Authentically restored to re-create the living conditions of a 17th-century official, Casa Popenoe (1a Avenida Sur #2, tel. 7832-3087, 2–4 p.m. Mon.–Sat., $1.50) was originally built in 1636 by Don Luis de las Infantas Mendoza. Like much of Antigua, it was left abandoned after the 1773 earthquakes until Dr. Wilson Popenoe and his wife, Dorothy, bought it in 1929.
Dr. Popenoe, an agricultural scientist, worked with the United Fruit Company for much of his career and had a long history of adventures in plant collecting and botany in addition to his painstaking restoration of this fantastic cultural monument. He died in 1975, but two of his daughters still live in the house, including archaeologist Marion Popenoe Hatch.
You’ll see paintings of Bishop Francisco Marroquín and fierce conqueror Pedro de Alvarado. Also on display are the wonderfully restored servants’ quarters and kitchen. A narrow staircase leads up to the roof terrace, from where there are gorgeous views of Antigua and the volcanoes off in the distance.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com