Travel

Along the Croatian Coastline - Photographer Croatia

My favorite cities in Croatia - Photography

This summer we spent our time in Europe. I thought about doing a little Euro-trip so in order to travel freely, I decided to buy a car. The plan was to start in Poland, go through Slovakia and Hungary, cross Croatia and finish the trip traveling through northern Italy. Little did I know...

Zagreb 

Zagreb Cathedral

Zagreb Cathedral

After spending more than a week we in Hungary we entered Croatia from the East.  On our way was its capital - Zagreb. My first impression when we reached it was just as if I went back in time to Poland at the turn of the centuries, where Post-Soviet housing projects, modernist architecture, and 19th-century tenement houses were still covered in graffiti. The urban landscape changed when we reached Zagreb’s upper town. Combined by two hills, Kaptol and Gradec, the city center is charming. Colorful low architecture, numerous narrow streets, plazas, parks, and a variety of restaurants and coffee shops, creates a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

Rijeka

But deep within, we were feeling the rush to finally get to the Adriatic Sea. After a short stop in Zagreb, we moved on to the Croatian port city of Rijeka. It was already night when we got there. In order to reach the city, you have to drive down a winding road going downhill. Rijeka streets are narrow, inclined and challenging to drive. We went to sleep quickly after a few glasses of Croatian wine at the main plaza with hopes of seeing more next morning. I woke up before the sunrise and climbed the streets up to the upper part of the city. The view from the top was breathtaking. Beneath me, the city was dividing into two parts, on the left, industrial surrounding of the port, on the right, a warm palette of red roof tiles, creamy walls and cobblestone streets. The background was formed by a blue sea and tiny white boats.

Looking for something to eat we came across Rijeka's Main Market – Placa. Positioned just by the seashore in the very center was a quick and easy option for morning grocery runs. It turned out that city markets are one of my favorite places in Croatia. Stalls piled high with fresh local produce and the cheery banter of traders was catching my attention. Familiar Slavic faces. I felt like in my hometown Ełk where I lived as a young kid. Every Sunday, before the church routine, with my childhood friend Lukasz we would go to the city market - our main Sunday attraction. We would wander around and look for adventures. Here, I felt the same eastern atmosphere, familiar faces. Just the surroundings changed to more exotic, Mediterranean, and warm. Since then I  visited every market I came across.

That’s when this idea occurred - what if we travel through southern Croatia instead of going straight to Italy? - I asked Solieth. “why not” - she responded without hesitation. After seeing the map it appeared we had two options - using a quick, toll highway far from the coast, or the curvy road next to it. We chose the second option. I didn’t want to miss all those views on the way.  

Rijeka surroundings
rocky beach photography croatia

rocky beach photography croatia

Rijeka downtown.

Rijeka downtown.

Rijeka streets photography
Obligatory morning press routine for most men.

Obligatory morning press routine for most men.

Inside Plaka - Rijeka main market.

Inside Plaka - Rijeka main market.

Fish vendor Croatia
Croatians in market portrait
Grapes croatia
fruits croatia
marketcroatia
Ship bay croatia landscape
Croatia landscape

Zadar.

The curvy road appeared to be really curvy, situated high, between rocky slopes and steep cliffs to the right. Driving that road was really exhausting and stressful - but in the end, it was worth it. The views on the way were just stunning.

The next stop on our way was Zadar - the gateway to Dalmatia. Set on a small peninsula Zadar is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe. A historic old town of Roman ruins, medieval churches, museums, trendy cafes and quality restaurants make it a popular destination. The City colors are a mix of smooth pastel tones. The streets are made of burnished marble, so smooth that you could almost ice skate across the cobblestones. Among tourists, it is known for its rich nightlife and attractions like Sea Organ and Solar powered Dancefloor.

The good thing about driving a car is that you can stop anywhere you like…and I was stopping a lot. The one hour drive was taking me four hours. That’s how I was discovering all the little things on the way - inaccessible beaches between the rocks, little villages with the best bakeries and stunning viewpoints. And that’s how I discovered Sibenik.

Zadar downtown
Man Jumping to the water from  The Sea Organs  - an experimental installation, which plays music generated by the motion of sea waves through a series of 35 organ pipes built under a set of large marble steps. Zadar.

