The Cowboy of Antigua


This hotel is named after Don Vicente Rosales who was an early entrepreneur in Antigua Guatemala. His nickname was “The Cowboy of Antigua”.

In the early 1900s there were no paved roads in Guatemala thus travel was very difficult and dangerous. One either walked or rode a horse and you traveled with a gun because there were banditos.

Rosales’s father, Gabriel Rosales Pelaez, had a business where this hotel is now. At this site he had storage for crops such as corn and, of course, stables and alfalfa for the horses. In addition there was room for cows, chickens and storage for carriages. Across the street at 6a Avenida Sur #7, he had a carpentry business where he made several types of horse drawn carriages, carriage wheels, furniture and caskets.

When he was 18, Sr. Rosales’s and his brothers began one of the first stage coach services to take passengers to Guatemala City. At the time the trip took 8 days. The roads were terrible and in rainy weather, they were rutted and filled with mud. In order to descend the steep mountain trail coming down into Antigua they had to drag large tree branches behind the carriages. This was the only way they could brake.

oldest-hotel-building-antigua-guatemalaThese early carriages were very basic and often uncovered so you were exposed to the sun, rain and cold. Some of the first horse carriages were imported from America in 1900 and coachmen came with them introducing the “wild west” style of clothing and weapons.

Later, Sr. Rosales’s built a posada. The posada was just a covered building without walls, a simple accommodation for travelers to sleep near their livestock. Travelers were charged only for the meals they ate and for the feed for their livestock.

Many years later, the existing building was built as a hotel and run by descendants of the Rosales family. In August of 2012, the hotel was sold to a small chain of hotels in Antigua Guatemala. Over the next few months, we totally remodeled the hotel and offer it as nice hotel for the budget traveler, as it has been for almost 100 years. We decided to keep the hotel name to honor the hotels history and the descendants of the Rosales family.

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