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Actor Adria Arjona on Why She Keeps Returning to Antigua, Guatemala

Condé Nast Traveler logo Condé Nast Traveler 8/16/2022 Betsy Blumenthal
© Gayle Kabaker

“I grew up all over, but Guatemala is a place that I always return to, because my dad's family lives there. Whenever I'm there, I try to squeeze in at least one night in the city of Antigua. It's full of culture and so beautiful; when you arrive, it feels as if you're being transported to a different time. You can almost imagine the horses and carriages going through. It's somewhere I go back to for the most important things—including my wedding in 2019. The day before the festivities, I took a group of friends around, and I remember seeing the city anew through their eyes. We walked the cobblestone streets and went to all of these little markets, like the Mercado de Artesanías, where you see a lot of Indigenous women wearing brightly colored huipiles and selling artisanal crafts that are nearly all handmade, from silver to ceramics to textiles. At one of them, I got to show off my bargaining skills. My friend's daughter wanted a knitted bag, but the vendor gave her a crazy price. We were about to leave, but I was like, ‘No, no, I'm gonna go back in there.’ I got the lower price that I wanted, bought her the bag—and then gave the vendor the extra money anyway. We rode on tuk-tuks too, which is so Guatemalan—they're always in Parque Central—and tried the local ice cream, which is made of freshly squeezed fruits like strawberry and coconut and then frozen. My friends were like, ‘Oh, my God, I've never tasted a fresher ice cream in my life.’ We got lost in Antigua all day, from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m., just going from market to market, then to these little food corners where we'd try different things, whether it was rellenitos or freshly made tortillas that you could smell from a block away. I've traveled so much, but I think there's a magic in Antigua that I haven't really felt anywhere else. It's not because it's my home; it's just that every time I go, I discover something new, whether it's a restaurant or a store or a market. There's a story at every turn you take.” -As told to Betsy Blumenthal 

Adria Arjona stars in Father of the Bride & Irma Vep, both now streaming on hbo max.

This article appeared in the July/August 2022 issue of Condé Nast Traveler. Subscribe to the magazine here.

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