• Christian Grotewold

A Guatemalan Thanksgiving


Always grateful for the opportunity to go back to my home country and spending time with my loved ones, and this time around was even more special. This is the first Thanksgiving I do not spend in New York, since moving to the city - I have either spent it with friends, or my family visits me. This year, since it was a very special occasion, my grandparents' 50th anniversary, I got to go celebrate it with them and stay one more week for Thanksgiving.

The day I flew to Guatemala was the day of the big anniversary party. So the moment I landed, I headed straight to the hotel where it took place - The Westin Camino Real. I highly recommend staying at this glamorous hotel, it has been years since I went here and it has only gotten more beautiful! The party was an absolute dream, everything was perfect. I was able to see some of my cousins that I have not seen in about 2 years and other friends of the family that I have not seen for longer. I am always a sucker for a fancy party, and if you were able to see my Instagram stories... then you know it was a good time!

The day after the party, I was in desperate need of some recharging. So we went to the only place that knows exactly how to do it right, the spa at Hotel Casa Santo Domingo. It has become a tradition to go to this beautiful spa every time I come home, and can you blame me? The amenities are to die for and the pricing is incredibly cheap! Trust me, a place like this would cost A LOT of money in New York. I recommend ordering from the spa's menu, since they have some truly unique dishes and smoothies, eat it at your own pace and spend as much time here as possible. Before leaving the hotel, if you are lucky enough, make sure to explore the grounds because you might just be able to witness the beauty of the hundreds of candles they light up on special nights!

After a successful day at the spa, it was time to head to our house in Antigua. You have no idea how much I look forward to being in this house every time I come home. It brings me peace and makes my heart smile. Something even better, was the fact that I got to see this beautiful home decorated for Christmas!

This year, I got to experience something new at Antigua - El Festival de las Flores. This festival is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen happening here, everything was decorated with extravagant flower arrangements. The main street, La Calle Del Arco, was absolutely PACKED with tourists appreciating the artistry of the flowers, the street performers, and the artists.

Going back to the city, my family and I always try to find new places to try and they never fail to amaze us! Guatemala City has honestly transformed so much, that it really is becoming a popular spot for travel. Besides going to Plaza Fontabella for some delicious restaurant options and to visit my family's textile stores, I recommend heading over to Avia. This building is super modern and has a food court, El Mercado, that can satisfy anyone's cravings! If you are looking for some dinner options, then make sure to head over to Gracia Cocina de Autor for a truly unique experience and aesthetic.

One very special activity that my family and I did was our Holiday Photoshoot. Last year we were not able to do it, but this year we really wanted to - and we did! The studio we went to is called Meraki Foto, and the experience was super special. Our photographer was super sweet and she had the cutest sets ready for us!

Another must for me whenever I go home is... getting a tattoo! Honestly, with fantastic artists and with prices that are 200% better than New York studios, how do you expect me to not want one? My new piece is in honor of my guardian angel, Saint Michael Archangel and was done by Fernando Chiu and the studio is Soul's Anchor Tattoo. I highly recommend going to them if you ever feel like getting inked in Guatemala.

Finally the day of one of my favorite holidays came, Thanksgiving! Keeping our tradition alive, my sister and I went out for Dunkin and came back to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in our pjs with our grandma. And at night, my family got all together to feast on my grandmother's FANTASTIC cooking. I had forgotten what it was like to dine with my family in my grandparents' house, it is something truly magical and special.

Our final adventure was one that generated a lot of attention on my social media, glamping! We went to Casa Blanca Glamping, which is a hidden gem near Antigua. Let me tell you, there is no other way of camping I will ever want to to again, this place had it all! If you do not know what glamping is, it is essentially camping with glamour. The site has 8 tents, 4 family-sized and 4 couple-sized (maybe one day I'll go back with just one other person). All tents have their own private bathrooms, have electricity, full set of equipment for cooking (yes, you have to cook your own food), towels, and even a jacuzzi! The amenities also include a social area, where you can chill with other people that are staying, a mini petting zoo, and special rooms for event like weddings. Honestly, this has become one of my favorite places in Guatemala and I would 100% go back in a heartbeat!

And just like that, my Thanksgiving holiday came to an end in my beloved home country. Thank you to my family for always receiving me with open arms and to my mom who is a literal angel. Until we meet again, Guatemala. Thank you for everything.

#Guatemala #Travel #CasaSantoDomingo #WestinCaminoReal #Antigua

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