Antigua, Guatemala with a local

Marina Kuperman Villatoro is one of WR's newest Travel Experts. She sent us an email a couple of weeks ago proposing herself on the basis of having travelled extensively in Central and South America over the last ten years:

“I have lived here for over 10 years - 7 years in Costa Rica and 2 years in Guatemala and 1 year of traveling all over Mexico, Central America and South America.”

And she started sharing some of her reviews and recommendations right away to prove her case – which she did easily!  So if you're thinking about travelling to Central or South America then check out some of the places she's been and reviewed for us.  

Marina and her sons.
Marina and her sons. Photo by Marina Kuperman Villatoro

Living somewhere a bit exotic, we thought it would be great to introduce you to her by profiling her and her home town in the latest of our Questionnaires for Experts, Bloggers and other Travel Knowledgeables.

Where's your home town, and what's the main reason people visit?

I've been living in Antigua, Guatemala with my family for over 2 years now. I'd say the main reason why people visit this place it's for it's beauty. It's the last true and 'barely' untouched colonial town from when the Spaniards first arrived here. The cobblestone streets, colonial style buildings are just some of the allure. The other is that it's had 2 earthquakes and you can see the ruins still intact. Plus, the food is soooo great here! 

What's the main reason you think people SHOULD be visiting?

Antigua is tiny so you can stay in the center of the town, walk around enjoying it's great sites, ruins, and restaurants. Antigua is also surrounded by 3 volcanoes. One of which is still active and you can see it smoking. And you can take a great tour to Pacaya volcano which is an active volcano and look down into the crater and see boiling lava. Pretty cool!

If you had to recommend to the friend of a friend one unmissable thing to do in your home town what would it be?

Just being here! Walking around the cobblestone streets, visiting the ruins, eating out at any of the great restaurants with the views of the volcanoes. 

If they had a whole day in town what would you recommend they do?

Do a walking tour, hang out in the popular central park by the fountain, shop on Arc Street and visit Santo Domingo Hotel. 

What if they had three days?

For 3 days, I would recommend one day walking around and enjoying the city. Then one day to head over the Pacaya Volcano. And on the third day continue with the city tour, take a horseback ride, and visit Santo Domingo Hotel for drinks. 

What will you never catch a local doing?

This is really tough, since I'd say all the locals enjoy Antigua as tourists would. It always amazed me that you see tons of Guatemalan's hanging out in Central Park, doing a horse carriage ride. Antigua isn't really so much as touristy as it's just a fun place to enjoy everything.  

What WILL you catch a local doing?

Everything mentioned above.  

And what local delicacies would visitors be fools not to try while they're there?

Pepian and Jocon and Tamales! These are found in restaurants and on most Saturdays the houses with a red light over there doors mean they sell home made, fresh tamales.  

In 140 characters, how would you sum up your home town as a great destination?

The last true colonial city in Latin America - colorful, authentic and so fun! 

Anything else you want to add!?

Guatemala gets a bad rep, however, when you visit this country you will by pass the city and head directly to Antigua which is a world of it's own. It's safe, it's fun and a must see!

For more from Marina, read her blog: Travel Experta 

Comments, questions and reviews by other travellers

Thanks for including me on your great site!

3 Replies

Hi Marina, Can you tell me what the best place has been to travel with your kids? I'd love to take my little ones to South America, but I don't know where would be best.

Thanks for the advice. Looks like you guys have been having a ball!

Hi Leia,

Costa Rica is one of the top places for sure, and also Guatemala. You can check out my site where it shows adventures of me and my kids in these countries:)

let me know what you think and any questions.

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