guatemala. a place that was barely on my travel radar, and came to be thanks to a film job on lake atitlan. my friend erika and i took the journey to this country together and were thrilled by the beauty seeping out of every corner. every wall is vibrantly colored, flowers bloom on virtually every surface, and the culture dances through the streets. here's some insight from our stay in antigua and jaibalito, guatemala.
-casa santa rosa. a beautiful, accommodating villa-style property with an open courtyard and lovely staff. breakfasts are served, and simple (get the chapin while you're visiting, its THE guatemalan breakfast.)
-the good hotel. this hotel gives back to the local community in building schools for the local children. lots of delicious food and drinks. the water is treated at this property.
-casa santo domingo. this is one of the most historical properties in antigua and is simply stunning. they have a great spa with lots of unique massages and services. definitely snag a session if you can, even if its just to sit in the comfy lounge chairs and swim in the double-atrium cave jacuzzi.
-sabe rico. healthy food and local fare. I loved breakfast here the most. the batidos are delicious and fresh, and they have lots of yummy options. dinner is also pretty good, especially to try some local dishes. they have a front room filled with pastries and another room dedicated to chocolate truffles. buy a "cardomomo"truffle. to die for.
-tres tiempos. moderately touristy, but the food was delicious, especially for a simple grilled meat and sides.
-tabacos y vinos. great for wine and a cigar smoke.
-cuchicuchi. the most famous bakery in Antigua, also the most hidden/local. Go there for afternoon pastries, namely the champurradas (sent from heaven above!)
-don luisa bakery. for the banana bread
-dona maria gordillo-dulces tipicos. this space is gorgeous. get the milk and sugar candy.
-fat cat coffee house
-canela antigua. owned by an expat, lots of great pastries
-nimpot. i love to shop for the stories when I travel. nimpot is a huge space filled with old huipils, scraps of fabric, scarves, cheap jewelry and ceramics. i spent hours digging through textiles.
-algodones mayas. beautiful cottons and clothing
-jade: There are tons of shops sprinkled throughout, jade is a huge deal in mayan culture, and having a piece on you gives you good luck and protection.
-santa catalina arch
-de la gente- I'm a massive coffee lover, and just outside of antigua there's a coffee co-op tour. The farmer from the specific plot walks you through their farm and the tour ends with an intimate coffee hour at their home. It was very immersive and a beautiful tour!
-lake atitlan. a three hour excursion by bus from antigua takes you to a lake enclosed by volcanoes. native, beautiful towns encircle the lake, which you can get to by boat.