Mercado Central
Mercado Central
4.5
About
For really good deals on Guatemalan handicrafts, especially leather goods, woolen blankets and masks, check out the underground stalls here, where fresh produce is also available.
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4.5
171 reviews
Excellent
90
Very good
49
Average
25
Poor
5
Terrible
2

Girl Takes Mundo
Manchester, UK148 contributions
Jun 2023 • Couples
For an authentic market experience, visit Mercado Central. You will find the best prices for souvenirs and any other items you may be looking for including fresh fruit, flowers, candy and everything else in between. Just be warned that some food stalls may charge you higher prices as a tourist which was the case at Rosita's restaurant stall (My mom did recommend "Dona Mela" but unfortunately they were too packed) and most stalls may not be veggie friendly since this isn't common in Guatemala. (I did say, "Authentic", after all.)
Written 22 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

The Wandering Reviewer
Melbourne, Australia9,806 contributions
Jun 2023 • Solo
I stopped at a market stall to look at a headband (which I bought) and began chatting with the vendor.
Meet Fiorella. Born in Antigua in 1971, she was fortunate enough to attend school for a few years but then had to support her family both on the farm as well as caring for her younger siblings.
Fiorella and her husband Ervon (who is quite frail at 56), have their own stall in the market and feel very privileged to stock this 2m x 3m space with tourist paraphernalia. Fiorella displays the usual popular traveller items. However, what stood out to me was the huipil (pronounced wē-pēel) she was wearing.
The intricately embroidered blouse was paired with a woven skirt. The skirt wraps around the body and then fastened with a woven sash called a faja (fah-hah).
My home stay host had me try one on and it’s a heavy and a hot outfit to wear.
These clothes and similar items combine weaving, dyeing, and needlework techniques that date back to the local Mayan culture.
Fiorella’s forte is hand sewing and embroidery. The blouse / top she is wearing (huipil) she sewed herself. Plus she sews them for all of her children. One huipil takes her 3 months to make and assemble.
Just take that in:
Three
Long
Months!
As a Mayan woman, she is proud to pass this tradition down through her family, particularly as Guatemala is one of the few countries in the world where these ancient textile arts still thrive.
We chatted for about a half hour using google translate, her little English and my appalling Spanish and another vendor who wanted to practice her English with me. We shared stories of our families and lives. I showed her a photo of my son Tiger and it made her jaw drop - “es un gigante”! Mayan people can often be short in stature.
During the 30 minutes we chatted, Fiorella continued to try and sell me more crafts but I declined.
I felt a strength in this woman, not unlike I’ve felt many times across the globe where women are the life-blood of the home and underpin their family’s journey. Her story touched me as many do.
Strength.
Resilience.
Conviction.
Humbleness.
Devotion to family.
When I left, I took her hand with a smile and gave it a gentle squeeze, passing into her palm $10 USA note. I typed into google translate: “From one mother to another. You are an amazing mother, wife and daughter. I wish you all the best in the future”.
Her head cocked slightly as she looked at the transcription and passed to her friend who could read (yes 65% of people Fiorella’s age cannot read in Guatemala: TBC). Her friend translated. She looked at me quizzically and smiled, then grinned, then a tear trickled down her cheek.
“Gracias Gracias preciouso mama”.
I put my palms together in a gesture of gratefulness 🙏 and nodded. She nodded back at me, her eyes now filled with tears.
It was time for me to pay it forward.
Thank you Fiorella for sharing and grounding me!

@intrepidtravel #intrepidtravel #bestofcentralamerica #guatemalamarket #antiguamarket #supportwomen
#payitforward
Written 20 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sam W
Gaithersburg, MD8 contributions
May 2022
Went there on a Sunday morning. Not many people there as lot of Guatemalan are in Church. Did not spend a lot of time there and did not eat there. The place is a bit shady but in general it is safe. We did ask around prior to getting there. However, we bought so many things so we had to give up spending more time there but to take an Uber back to hotel.
Written 31 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Victoria L
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala54 contributions
Feb 2020
Huge market that actually can feel intimidating if you end up in the wrong part! Food stalls, arts and crafts, garden decorations and household goods are all on different floors and if you're a foreigner and you end up in a section only the locals go in you WILL be stared at haha! It's all good though, everyone is super helpful if a little pushy on occasion. I was told I could bargain there but I didn't feel comfortable doing that as everything is pretty inexpensive anyway.
Written 10 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PandaHouston
Houston, TX6,233 contributions
Dec 2019
Mercado Central or Central Market is a large 3 level indoor market selling goods. It is more like a flea market and you can shop for souvenirs here. It is located behind the Cathedral of Guatemala not far from the Central Park / Plaza.
Written 16 December 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Panamajoe2017
Sechelt, Canada319 contributions
Dec 2019 • Solo
A good place to eat a meal or shop for souvenirs. Prices seemed reasonable for both. Well worth a wander around to snap pics.
Written 13 December 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Robert S
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL863 contributions
Nov 2019 • Friends
Massive size with multiple levels! While I did not buy anything (don’t need more stuff at my age); however, I loved the vibrant action & local beauty. I saw virtually exclusively locals—which is the point: a real market. Delighted to visit this landmark!
El baño is interesting (sense of humor noted)
Written 28 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

medywawa
62 contributions
Nov 2019 • Solo
I've seen many a market in my life and have also spent quite some time in Guatemala now, but have found this market to be the most complete in the traditional Guatemalan snacks that can be found throughout the country. The food court is fantastic with its food court, as well as the area with all types of delicacies and the typical sweets section. 5 stars for the food!
Written 19 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Suwatss
Bangkok, Thailand5,249 contributions
Oct 2019 • Couples
The central market right behind the metropolitan church is an interesting place to see local people life. Many shops, food stalls, and fresh market are under one roof. The building is like a nuclear bunker
Written 22 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

retired and traveling
Chapala, Mexico158 contributions
Oct 2019
This market is near the main plaza downtown in the historic center. It is below street level.There are several sections. There is a food area serving many types of local dishes. Then there are the crafts and clothing, and then just about anything you may need for household goods.
Written 6 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Mercado Central - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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