Guatemala City is made up of various "zones" and if you only have a few days, Zone 4 is where you want to be. The area is safe, vibrant and lined with cobblestone streets blocked off from cars. This makes the walk from shop to shop very easy and inviting. Pair this feeling with the city's "eternal spring" climate and let the good vibes roll in.
Zone 4 was purposefully created to differentiate itself from the rest of Guatemala City. Back in the 19th century, the president visited Paris and came home high on baguettes and romantic backdrops. He developed this part of the city to resemble a Parisian quarter. It flourished at the time, with shops and cafes taking to the idea, but over the years it became crime ridden and an area known by most to avoid.
Cue the millennial movement. The construction and implementation of 2 modern tech-focused buildings in 2010 brought life back into the area. These 2 buildings were created as co-working spaces specifically for technology companies to set up shop and carve out an office space. This concept revived Zone 4. Suddenly, there were start-ups in the area, and employees looking to live near their office space. With this came a demand for restaurants, cafes and apartments.
Today Zone 4, or “Zona Cuatro” in Spanish, is alive with a vibrant energy. The original Parisian influence is still flourishing. The streets are decorated with colorful murals and string lights line many of the walkways. Locals in the area are proud to be a part of a cultural movement. As I sit in the open air garden patio of Saberico and write this piece, a local photo-shoot is in the works with a group of young creators all huddled around a camera and their shared idea.
There are about a million reasons to visit Central America. There was time when I probably would have thought to just skip over Guatemala City. This post is to spotlight the experience of easing into the country with a trend forward state of mind. My advice is to book an AirBnB in the area and just get out and about exploring the streets, which are covered in cute cafes, shops and bars. Whatever you do, add Guatemala City to your list... que te vaya bien!