EVERYONE NEEDS TO EXPLORE GUATEMALA CITY
We couldn’t have been happier to arrive in the city after the days of traveling we had the last week we were in Guatemala. So many bus rides, heat, and jungle.
We had gone from Guatemala City to Panajachel, to Santiago, back to Guatemala City, to Jutiapa, back to Guatemala City, to Santa Elena then to Tikal back to Santa Elena, to Flores to Guatemala City then to Antigua and back to Guatemala City. So we were exhausted but arriving in the city this last time also meant we were about to go back home too.
A little backstory, every time I have traveled to Guatemala it has either been with my mother, arriving to address legal paperwork or just plain spending time with my Guatemalan family. What does this mean? If you have family in other countries you may understand. This means you are not a tourist, you are family and coming to spend time with them and nothing else. You’re at their mercy and go where they want to take you and lots of quality time.
This was my first trip to my country with someone outside of the family. My first time married, which means I’m an adult in their mind, I guess. While in the past I wasn’t allowed to venture on my own, or to places I wanted to go or suggested. This time nobody could say anything and I took full advantage. While some of my family could be a bit scaredy cat about traveling, (the only word I could think of), I am not, clearly.
Hubby warned me he wasn’t going to follow the unspoken rule of only spending time with family and no tourist time. He didn’t have to address it, no one said anything. Some were fearful but just asked for me to email and call to check in.
FIRST DAYS IN GUATEMALA CITY
We had to spread our time with both sides of my family and on their availability. The Guatemala city family on my mother’s side had been working during the week, so we spent time with them on the weekends. That is how we ended up in Solola seeing Panajachel and Santiago.
The following weekend we did a little sightseeing in the City. The typical sites, the National Palacio, the Churches and Plaza Cayala. I had the best liquado ever at Panaderia Berna. Went shopping at the Mercado Central. We also went to Laguna del Pino a quaint lake not so far from the city. Too overcrowded for my taste but then again we did go on a Sunday. Ended the trip with a delicious meal at La Estancia.
I WAS FREE
You know we ventured off to Tikal on a bus. From Tikal to Antigua on a bus. From Antigua to Guatemala City on a bus. We were ready for downtime and comfy sightseeing and no more buses!
Insert my cousin, who now happens to be my favorite cousin. She gave us a quick and relaxed tour of a certain part of Guatemala City I had never seen or experienced.
After a few weeks of eating lots of typical Guatemalan food, I was ready to try something different. So my cousin gets another big check mark for achieving just that.
First, stop Saul’s Bistro and it was a super cute and relaxing place. They had outdoor seating, in the amazing spring weather in Guatemala you want to eat outside. This was my first time at an upscale bistro in Guatemala. To us, it was closer to what is here in the US, but for Guatemala, it’s a lot nicer than the usual places. It almost felt like the perfect brunch place, not to mention delicious and healthy feeling.
Last meal of the day was the famous Shukos, which as a Guatemalan I should know of but I did not. So my cousin insisted I had to try one. Shukos are Guatemalan mouth watering delicious hot dogs, and did I mention how good they are? We went to a place called Los Shukos in Zone 14 but now I have to have the original shukos when I go back.
She knew I was dying to see art in my native country and see how it differentiated from what I imagined. First stop was La Galeria Rosas Beltran in the Zone 14. I was impressed and shocked. The art was amazing and very contemporary. Not what I imagined at all since the tourist art I have seen throughout the years of coming to Guatemala is very much, touristy art. Hoping one day I can exhibit here.
The last stop of our tour was to DARSC art gallery for a closing reception and artist talk. The owner is a very sweet and talented artist herself, Daniella Sanchez. I was able to have a great talk with her and even had a small critique of my work and possibility of showing in Guatemala, with a few more years under my belt. Not many gallery owners give you the time of day or give you advice on the first meeting. The gallery had some really great work, a mixture of abstract and realism but it all flowed together somehow.
I had been to a few malls in Guatemala, ones that family chose to take me to. I think my cousin heard me because she took me somewhere I had never been and felt right at home. It didn’t feel like we had left the US. La Noria was in an area surrounded by so many high rises. You know the hubby loves highrises. He hadn’t seen them in Guatemala this whole time so he was impressed. He was already jotting down numbers & names to look up the models and prices.
One of the things I was most excited to find in this mall, was a store that I could only describe as equal to Aaron’s Brothers Art & Framing. It wasn’t but it could have been, lovey art supplies and the frames were about the same price as here. The store is called Galeria Rios. I know if I ever decide or get the opportunity to show in Guatemala where to get my frames.
This place also had a lot of upscale stores and lots of restaurants that if I wasn’t completely stuffed with my Shukos and my crepes I could have tried several.
I was able to spend time & get to know my cousin and see a part of Guatemala City that I had never been exposed to. For once I didn’t fear to be in the city. The way everyone acts and what you see on the news is that the city is so dangerous. I think this little trip proved that to be wrong. Certain areas could be dangerous, which is true of anywhere else. Guatemala City has a lot to explore and see and I plan to add it to my next trip.