I arrived in Antigua with one thing on my mind – coffee.
I’m pretty sure the only reason why I knew anything about Antigua, Guatemala, was from reading coffee bean packets and Starbucks had been brewing an Antiguan blend a few weeks before I had left England. I was excited.
Without realising, I had also been on a bit of a caffeine detox over the last nine days and I was oh so ready to dirty my body again with the most delicious of all the legal drugs. My budget wasn’t stretching as far as the rest of the group, so I was quite happy to nibble on my bag of mixed fruit and nuts rather than join them for breakfast most mornings. From their reports of the coffee in Belize, it didn’t seem like I was missing out on much. A fresh fruit juice often gave me the same kick as a cup of coffee – the fruit is much more naturally sweeter than we are used to but you’ll also need to specify “sin azucar” a lot if you don’t want to rot your teeth.
Kaffee Fernando’s was near enough opposite our hotel, so of course we stumbled out after dumping our bags and fell straight into Fernando’s beautiful courtyard. It took a few minutes to look over the menu, they make every type of coffee in every combination you might consider. I can’t remember the name of the one I settled on, but the description suggested “needs one crazy English girl to drink it.” Step forward me.
I still had the caffeine shakes a few hours later.
We meant to head to back to Fernando’s for breakfast the next day but as it was a Sunday, they weren’t serving food from the menu, only a buffet that looked like it had been sat around all morning. My face was definitely not a happy one when I realised I wasn’t going to get my newly found coffee fix.
Jacob dragged me instead to Bagel Barn. I must admit, I didn’t often believe Jacob’s food suggestions and I had suspicions that the only reason why he liked Bagel Barn so much was that it was a little bit of an American home away from home. Three of us perched on miniature stools around a rickety table in the small but busy cafe. Antigua was looking particularly sleepy that Sunday morning but Bagel Barn was packed with cheery conversation filling the air.
I ordered the Leonardo De Veggie with garlic/herb cream cheese, avocado, onion, sweet peppers, tomato and cucumber for Q31 (about £2.50), and I knew from the first bite that Jacob had been right for once about this place. With every delightfully messy bite I forgot all about the usual rice and beans breakfast.
My last food tip for Antigua is definitely not for vegetarians. Madre Tierra is a grill restaurant serving up traditional Guatemalan and Central American food along with huge slabs of meat. I had Longanizas, a type of Spanish sausage, which were full of flavour. I struggled to finish my plate most nights in Central America, but when I saw the huge sausages on that plate in front of me, I knew I was already defeated.