One of the best things about wandering Antigua’s cobbled streets is admiring the colourful Mayan textiles on display, or dithering over which wooden souvenirs will fit in your suitcase. Guatemala produces unique art and some of the most beautiful garments in the world, and you’ll feel obliged to take some home with you. Antigua has several excellent markets where you can browse until your heart’s content – here are seven of the best.
Wandering through the colourful, chaotic Mercado is a great way to see the more authentic side to Antigua. It’s the only market actually aimed at locals, and you can buy everything here – from fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and fish to clothes, shoes and pirate DVDs. At the north end of the market, there’s the paca, a vast warehouse packed with unique T-shirts, and there are dozens of cafés serving cheap and delicious traditional food, so going when you have an appetite is a good idea. You’ll probably get lost navigating the maze of the covered market, but that’s part of the fun.
Located on Antigua’s 5th Avenida (the one with the yellow Santa Catalina Arch), Nim Po’t is one of the best places to find traditional Mayan clothing and textiles. This huge hall is a cooperative for artisans, with beautiful garments arranged by region, so browsing the intricate huipils, cortes and fajas is like a fun geography lesson. If you’re not hunting for clothes, Nim Po’t also has an extensive collection of traditional masks, wood carvings, kites, paintings and refrigerator magnets, so it’s an ideal spot for a bit of last-minute souvenir shopping too. Make sure you haggle!
Nim Po’t, 5a Avenida Norte, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala, +502 7832 2681
Many people consider the Artisan Market to be the main ‘tourist market’. Full of colourful textiles, traditional blankets, wooden masks, jade jewellery and woven purses, it’s an incredibly photogenic place to wander around. Because it’s a tourist market, you won’t find any animals here (dead or alive), and the stalls are arranged in an orderly manner, with clean, swept floors and a lovely entrance. Never buy anything at face value; vendors usually increase the price by three, so use that as a reference point when haggling.
To pick up some more artistic gifts, head to Centro de Arte Popular, a market and museum with a focus on the art from Guatemala’s Mayan heritage. Located close to Antigua’s main attractions and plaza, Centro de Arte Popular showcases the works of Guatemalan artists from several different Mayan ethnic indigenous groups. The artwork is displayed thematically to illustrate the various aspects of indigenous life, and there are Tz’utujil oil paintings, handmade pottery, religious crafts, traditional masks and wooden sculptures to view and buy.
Los Gigantes is another artisan cooperative, but this one is a bit pricier and more upmarket than some of the others. It’s all for a good cause, though: Los Gigantes is ethical and sustainable, creating handicrafts using earth-friendly materials and providing local artisans with a dignified way of earning a living. You can find a beautiful and varied range of high-quality natural handcrafted products here, from decorative vases, coasters, hot pads, and baskets made from pine needles to detailed teak and highland pine carpentry products.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.