2 comments on “Then and Now: Antigua

  1. I absolutely love Antigua. It’s one of my favorite places in the world, yet I am always torn inside by its contradictions. Pay $7 for a cup of coffee at a retro-cool-Antigua-flavored-Euro-owned-bookstore-slash-coffee-shop and then haggle with the vendors outside to get that cool woven hat for 25 cents less. Maybe all the woven hats come from China now anyway and I’m beating myself up for nothing, but it’s a strange thing. And at the same time, worth living the contradictions to experience the beauty and exploring. If you ever get back there, I highly recommend hiking the volcano (I think it’s Pacaya, but may be wrong). It’s a full day trip, and you should have a decent pair of hiking shoes (I didn’t – boo – but survived intact). Amazingly beautiful. and I can imagine the photos would be gorgeous. There’s also the most wonderful falling apart but restored with all its Antigua charm hotel that is all lit up with tiny lights and candles at night. Posada de San Jose maybe? My memory fails me.

    • Thanks Linda. Yeah, as you say it’s full of paradoxes- like so many somewhat overtouristed places in the world. It manages to walk a fine balance, however, that most others don’t, and that’s that it manages to keep a sliver of its original charm (no doubt a result of the foresight of town planners not to tear the heart out of the place and let Starbucks, McDonalds and Burger King set up shiny new shrines to consumerism- in fact I love how the big brands are all forced to tone their logos down to fit in with the atmosphere :)- maybe I should have photographed those?!). There aren’t many places which have as-successfully balanced a huge influx of tourism with maintaining a sense of local integrity (i.e. still keeping that great sense of atmosphere). In my experience, the one other place which has managed that somewhat is the old town of Marrakech; have you been there? If not, it may be one of those really hyped tourist destinations, but like Antigua it’s managed to keep a sense of place and history that makes it well worth the trip.


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