Man Jumping to the water from The Sea Organs - an experimental installation, which plays music generated by the motion of sea waves through a series of 35 organ pipes built under a set of large marble steps. Zadar.

Cruise ship passengers

Cruise ship passengers

Church of san. Donatus tower photo
Croatia market fruits zadar
croatian in red
cheese meet croatia photo
chile croatia
Bridge Sibenik Croatia

Šibenik 

Šibenik wasn’t in my plans. It was supposed to be just a quick stop on our way to Split - get something to eat, refuel the car, catch our breaths- that’s it. But after getting there we decided to explore the old town.
Locals were cheerfully drinking their coffee, men with the obligatory morning press in hand - sometimes vigorously debating - kids happily going to school. People were living their daily life. It was pleasing to watch and from my perspective as a photographer - authenticity of the moment is something I am attracted to. Later on, I was told the city center is mostly inhabited by locals and city authorities are trying to maintain it this way. A labyrinth of steep back streets and alleys leads to medieval St. Michael's Fortress which crowns the pyramidal hill above Šibenik’s Old Town. The fort offers a spectacular view of the city and the Šibenik channel. During the summer months, it becomes an impressive open-air stage for cultural events. We decided to stay for a few days.

View over Sibenik and its cemetery from St. Michael’s Fortress.

View over Sibenik and its cemetery from St. Michael’s Fortress.

Sibenik detail
Sibenik restaurant
Sibenik streets
Kids school Sibenik
cat croatia sibenik
Croatians talking
Sibenik stone walls
Croatia Market Sibenik
wine grapes Croatia
Sibenik
View of Bay Sibenik croatia
Looking at shop-window
Interview Sibenik
Michael’s Fortress above the Šibenik city center

Michael’s Fortress above the Šibenik city center

Split

In order to enjoy the beach, we stayed near Split for a few days. Split’s outside town is somewhat shabby and the city center felt too busy. It’s the main connection port where everyone catches the ferry to nearby Islands. A lot of ships, people in a rush, many tourists. I even ran into Blaze, a colleague I met in Nicaragua. He was running to catch his bus to Dubrovnik - the world is a small place - I thought - such a random encounter. Of course, I enjoyed Split’s local market a lot - but that’s my personal taste.

Split air photography.jpg
Croatia old woman market
colorful houses photography Split

Omiš

Our stop farthest to the south was a small town called Omiš. In the xiv century a well known and feared home to pirates is now heavily visited by tours in all shapes and sizes. The town shares an incredible location - it is pressed between a giant rock formation. The Cetina River that divides it in two is a great platform for the voyage up the river’s current. The castle tower rising above the historic city center gives a great lookout to admire the landscape. The main street is a tourist promenade with curfew vendors, all types of souvenirs and hotdogs.

Omis Cetina river landscape
Slavic classic - old ladies sitting on the bench and gossipin

Slavic classic - old ladies sitting on the bench and gossipin

Omis town houses photograph

Hvar Island and Hvar Town

From Split, We took a ferry which took us directly to Hvar city located on Hvar Island. On the way, we got caught by a fastly moving storm. Dark gray, low clouds surrounded the boat and heavy rain hit the deck - only the sound of thunder was able to overcome the loud sound.

After reaching the Island the first thought we had was to find  shelter. Due to weather conditions, it was decided in favor of one of the closest coastal restaurants on our way. Soaked and cold we started by ordering a coffee. The waiter, over fifty, with an apron tightly strapped around his sizeable belly instructed us that only in case of ordering the food we could stay. It would be hard for me to leave a penny in this place. It was also the first time I’ve experienced Croatians to not be friendly and welcoming. As I was about to learn Hvar city is very much focused on making money from tourism - with their own set of rules, restrictions, and way the city is organized.

The Hvar town itself is beautiful. Occupying gentle slopes the city is facing Pakleni Islands - an archipelago of paradise looking islands beset by turquoise waters where you can sunbathe, swim, snorkel or…party. Later on, I discovered that Hvar has the reputation of a party town. The promenade surrounding the coast can take you to the tiny beaches between the rocks, little bays with white boats, restaurants or a massive resort on the outskirts. It looks better than it feels and after less than two days we felt really tired of the crowds and its ambiance.  


