Hola Amigos! Time to catch up on some posts.
Today we had another travel day, but thankfully just a quick 3 hours. It was time to travel from Panajachel to Antigua. Antigua was one of the places Kate and I were most forward to going to. We knew a bit about its colonial charm, but also were looking forward to 3 days in the same place and the chance to do some more different things.
After a fairly lazy 9am departure, it was off to Antigua. I kept myself amused by trying to take more Chicken Bus pictures. I got some better ones this time, but I knew I would have a chance to see more when we got to Antigua.
So around lunchtime we arrived. Antigua, like San Cristobal de la Casas is a beautiful city of old school charm. It is UNESCO Heritage listed, so wandering around the old town is absolutely delightful. Deiber gave us a quick orientation, and my head was spinning as he was pointing things out at rapid speed. While everything was a grid, I was a little confused, but was sure that would work itself out.
The other incredible thing with the city is the surrounds. Three volcanos look upon Antigua, and it was breathtaking to see them as you turned a corner and looked down the street.
After a quick bagel lunch it was time to do our first activity. Kate and I decided to try some different things. Just 5 minutes out of the centre of town is Filidelphia, a hacienda that is part coffee plantation, part hotel and part nature park. I was all about COFFEE! COFFEE! COFFEE! But Kate was all ZIP LINING! ZIP LINING! ZIP LINING! While I would have loved to do that, I couldn’t be in Guatemala and not embrace the coffee. So we split up on arrival at Filidelphia for our respective activities.
The coffee tour was mostly about the production process. At Filidelphia the entire process takes place, so we went out first to see the plants. It was pretty crazy to find out how they get the best coffee, but transplanting Arabica (better quality) plants onto the roots of Robusta to stop the bugs having a good meal.
We got to pick a berry and move on to the next part of the process… where the bean is taken out and pass through various stages of removal of layers and drying. This part of the tour was a little disappointing as it was a bit late in the day but also a holiday, so most the production parts had closed up.
What was interesting was that they sun dry the beans given the climate and sun so to see all the coffee beans lying there sunbaking was cool.
We then moved right through the process to the end where were able to finally have some coffee! Alas, we only got to try one blend which was pretty disappointing. I was hoping for a trip through all their blends, but it wasn’t to be. Oh well.
Kate however was buzzing. Not from coffee, but from zip lining. She had a trip to herself and jetted through the woods on half a dozen zip lines. While I was glad to do the coffee, I think she chose most wisely.
From there it was back into town to have a wander. We had a couple of hours until dinner so soaked up some more of beautiful Antigua. We visited the famous arch of Arco de Santa Catalina, one that appears in all guides about Antigua.
We then just chilled out, Kate especially feeling that this was the best place we had visited yet (I was line ball between here and San Cris).
A group dinner wound down the day, and it was off to bed for an early start in the morning.