Travel, Food & Books

Antigua Guatemala

Founded on 10th March 1543 and declared a world heritage site in 1976, Antigua is a place where one can enjoy exploring the beauty of an incredible number of restored colonial buildings as well as the old ruins.

It used to be Guatemala’s capital city until the disaster happened, the Santa Marta earthquakes in 1773 made Guatemala City its new capital city in 1776 until now.

Mexico City to Guatemala

If you fly from Mexico City to La Aurora International Airport, make sure to get a seat on the right side. The view of the volcanoes is fantastic!

I wished someone had told us this information earlier before we boarded the plane. We could have bought the seats or at least requested the airline to change them. The view on our side was mostly towns and jungles. However, just before the plane preparing for the landing gear, it made a slight turn, and I got the chance to appreciate the beauty even for a short while.

It didn’t take long at the immigration, and by 4:11 pm we started our 42km journey for the price of 40 USD to Antigua. The traffic was quite heavy in town and it took an hour to get out of it, and once we got out, it was better, and the taxi driver turned to an F1 driver.

He drove super fast navigating the narrow and winding road, but he slowed down once we reached the old town with its cobblestone road. We stopped a few times asking the locals for help in locating the place we were staying, and eventually at 5:45 pm we reached La Casa de Lulú.

La Casa de Lulú

The receptionist couldn’t speak English, and he took care of everything in the house including cleaning the room. There’s a shared kitchen in the house, but we didn’t use it. Our room was on the top floor, with a spiral steel staircase to get to it. There’s no view in the room as both windows either face the wall of the next house or the hallway.

However, in the bathroom, there was a small opening hole facing outside, but it was too high to look outside. When I first saw it, I was a bit worried about mosquitos getting in, but there weren’t any. During the day or night, the temperature was bearable in the room despite having no fan or air-conditioning.

ATM in Antigua

Once we settled down, we headed out to look for an ATM to withdraw money for the spending and pay for the accommodation. However locating one was difficult at night, and eventually, we found it after asking several locals for directions. It was inside a pharmacy shop near the Cathedral Iglesia de la Merced.

Sunshine Grill Pizzeria

Before heading back to the house, we stopped by Sunshine Grill Pizzeria for meals and devoured the burger in record time because we were both quite hungry as our last meal was breakfast at 10 am. The owner spoke English and Spanish she was probably from Canada. The price for the two burgers and one mug of beer cost 100GTQ.

Earlier on while walking around to find the ATM, we walked past several restaurants including Chinese and Thai, but it was pricy, and besides, we were too hungry to wait for them to prepare the dishes.

Malenita Mia Antojitos Guatemaltecos

The next morning we had a cheap breakfast near the market in a stall called Malenita Mia Antojitos Guatemaltecos. It only cost 15GTQ for each meal that also came with coffee and Hot Chocolate. I had eggs and Mike had stuffed chilli.

Guatemalan Breakfast

Cafe Colonial

After breakfast, we walked around the town, and in the afternoon we had lunch at Cafe Colonial. Their Menú del Día (Menu of the Day) cost 66GTQ. We chose to have Pepian de Pollo. The meal was lovely, and we quite liked the taste of it.

The cafe was unique with its collection of gadgets from the olden days such as cameras, handphones and also toy cars. All these precious things were neatly placed decorating the walls on each side of the cafe. The waitress wore a black and white uniform and served our food professionally.

Cafeteria Jennifer

In the late afternoon, we went to get Trev at La Brasa bar. The same problem happened to him; the taxi driver couldn’t find the house and Trev asked him to drop him in a bar to use the internet and let us know where to meet him. In the evening we went to a local tienda called Cafeteria Jennifer and spent the night there until almost 10 pm.

The owner was friendly, in fact getting too close to us that when we ordered something, she didn’t immediately attend to us but was busy playing with her phone. Nevertheless, we promised to come again tomorrow because it’s dirt cheap there.

