Guatemala is topping many “where to go in 2020” lists, and for good reason. But beyond incredible ancient ruins, beautiful colonial architecture, and lush landscapes, there is one more facet for which Guatemala stands out: Food.
And there’s no better place to dive into Guatemala’s culinary culture than the colonial capital of Antigua. In addition to the incredible cuisine you’ll have access to in Antigua’s various restaurants, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in Guatemala’s history and culture through a variety of unique food experiences. Check out six of them below that are sure to satisfy any foodie:
1. Take a Tour of an Avocado Farm
Contrary to popular belief that Hass Avocados hail from California, this famed variety was actually first cultivated in Guatemala. Learn more about this acclaimed green fruit as you meander your way through the trees that produce them. You’ll learn about the avocados many uses, benefits and details behind cultivation. End the tour with a little kitchen-action where you’ll help make some of the freshest Guacamole you’ll ever have along with other avocado culinary delights.
2. Get a Cooking Lesson from LocalsThrough the nonprofit De La Gente, travelers will get to visit the home of a local family where you’ll prepare a meal with them. Get as involved as de-feathering the chicken or perhaps stick to making fresh tortillas ( actually a deceptively tricky task). After the hard work is done, share a table with your cooking partners and enjoy the fruits of your labor. This is an excellent opportunity to gain insight into what everyday life looks like for a Mayan family in Antigua and truly immerse yourself in Guatemalan culture.
3. Explore a Coffee Plantation
Guatemala is the third largest supplier of coffee beans to Starbucks and known for having some of the best coffee in the world. Learn more about how this globally revered beverage is produced from a local farmer at one of the many small coffee plantations that lie just outside Antigua. Explore the fields where the distinctive bright red berries are grown. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting during harvest season, you’ll even get to help pluck the fruit straight from the trees and assist in various stages of processing. Of course you’ll finish your tour with an exquisite cup of Joe, a true “plant to table” experience.
4. Indulge Your Sweet Tooth in a Chocolate Making Workshop
Guatemala is the birthplace of chocolate, making it a must-go destination for any chocolate-lover. The ancient Mayans called the cacao plant “the fruit of the Gods”, an early indication that this plant would long be revered by societies. Antigua is home to the Choco Museum, which is dedicated to the history, production and culture of chocolate. In addition to their free exhibits, this museum offers a variety of hands-on workshops in which you’ll get to try your hand at making your own special treat, straight from the bean!
5. Enjoy some Delectable Street Food
During this street food experience, satisfy your palate with chile rellenos, mole, schucos ( guatemalan hot dogs, and more. This tasting takes place in a restaurant so you are able to sample local favorites for yourself without having to worry about food safety or sanitation. Wash it all down with a Gallo, Guatemala’s national beer of choice whose logo is yes… a rooster.
5. Learn how Peanut Butter is Made
While peanuts aren’t necessarily known for being grown in Guatemala, this is an excellent activity for those traveling with kids and great fun for everyone. Run by a local family who planted peanuts on an open plot of their coffee plantation, they began producing peanut butter which quickly became a hit among expats and visiting gringos. Learn how this salty spread is made from the shelling of the peanuts to roasting, grinding and of course eating it. Enjoy it Mayan style, spread across a tortilla and topped with banana and honey.
Is your mouth-watering yet? We don’t blame you. But, in addition to satisfying your taste buds, Guatemala has an abundance of activities and sites to offer travelers. Hike the mountains around one of Antigua’s three volcanoes. Travel like a local in an artfully decorated school bus. Visit one of the top Mayan archaeology museums in the world in Guatemala City. The list of possibilities for your Guatemala Tour are practically endless.
Convinced to add Guatemala to your 2020 travel list? Speak with one of our travel specialists today to start planning your trip.