Paca is the term used in Guatemala for large packages shipped in palettes – usually how secondhand clothes arrive in the country. It’s also the name that’s often used for stores that sell paca clothing, and one of the best places in town to find bargains is Antigua PACA. Here you can buy good-quality, attractive and name-branded clothes at surprisingly low prices.
Wandering through the colourful, bustling Mercado is a great way to see the authentic side of Antigua, and you can buy everything here. At the north end of the market there’s the paca, a vast warehouse packed with secondhand clothes, T-shirts and vintage designer clothes. You can find unique bargains here at great prices. You’ll probably get lost navigating the maze of the market, but that’s part of the fun.
Located on Antigua’s 5th Avenida, Nim Po’t is one of the best places to find traditional Mayan clothing and textiles. It’s a huge hall that serves as a cooperative for artisans, and you’ll find plenty of traditional and modern clothes here, as well as souvenirs such as traditional masks and wood carvings. At the back is a big collection of used books, from old paperback bestsellers to crime mysteries, classics and thrillers. There are also poetry, religion, self-help, travel guides and history books. Make sure you haggle!
Nim Po’t, 5a Avenida Norte, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala, +502 78322681
To browse through a totally random and often bizarre selection of items, there’s La Patrona. This is the place to come if you love a good old rummage in weird thrift shops: the stuff on sale consists of antique (and often creepy) dolls and mannequins, old hand-carved furniture and traditional Mayan wooden masks.