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Science, Photography, and Trip Reviews

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Guatemala


Historical Antigua, fascinating ruins, beautiful mountains, and lakes

The Mayas, impressive markets, and colorful kites

Cobblestone street in Antigua, Guatemala.

   

Central Park in Antigua, Guatemala.

Cobblestone street in Antigua, Guatemala with Auga Volcano.

   

Central Park in Antigua, Guatemala is a wonderful place to relax, meet people, and study Spanish.

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Antigua, Guatemala

The highlands of Guatemala are very beautiful, and many consider the City of Antigua to be the gem of all of the cities of Central America. Antigua was founded in 1543, which makes it one of the oldest cities in the Americas. At one time it was the seat of government for much of Central America.

Antigua lies adjacent to three towering magnificent volcanoes, one of which is still active. The city is very charming with its narrow cobblestone streets and very old churches, monasteries, convents, and colonial government buildings. The ornate architecture in some of these buildings is very impressive. However, due to numerous earthquakes through the years many of these old buildings are no longer functional. Instead, they have become fascinating ruins which everyone goes to see and photograph.

La Merced in Antigua, Guatemala.

   

A Ruins in Antigua, Guatemala.

La Merced, one of the more impressive of the old churches in Antigua, Guatemala.

   

Sunny investigating one of the many Ruins in Antigua, Guatemala.

The Mayas

In the Highlands you find people that are Indian (Maya), Spanish, and a mixture of both (Ladinos). All of the people are very friendly. But the Mayas with their customs and style of dress are the most interesting. The women wear very colorful and beautiful clothing. With their young children they are constantly trying to sell you handmade clothing, leather belts, wooden masks, fruit, vegetables, and much more. It is quite common to see Mayan women carrying loads, some very heavy, on their heads.

Learn Spanish

Antigua has a number of good Spanish language schools that attract students of all ages from everywhere. I studied in the Proyecto Linguistico Francisco Marroquin School. This is the oldest language school in Antigua, and I highly recommend it. I had a private tutor for six hours of intensive instruction each day. There was lots of homework.

Kite flying at Santiago Sacatepequez Cemetery.

   

Rebecca bargaining at Chichicastenango Market.

Flying kites with messages to the dead in the Santiago Sacatepequez Cemetery.

   

Rebecca bargaining for masks in the Chichicastenango Market.

Colorful kites

The First of November is All Saints' Day. This is a special day in Guatemala, and we were fortunate to spend the day there. We were invited by some friends to go to a celebration and picnic at a cemetery at Santiago Sacatepequez. Yes a cemetery. On this day the men of Santiago fly circular kites that are very colorful and which have intricate designs. Some of the kites are huge and require several men to hold on to them. The kites take months to make, and they are flown as a means of sending messages of devotion to the dead. It was all very interesting.

Beautiful Lake Atitlan

We went to Lake Atitlan and stayed at Panajachel. Looking from Panajachel across the lake you see three very tall volcanoes. Along with the blue waters of the lake this site is really spectacular. The lake bed is a collapsed volcanic cone that is more than 1000 feet (305 meters) deep. We spent one day taking a trip by boat across the lake to visit three Indian villages. It was in one of those Indian villages that the picture below of the girls with the pots was taken.

The impressive Chichicastenango market

On Thursday we went to Chichicastenango to be there on market day. This is the biggest market in Guatemala. Villagers from all around come to show their wares. We spent several hours bargaining for many things. We had a great time.

Girls at a village on Lago Atitlan.

   

Lake Atitlan with volcano.

Girls at a village on the shores of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.

   

Lake Atitlan with towering volcano, one of three surrounding the lake.


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Photo of Sunny at the Ruins by Rebecca Breeding, remaining photos by Sunny Breeding. We sell prints and images.