Lighthouse on the way to Hvar Island

Lighthouse on the way to Hvar Island

ferry passagners
Storm adriatic sea photograph
Hvar town and Pakleni Islands.

Hvar town and Pakleni Islands.

Hvar town swim
Hvar town bay
Croatia water colors
Hvar center photography

Stari Grad on the Hvar Island

Our ferry back to the mainland was sailing off from Stari Grad - little town located on the opposite side of the island. We still wanted to explore more before we left. I remember that in my mind, I had this image of lavender fields covering the island, that my brother told me about. We took a morning bus to Stari Grad. The road takes you up to the heights, where you can enjoy the view over the island, coastal line and the rich blue color of the sea. The Hvar Island is mountainous - during this time of the year, it felt really dry. It’s said to have the highest number of sunny days in all of Croatia. I was carefully examining the horizon in the pursuit of the image I had in my mind. I saw vineyards and olive-groves covering the slopes, calm bays of turquoise water, and single houses occasionally scattered around - but couldn’t spot the lavender.

Stari Grad is known to be the oldest town in Croatia. It was Established in the IVth century B.C. by Greeks who named it Pharos.  Its cultural landscape has remained practically intact since. The agricultural activity of the surrounding cities fertile plains is mainly focused on grapes and olives, and it has been maintained since ancient Greek times to the present.

As opposed to Hvar,  Stari Grad provides you with a breath of tranquility. The cool shade of narrow streets and small squares of its city center were helping us survive the midday harsh sun. It was pleasant to get lost in there, quietly explore each corner, peep local life without worrying about getting stuck somewhere between crowds. I spotted a little window in a stone wall below the “vino” signboard. A little while after I pulled a small hanging bell and the vendor's head appeared from the dark long corridor. He let us try a few of his homemade wines. Sweet dessert Prošek and Mali Plavac made of small blue wine grapes that grow along the Dalmatian coast of Croatia - in Croatian Plavo means blue; Mali means small.

Our next stop was Pharia, a restaurant we ran into while exploring. What caught our attention and enchanted us was Its beautiful patio. We were waited on by a tall guy with a ponytail, stubble, long flannel-plaid shirt and pleasing manners. When asked about Dj Shadow and Lauren Hill that were playing from the speakers alternately, he summed up with a sincere smile - it's my playlist, it's great someone noticed.
I really enjoyed the place - relaxing atmosphere, fresh seafood, kiwi plants full of fruits hanging above us, delicious sweet wine that was improving the mood even more. Unfortunately, It was getting late and our ferry was leaving soon - we should have come to Stari Grad from the beginning - I thought.

The way back was pleasing, the Adriatic sea was calm, a gentle breeze was keeping us cool and we admired impressive mountain ranges we were passing by.

Hvar island photograph
Stari Grad details
Stari grad street
House Croatia town
Stari Grad
sun
Stari Grad wine
sol y frutas
The Stari Grad Plain  - an agricultural landscape that was set up by the ancient Greek colonists in the 4th century BC and remains in use. The landscape features ancient stone walls and trims, or small stone shelters. The Plains bears testimony to the ancient geometrical system of land division used by the ancient Greeks, the chora which has remained virtually intact.

The Stari Grad Plain - an agricultural landscape that was set up by the ancient Greek colonists in the 4th century BC and remains in use. The landscape features ancient stone walls and trims, or small stone shelters. The Plains bears testimony to the ancient geometrical system of land division used by the ancient Greeks, the chora which has remained virtually intact.

4B0B5507.jpg

Drone Video from my trip to Croatia: https://goo.gl/YeBW4j

Stories from northern Nicaragua | NGO Photographer

Photography assignment for NGO in Nicaragua.

Recently I have traveled with Fabretto Children’s Foundation to the northern Nicaraguan frontier to document different life stories of families from that region. Some places I visited where quite remote, hidden in the mountains and valleys, without an easy access route. And this time I took with me some of my ‘big guns’. What I mean by this is studio lighting was travelling with me, more specifically, on my back (soft boxes, studio lamps, tripods, batteries and all that necessary heavy stuff).  

