Pase adelante

It seems that everything is always clearer when we look back at our experiences. For us, we smile now, remembering when we first arrived in La Antigua Guatemala about seven years ago. Comfortably tucked into the back seat of a friend’s car, we drove through Antigua on our way to Lake Atitlán.

Near the central square our Guatemalan friend asked, “Do you want to get out and walk around?” “No,” we quickly answered, as our two-second scan had revealed nothing on the surface that seemed compelling.
We were wrong!

At first glance you are greeted by narrow cobblestone streets that throw cars into strange gyrations and the stunning, yet somewhat intimidating, doors.

Having survived the drive from the airport, with winding roads, exhaust fumes and a sense of unfamiliarity, we sought a moment to rest and relax. Antigua looked like a small town; the view from a car window did not reveal much. Again, this was a false perception, for we didn’t realize that the true delights of the town are not necessarily visible from the streets.

When you finally do get out of the car or your hotel room and venture through the heart of Antigua you begin to realize that there is a “hidden” world waiting for you to explore—a sense of secrets that are waiting for you to uncover.

It is easy to find restaurants and coffee shops and the delightful fountain at Central Park. However, you soon hear someone saying, pase adelante when passing by an open door, and learn that this phrase means “please come in.” Here is the greater depth of Antigua that is yours to claim if you venture beyond your sense of perceived limitation.

Initially it can feel intimidating to simply walk into an open courtyard or to dive deeply into the stunning colonial architecture that so richly encompasses every inch of Antigua. Courtyards host gardens rich with colorful flowers and tucked away shops. Many courtyards are filled with restaurants, galleries and tiendas that will delight your senses.

The essence of pase adelante goes well beyond allowing yourself to discover this unique area, it is also an invitation to go beyond self-imposed limitations … to expand your comfort zone. Pase adelante truly invites us to “go forward”… to grow.

These explorations offer opportunities to touch the authentic culture of Guatemala. And by doing so, we discover more clearly our own place in the world.

From Tikal to Atitlán, Río Dulce to Chichicastenango visitors to Guatemala will discover that pase adelante can become a theme for personal adventure. Look beyond the surface and welcome yourself to the inner beauty and truth of Guatemala.

Sri and Kira have authored several books and are the owners of TOSA La Laguna. Email: and

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