And on to Central America! Our first stop was in Antigua, Guatemala to spend a couple nights with our friends Josh and Susan who are working as missionaries for Kids Alive International. Antigua itself is a cobblestone charmer with a rich colonial history preserved in many of the buildings. Antigua derives its name from being the old capitol, which moved after repeated earthquakes. As you can see below, many of the churches reveal the violent forces that shaped Antigua’s history.
The mermaid fountain in Parque Central at the heart of Antigua
Arched pathways surround three sides of Parque Central
The final side of the park holds the ruins of the old cathedral
Susan & Susan inside the remains of the old cathedral
Construction began in 1545, but two massive earthquakes later, the cathedral was left as is in 1773
Looking up and imagining the central dome
Unnamed ruins dot the city and its surroundings
Iglesia de San Francisco, still active, boasts its own earthquake scar
The Santa Catalina Arch and cloud-covered volcanoes in the distant background
The gaudy La Merced church with almost wedding-cake like embellishments
We’ve learned every city needs a viewpoint, and Antigua has Cerro de la Cruz
Get lost in Antigua’s sprawling market – by far, the largest we saw in Latin America
We signed up for the Choco Museum tour which was genuinely educational and fun. The tour takes you through a tasting history of chocolate, from its Maya origins to European adoption and finally making some chocolate for yourself.
Toasting the dried cocoa beans
Grinding the toasted beans then preparing the blood-red Mayan chocolate drink
Susan makes our own personal batch of chocolates with a variety of ingredients
Josh & Susan took us to visit Oasis, where Kids Alive house young girls placed under government care. The complex is beautiful and a testament to the vision of people working and caring for the less fortunate. If you’d like to follow their work, visit Susan’s blog here.
Josh & Susan in the Kids Alive Oasis office
Oasis: each house provides a home for a group of girls
The seven-year old in red had just moved in and was making friends on the trampoline