What to do in Antigua, Guatemala

Continued from Five Nights in Antigua, Guatemala

Chris and I woke the next morning, still slightly rattled from the robbery, but still excited for the day’s activities. After I massaged the bruise developing on my butt from landing in the street, we headed to the dining room for a Guatemalan breakfast, which was included with our room.

My favorite thing, besides the coffee of course, was the chuchito — corn dough, meat and tomato salsa wrapped in a corn husk.

IMG_4522IMG_4523Then we headed over to the other hotel to meet Gaby and David, friends from back home that I met through Lili. We were booked for the coffee tour and zip lining through Finca Filadelfia. An adapted unimog truck picked everyone up at 10 and we rattled over the cobblestone streets of Antigua, frequently seeming like we would scrape other cars, but somehow squeezing through.

The zip line was first. This was my third time zip lining (previously in Costa Rica and North Georgia), but the first time I didn’t have to do my own braking as I approached the platform, which made it easier to focus on the views.

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IMG_4237We grabbed some lunch on the property afterward while waiting for the coffee tour to start. I was quite surprised by the coffee tour. I love coffee, but I can’t say I expected the tour to be as interesting as it was. I’ve been on a few winery tours to learn about my other beloved beverage, but tend to lose interest after gazing at a couple of oak barrels — take me to the tasting! But coffee was actually much more interesting to me. The guide took us out on the property and we saw the process from start to finish. I was surprised to learn that while most countries can just grow the Arabica coffee plant, Guatemalan soil isn’t well suited. They graft the more resilient roots of a bitter robusta coffee plant to the tastier Arabica tops.

We wandered through the plants and were allowed to pick some IMG_4241coffee beans right off the branches. There is a method to doing this without messing up the bean. Yes, I messed all mine up. We eventually worked our way through the drying, roasting and packaging, including the opportunity to wear hairnets. I suggested Chris wear two as a safety precaution.

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Naturally this all ended with the sampling of an incredible cup of coffee. I took a couple of smooth enjoyable sips, but couldn’t resist dropping some sugar in when nobody was looking. I change for no one.

Thousands and thousand of coffee beans drying in the sun — such beauty.

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I snapped a couple photos of some local girls collecting and shelling beans.

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We returned to town as the wedding rehearsal finished, grabbing a drink in the hotel lobby. Did I manage to talk Chris into dinner out? That would be a hell no. But we did have a fabulous meal at our hotel where I dined on the penne pesto picante with shrimp kebab.IMG_4253

The next day was the wedding, so we spent the afternoon exploring the many ruins in Antigua. An earthquake devastated the city in 1773, ending its reign as capital. Some of the must-see sites include Casa Santa Domingo, the cathedral of San Jose, Iglesia y Convento de las Capuchinas and catedral de Santiago. This list is a pretty good compilation of things to see.

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My next post will cover the rest of the trip, but for now I leave you with this image taken at Iglesia de San Francisco. It really made me appreciate modern day access to the epidural.

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