Guatemala City Shopping and Districts

(Guatemala City, Central Highlands, Guatemala)

Guatemala City is not exactly the bastion of shopping in the Americas and not many folks come here specifically to shop. What it does excel in, though, are handicrafts and textiles, particularly the latter. You will be able to find colourful textiles from all over Guatemala for sale here.

There is the odd shopping mall and big department store located in the city, although most of the activity is based around the local markets, where some genuine bargains can be picked up. These markets are the best bet for souvenirs and crafts, as well as for purchasing original art works.

When to Shop and Where

Although not great on the general shopping front, Guatemala City can't be beaten on textiles, and particularly for weavings, tapestries and embroidered items. You can also pick up some good-quality ceramics, wood carvings, native costumes, and silver and jade jewellery items, as well as paintings for a snip.

Guatemala City markets are ideal places for picking up these items and everything can be bargained down. The Central Market (Mercado Central) and the Crafts Market (Mercado de Artesanias) are the principal markets in the city, having the best selection of crafts and everyday items. Prices for tourists are marked up, so always haggle. The Mercado Central is especially good for decent tourist souvenirs and is easy to find, being next to the Catedral Metropolitana.

As well as textiles, ceramics are a particularly good deal in Guatemala City. This is also the best place in the country to pick up the latest in fashions. Although it doesn't have many, there are more shopping malls here than anywhere else in the country. The Zona 10 is the place to come for city malls, where the Geminis International Mall, the Gran Centro and the Galerias La Pradera all await your patronage.

For those looking to learn a bit about the Mayans, Guatemala City is also a good place to locate books that may not be available elsewhere. Most will be in Spanish, but there are always some volumes available in English.