Mercado de Artesanías
Most people consider the Artisan Market to be the best tourist market. Full of patterned tablecloths, traditional blankets, wooden masks, jade jewellery and woven purses, you’ll find all manner of treasures to fill your case with here. Because it’s aimed at tourists rather than locals, it’s the most organised market in town, with clean, swept floors, a pretty entrance and orderly stalls. Never buy anything at face value and haggle hard – vendors usually increase the price by three.
La Casa del Jade
Antigua is known for its beautiful jade, which played a significant role in Mayan culture for thousands of years. Located inside the Casa Antigua El Jaulón shopping arcade, La Casa del Jade is the best place in the city to pick up some striking handmade jade jewellery. As well as being a jewellery shop, La Casa del Jade is a museum that displays pre-Hispanic jade trinkets, and also has a workshop where you can admire the work of modern craftspeople.
4a Calle Oriente #10, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala, +502 7932 5701
Located on Antigua’s 5th Avenida, Nim Po’t is one of the best places to find traditional Mayan clothing and textiles to take home. 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.
5a Avenida Norte, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala, +502 7832 2681
Centro de Arte Popular
If you’re looking for some art souvenirs, head to Centro de Arte Popular, a shop and museum with a focus on Mayan art. 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 buy.
Mercado del Carmen
Sitting next to the ruins of the Iglesia El Carmen, this market is one of the lesser-known artisan markets in Antigua and is far less crowded. It’s a good place to shop for souvenirs such as textiles, pottery and jade at a low price, and the blankets here are especially good value. The inside is chaotically laid out, and it can be difficult trying to find what you’re looking for, but that often means you’ll stumble upon some hidden gems. On weekends, the activity spills out onto 3a Avenida Norte, where many of the vendors have lovely textile accessories such as Mayan belts and headdresses for sale.
Kolt is an ethical boutique that produces beautiful and unique handmade Guatemalan leather products. The store works with local artisans and weavers to create fair and stable jobs; buying yourself some souvenirs from Kolt is a great way to give back to the local community. Every item at this boutique is a gorgeous reflection of the handmade products that Guatemala is famous for, and if you buy one of the exquisite handbags here you’ll treasure it forever.
3a Calle Poniente #25, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala, +502 3095 2259
Another excellent place for the more style-conscious traveller to pick up some souvenirs is Algodones Mayas. This lovely boutique has a great selection of natural cotton items in an elegant array of colours, as well as traditional-yet-stylish woven bags and shoes. It’s an especially good place to pick up a colourful scarf, which you can wear during the crisp Antiguan nights as well as at home.
3a Calle Oriente, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala, +502 2308 3963