Aside from our love for New Orleans, we have a big love for international travel, especially in Latin America! Although one of us enjoyed the New Orleans Fourth of July festivities, I took this opportunity to take a quick trip back home to Guatemala City, including a day trip to Antigua Guatemala.
You might be thinking, whoa that sounds far away and expensive. Think again! Guatemala is actually one of the most affordable Latin American destinations and with our MSY airport becoming more and more international with each passing year, it is very easy and affordable to get there as well.
How to get to Guatemala
Late last month, Copa Airlines launched its nonstop service four times a week between New Orleans, La., and Panama, Republic of Panama. Flight CM 499 departs New Orleans on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 6:55 a.m., arriving at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City at 10:19 a.m. The return flight, CM 498, departs Panama on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 6:33 p.m., and arrives in New Orleans at 10:02 p.m. All times are local; and flight time is approximately three and a half hours.
Connection time is about an hour, which might sound like not enough time. However, I had no issues whatsoever catching my connecting flight to Guatemala. Flight time from Panama to Guatemala was about 2 hours.
Like with any other airlines, prices do fluctuate, but this 4 day round trip was $369.00.
That’s cheaper than a flight to New York City last time we checked!
Day Trip to Antigua Guatemala
Just 45 minutes to an hour from Guatemala City you’ll find Antigua, Guatemala. You can get there by driving or taking one of the many tour shuttles available. Some of these take you directly from the airport to Antigua. The city is usually referred to as just Antigua or la Antigua and is a city in the central highlands of Guatemala. Antigua served as the third capital city of Guatemala in the 16th Century and was destroyed by a strong earthquake in 1773. It is famous for its well-preserved Spanish Baroque architecture and for its ruins of colonial churches. In 1979, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Antigua, Guatemala might be my favorite place in the world. It’s landscape and scenery is so beautiful (pictures ahead), the food is amazing, the climate is perfection and the ambiance is calm and quaint. Every time I have an opportunity to make it to Guatemala, I at least make a day trip to Antigua. On this short trip I was able to visit most key areas of Antigua and of course made sure to pay a visit to the newest restaurant in the area!
Calle Del Arco
This is the most iconic street in Antigua. It features the famous yellow arch, and a variety of restaurants, shops and bars. Calle Del Arco is THE spot to take a picture of Antigua, so don’t forget your selfie stick when you make a trip down there!
Los Tres Tiempos
Home to traditional Guatemalan dishes with a modern twist, Los Tres Tiempos is a fabulous restaurant for those new to Guatemalan food. The menu includes the best dishes from local cuisine, at great prices. Word to the wise: careful with the spice from their green chile sauce!
Parque Central & Cathedral
This is Antigua’s Central Park which has a gorgeous view of the Saint Joseph’s Cathedral. The Central Park is one of the busiest areas in Guatemala, perfect spot to walk around and sip on some Antigua Coffee in the afternoons.
Exploring More of Guatemala
If you stay in Guatemala City, Ciudad Cayala is a great place to walk around and mingle with the locals. This place offers an Antigua-like environment, it’s home to the best restaurants in the country and it is also a great place to drink and shop.
Lake Atitlán is a lake in the Highlands of the Sierra Madre mountain range. It is in the Sololá Department in northern Guatemala. Lake Atitlán is the deepest lake in Central America and is renowned as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.
Tikal is an area of ruins of an ancient city found in a rainforest in Guatemala located in the department of El Petén. This ancient city was the capital of one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya. Tikal National Park was also declated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
Puerto San Jose
Just about an hour away from the city. This is a great area to explore a black sand beach! It makes for a great day or weekend trip. Bonus: If you go around New Year’s, this area has great concerts and shows.
I hope you enjoyed learning bits and pieces from my home country, and that you keep Guatemala on your mind for your next international trip. We’ll be heading to another fabulous destination in Central America very soon and can’t wait to tell you all about it. If you have any questions about travelling to Guatemala feel free to contact us, we’ll be happy to help.