Yes, We Were Robbed in Antigua. I Feel Dirty

Antigua, widely known as the crown jewel of Central America, is a city in the central highlands of Guatemala. It is known for its well preserved Spanish architecture and spectacular ruins of colonial churches. It is by far the largest tourist attraction in Guatemala, and for that reason it’s also a major intersection for overland travelers to meet up with each other. When we arrived the campground was full of Euros, including a German couple traveling with 2 kids and a French couple traveling with 3 kids. The French couple had hit the road when their youngest was only 10 days old. Europeans out number travelers from the US by 50 to 1 in my estimate. They are fearless when it comes to traveling with the entire family and we are truly inspired by them. We always knew that the travel life was what we wanted to do once we have our kid, but it’s great to see others actually executing the lifestyle with such poise. Peoples of Europe, YOU ROCK.

We got a great tip via email from our new Sprinter Life friend Biff. He found our blog and has been following the adventure. He recommended we check out a hole in the wall bar called Cafe No Se. In addition to the regular bar and restaurant, the No Se also has a Mezcal bar that is located through a secret refrigerator door. Inside they serve their own private label called “Illegal Mezcal”. We of course felt compelled to sample all the flavors.

Our overland friends Malin and Espen from Norway joined us at the No Se. ( They are also on their way to Tierra Del Fuego and are driving a pretty bad ass rig. View it here. I’m sure we’ll hook up with them again down the road. They were a lot of fun.

The No Se Cafe was a super hip spot, probably the coolest place I saw in all of Antigua. They have live music every night and we really enjoyed the art. (Corby/Molly, you guys would love this place)…
Check out the MONSTER in this painting. Yeah, that would be us. The United States of America. We are so loved out here in the world.
Ok, lets get down to the incident. It would be chicken shit if we didn’t report it, even though we both feel like total idiots. No, we weren’t robbed at gun point. At least that would have been scary and made a good story. We were robbed by a sweet looking 20 year old kid and his accomplice. We were basically hustled. The reason we feel like such idiots is that we know better and this could have been totally avoided. We broke several basic nomad rules.
#1 – NEVER go out at night with a purse or a bag
#2 – NEVER sling a purse or bag over the back of your chair
#3 – NEVER let your guard down, even when you’re in a Gringo town like Antigua hanging out with a sweet baby-faced kid who is singing Elvis songs with a really bad accent.
It was a straight forward hustle, as straight as they come. It was a two man team. The charming young one sang us songs and gained our trust. Over the course of an hour he distracted us until he had everyone’s attention at one time. His friend snatched the purse off the back of Stevie’s chair. Then poof, they were both gone. I guess it’s our fault. We both know better. But after being on high alert for 5 months we thought we could relax in a place that felt safe. And then we got robbed. Overall, the only damage is to our pride and we learned that we really can’t afford to relax out here on the road. The bandits must have been pretty disappointed. There was no cash in the purse. I always keep the money and credit cards on my body (sorry, can’t disclose the exact location). Luckily we had the camera on the table because we had been taking photos. The only major loss was our van keys. We have a spare set, but it sucks that we’re down to one set now. The bandits now have 1 set of useless keys, 1 can of Mace, and 1 semi-dirty dish towel that we had the camera wrapped in. Although we left Antigua this morning, I will always be looking for that baby-faced Elvis impersonator, and when I find him he’ll be singing “Don’t be cruel…..”   TREE

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  1. Tree, what the hell is the bandit doing riding your lap? Are you sure all he got away with was the purse?

  2. Miranda & Miguel says:

    Phoo! I am sorry that happened to you guys but I must say I am glad it wasn't in "scary" Mexico 😉
    Be safe guys, miss ya tons M & M

  3. Miranda & Miguel says:

    Phoo! I am sorry that happened to you guys but I must say I am glad it wasn't in "scary" Mexico 😉
    Be safe guys, miss ya tons M & M

  4. I'm with Pete…. there's "comfortable" and then there's "Comfortable". That said, I'm so glad you are OK, and have most everything (cept your pride) in hand. Good you had the reminder with no great losses. Much love- Sis

  5. I can see your uvula.

  6. All black equals villain…….DUH….Tree it looks like he is about to steal a kiss.. What kind of bar it that?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hey, at least you guys are ok. that was a pretty easy lesson. could have been a lot worse considering where you are

  8. Anonymous says:

    I love starting off my monday morning reading your blog. Especially when there are pictures of little boys sitting on Tree's lap. You guys are the best. You inspire me and everyone in our office. Keep posting your adventures. They are wonderful! Greg

  9. Ok everyone, just calm the hell down. He wasn't "sitting" on my lap. He was leaning into it. BIG difference. HUGE. And Yes, we were drinking Mezcal which is known to loosen social boundaries, but make no mistake about it, he's not my type. I was actually sacrificing myself to keep the bandit away from Stevie. Go ahead now… call me a HERO! TREE

  10. Hey you guys, don't worry about it. Your safe and still having a great time. no harm no foul darren

  11. Anonymous says:

    Dohhhhhhhhhh!! I Hate When That Happens!!!!

  12. Alexis Schulman says:

    Stupid bandits! But since the dawn of traveling there as been bandits. Things to be totally greatful for, okay so oops you got taken. I once got my purse stolen at the GYM, because my dumb ass was like OH they all seem SO nice, I don't need to buy a lock. Psshhh. People steal. Period. At least no one was hurt, they didn't get Kiki <3, you guys still have the camera, and all your stuff IN the van. All and all, it always feels dirty to have your trust broken by getting things stolen; but in this case I'm sure a nice hot shower will get the stink off. 🙂

  13. Drat!!! My plan nearly worked… I got you to go to the scene of the crime, relax with some mezcal, good food… but then my accomplices flubbed it up… I tell ya, if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself!

    Seriously, sorry to hear that happened, cheap wake-up though. Had the swindlers been more crafty they could have made away with more… not as bad ploy though, Elvis.

    Actually, in my opinion, you are more likely to get robbed in Antigua and other tourist haunts than elsewhere in the country, but like you said, follow some basic rules and you get to keep your stuff.

    May the Adventure Continue!

  14. I think Elvis is cute!

  15. too bad you had that experience in Antigua. it is such an amazing place. sorry to hear it guys. Terry

  16. Goya. Yes. The ultimate horror. Somewhat of an honor to be associated with his work ( thinking on the bright side) xoxo. lava's mama

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