A young Mayan girl comforts her little brother in La Antigua's Plaza Centro Parque. This is the central gathering place for Guatemalans, Mayans and tourists. Young lovers walk among the trees and the main fountain, holding hands. People sit on the park benches, talking the latest politics, and at lunchtime, it seems as if everyone is eating Pollo Campero with tortillas de calle.
The Volcan de Agua - 11,500 feet high - overlooks the city. A recent earthquake that toppled many buildings in Antigua is a not-so-subtle reminder that although the volcano has been dormant for many decades, there is still a lot of geothermal activity deep below the surface of Earth. From this towering volcano comes the rich, red earth that helps to create some of the finest coffees in the world. The Mayans consider this volcano they call Hunahpu a sacred place. If you are so inclined, you can climb the volcano. It's a difficult 4 to 5 hour hike from the village Santa Maria de Jesus.
A very recent reminder was the 6.8 magitude quake that happened in June of this year. Three months later, clean-up and repair is still underway. Antigua's brick and adobe buildings crumbled, cobblestone roads were split open and people were without water, power or internet for several days and weeks.
On the other side of this wall is a coffee plantation that sits next to the Iglesia San Lazaro and the Cemeterio San Lazaro. Finca Mariposa has been growing quality coffee for more than 50 years. It's said the coffee here is so good, it will awaken the dead.
The Rocchio Family offers coffee from this region - it's notes are chocolate, orange rind and a hint of caramel. Excellent in all respects - try it. You won't be disappointed.