It has been almost a year and a half since I last was in my home country, Guatemala. It would have been longer, but due to some special circumstances, I found myself going back home for a few days. It felt amazing to go back to my roots and spend some quality time with my family. And because I was home, I got to go to some of my favorite places!
One of my favorite spots in Guatemala City is Fontabella, which is where my family's stores are located. In this Italian-inspired plaza, you can find just about anything you want. From special apparel boutiques to different cuisine restaurants, to a super cute bookstore with its own cafe. When it comes to restaurants, I highly recommend eating at Sushi Itto, Tre Fratelli, and Cafe Barista. Even though it is hard to find vegan options in Guatemala, these restaurants offered some options that turned out to be absolutely delicious!
There is one new store at Fontabella that caught my attention, Pigmento. This store carries both fashion and art pieces, and I already own some shirts from this store in collaboration with Estilo Quetzal. Now, they have their own boutique! As soon as I walked in, my eyes could not stop wandering since every single article of clothing and piece of art was calling to me. But... there was one particular jacket that I absolutely fell in love with, the lion jacket! Maybe one day I will go back for it.
Another area that I have not been to in years was Oakland Mall. I used to come here very often with childhood friends and my family, this was the "it" place to go to for movies, shopping and just after-school hanging out. Over the years, the owners have expanded the mall, so much that it has become a maze for me. One really cool new addition that I saw was the slide in the middle of the mall. My inner child was DYING to slide down, but unfortunately there was an age limit...
A newer place that has recently been growing on me is Ciudad Cayalá. Every year they reveal new areas and they find ways to make it appealing to every person. There are many alleys that lead to cool places where you can take interesting pictures, and the entire architecture of the place is just to die for. It kind of reminds me of Santorini and Mykonos... maybe that is a little foreshadowing!
My family and I attended the grand opening of the flagship store of Escarlata by Edgar Navarro. He is a Guatemalan designer that makes clothes and jewelry for both men and women. The event began with a cocktail hour with the designer, influencers, models, and other Guatemalan fashion personalities, followed by the cutting of the ribbon and finally some shopping! There were some really creative fashion articles, but the one I managed to snag was the Gemini sweater! Congratulations Edgar on a successful night, and many blessings on your flagship store!
Speaking of astrological signs, I also could not possibly leave Guatemala without paying a visit to Soul's Anchor Tattoo! I scheduled an appointment and my artist made a PERFECT piece. My newest tattoo is a Gemini constellation, I think it is pretty clear that I strongly believe in astrology and identify with it.
My final two days were spent in one of my absolute favorite places in all of Guatemala, Antigua! There is something new to be discovered in every corner of this beautiful old city. This time around, my family took me to a new restaurant that I have never been to, Sabe Rico. Like most of the places in Antigua, this restaurant has a long hallway that leads to a courtyard where people are sited and can socialize. Sabe Rico had great traditional Guatemalan food along with some new creations that everyone seemed to really enjoy, especially the french fries!
Next, it was time to relax at the absolute best place I could ever want to go to, the Spa Casa Santo Domingo. We spent the remainder of our day by the naturally heated outside pool, and the inside cave-like jacuzzi. The pools are not the only amenities, you can also use the saunas, get a regular massage or a jade massage, amongst other special treatments. I highly recommend visiting the hotel after your spa visit, especially at night when all the candles are lit!
With our stomachs full and our energies replenished, it was finally time to head to our Antigua home. My house back in the city will always be home, but there is something about our house here that makes me feel even more at peace. My mom has done an outstanding job in making this house look like something out of an interior design magazine, and an even better job at making it feel like home too.
My final day began with breakfast with a view at San Cristobal El Alto, where we all had traditional breakfasts and enjoyed each other's company. Sometimes I forget how incredibly beautiful my country is, but it is places like this that never fail to remind me. This final breakfast was exactly what I needed to send me off back to New York.
I finished off my final day with a walk around Antigua. I went to El Mercado Central, where I got some cool souvenirs and had some green mango by the famous Antigua Arch! I wish I had had more time to go to other places in Antigua and around my beautiful country, but it was a great reminder of how important it is to come home every now and then. You gotta have roots before branches. Thank you Guatemala for reminding me of that, and thank you to my family for all the love and support they have given me. I will see you soon.