I tried to portray stories of hardworking and proud people that move their life forward to better future, regardless of the circumstances. Children, youth, parents, teachers, the entire comunities take this effort, despite difficult conditions.

The 19-year-old Ever has always had a connection and passion for bees. Trough education he developed entrepreneurial skills, which prompted him to organize a honey cooperative with other young people.

The 19-year-old Ever has always had a connection and passion for bees. Trough education he developed entrepreneurial skills, which prompted him to organize a honey cooperative with other young people.

Ever says that the bees have taught him a lot on how to work together for the good of the whole community.

Ever says that the bees have taught him a lot on how to work together for the good of the whole community.

How old does Maria look?  Due to severe pneumonia during early childhood and sustained poor nutrition María has suffered a serious delay in her physical and educational development. At 14 years old, she is currently in 5th grade. When asked how she imagines her life when she grows up, María responded:  “when I grow older, I want to travel the world and become a great teacher.”

How old does Maria look?

Due to severe pneumonia during early childhood and sustained poor nutrition María has suffered a serious delay in her physical and educational development. At 14 years old, she is currently in 5th grade. When asked how she imagines her life when she grows up, María responded: “when I grow older, I want to travel the world and become a great teacher.”

Maria with her mother and her siblings on the bank of a river near her house, the place where she likes to read and learn.

Maria with her mother and her siblings on the bank of a river near her house, the place where she likes to read and learn.

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27-years old Yolanda, surrounded by her students, is the local preschool teacher. Due to a lack of space and resources, the Ministry of Education has not yet opened a formal preschool teaching position in Apanaje community. Instead, educators like Yolanda are asked to step up to the plate as volunteers, earning a stipend equivalent to only a fraction of the minimum wage.

27-years old Yolanda, surrounded by her students, is the local preschool teacher. Due to a lack of space and resources, the Ministry of Education has not yet opened a formal preschool teaching position in Apanaje community. Instead, educators like Yolanda are asked to step up to the plate as volunteers, earning a stipend equivalent to only a fraction of the minimum wage.

Come rain or shine, the preschoolers and their brave teacher can be found in the school hallway or yard.

Come rain or shine, the preschoolers and their brave teacher can be found in the school hallway or yard.

"Starting with something as simple as teaching children to hold a pencil, I know that I am helping them start their education off on the right foot.” claims Yolanda.

"Starting with something as simple as teaching children to hold a pencil, I know that I am helping them start their education off on the right foot.” claims Yolanda.

Doña Petrona and Don Jacobo are a farming couple that lives at the foothills of the San Cristóbal volcano. The couple makes a living out of producing basic grains. “Women in my community are not used to working alongside men… that’s why they call me crazy, but I’ve gotten something good out of this madness,” In the most of Latin American countries machismo is a great challenge.

Doña Petrona and Don Jacobo are a farming couple that lives at the foothills of the San Cristóbal volcano. The couple makes a living out of producing basic grains. “Women in my community are not used to working alongside men… that’s why they call me crazy, but I’ve gotten something good out of this madness,” In the most of Latin American countries machismo is a great challenge.

The couple has had to face the catastrophic effects of climate change, such as drought, pests,  La Niña  weather conditions, among other drawbacks.

The couple has had to face the catastrophic effects of climate change, such as drought, pests, La Niña weather conditions, among other drawbacks.

NGO_photography_latinamerica-2-2.jpg
On our way to Maria's house. After all, travelling with a lot of equipment is not a big deal if you are accompanied with right people.

On our way to Maria's house. After all, travelling with a lot of equipment is not a big deal if you are accompanied with right people.

5 am. The wind appeared to be brutal that day. My friends from Fabretto Marketing Team struggling against heavy gusts of wind while helping me to sustain the lights. Thanks girls!!

5 am. The wind appeared to be brutal that day. My friends from Fabretto Marketing Team struggling against heavy gusts of wind while helping me to sustain the lights. Thanks girls!!

 

My Photography illustrate Fabretto 2017 Annual Report.
You can see the entire document below:

San Blas Islands - Photography Blog

San Blas Islands

San Blas Islands

SAN BLAS ISLANDS PHOTOGRAPHY AND TRAVEL

Island hopping in Kuna Yala.