We spent only 385GTQ (£39) for two bottles of Whisky, one bottle of Ron Blanco, four bottles of 1L beer, two small bottles of beer, and three plates of fried meats which were tasty.

Places Around Antigua

Chicken Bus

The Ayuntamiento / Casa del Cabildo / Town House

The Ayuntamiento had two minor museums. The Museo de Santiago and The Museo del Libro Antiguo.

Cathedral of San José

Cathedral Iglesia de la Merced

Arch of Santa Catalina

In the olden days, the arch was built so that the nuns could walk between the two halves of the establishment without being exposed to the outside world.

San Jerónimo

This old ruin dates back to 1739, formerly a school and then a royal customs house. This place can be visited from Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm for the price of US$4.

La Recolección

This old ruin took 16 years to complete starting from 1701, but disaster struck only months after it opened. The earthquake damaged most of the structure, and they rebuilt it again. However, when the Santa Marta earthquake happened in 1773, no restoration had been made ever since.

Visiting day & hour: Monday to Sunday, 9 am to 5 pm
Foreign Tourist: GTQ 40
Foreign Student: GTQ 20
Central American Tourist: GTQ 15
National Tourist: GTQ 5

San Agustin Church

This old church is located at 5a Calle Poniente, Antigua Guatemala, but it’s not open to the public.

Picture of the Cobblestones Streets

Mike and Trev went for breakfast the next morning, and I didn’t go with them because I was still full from last night’s meat feast. If I was not mistaken, they said the Malenita Mia Antojitos Guatemaltecos was closed, and they went to another place.

Last night we spoke to Jennifer about how much we loved Pepian de Pollo, and she told us that she could make it for us. So in the afternoon, as promised, we showed up at her cafeteria. It felt like eating a home-cooked meal, and we’re grateful for that. It only cost us 85GTQ (£8.50) for three meals, with one bottle of beer and two Cokes.

After lunch, Mike went to buy bus tickets to Panajachel for tomorrow from Yellow House Hotel y Agencia de Viajes. The departure time was at 12:30noon and the ticket cost 75GTQ each. Trev also found his place to stay for tomorrow night since the house that we stayed fully booked, and he’s only joining us the next day in San Marcos.

New Year’s Eve in Antigua

At night which was the last night of the year 2018, we went out for drinks hopping, and Matthew joined us too. He had just arrived with his mate, Philip from the place where we were heading tomorrow.

At first, we couldn’t find the bar he wanted us to meet him, so we detoured to Antigua Brew and had four beers and one Limonada which cost 110GTQ while using the internet there to let him know about the failure. Matthew then set up a new place to meet up, Monoloco.

New Year’s Eve Celebration – Lantern

Antigua Brewing Co.

Some of the Food and Drink prices in Antigua Brewing Co.

GTQ 27 - Canchona - Belgium Blonde/ Xute - Pale Ale
GTQ 30 - Local Beer - Gallo/ Cabro/ Moza/ Dorada Draft/ Monte Carlo/ Corona/ Michelada Mix (+GTQ10)
GTQ 35 - Fuego - IPA
GTQ 38 - Excelentisima - Coffee Stout/ Imperial Stout/ Burrito Sabanero - Holiday Ale
GTQ 40 - Ofrenda - Dubbel 
QTQ 40 - Guatemalan Brew - Pantera/ Xaman/ Ruta Catorce
GTQ 40 - USA Imported - Brooklyn Lager/ Brooklyn American Ale/ Big Easy IPA/ Brooklyn EIPA/ Brooklyn 1/2 Ale/ Brooklyn Sorachi Ace/ Brooklyn Naranjito/ Brooklyn Brown Ale/ Abita Amber/ Abita Turbodog/ Abita Grapefruit Honey/ Abita Wrought Iron IPA/ Rogue 4 Hops IPA/ Rogue 7 Hops IPA/ Rogue Brutal IPA/ American Amber ALe/ Pineapple Craft Cider/ Perry Craft Cider/ Apple Hard Cider
GTQ 55 - Guatemalan Brew - Guin
GTQ 15 - Sodas
GTQ 20 - Limonada/ Naranjada/ Cranberry
GTQ 25 - Orange Juice/ Tomato Juice
GTQ 30 - Passion Fruit
GTQ 35 - Red Bull/ Strawberry Beermosa/ IPA Michelada
GTQ 40 - Cocktails - Margarita/ Mojito/ Paloma/ Sangria
GTQ 45 - Cocktails - Carajilio
GTQ 50 - Cocktails - Negrani/ Expresso Martini/ Chilitomate/ Aperol Spritz

