The beautiful colonial town of Antigua Guatemala is an excellent destination for single dude travelers. It’s easy to get to from a major airport (Guatemala City), beautiful, cheap, and the party destination if you are looking for lovely Guatemalan young professional girls. Antigua is Central America, but with sushi restaurants and brunch buffets.
To get there, fly to Guatemala City Airport (GUA). I wrote earlier about how Guatemala City is an unacceptable shithole, so I won’t rehash that point. Just don’t go there. You can take a shuttle from the airport directly to Antigua for around 10 bucks, just find one of the many services for this on the Internet and arrange it beforehand. It’s under an hour by shuttle and you will travel over some beautiful country on the way.
Antigua is full of hostels and cheap hotels, so you don’t really need to book ahead of time. As a general rule you will spend more if you book online than just walk in some places. Expect to spend $15 and upwards for a hotel room. You can also stay at the Black Cat Hostel also which is a real backpacker hotspot with a lively bar scene of its own.
Antigua is one of the world capitals of the “Ladies Night”. Pretty much every night of the week there is a ladies night going on with cheap or free drinks for ladies and some minor restrictions on guys. Usually this means something like a 10Q (1.25) cover or the requirement of actually buying a drink if you’re a guy. You would not believe the number of sleazy Guatemalan dudes that that keeps out. If I had my way, Ladies’ Nights in Antiguas would have a 10 dollar cover and then it would be just us and the ladies!
Here’s some hotspots:
El Mono Loco (the Crazy Monkey) has a Ladies’ Night on Tuesdays that is quite simply the best place we’ve found in Central America to pick up girls. They come in from Guatemala City to drink 3Q (37.5 cents) drinks and all you have to do as a guy is buy one drink regular price and then they let you go upstairs to this paradise. Do not miss this whatever you do. They also have the biggest nachos we’ve ever had which are also quite tasty.
La Sala has a very good Ladies’ night on Wednesday as well, with free Cuba Libres for ladies and a 10Q ($1.25) cover for guys. They also have live music all week that is often quite good.
Cielos and Rikis are in the same location and are also good places, and has salsa dancing with live music on Wednesdays and music on the weekends.
Reillys is the local Irish bar, and a great place to meet gringo hunters, especially as a first stop Friday night, and all weekend. You can kill there Sunday afternoons meeting all the girls who hang out there then before they go back to Guate to work at their lawyer jobs for the week.
Cafe no Sé is a nice quirky little place with live music and a solid choice for more alternative tastes, especially on the weekend. Live music is also frequent there.
While you’re in Antigua, take the time to climb Volcan Pacaya, a live volcano just an hour or two from Antigua. They have a day trip (too early) and a night trip where you can really see the lava up close. Just be careful, it’s usually too crowded up there and being Guatemala, there’s no guardrail and you can get so close to the lava it singes your eyebrows if you get to close and the wind changes.
Antigua is totally mobbed every Semana Santa, which is the week leading up to Easter. It’s very difficult to find a place to stay and there’s lots of street closures, as they parade Jesus and his cross down the street on a hourly basis. It’s totally cool but very crowded. Reserve a place way ahead of time if you plan to go there then. I really like the “alfombras” that they build on the street there for the parades, which are carpets made of plants, coffee beans, etc.
One final note: Antigua Guatemala is a very popular place for gay tourism. That means there’s a lot of good restaurants, art, etc. For our gay readers (if we have any) it’s an excellent location for a gay couple’s trip or even for a getaway apartment purchase.
For a pleasant afternoon, go to the central square in town and have a coffee at the open air coffee shop. When you sight any targets in the park, you will have an easy approach. Beware of prostitutes. The shoeshine boys can get you anything.
If you want to find Gringo Hunters follow Charlie’s advice and go to Reilly’s! They have trivia on Sundays and the Air Guitar Competition on Mondays.
Make sure to pick up a free copy of Que Pasa Antigua which will have all the listings of music, art, etc. They even have a Ladies Night Calendar and a map inside. Also check out Antigua’s most famous resident musician, Jueves. He plays pretty much every day somewhere, not just Thursdays!