My trip to Guatemala was a whirlwind of plane rides, caravan rides, photos in doorways, and more avocados and coffee than I could ever dream of. I was inspired by the food I had on my trip, to share a typical Guatemalan breakfast with you, so make sure to stick around until the end of this recap for the recipe!
I flew to Guatemala solo from Minneapolis, but as soon as I landed in Guatemala City, my best friend Karen was there waiting for me! We hopped in our caravan and headed to Antigua. I had been traveling for close to 20 hours at this point so I was pretty excited, but we still took a quick lap around the city. The architecture, cobblestone streets, and all of the bright colors made Antigua my favorite town we saw on the trip.
If you’re planning a trip to Antigua, or backpacking through Central America, I’d recommend stopping in Antigua. It’s a hot spot for backpackers, and there are a ton of great affordable hostels to stay in while you’re there. We stayed at Somos Hostel and I would definitely recommend it. It’s an open floor plan, but the beds each have their own tent covers, which make it feel cozy and private. Somos was also great about recommending places to go and getting groups together to hang out at night.
While we were in Antigua we walked A LOT–up to the cross, in circles around the main square, on a hunt for McDonald’s to see what flavor of McFlurries they have in Guatemala (mango), even to a soccer game with a group of travelers from the hostel. We also did some yoga on the rooftop with the sounds of the birds, bells, and cars in the background.
After a few days in Antigua, we started our journey to Lake Atitlàn and Panajachel. My cousin Elizabeth lives in Panajachel, and I was excited to see where she has been living for the last year and a half. As soon as we arrived in Pana, it was apparent it was much different from Antigua. While Antigua is a bit more built up with cobblestone streets and many more restaurants, Pana has one main road off of which a handful of restaurants and storefronts are located. At the bottom of the road is Lake Atitlàn. We stayed in an Airbnb in Pana which was also nice! We definitely were lucky with the places we booked. We were at the Airbnb for a night while we explored Pana, before checking out the next day to hop on a boat taxi and see the other towns the border the lake. Having Elizabeth with us was really helpful for this part of the trip. She is fluent in Spanish, and was able to give us an idea of the different places we wanted to check out during the day.
One of the highlights was Cerro Tzankujil in San Marcos La Laguna. You pay a small entrance fee and are able to jump off the cliff and into Lake Atitlàn. Unfortunately it was a bit cloudy for the majority of our visit, but it was beautiful nonetheless.
After our jump, we headed onto the next town, before finally arriving at our Airbnb in San Juan for the night. We headed to bed really early, because the next day we were waking up at 3:30 am for a sunrise hike up Indian’s Nose.
This was probably the most magical part of our trip. We were driven by caravan to a spot out in the country, hiked about a mile up, and were there before the sun was even rising. The change in color was breathtaking and there was even an active volcano spouting lava and smoke in the distance. If you’re in Guatemala and want to do a hike but don’t have enough time for one of the volcanoes, I’d highly recommend this.
The sun finally came out on our last day, which was perfect timing as we were planning to hang out at Isla Verde and soak up the sun the rest of the day. Another spot I would recommend, and wouldn’t have ended up at if not for Elizabeth. They have a cafe with great food, a shaded hammock area, and a deck where I proceeded to get the most sunburn I’ve been probably in my entire life.
At the end of the day we headed back to Antigua and Somos and got a good night’s sleep before our journey home the next day. Before hopping in the caravan back to the airport, Karen and I hit up our favorite spot in Antigua, Y Tu Piña Tambien, for a traditional Guatemalan breakfast. That’s the recipe I am sharing at the end of this post!
This trip was my first out of the country and it opened my eyes to how much I have left to see. I’ve done A LOT of traveling within the United States, and while the landscape is varied, the quality of life is not. And the experience in each place in the US is a little bit different based on the area, but in general we all share the same American values. I can’t wait to continue to explore the world and immerse myself in other cultures.
But without further ado, here is my recipe for a traditional Guatemala breakfast. Because it’s packed with fresh ingredients, it’s gluten free, dairy free, and vegetarian. I hope you love it as much as I do and will relive my trip to Guatemala with me!
PIN THE TRADITIONAL GUATEMALAN BREAKFAST FOR LATER!
Packed with fresh ingredients, this traditional Guatemalan breakfast is dairy free, gluten free, and vegetarian!
- 1 15 oz can black beans
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 eggs
- 1 banana or plantain
- 1/2 avocado
- 4 tomatoes
Pour beans into a colander and rinse thoroughly.
Add to a pot over medium low heat with garlic, paprika, crushed red pepper, and olive oil. Stir to combine and lower the heat to low.
Continue to cook until the beans start to break down, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
Once the beans are done, set aside and start with the plantains or bananas.
Preheat a skillet or cast-iron over medium high heat and coat with coconut oil.
Slice your bananas or plantains in 1/2 inch thick slices and add to the skillet. Cook until brown, then flip. Remove from the pan and place on a plate with a paper towel to soak up some of the oil.
Next, slice your tomatoes into wedges and add to the pan. Cook just until the outsides are browned, but the inside remains firm. Remove from the pan and set aside with the bananas/plantains.
Finally, fry two eggs per serving, however you'd like. I prefer sunny side up!
Assemble your plate with a 1/4 of an avocado, beans, eggs, tomatoes, and plantains. Enjoy!