La Colina: Little Getaway from LAG

La Colina Longaniza Plate

To be honest, I’m not a huge meat eater. Yet, I’m not a vegetarian either. I will splurge every once in a while on a “meat feast” and one of my favorite places to go is a little known restaurant perched on the side of the road on the way to Lake Atitlán.

La Colina is little more than a wooden shack and that is precisely what’s so delightful about it. Pulling off to the side of the road, you step out into the crisp, cool air, greet the family and order the traditional plate of juicy chorizo. In moments the air beneath the little wooden shelter fills with a hearty smoke, rich with the succulent smells of the sausage. The meal arrives on a wooden plate with grilled potato, grilled spring onions, black beans, and Guatemala’s infamously pungent cheese. Lime, salsa, salt and picante are also provided to garnish the meal to your liking. Of course, freshly made tortillas are part of the experience. But, these tortillas are extra special – they’re my favorite, the blue ones! I always order the rich, cinnamon flavored hot chocolate to warm my hands and my belly as I impatiently wait for my food. I delight in the little clay cups that the hot chocolate comes in – formed in an ancient shape meant to lock in the warmth.

I first discovered La Colina when a friend called me up and asked if I wanted to go out for lunch. Thinking he meant eating out in a restaurant here in La Antigua Guatemala (LAG), I obliged and had no idea I was up for the wonderful little road trip, little more than a half hour outside La Antigua. The drive to get there is just as much a part of the experience. Every once in a while it is nice to escape the colonial town of LAG and venture out into the surrounding rolling hills. The road winds up and around until you suddenly find yourself passing through small mountains, with valleys dipping below a sky blanketed in puffy clouds that appear close enough to caress.

text and photos by Laura McNamara

La Colina Charbroiling La Colina Views

© 2009 – 2013, Laura McNamara. All rights reserved.

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  • scott

    That looks amazingly good. Is that near the mirador on the way to the road to Solola?

    You have officially made me hungry…

    Thanks!

    • Baaad news: I just got word (yesterday) that La Colina has been shut down. My friend that originally brought me called to tell me the bad news. I guess not enough people stopped for some eats. I’m really disappointed. But, I’m also glad I was able to enjoy such a little gem before it disappeared!

      Crazy I wrote up this post and just a couple days later I get word that it no longer exists!

  • Sarah

    Beautiful place. Is it the highway to Chimal? What kilometer?

  • Eric

    Laura, I have to second Scott. Between you and Sr. Giron, I am always sniffing my screen. Shame on you both ! Ja-ja-ja
    En serio, this is a great series. I’ve stopped at a few places between La Antigua and Atitlan, but of course there are many more to be explored. And your series is helping me answer the question, “I wonder if that little place I saw on the hill is any good ? It certainly smells like a winner.”
    Nice job! Aaaaay, el estomago grune……

    • Thanks Eric… 😉 It was most definitely a winner. We should find the family that ran it and tell them to keep making such great meals!

  • Xibalba

    Aghhhhhhhhhh!!! I know this place…it’s been so long though!! Two long years have passed by like nothing and I still remember places like this all the time…ah, how simple life can be in Guate!! =)
    I miss home and you sir are not making it any easier to bear!!! =P
    Thanks for your amazing photos and articles, they are the highlight to my day!! =D

    • @Xibalba, I like your nick very much. Thanks for you kind words and and I happy to know that these photos and stories bring a tiny smile to other people living abroad. 😉

    • Cool that you remember it Xibalba!! Unfortunately, it JUST shut down. 🙁

      And remember, sometimes the photos and posts come from one of the following contributors:

      * Arturo Godoy
      * Guy Howard
      * Laura McNamara
      * Michele Woodey
      * Manolo Romero Escobar

  • I am not to much of a meat eater either but a treat like this i would not pass. this looks so good, Nice article too.

  • @Laura, it’s so funny that Arturo and I had a similar lunch yesterday (See our lunch). BTW, we were waiting for you; where were you?