This morning it was 12 degrees in New York, which is as clear a sign as any that it’s time to get out and not return till April. If that is actually a possibility for you (jealous!) then might we recommend you pay a visit to Antigua, Guatemala. Not only is it a beautiful, historical city that’s a Unesco World Heritage site, but look at this lovely weather report:
Little better than New York’s, no?
How to get there: Take a direct flight from any New York airport to Guatemala City, which is only an hour from Antigua.
Where to stay: Called “the ultimate in Antigua luxury” by Lonely Planet, the Meson Panza Verde offers a high-end experience for a relatively low price. Only five minutes from the center of town (in the “quiet” section), the hotel is known for its private terraces that lead out to lush gardens and a serene pool.
The hotel also has a gallery featuring Guatemalan artists and a beautiful restaurant that received the “Tenedor de Oro” award for being the best in the country in 2008.
If you feel like a splurge (that’s not even that expensive), stay in the Grand Suite, which is huge and richly furnished with antique Cuban chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling glass, and offers views of Volcan Agua and the hotel’s gardens. And the best part? It only costs $250 a night.
What to eat: For a fine dining experience in Antigua, Angeline cannot be beat. The restaurant focuses on local ingredients and serves dishes like Quail with Serrano jam and couscous and a fish of the day with black caviar. The seven-course tasting menu costs Q600 (about $78).
What to do: Antigua is almost 500 years old and the city has been remarkably preserved over that time. It’s also close by to three volcanoes, so there’s plenty of opportunity for hiking and other outdoor activities (zip lining anyone?). After you’ve worked hard on the hike, relax at one of the thermal spas in the area. You can book a trip through a travel agency–be sure to let them know your experience level so they can choose the right trip for you.
Perhaps the simplest pleasure in Antigua, though, is to take a walk around the city, while listening to the street musicians, shopping for local Mayan crafts, and soaking up the history of this amazing place.