Central America | Guatemala | Central | Antigua – The City of Antigua
I have spent the past week exploring the city and getting adjusted to the new lifestyle here in Antigua. I could not have picked a better place to spend the next few months.
I have learned quite a bit about this city. Antigua is the weathliest city in Guatemala. This is due in large part to the fact that it is a tourist and student destination for people from all over the world. Real estate in Antigua is surprisingly expensive. For a modest sized house in the downtown area, it can cost anywhere from $200-400,000 U.S. dollars. I have already met several Americans who purchased their retirement home and spend half their time in Antigua, while the other half is spent in the states.
Antigua is a beautiful and well kept city with old Spanish colonial architecture and historical sites at each block. There are police everywhere to protect the city and its people. The new Guatemalan President is trying to change the perception that Guatemala is a dangerous country in order to increase tourist business.
La Cuaresma or Lent, is the busiest and most celebrated time of year for Antigua. There will be a reported 2 million people here for the entire week of La Semana Santa (Holy Week). Each week there is a procession down the streets which consists of floats depicting the life of Jesus. Each week the floats are sponsored by a different church. It takes 12 hours for the floats to make their way through the town streets. The streets are filled with people; onlookers, vendors with foods (empanadas, tacos, fried potatoes, etc). The street is lined with alfombras or rugs, that are made out of flowers and other things. Itis the tradition for the participants of the procession to walk on the rugs that cover the streets.
Every Saturday, vendors come from all over to sell their fruits, vegetables and crafts in the market place. The market is packed with people, noises and smells abound.