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Budget Travel: Antigua, Guatemala
For those interested in history and want to fit in a bit of outdoor adventure – but don’t want to spend a huge amount of money – then Antigua fits the bill.
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Lake_Atitlan_crop

A worthwhile daytrip from Antigua is the drive north to Lake Atitlan, which is dotted with small mountain villages. Once there, hire a motorboat, hop on a ferry, or do it yourself via kayak.

Source: Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Adventures 

 

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El Mercado de Artesanias

El Mercado de Artesanias is the focal point of shopping for locals as well as visitors. Explore the stalls and stands and you'll find everything from house paint to produce and meat and lots of local handicrafts. Saturday mornings are only for the brave; the crowds can make it difficult to navigate the offerings.

(Wikimedia Commons)

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Mountain Biking

Biking through Antigua -- or most of Guatemala, for that matter -- isn't for the casual weekend cyclist. At altitudes that start at 5,000 feet and easily head north on up to 7,500 feet, you'll need a good training base behind you. But seeing the region on two wheels instead of four means that you can get up close to spots that are otherwise difficult to access. 

Source: Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Adventures

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Volcán de Agua

No matter where you are in Antigua, the inactive Volcán de Agua never feels too far away.

(Lisa Rogak)

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Choco Museo

Author Lisa Shusterman recently spent  2-1/2 weeks in Antigua and she said that one of the highlights was a chocolate-making class at the Choco Museo. She said the class covered the history of chocolate as well as the entire chocolate-making process, including crushing the cocoa nibs with a mortar and pestle.

Source: Lisa Shusterman

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Las Capuchinas

The ruins of El Convento de las Capuchinas are stark and beautiful at the same time. 

(Lisa Rogak)

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Cafe No Sé

No visit to Antigua is complete without a visit to Cafe No . Mike Brcic of Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Adventure says it's his favorite 'secret' spot in the city. "It's a small hole-in-the-wall tequila bar that you have to climb through a tiny door to get through, and once inside you find a small, historic bar that is several centuries old and serves some of the best tequilas and mezcals in Guatemala."  Look for the bicycle machine – or bicimáquina -- hooked up to a blender.

(Wikimedia Commons)

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Casa Santo Domingo

Casa Santo Domingo is a centerpiece of Antigua, as it once operated as a Colonial monastery. It's an elegant hotel and restaurant, but also serves as a well-known cultural center with several museums. One, the Colonial Museum, contains items from the 17th and 18th centuries, while the Archaeological Museum features items that date back to 200 AD, including urns that were found on the property.

(Lisa Rogak)

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Macadamia Nut Farm

Visit Lorenzo Gottschamer’s Valhalla macadamia nut farm on the outskirts of Antigua and you can nosh on macadamia flour pancakes slathered with macadamia butter and blueberry syrup, buy a bag of chocolate-covered nuts, and wrap up your visit with a macadamia oil facial. Lorenzo will even hold a mirror up to your face afterward so you can see the glow. You’ll leave content and happy, but what most of the 20,000 people who visit Valhalla each year don’t realize is that the 30 or 40 bucks they just dropped in the open-air restaurant and gift shop will directly help Mayans and other indigenous farmers in Guatemala to become self-sufficient. Lorenzo plows every quetzal – about 12-1/2 cents – and dollar into buying macadamia seedlings to distribute to local farmers so they can increase their income and diversify their crops. 

(Lisa Rogak)

Budget Travel: Antigua, Guatemala

For those interested in history and want to fit in a bit of outdoor adventure – but don’t want to spend a huge amount of money – then Antigua fits the bill.

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