Category Archives: Guatemala

Semena Santa Festival Antigua

Now I wasn’t expecting this to happen so thought it worthy of its own blog entry. I wandered out one afternoon on a sunday at about 4.30 p.m., the town was buzzing and people were lining the streets and sitting on the kerbs. Something was coming up the road but i couldn’t make out what it was so i just waited like everybody else.

Apparantly Antigua has the largest Easter celebration in the world ! It was actually about 3 weeks before Easter but the celebrations start early and gradually build up to a massive celebration over the Easter. Huge floats are carried around the town with images of Jesus Christ and others, each float can weigh a few tons and require many people to carry it.

The procession soon arrived and i was swept along with the people !

Semena Santa Easter Festival Antigua Guatemala
Local procession

Semena Santa Easter Festival Antigua Guatemala

Semena Santa Easter Festival Antigua Guatemala

Semena Santa Easter Festival Antigua Guatemala

The women didn’t get off lightly though, they had their own floats to carry –

Semena Santa Easter Festival Antigua Guatemala

Each float had its own brass band and music was played throughout the procession –


There were lots of different coloured robes and I didn’t know whether this signified a different rank in the church or maybe a diffrent community, as people came from far and wide.


One thing i did like about it was their idea of waste mangement. A garbage truck followed right behind with a few guys with shovels and cleaned up any mess ! I mean everything was gone, you wouldn’t have known anything had happened. There was also a JCB following the garbage truck, maybe to scoop up any exhausted float bearers ?


One thing that caught my eye were some people who were making a carpet out of flowers and grass in the road. Apparantly this is something that local peolpe do and as it gets nearer Easter the streets have a carpet of flowers over them.



The carpet was finished just in time for the procession to turn up and walk straight over it. But this is what happens, they get finished, they get trodden on, and then they get swept up by the garbage truck minutes later ! I would say it must be quite a bit of expensive for a family or business to do this so it must mean a lot to them to take part in it all.


Antigua Guatemala

After relaxing by the water in Rio i jumped on the Litegua bus to get me to Antigua. For 125 quetzales it got me to Guatemala City and then onto a connecting bus for the remainder of the journey. Having heard that Guatemala City isn’t the nicest place to hang around (about 15 murders a day) i decided to skip it. The bus trip took longer than advertised (again) and we were all worried that we would miss the connecting bus. Luckily the next bus had waited even though we were nearly 2 hours late.  The short drive to Antigua doubled in length as it took us nearly an hour to get out of the city so a good 7-8 hours in the saddle that day.

I often book my accomodation ahead at least for the first couple of nights as i like to know where i’m going. I hate trudgeing round from hotel to motel checking prices and rooms with my bags on my back, i’d much rather get somewhere (even if its not exactly what i want) drop off my bags and go and explore.

I stayed at Hostal Posada de San  Carlos, a mixture of private rooms and dorms for backpackers. I feared Antigua was going to be a little expensive so I stayed in a dorm for about 12USD a night, it was clean, had comfortable beds, and good staff, in fact very good staff.

Antigua is in the central highlands of Guatemala and is well known for its well preserved Spanish influenced architecture and ruins of colonial churches. It has a great central square surrounded by imposing buildings.

Antigua guatemala

Antigua guatemala

Cathederal of San Jose next to the main square –

Cathederal of San Jose antigua guatemala
Cathederal of San Jose

Hermano Pedro, an ancient hospital –

Hermano Pedro antigua guatemala
Hermano Pedro

Many ruins of old churches can be found when strolling around town –antigua guatemala

Ruins of Antigua Guatemala
Church ruins of Antigua

If you come to Antigua make sure you have some comfortable shoes to walk around in, ALL the streets are cobbled and the pavements aren’t that wide !!

Cobbled streets of Antigua Guatemala
Cobbled streets of Antigua

Theres normally a volcano back drop somewhere –

Threres normally a volcano somewhere......antigua guatemala
Theres normally a volcano somewhere……

Antigua  can be an expensive place to stay, there are five star hotels, pricey restaurants, spas galore and many gifts to buy. But fear not as there are a few hostels, cheaper hotels, bars and cafes, and street food to eat in abundance in the evening.

I haven’t mentioned about the volcano trekking that can be done here but as i’m going to be back here in a couple of weeks, it can wait !