From the military museum to the chapel of Carmen
If you want to get to know the center of Guate, I recommend a walk from the military museum, to the hill on which the chapel “Capilla del Carmen” stands. The path leads from the edge of the Zona 4, across the whole Zona 1, to the Zona 2 and is about 3km long.
“How to get there”
All buses from the highlands, whether from Antigua or other places, lead finally (at San Lucas) to the Panamericana. The Panamerican highway, in turn, leads directly into the heart of Guate. That means, as soon as you enter the city of Mixco, you are on the Calzada Roosevelt. Virtually all intercity buses, drive to El Trebol (cloverleaf). Four main roads form that cross street. Half a mile, before you reach the point whre Calzada Roosevelt meets, Aguilar Batres, Boulevar Liberation and La Bolivar, we get out of the bus.
At El Trebol
If you are not familiar, it is best to ask a passenger on the bus, when you arrive at the Trebol. But you can see the trebol from far away. A main road extended to 8 lanes. On the left and right are constantly lines of buses, holding to allow passengers to board and get in. There is heavy traffic and even denser crowds on the sidewalks and pasarelas (pedestrian bridges – DO NOT get the idea to cross the lane without using a bridge).
After getting off, you better hurry a bit. It is not a bad, but unfortunately a shabby, rundown area. The road bridge that spans the street a few hundred yards away is your destination. The crossing street is called Aguilar Batres on the right and Avenida Bolivar (La Bolivar) on the left. You get off and keep right and walk either on the side of the road or a block from the main road on the right and then straight again. When you’re up, you can already see the bus station El Trebol, with the green buses of Transmetro. You go to the station (driving direction La Bolivar) and throw at the hub 1 Quetzal (as of April 2018) and wait for the next Transmetro (green bus).
Get in and the bus drives with you alomg the Bolivar. Get off at the third stop (Don Bosco), where the bus has left the main street. Return the few meters to the Avenida Bolivar. Here you can see diagonally right, already a big, white building, the theater. To get to the entrance, you have to walk two blocks down La Bolivar and then turn right onto 24A Calle. The path continues downhill and as soon as you see a street with turnpikes on the right, you have reached the entrance.
To the military museum
Tell the policeman / security guard, that you want to visit museo militar. Walk up past the parking lots. The path is then signposted. The museum is guarded by soldiers, who are politely told, you want to visit the museum. By the way, it is the only non – private museum in Guatemala that requires the same ticket price from tourists, as from the locals (10 Quetzales ~ 1.1 euros).
In the building, a staircase leads up one floor, to the completely uninteresting exhibition. Even those who are interested in old uniforms, medals and weapons will be bored. But then another staircase leads up to the castle-like roof of the museum.
View to Zone 1 and 4
From here, you can see parts of Zona 4 and Zona 1. The green buildings belong to the Mercado Sur (Southern Market). Take a look around the city and maybe take some pictures of you, between the cannons. This is the safest and safest place, with a view of Guatemala City.
The road that passes by the green building of the marcado sur on the right is the 6A avenida (la sexta). After leaving the building, we walk, straight on, on this Sexta Avenida, across the Zona 1.
What can we discover?
Along the Sexta, there is everything that modern life offers. Shops for new and used goods, cinemas, international fast food chains (McDonalds, PolloCampero etc.), regular restaurants, street vendors etc.
You pass 3 parks / squares. In the Parque Concordia you can rest briefly, but you may suddenly realize, it is a red light district. If you do not pay attention, the only difference to other parks is, that some women sitting in the park wear very short skirts. When you silently watch the park visitors for some time, you may notice the clients, negotiating with the butterflies. From time to time you see young man, receiving money from the girls and woman. Those youngsters are gang members collecting the “local tax”. Whenever policemen from nearby police headquarters are in the park, everything is done more slowly or the business is done in the surroundings of the park.
A few blocks later, you reach the central park of Guate. The large Parque central or plaza central lies a little further next to the National Palace.
At the plaza central you can make a detour to the Mercado Central. Here you will find Indian handicrafts of all kinds, probably a bit cheaper than in Antigua.
If you follow the Sexta behind the Plaza central, you finally come to the small park San Sebastian. Turn right here and after about 800m (3 blocks) you will reach the small hill of Cerro del Carmen.
Cerrito del Carmen (Chapel del Carmen)
The pretty park, was formerly also known as the focal point of the red light scene. Meanwhile, the police have the situation under control again. A well maintained path leads up to the small chapel, from where you have a beautiful view of the city center from the other end of Zona 1.
The entire walk from the military museum to the cerrito del Carmen, can be done in a hurry in one hour. But it is pefect if you have more time. When you are at the museum around 10 o’clock in the morning and finish the trip around 4 o’clock. At this time, the red city buses can be used to get back to La Bolivar, still safe and you are back before dark. Back at the Trebol early enough to return to Antigua or Chimalenango.
Unless you spend the night in Guate, to explore the nightlife …
Another excursion in the Guatemala-City area, is a visit of the relief map, which I describe Here!!!.