Adventures in Guatemala City may be just as invigorating and inspiring as time in nature. I am blessed with living in a beautiful natural environment surrounded by mountains, trees, volcanos, and Lake Atitlan; so as an alternative I often choose and urban setting for my break from my normal routine. I know some parts of the capital pretty well having spend years exploring the historic Zone 1 and the upscale and lively Zone 10. My next trip in will be to discover and explore new “zones” within Guatemala City.
Making the news since it opened in 2013 is Paseo Cayalá . The modern complex includes high-end shops, restaurants, lofts, auditoriums, movie cineplex, offices, and entertainment options. It is the newest hot spot for wealthy capitalinos looking for new ways to spend their money.
The restaurants are mostly well established brand names in the city that have second locations in this new area, such as the Kloster, Friscos, Vesuvo Pizza. Of course all the big franchises are represented. Even the USA wants in to this little slice of American-style shopping mega-complex!!!
The new US Embassy complex is under construction nearby.The multi-building complex will be situated on a 9.4-acre site in the Zona 16 neighborhood, and will include a chancery building, Marine Security Guard Residence, Embassy offices, as well as housing for their staff. Construction is due to be finished and the new Embassy open after 2020. The Embassy staffer that disclosed this information (under threat of death if I repeat it), was down right giddy thinking about living in the sheltered enclave of privilege in this city within a city.
On a longer growth pattern is 4 Grados Norte, in Zone 4. This area has been under going urban renewal for more than a decade; slowing transformed from warehouses and seedy night clubs into an oasis of pedestrian zones, cafes, restaurants, art galleries, business incubation centers, cultural events, and hip lofts. If the artifice of Paseo Cayala is your parent’s idea of fun, then 4 Grados Norte is for the younger, hipper crowd. More authentic, more urban, more organically grown from its past; this area is ready to explore. This link is the directory of business’ in 4 Grados Norte.
We are renting one of only two lofts listed on AirBnB. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/15274303. I would imagine more short term rentals will be coming soon as word spreads about this. I have visited this area several times in the past 10 years. The first time back in 2006, the area was largely industrial warehouses and night clubs. Earlier this year, a young capitalano who was visiting me at Lake Atitlan told me I should visit again. I took him up on it and took a walking tour of the sidewalk cafes and colorful shops. I had a great wood fired pizza and some local craft beer at L’Aperto. Absolutely delicious, but just as fun was the people watching and enjoying the friendly street scene.
Now I am ready to go back for a few nights stay and check out some of the up and coming restaurants and pubs. A quick look at Tripadvisor is showing lots of new reviews for eateries such as La Esquina, Juancho Ming, Tres Elefantes, Santo Pan, Picaflor, Cafe Paradigma, and more. Trovajazz has been located here for years and is one of the most establish jazz clubs in the country. I will report back after my trip with some restaurant reviews and my stories of Urban Adventures in Guatemala City.