Antigua: the city of contrasts. Oh, and volcanoes.

After four days of little to no sleep, a short stay in the all-too confronting Los Angeles and picking up an equally exhausted girlfriend, a four-hour flight from LA brings us to the start of our journey through Guatemala and Latin America.

First stop: Guatemala City.

Well, what can be said about Guatemala City? It is a soundscape of bustling trucks and cars, a visual eye sore and smells of-well, shit. This smell was later confirmed by our friendly shuttle driver who apologised, stating “I’m sorry for the smell. Our sewar system is not good”. Great, we have flown over 15,000 kilometres to visit a country that has a permanent stench of human waste.

Alas, a quick escape ensued and one hour later we arrived at one of the most charming town’s I have seen and my reasons for flying to Guatemala were quickly realised.


Driving into Guatemala’s Wold Heritage Listed tourist magnet, Antigua, is like stepping back in time. From the cobble stone roads which are cursed by local drivers but loved by fascinated travellers, and the Spanish Baroque influenced architecture; to three looming volcanoes which beg to be explored, with the highest standing at over a menacing 13,000 feet above the city. Antigua is a truly captivating scene.


What is truly remarkable about this place though is not just its surroundings, but the people that inhabit it. From the proud locals who place their city high above any other, to the countless ex-pats and volunteer workers that seem to have fallen in love with the relaxed vibe and have found a new place to call home. It is heart-warming to witness such pride and happiness in a country which is struggling both economically and socially.


We have a few more days in this magical city, and I am sure that I will feel much like the many suckers before me who have loved and lost. I will miss the friendliness of the people, the contrast of white washed streets with cheerful pastel houses under terracotta rooftops and the gorgeous landscape-as beautiful as it is menacing. But for now it is time to scale an active volcano, while trusting my safety in a man who I can’t understand. Wish me luck!



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