovery in our hostel. They actually give you duvets! It’s the little things.
Antigua is such a lovely city that we were quite happy spending our time wondering around and taking it all in. Antigua is filled with cobblestone streets and even more colourful buildings and is filled with the perfect balance of tourists and travellers and the people that actually live there. It’s not a city made especially for tourists but it welcomes them with open arms. Antigua is also ringed by mountains and a few volcanoes, some of which are active, and this just adds to the charm.
We didn’t really get up to much here other than enjoying the town itself. I did manage a walk up to a cross on a hillside that overlooks Antigua and gives you the most incredible views and also took part in a free salsa class. Let’s just say that my parents gifted me neither the natural rhythm or the coordination of limbs to allow me to take it to a professional level.
After Antigua we had a bit of a split. Five of us left for Lake Atitlán while Amy left for Guatemala City to retake the chemistry exam she needs to get into her uni course for next year. I think I suffered from more separation anxiety during those few days than I ever have with twin Amy! It’s going to be a long month of waiting for the results but everyone keep your fingers and toes crossed!
Atitlán is a lake with multiple personalities. For example, there’s Panajachel, the tourist town, where coaches unload their passengers to buy souvenirs by the armful; San Marcos, the hippie town, with yoga retreats and spiritual workshops galore; and San Pedro, the backpackers town, split pretty much in half and shared between locals and travellers.
Our relaxed approach (or laziness depending on your viewpoint) continued into our stay at Atitlán. Our first day solely consisted of looking around the little town we had chosen to stay in, San Pedro de la Laguna. We ventured across the lake to visit Panajachel too, with plans to kayak but we backed out because Atitlan, being a mile high lake was even colder than Antigua.
I really enjoyed the time we spent in both of these places and even though it sounds like we didn’t do much (which we didn’t) it was just what we felt like. We have been travelling for almost three months now and going from place to place every couple of days takes its toll so that by now, sometimes all we want to do is nothing. And our next stop would cater to this perfectly…