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Antigua in July - Family Trip Helpful Tips Appreciated

California
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Antigua in July - Family Trip Helpful Tips Appreciated

My family of four (2 daughters, 19 and 12) will be staying in Antigua for 10 days and are looking for as many helpful hints as we can for our first trip to Guatemala. Specifically, we are wondering:

1. Anyone know about DLeyenda hotel and location of La Lorona room?

2. Restaurants for lunch and dinner?

3. Safety tips including ATM use and traveling around town.

4. Best place to stock up on snacks and water

Thanks all!

Bedford, New...
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1. Re: Antigua in July - Family Trip Helpful Tips Appreciated

I'm interested to see any responses to your questions, tuffy, as we may be vacationing there this summer too.

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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2. Re: Antigua in July - Family Trip Helpful Tips Appreciated

Are you sure you want to spend the whole 10 days in Antigua? Normally I'd suggest at least a few nights on Lake Atitlán and maybe a visit to Copán or Tikal.

Re: restaurants, I like the comedores where locals eat on Calle Santa Lucia near the market, a little hidden place called La Canche across from La Merced, and La Fonda de la Calle Real.

Consider a chocolate class - really fun:

chocomuseo.com/english/…

Since safety questions come up a lot I'm reposting my response from a previous thread below. Obviously not everyone agrees with this list - some prefer cities and travel to party, for example - but it helps me feel safe when I travel and that's a good thing.

_________________________________

I travel in Central America every year. Sometimes I travel alone, sometimes with one or more of my kids and/or my husband, sometimes with a group in tow. I don't feel overly paranoid but have never had a problem and would like to keep it that way.

Here are my concessions to safety when I travel in Central America:

:: I avoid the big cities as much as possible

:: I don't "party"

:: Where recommended I take specific transportation (ex: Hedman Alas in Honduras, avoid chicken buses on the mountain runs in Guatemala, take taxis after dark)

:: I know where I am and where I'm headed and make major transitions with plenty of daylight left

:: I don't wear jewelry (not even my wedding band) and try not to flash camera equipment or money around

:: Some trips I carry a “throw down wallet” with an expired card or 2 and the day’s cash in it

:: I keep important documents and cash under my clothes (except what I need for shopping, buses, etc. for that time period) and keep close watch on my things, especially in crowded places and when I’m tired

:: I ask locals about safety in an area - evenings, hiking, etc.

:: I travel really light so I don't feel vulnerable getting my bag off and on buses, shuttles, etc.

:: I continue to build skills in Spanish (doesn't apply to Belize)

I haven't used Antigua ATMs for years - usually don't stay more than a day or 2 and save quezales from a previous trip - and don't know that hotel (I'm loyal to my favorite and just haven't looked around much) and where to pick up snacks would be whatever is most convenient - maybe your hotel could help with that. I encourage you to bring water bottles and refill them; there is an incredible amount of waste and the amount of small bottles a family of 4 would go through would contribute significantly to the problem.

Re: getting around Antigua, the main options around town would be on foot or by tuktuk (golf cart taxi), tried and true. Really watch where you're walking as the sidewalks are narrow and uneven with the occasional uncovered hole, cobblestones are everywhere, and the metal surrounds of windows jut out over the sidewalks so if you're watching the sidewalk you might clobber your shoulder or head (not a joke).

My photos with blog and travelogue links on the main page of each collection are below in case you're interested - all my recommendations are embedded there (Antigua visits in the 80s collection plus 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013). Happy planning!

flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections

Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: Antigua in July - Family Trip Helpful Tips Appreciated

Replies to your questions:

1. We've not stayed in La Leyenda, but it's in a central location (convenient but could be noisy on weekend nights), and it gets good ratings from TA reviewers. I assume the room in question is called "La Llorona", the crying woman, but I'm not familiar with it.

2. & 3. Restaurants, safety tips, ATM issues, and getting about are topics that have been covered extensively in recent forum postings. Suggest that you first refer to these and then come back with any lingering questions.

4. Snacks and water can be bought at any of the many tienditas all over the city. La Bodegona, the supermarket on the West side of the city, has the largest and probably least expensive selection, along with many other things. The main market also has a wide selection of fresh foods if you don't mind the crowds and confusion.

You didn't ask, but for a family of four staying in Antigua for a week or longer I would consider renting a house or apartment instead of staying in a hotel. You would have full kitchen facilities and more room for sleeping and relaxing, all probably at considerably less cost than a hotel. Antigua Rentals or VRBO would be good places to start searching.

Lastly, I agree with the suggestion that you consider spending at least a few nights at Lake Atitlan. There are many fine hotels for families at the lake, and we have especially enjoyed Lomas de Tzununa.

