School girl in Panajachel, Guatemala, selling fabrics. She says "Why don't you buy my stuff?" I gave her a little Australian flag.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Antigua Guatemala is the place to go in the Western Highlands

Antigua was the original Spanish colonial capital of Guatemala but it was continually being wiped out by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions..... so the capital was shifted to the present location of Guatemala City (but still plenty of earthquakes). Antigua town remains surrounded by volcanoes which steam away dormant fashion and contribute to a fascinating landscape. It is the tourist centre for Guatemala, ranging from catering to the well-heeled tourist and backpackers, with accommodation to match all budgets.
Arco de Santa Catalina in Antigua

Two big attractions are the ready availability of Indian style handicrafts from shops and street vendors, and the huge numbers of Spanish Language Schools that cater for young visitors and oldies like me. I stayed for a week in a local home to brush up my Spanish and go to school again.

Street vendors are hard to resist when you are resting up at an outdoor restaurant or cafe. This little mite is fingering an Aussie flag I gave her. Soon her mate arrived wanting a flag too. One should always carry a stock of Aussie trinkets to give away. A most useful handicraft to buy are the woven bands or scarves which back home I wear as ties or cravats.

View across the Cenral Park and of Catedral Santiago, Antigua.

Antigua is the center of the jade industry for Central America. Valuable jadeite is mined locally and fashioned into exquisite jewellery. Replicas of Mayan and Aztec museum artifacts sell well. Here is a Mayan figure carved in black jade.
more to come

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