GTQ 30 - Sweet Potato Fries/ Yucca Fries/ French Fries
GTQ 35 - ABC Sausage
GTQ 40 - Dobiadas Antiguenas/ Beer Battered Onion/ Jalapeno Poppers/ Beer Battered Pickles/ Vegetables Delight
GTQ 45 - Veggie Burger/ Quinoa Salad
GTQ 50 - Hail Caesar Salad/ Spicy Chicken Burger
GTQ 55 - Chicken Wings/ Mozzarella Sticks/ Chicken Fingers
GTQ 60 - ABC Quesadillas
GTQ 65 - ABC Nachos/ [In a Bun - Brewpub Burger/ Smoked Pulled Pork]
GTQ 75 - IPA Fish n Chips
GTQ 80 - BBQ Burger/ Charcuterie/ Fritto Misto Shrimp n Calamari
GTQ 90 - Smoked Ribs
GTQ 95 - Spanish Chorizo n Shrimp
GTQ 110 - Garlic Shrimp
Live Music in Antigua Brew

They also have souvenirs up for sale:

GTQ 20 - Shot Glass
GTQ 30 - Glass
GTQ 50 - Mug/ Leather Key Ring holder
GTQ 75 - Card Holder
GTQ 80 - T-shirt
GTQ 150 - Leather Travel Wallet/ Leather Coasters/ Sport Cap
GTQ 200 - Snapback

We had a few drinks in Monoloco while catching up with Matthew and Philip before walking up to Cafeteria Jennifer. This time though, the bill for five of us was only 295GTQ (£29.50) for three plates of fried meats, one bottle of whisky (for Trev) and four bottles of beer.

It was the last time we saw Jennifer because we left for Panajachel the next day. Trev stayed another night in Antigua before joining us in San Marcos on the 2nd of January 2019, and Matthew and Philip continued their journey to Panama after Antigua.

New Year Eve Gathering in Cafeteria Jennifer – Matthew, Mike, Me, Trev and Philip


Some of the Food and Drink prices in Monoloco:
Brahva - GTQ 19/ GTQ 45 (Litro)
Brahva Extra - GTQ 19/ GTQ 45 (Litro)
Gallo - GTQ 25/ GTQ 49 (Litro)
Cabro - GTQ 25/ GTQ 49 (Litro)
GTQ 25 - Modelo
GTQ 30 - Negra Modelo/ Corona/ Cadejo/ Stella Artois/ Brooklyn Abita/ Heineken
GTQ 45 - Rogue
GTQ 15 - Happy Hour (4pm ~ 8pm) - Ron/ Vodka/ Gin/ Modelo/ Brahva Extra
GTQ 29.50 - Queso Dip
GTQ 44.50 - Alitas y Papas
GTQ 39.50 - Mini Chili Cheese Fries
GTQ 49.50 - Two-Bean Chili
GTQ 54.50 - Tacos

Travel Date: 29th December 2018 ~ 01st January 2019

I’ve tried almost all of the ATMs there to take money from my Maybank account, but it wouldn’t accept it even though the machine was with the MEPS logo. I’ve successfully taken money out from Colombia ATM before.

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