A hidden treasure in the northwest corner of town, Santo Pecado offers great live music, drink specials, salsa dancing, and tasty meals all under one roof. The talented musicians and gracious dueño are fast to befriend you, and after the impassioned, percussive show, these people are sure to know the best late-night parties in town. Monday brings an hour of free salsa dance lessons, followed by a 6-9 p.m. happy hour with two for one drinks (happy hour runs Monday through Saturday). Live music performances overlap nicely with happy hour, running from 8-10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. The Santo Pecado is closed Wednesday, but otherwise, it would be all too easy to wander this way every evening of the week!
The little shop filling the entranceway to Sabe Rico is a sweet place, in all senses of the word. It stocks specialty foods both packaged and homemade, including gluten-free products ranging from chocolates and granola to bread and pasta. The already impressive establishment is increasingly amazing as patrons walk deeper; the shop gives way to a courtyard, then two separate garden areas filled with lush greenery and charming shaded tables. The menu lists a delicious variety of dishes, and pleasant surprises like teas brewed from herbs grown organically just a few feet from your table... or, with luck, the pure white rabbit who was too cute to cook might pop out of the vegetation to lend a fanciful feel to your dining experience.
The name of this bar and eatery should be taken literally - continue past the first flight of stairs, up the spiral staircase, for some of the best views of Antigua to be found. Gaze out over the captivating displays of sunshine and shadows of the surrounding hills, or take the opportunity to learn about some major attractions in town : the Iglesia San Francisco sits just to the south, and streetscapes stretch out in every direction. The astonishingly friendly rooftop bartender will be happy to explain what you see between mixing drinks, chipping ice, and calling orders for food down to the kitchen.
A small bookshop in the entrance of this well-known Antigua establishment stocks a good number of titles, and a gamut of seating arrangements provide the ideal spot to curl up with your new read or discuss it with new friends. To keep you fueled, the menu offers a variety of cuisines (including plenty of vegetarian food), such hummus and falafel, traditional breakfasts, and plentiful drink selections. Happy hour runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. every evening, with live music most nights and lectures about local history and environmental initiatives every Tuesday.
Tienda Delicio, S.A., true to the word play in its name, offers a laundry list of delicious gourmet goods. Prepared sandwiches await suggestively near a case of beers, wines, and liquors, or the cheeses and dips make great accompaniments to their homemade baked goods. Pastas, meats, fish, and spices are welcome sights for those with access to a kitchen, and the deli even offers delivery... although, only two blocks from center, the location is conveniently accessible from most of Antigua.
Amongst the beautiful gardens of Antigua, Escalonia offers a particularly enchanting seating area. Tables are sheltered by umbrellas lit with strings of white lights in the evenings, or sit under a vine-filled arbor with flowers dangling overhead like living ornaments. The restaurant serves a menu focused on lovely desserts, coffee drinks, and breakfasts. The establishment is also a plant nursery, and customers can carry home a variety of floral, artisanal, and culinary souvenirs, as well as their memories of the time spent in this lush garden.
Meson Panza Verde is a European-style property with lush gardens, an art gallery and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views. Antigua Guatemala's Central Park and Cathedral are 4 blocks away. The elegant rooms at Meson Panza Verde have fireplaces and seating areas. Some suites have spa baths. Free Wi-Fi is available in all areas. The on-site restaurant specializes in international-style cuisine. A free daily breakfast that includes coffee, juice, cereal, bread, fruit and Guatemalan tamales is served daily. The property also has a bar. Guatemala City and Guatemala International Airport are around 40 km from Meson Panza Verde. Lake Atitlan is less than 130 km away.
Travelers to Antigua are glad for El Cofre; this small establishment provides an astonishing amount of what they need. Coffee and fruit juices fuel internet catch-up on the row of computers or wireless internet, while travel guides and maps supply ideas for the next step. Meanwhile, the buy, sell, or trade bookstore offers plenty of good titles to enjoy during the invariable long waits that greet any traveler to Central America. Sin Fronteras, a venerable travel agency in Antigua, has one of its offices here as well.
A bucket of kimchee, the staple food of Korean cuisine, must be a sign of authenticity; this restaurant not only fits a bucket of kimchee into its intimate space, but also two buckets of cubed cabbage ready to mix up another batch, an efficient kitchen, an equally efficient chef, and customers both Korean and otherwise. The complex spice blends, nourishing soups, and exotic vegetables that distinguish Korean cuisine all over the world are skillfully pulled together and served in traditional stone vessels or cavernous soup bowls, and their contents are sure to vanish surprisingly fast.
From the hotel and nightclub La Sin Ventura, just look to the left; Cine Lounge awaits up a short flight of stairs, one of the only spots in Antigua to find the authentic movie-going experience. A key difference from going to catch a film in the States lies in the perks: entry to watch a movie is - drum roll - free, special offers like all-you-can-drink wine abound, and drinks and food are also available. Here's hoping more movie theaters give the Cine Lounge approach a try...