Photo Mixtape No. 4

A visual playlist for discovering Antigua’s creative culture

Categories: Destinations, Inspirations — Ryan Kim

Many people have similar assumptions about Guatemala. They think of it as dangerous, crime-filled, and dirty. They also recommend avoiding the tap water. But after spending some time there I was pleasantly surprised to find some of these perspectives debunked (except for the water bit). 

Upon arriving in Antigua, an old sleepy town with no cars on the cobblestone streets, I was lost for an hour, trying to find my listing. Unbeknownst to me, it was on the other side of the street. Although this introductory experience initially left me unsettled, I quickly became more comfortable, and found the lifestyle was something to be desired. Everybody seemed to know each other. Locals and tourists consistently greeted each other warmly with “Hola,” or “Como Estas,” as they passed each other in the streets. The pace of life also moved very slowly, a nice balance to the speed of San Francisco.

My objective while visiting Guatemala was to document a community of creators with the intention of creating an Artists Residency program. We called upon local Hosts to open up their homes to artists. The highlights of my trip were successfully communicating non-verbally with a Tuk Tuk driver when we realized we had a language barrier, and learning textile dyeing and new weaving styles. The songs I selected for this mixtape take me back to my time in this sleepy, creative city. Consider Antigua the next time you are planning your next exploration–it might surprise you.


A cobblestone street with brighly colored houses on either side and telephone wires hanging overhead. On the left, a basket of yarn on top of a bamboo rug. On the right, a table sitting in front of an open doorway. An open courtyard with a fountain, hammock chairs, and twinkle lights strung overhead. On the left, a woman weaving at a loom. On the right, baskets full of brightly colored yarn. Multigenerational women gathered in a courtyard weaving. On the left, brighly colored woven hammocks hung in a store. On the right, a young woman sitting in front of woven textiles. A man in a paint-stained apron and rubber gloves stands in front of a window. On the left, hands covered in plastic gloves reach into a bucket of dye. On the right, a man with plastic gloves wrings out a wet textile. Brightly colored storefronts on a cobblestone street. On the left, two women laughing. On the right, a young man with a tray of beer. Two people sitting on the sidewalk observing a busy intersection on a cobblestone street. On the left, a man with a machete hacks at a coconut. On the right, a young woman stands in a market full of textile products. An overhead shot of a small group of people conversing in a courtyard strung with twinkle lights. A cityscape with a mountain in the background, shrouded in clouds.
Ryan is a Photographer at Airbnb. He's often found dangling off rock climbing walls, reinforcing “Positive.Mental.Attitude” playing Dota 2, and trying to earn his cat's affection. You can find more on instagram @miknayr.

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