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a Guatemalan street lined with cars a Guatemalan street lined with cars

Where in the World Is Peter Bender? Guatemala

Culture July 16, 2018

Antigua, Guatemala (not to be confused with the Caribbean island), is about a one-hour drive from the Guatemala City airport, situated in a valley with Volcán de Agua looking down on the town. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and its historic architecture makes it feel as if you’ve taken step back in time. My Spanish is a little rusty, but fortunately the people were very forgiving and seemed to appreciate that I tried. Interestingly enough, the area is very well-known for Spanish schools, which I didn’t realize until we got there. It made me want to go back sometime to attend!

Much like other trips, we spent a lot of our time wandering the streets of the town. We’d stop into a café for a coffee or beer and enjoy the breeze while motorbikes zipped by. We also had the opportunity to visit the Saturday market, which included hundreds of vendors. Many were outside, but the market was especially interesting inside. We ventured into the indoor portion of the market, and it was like navigating a maze, having to duck through tight spaces without a clear sense of where we were going.

Arco de Santa Catalina, Antigua, Guatemala

Arco de Santa Catalina, Antigua, Guatemala.

One of our favorite parts of the trip was a visit to San Miguel Escobar coffee cooperative. It was about a twenty-minute tuk tuk ride away from our B&B and then another thirty-minute hike. One of the farmers, Gabriel, taught us all about the cultivation of coffee plants and the uniqueness of Guatemala’s climate and soil for coffee. After a tour through the fields, he showed us his processing and drying methods in a smaller nearby town. To finish up the day, Gabriel and his family welcomed us into his home to share some coffee and further conversation. He was so hospitable, and his coffee is world-class.

​Gabriel, a farmer with San Miguel Escobar coffee cooperative, Antigua, Guatemala​

Gabriel, a farmer with San Miguel Escobar coffee cooperative, Antigua, Guatemala.

It’s been such a privilege to be given the opportunity to travel like this. The past six months have flown by (no pun intended), but we have plenty of pictures and memories from the experience. If you’re just now catching the tail end of this series, make sure to read our President’s post about Elevate’s culture and how it supports work/life balance for the whole Elevate team.

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