Formed 5,000 feet above sea level in the western highlands of Guatemala, the 11-mile long Lago de Atitlán is the deepest lake in Central America. It plunges to depths of over 1,000 feet. Three volcanoes dominate its southern fringe—Atitlán, Tolimán, and San Pedro; the latter two emerging from the lakeside. The lake itself changes as wistful breezes or surly gales whip up its sleek, glassy surface. The ever-shifting light reflecting off its belly…
Antigua is Guatemala’s most beautiful city, and the center of its cultural life and Spanish- colonial heritage. If you want to taste a little of everything Guatemala has to offer, this is the place to come. To start with, Antigua is nestled amid some of the country’s most dramatic landscape. This local geology hasn’t always been kind, however. Earthquakes in the 18th century led the Spanish to move their capital to the site of modern-day Guatemala City. But while Antigua’s population declined—today it’s around 47,000— more than enough of the city’s impressive architecture remained.
My childhood dream was to explore the world, treading in the footsteps of past explorers while discovering the wonders of its landscapes and people for myself. I was still just dreaming when I grew up—and I was stuck working long hours behind an office desk.
The colonial city of Antigua in the Central highlands of Guatemala has a thriving expat community. It’s no surprise that foreigners choose to live here full- or part-time. They enjoy the history-steeped cobbled streets and a vibrant culture. Visitors often extend their stay, swapping family home stays or hotel accommodation for short or long-term rentals in Antigua.
I first came to Antigua, Guatemala in 2006 to study Spanish and extended my one-month language course month-by-month for seven months. By then, I’d fallen in love with the city and lifestyle, befriended both locals and expats and felt I wanted to make this a more permanent lifestyle…so I stayed.
In an ankle-length skirt and dance pumps, our 12-year-old guide, Verónica, leads us daintily along a muddy path between steep fields of broccoli and maize. Climbing uphill away from the hand-tilled patches of land, we are engulfed by the luxuriant trees of the forest. Vivid orchids, giant bromeliads, and ferns thrive here in the heavy moisture.
In Guatemala—as in Mexico—people celebrate All Saints’ Day on November 1 by traveling to cemeteries to honor the dead. They repaint family tombs, adorn them with yellow flowers and picnic by the graves.
A flourishing expat community has evolved over the years as adventurous spirits from all over the globe set their wandering feet to rest, seduced by the charm and easy living in Antigua, Guatemala.
This is Nadaam or the “Three Manly Games,” Mongolia’s most important annual festival held during the national holiday from July 11 to 13. Its roots lie in Mongolian warrior traditions and include ﬁerce competitions in three disciplines: Male only wrestling, all gender archery and gritty horse races out on the open steppe with fearless child jockeys.