Shop Latitude globetrotter and Majestic Disorder editor Kelley Mullarkey recently headed to Guatemala, so we asked her to share her favorite local discoveries in the historical city of Antigua. Cradled by three volcanoes and mesmerizing colonial-era architecture, Antigua with its quaint atmosphere and blending cultures has its own time capsule feel juxtaposed by a burgeoning post-modern art and global creative scene. When you begin peeling back the layers of this nearly 500-year-old city, a textural paradise reveals itself ⎯ down every cobblestone street and through the cracked coats of paints covering the crumbling walls. On any given morning in the bustling plaza lively music pours out and local artisans showcase textiles, crafts and curious looking fruits for sale next to brightly colored jaguar masks perched up on nearby shop stalls.
Travel with Thread Caravan
The best way to explore Antigua and beyond is with Thread Caravan who offer intrepid travelers an array of artisan adventures around the globe. During our week-long journey with them we spent time learning the traditional practice of backstrap weaving step by step, from the dyeing process to spinning the fibers. We each worked one-on-one with a local artisan to make a design of our own and spent sunny afternoons venturing around markets, visiting ancient Mayan ruins and boating to nearby towns scattered around Lake Atitlan. For textile and art lovers, this is for you.
Visit La Antigua Galería de Arte
Carve out an afternoon and wander the incredible collections here. Representing more than 60 established artists from Guatemala, North and Latin America and showcasing modern contemporary works by artists from Puerto Rico, Chile, Colombia and the US, this gallery is not to be missed. Packed with rich colors and a range of styles, you’ll leave brimming with inspiration.
Stela 9 – Down a quaint Antigua street, the white-washed leafy Stela 9 compound has got to be one of our all-time favorite design spaces. With its showroom and studio all decked out in vibrant colors, gorgeous patterns and pieces picked up while traveling by founder Jess Bercovici, it almost feels like an anthropology museum. Pop by and shop your favorite travel wares from Stela 9 who offer a range of accessories, bags and clothing ethically produced by local artisans and designed by Jess. And the best part? You can book your stay here.
Luna*Zorro – Designer Molly Berry’s Instagram feed is enough to make you want to pack your bags and move here. Her gorgeous fair-trade pieces are made to order by Mayan weavers on foot looms. It’s impossible to leave Antigua without one of her beautiful beach towels in hand.
Markets – Antigua is filled with an abundance of markets selling handicrafts, masks, textiles and more but Mercado de Artesanías has got to be my favorite. Bring an extra spare suitcase solely for market shopping.
Dine + drink
Fridas – When it comes to Mexican food, look no further. Plastered with murals, paintings and memorabilia of Frida Kahlo this spot will win your hearts and souls over with its delightful décor and delicious menu.
Pitaya Juice Bar – Serving up fantastic fruit juices, smoothies and veggie wraps made with love, this spot is perfect for a mid-day break and energy boot.
Café No Se – Come here for the Mezcal, stay for the people watching. A local favorite amongst the creative set and travelers passing through, this Mezcal bar is known for its live music and late night debauchery.
Escape the city
For breathtaking views and peace of mind, head to Earth Lodge. Not known for being the easiest place to reach, an uphill commitment to this eco hideaway is one of those worth trekking to, even just for the guacamole. Nuzzled on a delicious avocado farm in between sprawling mountains, each magic tree house, cabin and swinging hammock feels like its own mini sanctuary.
Written and photographed by Kelley Mullarkey, Editor in Chief of majestic disorder.com
Check out more of Kelley’s travels @majesticdisorder