In January my friend Tomek was visiting Central America. I picked him up from San Jose Airport and then we travelled across Costa Rica, Panama and of course Nicaragua. One of the destinations, I haven’t visited yet, that I considered interesting was located in the Northwestern part of the Panama archipelago of islands called San Blas. The archipelago is comprised of more than 360 islands that are scattered around, 49 of which are inhabited. As you can imagine when thinking of the Caribbean Islands, they have it all: blue skies, pristine white sands, clear turquoise water, and coconut palm trees. However, what really drew my attention is that San Blas is an autonomous territory (also called Kuna Yala) ruled by the indigenous tribe of KUNA (also referred to as Guna) people. They preserve their unique cultural heritage, have their own laws and customs, and they control tourism on their own terms. They also speak their own language called Tulekaya which, what is interesting, is only written phonetically; they do not have their own alphabet or written language.

To get to San Blas we left Panama City early in the morning in a 4x4 jeep. The ride is around 3 hours long including one hour of crossing the jungle. The views on the way are spectacular - lush vegetation, huge trees, hills and valleys, a real glimpse of what the jungle looks like. The road is super curvy, going up and down all the time, and even though it has been recently paved, it is still a challenge to get across. Arriving at Porvenir we had to cross the border, pass passport control and pay the Kuna entrance fee (20 dollars). Then we took lancha (motor boat), which was our main mode of transportation from then on. This is where the real fun began. You could see the water changing its color from yellowish to deep blue and finally reaching clear turquoise.  There are basically two rules while using lancha which I’ve learned them from my previous travels: (1) if you sit in the front it is going to be a bumpy ride and (2) if you sit in the back or on the side you might get wet. So I chose the bumpy version, mainly because I wanted to have a better view for taking photos and I didn’t want my photo equipment to get wet. After one hour we reached a small island, inhabited by two Kuna families, which was our destination and home for next few days.

Kuna people are quite timid, generally friendly, but sensitive to having their pictures taken. Kuna women wear their colorful traditional clothes (hand-stitched molas, scarves, beadwork worn on their arms and legs) while most of the men tend to wear regular shorts, T-shirts and baseball caps. They live mostly off of fishing, tourism and trade. I was told that taking photos of Kuna women is not permitted, unless they agree. Kunas, especially those in areas frequented by tourists, will often ask for $1 to have their photo taken, which feels a bit awkward. It’s also prohibited to pick up coconuts on your own. This is understandable considering the amount of tourists passing through. At the end of the day these islands are in fact home to the Kunas. San Blas is also a popular stop for travelers sailing from Panama to Columbia, and vice versa, that want to avoid Darién’s Gap on their way to South America.

All the time we spent in San Blas we were completely disconnected from the mainland - no internet, no cellphone signal, just us on the tiny Island surrounded by clear seas. Every day we were island hopping and visiting new destinations. In general, San Blas offers a stunning diversity of cays, from small tiny oases that are completely uninhabited to relatively big ones inhabited by large communities. Also, I sailed through the Caribbean Sea during a pitch black night for the very first time on this trip. Reaching the shore you could see marine creatures emitting light (bioluminescence) when agitated - magical to say the least. In fact, you can find coral reef surrounding almost every island, so snorkeling is quite an experience as well.

If you want to go to San Blas you can contact MAMALLENA hostel that will help you organize your trip, and put you in contact with the Kuna host.

You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook

My friend Tomek covered in warm, morning, sun. We left Panama City at 4 am.. 

My friend Tomek covered in warm, morning, sun. We left Panama City at 4 am.. 

Well, that's me, my camera bag and my first morning coffee. 

Well, that's me, my camera bag and my first morning coffee. 

 Glimpse of the jungle on the way to San Blas

 Glimpse of the jungle on the way to San Blas

Carti Port, Kuna Yala.

Carti Port, Kuna Yala.

Lancha ride.

Lancha ride.

That was our home for a few nights. San Blas

That was our home for a few nights. San Blas

Kuna Kids san blas
Boats that sail from Panama to Colombia (and vice versa) on their stop in San Blas.

Boats that sail from Panama to Colombia (and vice versa) on their stop in San Blas.

San Blas paradise cay island
Kuna's people laundry. 

