Discovering Antigua, Guatemala

Diane Redfern traveled Guatemala with two guides. She, a writer for Connecting…Solo Travel Network, was a solo traveler with companions. This contradiction and the knowledge she gained both about Guatemala can be found in her article “Wonderful Guatemala – On Your Own – Yes, or No.”

“Founded in 1543 to replace an earlier capital city (Ciudad Vieja), Antigua attracted all the symbols and trappings of Spanish power. Grand churches, convents, and government buildings rose in the shadows of Agua, Fuego, and Acatenango, the three volcanos that overlook the city.
By 10am we were back in the car and off to nearby Jocotenango, a five-minute drive or shuttle-bus (hourly/Q5) ride from Parque Central, Antigua’s main meeting place.

Jaime pointed out local landmarks in passing: Look up and see St Catherine’s Arch, (Arco de Santa Catalina). Built in 1693 to allow nuns to cross between neighboring convents without being seen in the street below, this quaint yellow structure was restored sometime after the earthquake of Santa Marta hit in 1773, one of several to devastate the city over the years.

In Jocotenango we spent a couple of hours at the Centro Cultural La Azotea. This complex of attractions could easily fill a whole day for anyone inclined to combine a horseback ride and lunch with a stroll through a working coffee plantation cum museum, followed by learning about Guatemalan music in the adjoining Casa Kójom.

We, however, returned to Antigua where I had the rest of the afternoon for a walkabout of the town’s many colonial buildings. Interestingly, some ruins have been left to show the ravages of several devastating earthquakes while other sites were restored to a functional state.”