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Shopping in Guatemala City

You can find almost anything you might possibly want or need in Guatemala City. In addition to many modern shopping malls stocked with the latest fashions and electronics, there are a number of department stores for household appliances and cosmetics. For grocery shopping, the local giant is Paiz, which was recently taken over by WalMart. La Torre is also a well-stocked local grocery chain. U.S.-style warehouse shopping is available at PriceSmart or at a number of local chains. Guatemalans love U.S.-made goods, which is easy to see given their wide availability. For organic grocery shopping and natural foods, head to Orgánica (Diagonal 6 16-23 Zona 10, tel. 2363-1819, 9am-7pm Mon.-Sat., and Km. 15.5 Carretera a El Salvador, Condado Concepción Fase 1 Local #21, tel. 6634-7077, 9am-6pm Mon.-Sat.).

Aerial shot of Guatemala City. Photo © Al Argueta.
Aerial shot of Guatemala City. Photo © Al Argueta.

Handicrafts

You can shop the jam-packed stalls in downtown Guatemala City’s Mercado Central (8a Avenida and 6a Calle, 6am-6pm Mon.-Sat., 9am-noon Sun.) for textiles, típica clothing, and leather goods. A safer and more enjoyable option can be found near the airport and Zona 13 museums at the open-air Mercado de Artesanías (Boulevard Juan Pablo II, 8am-6pm Mon.-Sat., 8am-1pm Sun.), with a fairly wide assortment of handicrafts and tourist souvenirs.

Recommended retailers include Lin Canola (5a Calle 9-60 Zona 1, tel. 2232-0858, 9am-6pm Mon.-Fri.), where the assortment varies from home decorative items to jewelry and everything between. This store is especially recommended if you want to buy Guatemalan fabrics by the yard. Its Zona 10 location, In Nola (18 Calle 21-31 Zona 10, Boulevard Los Próceres, tel. 2367-2424, 8:30am-6:30pm Mon.-Fri. and 8:30am-1:30pm Sat.), is more modern and contains much the same in a better part of town.

Selling fashionable adaptations on traditional designs for the home, Textura (Diagonal 6, 13-63 Zona 10, tel. 2367-2098, 9:30am-7pm Mon.-Fri.., 9:30am-2:30pm Sat.) is especially recommended for its beautiful and colorful hammocks.

Guatemalan <em>huipiles</em> are common handicrafts that are often hung in houses and hotels as decor. Photo © Al Argueta.
Guatemalan huipiles are common handicrafts that are often hung in houses and hotels as decor. Photo © Al Argueta.

Art Galleries

If you want to take in the work of local artists, head to Guatemala’s oldest art gallery, Galería El Túnel (16 Calle 1-01 Zona 10, Plaza Obelisco, tel. 2367-3284), featuring the work of more than 100 artists. Another good art gallery worth checking out is el attico (4a Avenida 15-45 Zona 14, tel. 2368-0853). Fundación Rozas Botrán (16 Calle 4-66 Zona 14, tel. 2366-7064) has rotating painting, sculpture, and photography exhibits in its spacious gallery.

Books

For a great atmosphere for unwinding with a cup of coffee or tea and a large selection of books (though mostly in Spanish), try Sophos (Plaza Fontabella, 4a Ave. 12-59 Zona 10, tel. 2419-7070, 9am-8pm Mon.-Sat., 10am-6pm Sun.). Also with plenty of books in Spanish is Artemis Edinter with several locations including Galerías Miraflores, Pradera Concepción, and Oakland Mall.

A number of bookstores cater to the expat community, stocking a variety of English-language books on their shelves. Vista Hermosa Book Shop (2a Calle 18-50, Vista Hermosa II, Zona 15, tel. 2369-1003, 9am-1pm and 2pm-6pm Mon.-Sat.) has books in English and Spanish and is in a quiet residential sector east of Zona 10.

Outdoor Gear

For anything you may have neglected to bring for your outdoor Guatemala adventures, head to Big Mountain (Centro Comercial Miraflores, 2do nivel, Kiosko K-96, tel. 2474-8547, 9am-8pm Mon.-Sun.), offering a good assortment of hiking, climbing, mountain biking, and camping gear, and name-brand outdoor clothing.

Another option for outdoor gear is The North Face (2nd floor of the Oakland Mall, Diagonal 6, 13-01 Zona 10, tel. 2336-6881, 10am-8pm Mon.-Thurs., 10am-9pm Fri.-Sat., 10am-7pm Sun.). There’s also now a location at the Galerías Miraflores shopping mall.


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