WHDIGH Series: “I Did Not Know That” — History Of La Antigua Guatemala

Once again I reveal to you how much I didn’t know before I traveled and hopefully how much I’ve learned in the process of traveling, usually without really even trying. That’s right, it’s time for some learnin’. Once again, WHDIGH.COM shouts out…

Last time I DID NOT KNOW THAT Mexico City was built on top of a giant lake and because of that fact the giant metropolis is now sinking! This installment of the Well, How Did I Get Here? Series : I Did Not Know That features a summarized history of Antigua, or La Antigua Guatemala. At one time Antigua, Guatemala was the capital of almost all of Central America and also of the Chiapas region of southern Mexico. The history of Antigua has been dramatically influenced by the history of other cities within Guatemala. Due to changing circumstances the capital of the Spanish colony of Guatemala has changed several times. The final relocation of the capital is a fundamental reason why Antigua is the way it is today.

In 1524 the Spanish conquistadors established the first capital of the Spanish colony in Iximche. In November of 1527 the capital was moved to the Valley of Almolonga after several uprisings by the Cakchiquel Mayans. Today this is the location of the city named Ciudad Vieja. This capital city was destroyed by a devastating mud flow from Volcan de Agua on September 11, 1541. After the destruction the capital was moved once again, this time five miles away to the Valley of Panchoy where modern-day Antigua sits.

Volcan de Agua looming behind a street in Antigua, it was a mudslide from this volcano that destroyed the 2nd capital of Guatemala and prompted the relocation of the capital to Antigua

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Colombia In 18 Days! Part VI — Medellin

We now continue Colombia In 18 Days!, reviewing a 18 day backpacking trip through fascinating Colombia in the fall of 2010. If you want to see the previous installments of this review please click on the links below. At the bottom of each article is a video with more photos and videos for a more detailed look into each destination.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Last week I reviewed our time exploring Tayrona National Park. From there we took a taxi to Santa Marta Airport. We then flew to The City Of The Eternal Spring, Medellin. By that time we had grown tired of the epic, freezing, and dangerous bus journeys through Colombia.

flying into Medellin

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Colombia In 18 Days! Part V : Tayrona National Park

We now continue Colombia In 18 Days!, reviewing a 18 day backpacking trip through fascinating Colombia in the fall of 2010. If you want to see the previous installments of this review please click on the links below. At the bottom of each article is a video with more photos and videos for a more detailed look into each destination.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Last week I reviewed our time in and around Cartagena. From Cartagena we headed out to see Tayrona National Natural Park. After a night in a dodgy hostel in Santa Marta we took a taxi to the national park. It was pouring down rain when we arrived without reservations for the night! Fortunately for us we came across Castilletes Campground which was completely vacant when we arrived. Unfortunately there was no electricity as well, but for one night it wasn’t much of a problem.

the entrance sign to Castillete

the road leading into the campground

the main house at Castillete, rumored to be a former hideout of a drug kingpin

hammocks and camping space

The morning that followed we woke up early to attempt to escape the mid-day heat for our hike through the jungle and along the beaches.

after a short walk along the road we entered into the jungle on the trail

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Antigua House Party

A few weeks back all of the guests living here at Itzamna Spanish School in Antigua decided to put together a farewell house party for two people who were leaving. Everyone chipped in some money and we feasted on a delicious home made meal including grilled chicken. We brought out the stereo and sang and danced the night away. It was a lot of fun and a great way to send off some friends.

the party spread

grilled chicken

In addition to being fun, a house party is a fun way to stretch out your travel funds. Going out for a night can oftentimes put a serious dent in your travel funds. So save a little cash and bring the night in ,especially if you enjoy the company of the people around you.

Colombia In 18 Days! Part IV — Cartagena

exhausted after a long journey from San Gil to Cartagena

After our rafting adventure near San Gil and our sightseeing in Barichara our adventure continued in mesmerizing Cartagena. I don’t think that you could find many people who’ve visited Colombia that would not conclude that Cartagena is an essential place to see in Colombia. In Cartagena we saw a Spanish fortress, the colonial Old Town, the beach at Bocagrande, enjoyed incredible nightlife, and visited a nearby mud volcano!

If you’ve missed any of the previous entries about our trip, 18 Days in Colombia!, you can click on these links below:

Part I – Bogota

Part II – San Gil

Part III – Barichara

Be sure to watch the video at the bottom of this article to see more photos from Cartagena and to see what it was like to be inside a mud volcano!

One of the best experiences in Cartagena is free! Just walking around inside the walled city is free. There are a number of sculptures, shops, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs in the colonial Old Town.

Clock Tower Building entrance into the walled Old Town

a street inside the walled city

shops in Old Town

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Antigua Ruins : Church and Convent Of Santa Clara

Only three blocks from where I currently reside are the ruins of the Santa Clara Church and Convent. The entrance fee is 40 Quetzales for foreign visitors and slightly less for students. The original temple and convent was built in 1705. This version was completed in 1734 but has been damaged severely by earthquakes since its construction. The grounds are pleasant to walk around and to imagine what it must have been like to live here in the past. Particularly impressive are the arches surrounding the central courtyard and fountain. The ruins are located at the corner of 6th Street East and 2nd Avenue South, only three blocks from Parque Central. Be sure to watch the video slideshow at the bottom of the page to see more of the ruins.

exterior entrance for parishioners to the temple

parishioners entrance to the temple

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Colombia In 18 Days! Part III — Barichara

Hills and streets of Barichara

Last week we recounted our time in San Gil, Colombia and the amazing whitewater rafting on Rio Suarez. We began the review of our 18 days in Colombia with the capital of the country, Bogota. This Monday we recap our day in Barichara.

The charming colonial village of Barichara, Colombia is only a 40 minute shuttle ride away from San Gil. It makes a great day trip from San Gil or you could stay a few days if you truly want to get away from it all.

We took the 40 minute shuttle there from San Gil. Then we walked around the village. We walked uphill to the top of the village as recommended to see a phenomenal view of the valley.

the spectacular view of the valley below

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