Edited: 14 February 2014, 03:33
California
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4. Re: Antigua in July - Family Trip Helpful Tips Appreciated

Wow, thanks a lot for the thorough and thoughtful reply and tips. We really appreciate it. We are spending the ten days in Antigua specifically to attend a spanish immersion school, so trips would be limited to afternoons. That said, any specific recommendations for afternoon sightseeing in Antigua would be great. We definitely plan to do the chocomuseum. Thanks again!

wix
Vancouver Island...
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5. Re: Antigua in July - Family Trip Helpful Tips Appreciated

We really liked the Pacaya volcano hike, which is an easy tour from town. Check out the reviews.

And we had a great dinner at Hector's Bistro.,

Freehold, New Jersey
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6. Re: Antigua in July - Family Trip Helpful Tips Appreciated

I second ChocoMuseo, very fun. I went there with 2 girls aged 10 and 11. When I went, I was told to avoid ATMs with a lion head on them. I did use one once when others were out of order and had no problem, but I do understand it was a risk. Snacks will be no problem, there are little stores everywhere with drinks and both American and Guatemalan favorites.

Guatemala City...
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7. Re: Antigua in July - Family Trip Helpful Tips Appreciated

just to add on the atm issue.. the atms are a problem and is a risk. monitor your accounts carefully if you use them.

personally I have had my debit cards cloned from using an atm in antigua.(twice).. and we also had 2 families come and visit and four of them also got their account info copied and cloned. this was an atm located inside a hotel...

I suggest only using atms that are inside a bank and always check your bank activity.

Cary, North Carolina
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8. Re: Antigua in July - Family Trip Helpful Tips Appreciated

For ATM use I would suggest a travel card from AAA that can be used like debit/credit card. If your card number is taken, it does not effect your account, and you can add money from a credit card if you are in Guatemala and decide if you need more. We did this on our last trip and had no problems.

El Frijol Feliz Cooking School

In ChocoMuseo, you will be able to learn about cacao and chocolate, like the production process or the history of cacao since the Maya, 1000 years ago.

Mayan rituals -- cultural events are part of the traditional way of life of the Maya. These activities can be related to family, community and cosmic celebrations. Dances and festivals are taken very seriously by the Maya and there is a great commitment to engaging in this cultural celebrations. Each celebration and dance looks the same as it did many years ago keeping the spiritual essence intact over generations. We offer several options to attend and share this magnificent events accompanied by a professional guide to enjoy and participate

Mayan Ruins -- Iximche is the ancient capital of the Kakchiquel Maya Kingdom, this site contains the ruins of four large plazas surrounded by 30m high temples. Some of the temples are fully uncovered with original plaster and paint in place while others are still grass-covered. On site are two large ball courts and a small museum. Iximche was the first capital of Guatemala for three years in the 16th century, but the capital was moved to a safer place after the indigenous people rebelled against the Spaniards.On the back part of this site, you can see some Mayan rites taking place.

CHILDREN’S FOLK DANCE PRESENTATION – Available Every Day Niños con Bendicion (“Children with Blessing”) was created to provide and educational opportunity for the children in their community while maintaining their cultural roots. The group currently has 17 +/-children ages 6-15 years old from some of the most impoverished families in the village of San Antonio Aguas Calientes (20 min from Antigua). The children present a few (short) Mayan folk dances involving the crop planting and corn harvest as well as some traditional Guatemalan folk dances. This is an excellent opportunity to see local culture in a “typical” home – try weaving, grinding corn, make tortillas and get a taste of daily life. A small snack (safe to eat) is presented after the dances (your home made tortillas with beans). Opportunity to shop for textiles and home made crafts – proceeds from all sales go directly into their education fund.

Coffee Tour in Antigua Guatemala you will learn all about coffee grooves, coffee plantation and all the interesting facts of your favorite beverage. How coffee is grown, the cultivation, the plantation and the history of coffee in Guatemala.

Antigua Guatemala Cultural Walking Tour focuses on the city's history, cultural trends and restoration efforts. We visit the City Hall Palace, Palace of the Captain's General, the Cathedral with its majestic ruins, Antigua's unique cultural lifestyle, Maya archeology through the spiritual stone of jade, and the best museums in town at Paseo de los Museos. The city comes to life.

Community Tours Antigua Guatemala -- Community Cultural Workshops and Tours with Local people from Antigua Guatemala and the surrounding communities. These tours support sustainable economic development and direct trade in Guatemala. You can learn in a workshop about the life of our artisans and see how a Guatemalan family lives.

Cultural tour at Ox-- This Cultural tour shows you Guatemala from the unobstructed view of a bike. Visit Churches and cemeteries, towns, an organic macadamia farm a chicken bus factory, and more.

Tour for the Jade Museum Come and get a tour of our museum and factory we show you all that we have in the store, we will be explaining the process of working on the stone, the use of jade in Mesoamerican culture and its development throughout history.

9. Re: Antigua in July - Family Trip Helpful Tips Appreciated

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