La Antgua is the third colonial capital of Guatemala and at one point the most important colonial town between Mexico and Peru.  Abandoned in the late 1700s after an earthquake, the capital was moved to the current big, sprawling city of Guatemala City, which we are not visiting. 

Antigua became a backwater, which ironically is why it is such a gem today.  Left undisturbed and undeveloped it remained relatively small and intact.  Today it is a charming city of cobbled stones, restored colonial buildings, and the leading location for learning Spanish.  The Antiguenos are relaxed and used to hosting a wide variety of people from all over the world.  The city is compact and easy to walk around, with interesting buildings, museums, great markets, and incredibly beautiful hotels and restaurants.  Part of the charm of visiting this town is to walk through an open gateway and see what is inside.  Often it is a small hotel and/or restaurant situated in a restored building with a beautiful garden.   Typically the restorations leave at least part of the facility with exposed stonework and woodwork and it is incredibly atmospheric and charming.

Even the McDonalds fits in – it is the nicest McDonald’s we’ve seen anywhere  For starters the view from their patio is incredible – the Volcan Aqua is in the background.  There are no garrish golden arches, just a subtle McDonalds logo in the wrought ironwork on the windows.  Their coffee and pastries were pretty good too – we stopped here to use the free WiFi.

There is everything from super budget accommodations through super luxury hotels.  You can eat as expensively or as cheaply as you like.  This is certainly one of the nicest towns that I think we have visited.

Of course all the architecture makes this incredibly photogenic, so it is hard to choose just a few images to post here.

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