One of my favourite parts of my visit to Guatemala was the week we spent in Antigua. We started the week by hiking up a volcano. This was my first time ever properly hiking at altitude, and I loved watching the natural environment change as we got higher and higher up. At night, it was bitterly cold, and my feet were covered in blisters, but the sense of achievement I got at the top was amazing. The photos that I took of an active volcano exploding as the sun rose are truly fantastic, and I simply can’t praise it enough.
After a leisurely descent down the volcano, we all arrived at our hostel on the outskirts of Antigua. Antigua is a truly beautiful city with colourful, picturesque streets dominated by a volcano looming over the town. It was a fantastic time to simply relax and recuperate after several tough weeks of volunteering. Antigua offers a fascinating contrast between traditional Guatemalan culture, with traditional clothing and the pat-pat-pat of tortillas being made in the streets, and a significant amount of foreign influence.
I loved this, as I felt both at home, able to recognise certain things, but also intrigued by the various new things I could experience. In particular, the Spanish lessons that I had earlier on the program left me a lot more confident to enjoy and explore Antigua. I had both the confidence and ability to communicate with locals in Spanish, rather than broken Spanglish. This meant I could better understand day-to-day life, haggle at the market, and ask for directions – vital skills to make sure I could enjoy myself!
We were also able to enjoy New Year’s Eve in Antigua – an experience I will never forget! I can’t share the details here, but Antigua is a fantastic place to have a really, really good time 🙂