Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala
Aged in the Clouds Guatemalan Rum & Antigua Sightseeing: In Partnership with FOOD & WINE Magazine
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Approximately 7¼ Hours
The region around Antigua is set in the clouds, thousands of feet above sea level. It is a rich and fertile area covered with sugarcane fields and dominated by majestic volcanoes. This land produces Guatemala's finest rums and is home to one of the most beautiful colonial cities in all of Central America.
From the pier, you'll travel by coach to Antigua -- a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As you climb to 5,000 feet above sea level, watch the scenery, ecosystems and microclimates change. Since a massive earthquake in 1773, Antigua has become a living museum with a distinct nostalgia for its splendid past evident among its cobblestone streets. Even today, you can see the earthquake's destruction in the rubble that remains at some of Antigua's historic sites.
After touring the city, head to Casa del Ron, where an expert bartender and rum connoisseur will guide you through a tasting of Guatemala's finest rums. Learn how the elevation of the cane fields influences the flavor and body of the finished product, and discover how to combine rum with a variety of foods for a terrific pairing. You'll also taste some special rums that are aged in the clouds, thanks to the shroud of mist that often envelopes the higher elevations of Guatemala.
Continue to a local restaurant for a lunch of authentic Guatemalan delicacies such as frijoles volteados (a bean dish), platanos fritos (fried plantains) and grilled meats.
Your last stop is a jade factory and museum, where you'll learn how this hard rock is transformed into beautiful jewelry. You may even wish to buy a piece for yourself as a memento of your journey into the clouds.