Armed in Antigua

Trip Start Sep 28, 2007
Trip End Jun 25, 2008

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Monday, October 29, 2007

Armed in Antigua

Our GAP group has laughed at what we considered the over-the-top safety warnings  for Mexico in Lonely Planet, but warnings  didn't seem so funny in Antigua, where so many people are armed and there are many places you are advised not to go to without an armed guide.

We have grown to expect guards with large guns outside banks but in Antigua they also stand outside stores for photo developing and the bus driver had a special pocket for his.

There's a hill with a cross on it, Cerro de la Cruz, that overlooks Antigua and directly faces the imposing Volcan Aqua. It's only about a 30 minute walk from the centre of town, but they not only discourage tourists from going alone, they provide two armed police escorts to take tourists there at 3pm.

We went and felt like such idiots trailing along after the guide with 30 other tourists, like a school group, but it's obviously best to play it  safe.

Apart from not feeling particularly safe in Antigua, particularly at night it's a pretty colonial  town. 

Surrounded by volcanoes, it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1773 and Guatemala City became the new capital.
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