In Antigua there's a range of hotels from the sublime to the intolerable, from about $125 a night to a few dollars a night, and in our visits here we've stayed in different hotels that span that entire range. For $20 a day, we recommend Posada La Merced, where we have a very nice room with a comfy bed, a private bathroom with unlimited steaming hot water day and night (a big deal in this country), a desk, two good reading lamps, book cases, a big window overlooking the pretty garden courtyard and fountain, and free use of a fully-equipped communal kitchen. (Equally nice rooms with shared baths are a fraction of that cost.) Gail Rogers, the New Zealand woman who owns La Merced, is a warm-hearted and savvy former tour leader who's made a wonderful home here for herself and her daughter Isabel. Gail speaks impeccable Spanish and English, can help arrange anything, and will even coach you on conjugations. Ironically, while we were staying here, we met in our hotel the couple whose boat is next to ours at Tortugal Marina in the Rio! What a small world. Hotel Posada Merced is located on 7a. Avenida Norte, 43 A, and can be reached by phone or email (502-832-3197, 502-832-3301; email@example.com).