Kuna's people laundry. 

kuna woman photography clothes
Kuna fabric and tropical island on San Blas
Famous Molas - Hand sewn panels that make up the front and back of a Kuna woman’s traditional blouse.A traditional Mola is made of several layers of cotton fabric.

Famous Molas - Hand sewn panels that make up the front and back of a Kuna woman’s traditional blouse.A traditional Mola is made of several layers of cotton fabric.

Kuna people on San Blas
Kuna woman snorking with kid on her back. San Blas
Starfish in the swimming pool on San Blas
Kuna woman splitting a Coconut 
Coconut for 2$. San Blas
Coconuts in Kuna Yala Island
Kuna Captain and paradise islands. San Blas.
Colors of San Blas islands.

Colors of San Blas islands.

Kuna people fishing from Kanoo
Coco Blanco. San Blas
San Blas beach chill
Menu is quite similar to other Central American regions. Variation of rice, fish or other sea food and plantains. 

Menu is quite similar to other Central American regions. Variation of rice, fish or other sea food and plantains. 

tomek reading in Coco Blanco Island
San Blas paradise sunrise photography
Cooperation - Navigate, repel, pump out the water and row.

Cooperation - Navigate, repel, pump out the water and row.

Kuna girl playing with a doll on San Blas Island
Playing games at night accompanied by a big bottle of panamanian rum - "Abuelo" - which I personally find delicious.

Playing games at night accompanied by a big bottle of panamanian rum - "Abuelo" - which I personally find delicious.

San Blas island night photography. Stars tents and palm trees
San Blas camprife at night

Discovering Antigua | Guatemala photography

Photo-essay and travel guide of Antigua Guatemala

On my blog I mostly tell stories through my images, but since I have been travelling a lot lately, I thought that I could share some of my knowledge, experience and tips I've learned. I decided to include more practical information in my stories, hopefully you will find it useful. :)

I travelled to Antigua in December, just before Christmas, hoping to see some of the famous processions (most events take place during Holy Week). Before visiting Antigua, I heard many compare it to the Nicaraguan city of Granada - their colonial pearl and the oldest city in Central America. I have to say that Antigua is more touristy, but it also has this "pueblo" feel to it - the city is small with low rise buildings, vibrant and relaxed. It is also very picturesque with cobbled streets, flowers hanging from the roofs, and monumental ruins. It is one of the most popular places for destination weddings in Latin America, and I know why: it's really photogenic. It is important to mention that it is safe, compared to other Guatemalan cities, you can find "Tourist Police" almost everywhere.

An inseparable part of Guatemala is it’s tight relation to Indigenous Mayan culture, which is present on the streets. It is normal to see people walking down the street wearing their traditional colorful clothes or speaking one of many indigenous dialects. You can find locals selling famous Mayan textiles and hand-made jewelry from Jade stone almost everywhere. There are also a few markets worth visiting, whenever you want to buy souvenirs, try juicy fruits, or just feel the local vibe.

Let’s also not forget about the three main volcanoes surrounding the city: Volcano de Agua (one you can see on most of the photos behind the Arc), fearsome Volcano of Fuego (gushing smoke and lava constantly) and the most popular for hikes - Volcano Pacaya.  

 

Behind Arco de Santa Catalina you can see the most famous of volcanoes that surrounds Antigua - Volcan de Agua

Behind Arco de Santa Catalina you can see the most famous of volcanoes that surrounds Antigua - Volcan de Agua

M
Main Plaza In Antigua Guatemala and Volcano de Agua
Maya people antigua
antigua selling books
Antigua Maya people
Traditional Maya textiles. 

Traditional Maya textiles. 

maya people Antigua
kids Antigua Guatemala
Poppies growing on the roof

Poppies growing on the roof

Gardens at Convento Santa Clara, Antigua Guatemala

Gardens at Convento Santa Clara, Antigua Guatemala

convento Antigua bird window
Maya vendors selling handicrafts around Plaza Central Park Antigua Guatemala

Maya vendors selling handicrafts around Plaza Central Park Antigua Guatemala

podrtrait maya girl Antigua
Plaza Antigua Guate
Antigua guatemala photography maya
Maya fabrics photography
street vendor oranges Antigua
oranges antigua

Pepita - the powder that results from roasting and mashing up the squash seeds of pumpkin. It's featured in many traditional Guatemalan and Mexican recipes. Commonly eaten with oranges or mangos after adding a bit of salt.

