After leaving Costa Rica, I arrived at my next destination—Guatemala.
But not the capital.
Instead, I went straight to Antigua Guatemala.
The capital of Guatemala, Guatemala City, is considered very dangerous, and many recommend you go straight to Antigua.
Antigua is a small city built in a Spanish colonial style.
It’s located about 1-hour drive from Guatemala City, and it’s a very vibrant city.
The moment I arrived, I fell in-love with.
The 10-minute city
Firstly—it’s very walkable.
I really appreciate small and compact cities.
I call such cities—the 10-minute cities.
Because everything you need is located 10-minute away by feet.
Gym, grocery store, restaurants, yoga studios.
All 10-minute away.
In addition to that, Antigua is built in squares.
All streets cross each other at a 90-degree angle.
This means that navigating the city becomes very easy.
Third left, second right—and you got where you need.
I really like this style of urban planning.
Secondly, Antigua is very nomad friendly.
It has a big community of digital nomads, and a good amount of cool places to work from (see #Recommendations).
And the coffee, oh the coffee!
It’s so great!
Antigua is located between 4 volcanoes: Agua (my favorite), Pacaya, Acatenango and Fuego.
You walk in this small and compact city, and on the horizon you see these amazing volcanoes.
I don’t know about you, but living surrounded by volcanoes—is something special.
However, my stay in Antigua wasn’t limited to the city itself.
Throughout the month I lived there, my wife and I traveled to some cool places.
Cerro de La Cruz
It’s a small viewing point, located about 25-minutes walk from the center.
From there you get an amazing view on Antigua as well as all the volcanoes.
Pacaya is a volcano not far from Antigua.
It’s considered active, however there is no lava, and according to our guide—it’s safe.
The hike itself is not hard, and you climb to around 2300 m.
If you are in Antigua, I highly recommend you do this hike.
Hobbitenango is a small resort built in the style of Lord of the Rings.
It’s located about 45 minutes drives from Antigua, and they have daily shuttles.
I’ve been to Hobbiton in New Zealand—which is the original shooting location of The Shire from LOTR—but I must admit I liked Hobbitenango way more.
It has more LOTR vibe, as it contains a restaurant, a brewery, and a lot of activities such as arrow shooting.
Also, the fact that you explore it on your own—and not with a guide as in Hobbiton—means you can spend more time there, and enjoy the scenery.
There is a different post Hiking Acatenango which you can check for the full experience, but in few words—I highly recommend you do it.
It’s a very challenging hike, but worth it.
Artista de Cafe - My absolute favorite coffee place and working location.
They have amazing coffee, and are usually filled with digital nomads.
A bit on the expensive side.
Serve Hope Cafe - A really cool café and working location.
They have a nice rooftop.
You can either work in the public café area, or rent a dedicated co-working table / meeting room.
Union Cafe - A hipstery café for breakfast and/or lunch.
I also saw some people working from there.
La Bodegona - A huge supermarket with everything you need.
I usually bought all my groceries there.
Antiguas Gym - The gym I went to.
Very good, has all the equipment and free weights.
If you are into boxing, there is a Japanese guy named Cazu who does personal boxing sessions there.
Reach out to the gym and ask for Cazu.
I never heard about Antigua, but I’m glad I went there.
It’s easily one of my favorite cities, and I’ll definitely come back there.
The small buildings in Spanish style; the local population with their traditional outfits; the volcanoes—all this makes Antigua very special.
Right now I’m on Lake Atitlan (I’ll post about it as well, so stay tuned), and will be back to Antigua for a few more days.
But I’m glad I stayed a month there.