Antigua: Ya Girl Loves to Eat
Updated: Jun 2, 2019
Antigua was a well-needed short weekend trip, I left Saturday morning, stayed overnight in a hostel called Luna Maya and returned Sunday afternoon. Relaxed, took some photos, just enjoyed actually being outside, having my own time and a little bit of quiet. Ate ceviche (twice) and drank micheladas and margaritas. Also filled out on ice cream.
I didn’t really hit up any of the tourist attractions as such, just ate a lot and ambled around little shops and streets.
The vibe here at off-season is relaxed, its quiet but still enough people and atmosphere for a good time if you did want to venture out.
Places I went in no particular order of time or rating:
Y tu Piña Tambien
Visually pleasing, Sunday morning breakfast spot. Great coffee, licuados and avo on toast. With eggs obvs.
Licaudos are a traditional Guatemalan drink, which is pretty much a freshly squeezed juice, choose from watermelon, papaya, pineapple, or a mix of the varied abundance of fruit we have here depending on the season. Most people have it with milk or yoghurt blended through. I prefer just refreshing fruit juice with a little bit of water. I had watermelon, mint and strawberry.
It's Avocado season right now and I’m eating at least one every day, which I think I seemed to almost do in London anyway, but these are next level (and a lot cheaper at the markets than in Tesco).
I LOVE ICE CREAM and GELATO. Sadly most had sold out when I checked it out, I guess it must be super popular. This place has a really interesting menu of ice cream and sorbets- I couldn’t decide between mango-basil sorbet, fresa-parmesan, fresa-merlot and pistachio-rosa. Unfortunately, you can’t taste any of the flavours prior to buying which is such a shame. (This is because they’re packaged up already in pots, not because they’re mean) My favourite ice cream place in Barcelona, introduced to my friend Hannah is much better as you can taste their award-winning mixes before you settle on a flavour- surely that’s the right way to buy ice cream?
Saying that- I asked the guy the best one out of my “want to try” list and the mango basil was really refreshing, both straight up fresh ingredients as a frozen treat.
Googled “best ceviche in Antigua’ and this place popped up. There are two Hugo’s in Antigua, and I went to the larger one filled with plants and sat on the upstairs balcony. February isn’t busy in Antigua so I had this place to myself pretty much. Ordered the prawn ceviche and a Gallo beer (Gallo means rooster in English and is the typical Guatemalan lager), followed up with a margarita (cocktail not pizza, ahem). The ceviche was fresh with right amount of heat and balanced with clean cucumber and coriander as to not blow my head off. The Margarita had lots of lime, which is a very good thing in my opinion. Lime so strong you wince a wee bit.
Weird name- I thought it might be books specifically aimed at people with Dyslexia- if that’s even a thing. Not convinced it’s a great choice in names, but it’s attention grabbing for sure. Had a quick browse and was drawn to a Spanish language poetry book, mostly because of the hand-made style of the cover and figured I can do with improving my vocab and verbs as they’re rusty AF. A good mixture of old and new books, both in Spanish and in English. A little boy selling Mandarinas is sat on a big chair, his legs dangling and is talking with the guy behind the counter who I guess is probably American but has perfect Spanish.
End up chatting to said American guy behind the counter as it turns out that his friend wrote the book I chose and that he’s also writes films and that this guy is in the film that’s being released next month. I say I live in the city and will check it out for sure. Also get a beer voucher for Cafe No Se next door as apparently if you spend more than 40Q you get a free beer.
Books + Beer = Happy Carrin
I really loved my second hit of ceviche. This place does it HOT, chose the mixed ceviche of prawn, crab and two kinds of octopus. Their servings are huge and delicious, very good value. I’d actually say that this was better than Hugo’s, but perhaps it was because I chose a mix of seafood. They’re both great options. Had a picosita too which I didn’t fully understand when I ordered it- I thought I was just getting a can of Gallo with a squeeze of lime and a little chilli. The waitress asked me to take a sip of the can and I did and nodded (I thought she was just checking that I liked it). She took it away and returned with a prawn and a bit of ceviche mixture on the top and lots of chili and lime. YES. I mean if you’re going to pimp a beer this is the way to go. (Sent a photo to my mum who said it looks disgusting)
The waitress is great and asks if I need a cold coke, as although I am getting well into the hot stuff, its taking me forever to eat and drink my lunch. Cold Coke is a good shout. Side note- its very hard to get Diet Coke or Coke Zero here as people love sugar, so I have to stock up at the supermarket a lot.
Highly recommend Antigua’s Ceviche! Its my favourite place on the trip.
Oh this place is SO PRETTY. The interior is a Latin-American design dream. Hanging plants, painted wooden furniture and cute, curated shelves with roosters, little skulls, Antigua brewing beer bottles and wee wooden Chicken Buses. Alex, who works here is into his beer (of course) and so recommended I tried a little of each of the main beers in a serving plate ( I know that there is a proper name for this, but I cannot recall it) The Xute pale ale is the winner by far which has hints of grapefruit, its tart and refreshing. The stouts which usually I wouldn’t be into were both quite good and I genuinely really like the one called Coffee as it tastes like a little espresso- does what it says on the tin. Probably couldn’t have more than this little one though.
Cafe No Se
Saturday night I check out this place before heading back to my hostel. I have a voucher for a beer from my book buying earlier and sit at the back of this dive bar, surrounded by candles. There’s the photography used in the artwork from Dinosaur Jr’s Green Mind on the back wall and I lose my own mind and start excitedly pointing at it, saying “Ahhhh! Dinosaur Jr!” to the barman who hasn’t the foggiest what I’m on about. I just say “My favourite band” and smile a little. When you know, you know.
I end up chatting with him a bit and he makes me a cocktail which is grapefruit and mescal with a bit of lime and heat. DE-LI-CIOUS. Pretty much a Paloma.
I call grapefruit “Pomelo” in Spanish but he calls it “Toronja”
Its a grungey, dive bar mostly filled with ex-pats or people on a trip to learn Spanish- Antigua has some of the best Spanish schools in the world, due to the clear and easy to understand tone of Guatemalans and that Antigua is pretty and safe! Good music, cool people, nice list of drinks.
Shall be back no doubt.
Luna Maya Hostel
Chosen because they advertised yoga classes, and a chilled environment. I’ve been doing a little bit of yoga on my own on the roof, but mostly been doing BBG workouts with my housemates as a group to motivate each other. Figured I could use a weekend of yoga.. unfortunately there are no classes this weekend.
BUT. That’s ok. I go into the yoga space on Sunday morning which has big windows onto the street and an alter at the front, I looked for someone to ask if it was ok, but there is no-one there so I go ahead. I practice on my own which is challenging as well as relaxing as I just flow into my favourite asanas. And a couple of harder ones because I feel I should. How lucky to have the space to myself!
The hostel is clean and pretty, and really new. I feel it’s probably more female-traveller aimed as there are two female only rooms and one mixed. The only other people I see are my roomies for the night- a French girl who lives in Lanzarote and is travelling through Central and South America, and a Finnish girl who works for a coffee company and is in Guatemala for the coffee harvest.
Highly recommend this place! It’s quiet and lovely- with a boutique hostel feel. Have my first hot shower since I’ve been here and I’m in there FOREVER as I’ve been washing my hair in our pila at home whilst we’re waiting for our new shower. There is also an outside roof terrace and an inside open-air reception.
I’m sure I’ll be spending a lot of time in Antigua.