Yes, it’s 6 a.m. … and there’s bells in the morning in Antigua Guatemala … so if you’re looking for a good night’s sleep in Antigua, Guatemala … here’s a few pointers:
- Avoid Hotels/Houses close to the churches in Antigua as the Bells for the churches start at 5:45 every morning.
- Avoid hotels on the Chicken bus routes. Two main routes exist in Antigua for the chicken buses. One route in and one route leaving. Ask before you book a room the buses run early and late at night.
- Avoid coming to Antigua during Semana Santa. The crowds, processions and firecrackers might leave you a little drained.
They love their God here … it’s overwhelmingly Catholic, so the bells toll for everyone. The sleep annoyance factor of the ringing of the bells is very similar to the blare of the Adhan in any Muslim country… it’s pretty high!
I don’t mind the church bells but I wondered why in Antigua the first bells started at 4:30 AM. I think the culprit was the bell ringer at Nuestra Senora de la Merced. Speaking of La Merced, it’s is easily one of my favorite buildings in Antigua Guatemala and arguably the prettiest baroque church in the city. Part of its appeal is that it’s also one of the few churches that has remained standing relatively unscathed since colonial times.
The nice thing about getting up this early here in Antigua, is that you can stare up at the stars still hanging gingerly in the sky with the town completely deserted for some fantastic night/dawn pictures with the imposing volcano that stands watch as the backdrop to your portrayal of this city. The cobblestone streets of Antigua seem to be have placed poorly on purpose to make sure people know that they’ve entered a colonial city. Although the town has grown busier as the years have passed, there is no need to move quickly here.