The typical Maya desayuno (breakfast) includes scrambled eggs, black beans, a bit of queso blanco (white cheese), fried maduro plantains and a cup of "cafecito" (coffee). Additionally It’s accompanied by a cloth covered basket of warm tortillas made of corn.

The typical Maya desayuno (breakfast) includes scrambled eggs, black beans, a bit of queso blanco (white cheese), fried maduro plantains and a cup of "cafecito" (coffee). Additionally It’s accompanied by a cloth covered basket of warm tortillas made of corn.

Maya girl Antigua
flower vendor antigua guatemala
The Plaza Central Park Antigua Guatemala
Volcano de fuego erupting Guatemala
antigua guatemala pics
Volcano de Fuego firing smoke in the background

Volcano de Fuego firing smoke in the background

One of the Christmas processions in Antigua, Guatemala

One of the Christmas processions in Antigua, Guatemala

december processions antigua
vendors antigua Guatemala
 Christmas decorations on Cathedral La Merced, Antigua

 Christmas decorations on Cathedral La Merced, Antigua

car simpsons guatemala

If you are planning a trip to Antigua here you can find some useful tips:

Getting there:
$10 shuttle from the Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City. Ride takes usually 40min but it could extend to 2h during traffic hours.

Where to Stay: 

Both places, Casa del Sol And Hotel Santo Domingo are located next to each other. 

Eat and Drink: 

  • Street food - It's worth it to try the food from street venders. It's price-friendly, fresh, and surprisingly clean (not common in every city). You can find it mainly by the parks and churches. Look in front of Merced Church in the evening. 
  • El Portón - If you want to eat like a local (on a budget). For Breakfast - hot tortilla, beans, eggs, white cheese and "cafecito". Lunch worth trying - the chiles rellenos (Spicy version tooo spicy for me ;)) Their soups are good as well. You can find many locals eating there.  (Located on 6.a Calle Oriente #8) 
  • The Bagel Barn - Grab nice juicy bagel in the meantime
  • Coffee Sky - For rooftop views. (1a Avenida Sur, 15 Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepequez)
  • The Refuge Coffee Bar, Antigua - Really good coffee.
  • Angeline - Great dinner, not as cheap.
Street Food, Stuffed chilli peppers in El Porton, Refuge Coffee Bar, Bagel Barn, Tacos+local bear with a view on Colegio de la Compañía de Jesús

Street Food, Stuffed chilli peppers in El Porton, Refuge Coffee Bar, Bagel Barn, Tacos+local bear with a view on Colegio de la Compañía de Jesús

Things to see and to do:

  • Visit Specialty Museums. Antigua has a number of small museums that are worth visiting: 
    Centro de Formación de la Cooperación Española - They hold many cultural events, exhibitions etc. (I really liked the one about Mayan aesthetics).
    Pre-Columbian and Glass Art Museum - One 5 different museums inside of the Casa Santo Domingo.
    Chocolate Museum - Did you know that The Mayans are believed to be the first to discover the culinary uses of the cacao bean? The museum offers chocolate-making workshops and cacao plantation tours. 
  • Get Lost in one of the Mercados. Real taste of Guatemala.There are plenty of them in Antigua
  • Hike a VolcanoPacaya Volcano is the most popular and great for short hikes, while Acatenango Volcano (almost 4000 meters high) is an all-day an overnight trip. In return it provides you with an amazing up close view of the active Volcano de Fuego. 
  • Enjoy the panoramic view of Antigua from "Cerro la Cruz". It's just outside the city (approximately 30 minutes hike)
  • See old churches and convents: San Francisco Church, La Merced Church, Convento Santa Clara and Convento de las Capuchinas
  • Take a coffee tour. Learn all about coffee grooves, coffee plantation and how coffee is grown.
  • Zip-line on a canopy tour.

 

Here are some helpful links and resources I came across before my trip:
Best Overall Guatemala Guide – Indie Traveller
36 Hours in Antigua - NYTimes Travel
What to do In Antigua Guatemala – Y Travel Blog


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