26 Feb Mission Trips – Free Day; See Antigua, Do A Zip Line, or Visit A Coffee Plantation
By Arwen McGilvra & Pablo Villagran-
During your week visiting our home, we take you to see Antigua, Guatemala, on Thursday. Antigua is a city in the central highlands of Guatemala famous for its well-preserved Spanish-Baroque-influenced architecture, as well as a number of spectacular ruins of colonial churches. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.*
We will visit a ruin and do some shopping at the local market, where you will be able to get authentic Guatemalan goods for souvenirs or gifts for your friends and family. Colorful local crafts including blankets, purses, bracelets, ponchos, shirts, traditional shoes, necklaces, and machetes are just some of the unique items that you’ll find. You can learn even more here: Guatemalan Handicrafts.
People have asked us in the past: Is it safe at the market? Will the merchants take advantage of us because we’re tourists?
Firstly, there is a lot of tourism in Antigua, so security is a priority. They don’t want to have a bad reputation. At the same time, it’s a good idea to follow these tips whenever you are in a foreign country:
- Pick-pockets often have an accomplice who will jostle you, ask you for directions or the time, point to something spilled on your clothing, or distract you by creating a disturbance. Stay alert and stay with the group.
- Wear the shoulder strap of your bag across your chest and walk with the bag away from the curb to avoid drive-by purse-snatchers. Carry your wallet in the front pocket of your jeans.
- Don’t rummage through your wallet or count your money in public — it advertises the contents and location to a would-be thief. Take only what you need when you go out, and keep money in more than one place.
Secondly, we have made friends at the market who we know will give you the best prices, but if you want to try other stores there you have to bargain with them. They may try to charge you three times the real price, but that’s why we’re always around you, making sure you get a decent deal.
During the day, we will also eat at a steak house, and we could also do things like zip line, ride horses, or see a coffee plantation for an extra fee. If you have been to Antigua before, we have other options for you if you’d like something different.
Pacaya’s Volcano — Pacaya is an active complex volcano in Guatemala. Pacaya rises to an elevation of 2,552 meters (8,373 feet). After being dormant for a century, it erupted violently in 1965 and has been erupting continuously since then. It is a popular tourist attraction and lies 30 kilometers (19 miles) southwest of Guatemala City and close to Antigua.*
Lake Atitlán — A fairly large lake in the Guatemala highlands, Atitlán is recognized to be the deepest lake in Central America, with a maximum depth of about 340 meters (1,120 feet). The lake is shaped by deep escarpments that surround it and by three volcanoes on its southern flank. Lake Atitlán is further characterized by towns and villages of the Maya people. The lake is about 50 kilometers (31 miles) west-northwest of Antigua.
These other two tours have an extra fee. Talk to our Mission coordinator in the U.S. for details.
Guatemala is a great place to visit, full of great stories and places that will make your time there unforgettable. Apply for a trip today!