About a year ago my Macbook broke down completely. I edited my photos with Aperture, but now that I have been using Windows and Aperture is no longer an option. Add that to the fact that it I discovered my pictures had an audience on Instagram right around that time and you can easily guess why I’ve stopped using my DSLR (Last week in Hamburg and Berlin I took 5 photos with my camera!)
I have never claimed to be a photographer but I do enjoy capturing moments and sharing them with other people. I like to play around with my camera settings or discovering new photo editing tools. This time I’ve done something different: a photo-essay of Antigua Guatemala unedited.
I have been many times to Guatemala, mostly as a kid. We stopped going when we moved to Honduras because the trip was too long to make with children. The news and rumors about kidnappings and shootings between the Salvadoran and Guatemalan border deterred us even more. We went back in 2012 for two days and my parents and brothers have been back there multiple times since then. While it is true the situation in this part of the world is dire to say the least, most of us do not witness the violence day to day.
Antigua is not the obscure and rare destination to Central Americans it is to everyone else. But I understand why anyone would think twice before jumping on a plane to Guatemala. After all the whole region is associated with drug lords, poverty, gang violence and danger. I don’t want to downplay these issues at all — it bothers me to see some locals completely oblivious to these problems, because as I said before even though the consequences of these problems affect everyone, it is those living in poverty who experience the violence in their daily lives. There are, however, conventional guidelines to follow in order to maximize your safety but this is a topic for another post.
Antigua is perhaps the most touristy place in Guatemala and thus the safest in the country. The streets are filled with tourists and residents day and night. This gives Antigua its unique vibe, with busy colorful markets during the day and a festive atmosphere at night.
Visiting Central America is in itself stepping off the beaten bath. And yet, Antigua thrives with tourism. The Spanish colonial architecture with cobblestone streets, warm colored houses and volcanoes surrounding it make Antigua postcard perfect.
So come to Antigua, learn a little Spanish and buy yourself a colorful satchel or cross-body bag. You’ll be surprised to find that the most underrated destinations are often the most enjoyable ones. Antigua has something to offer to all kinds of crowds: for families with children or solo travelers, it’s perfect for a quick getaway or an extended holiday.
These pictures were taken this January the weekend after New Year’s Eve. This year I’m definitely going back to Guatemala and I’m looking forward to writing about tourism in Central America.