I love Antigua. The city is so beautiful and vibrant but maintains an old aesthetic which is simply charming. We walked back to the central park today and had a nice brunch at a common tourist spot called Cafe Condessa. The buildings here are so interesting with very simple exteriors and gorgeous interiors that stretch as far back as an entire block. You don’t necessarily realize when you walk into a seemingly small one story cafe that what lies beneath are gardens and fountains with numerous seating areas and greenery spread throughout the indoor/outdoor space.
After taking a long brunch we walked up to Cerro de la Cruz, a lookout point that sits above Antigua. We spent some time just enjoying the view and hanging around until finally heading down to go check out Santa Domingo. Santa Domingo is a site of old ruins that is now converted into a fancy hotel which also has something like six small museums on the grounds that you can visit.
We stopped for some fresh cut mango which you can buy on the side of the road for about $0.50 and then ventured off to the market on the outskirts of town. The market is a large outdoor lot with a ton of merchants selling everything from workout clothes to pinatas to fresh strawberries and anything else you can think of. Imagine an outdoor department store mixed with a farmers market and throw in a couple smoothie shops and a party city and that is basically el mercado. It is known to have some more authentic souvenirs for good prices and just be an all around interesting place to see in Antigua. Our first stop was behind the market to check out the bus stop.
Buses in Antigua are painted all sorts of cool colors with great designs all around the outsides of these converted school buses. We went to take some pictures and check out some of the interesting artwork on the buses. I love how colorful and aesthetically pleasing public goods are here. From park benches to public transportation to the outside of buildings, there is so much color and freedom of expression. The clothes worn by some of the indigenous cultures are also works of art in their own way. Combine all these things and you get the vibrant city of Antigua.
We continued on through the market and treated ourselves to some delicious smelling strawberries. We got a little lost weaving through the large outdoor space and eventually made our way back to the hostel. For dinner we had curry (very authentic) but we needed a small departure from tortillas, rice, and beans. We then went out to a bar called Cafe No Se and had a few drinks while listening to a great bluegrass/ country style band. It was such a funky place but definitely one of the coolest bars I have been to in a while. I think we were expecting something a little less cool or maybe just a place trying to cater to foreigners by being more of a club scene but this was as hipster as it gets. It was really fun and great to just be out enjoying ourselves. Tomorrow we head to Lake Atitlan for about five days. We have heard amazing things and can’t wait.