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I put this together quickly  for some friends who  are visiting Guatemala on a short trip, but thought I might share with others who might be interested. Assume you have a Lonely Planet or similar guide for the logistics of getting around.  Am only highlighting the places we generally like and go to.  I will be gradually adding to it as time permits.   I have not included the weekly artisan/women's markets, since my friends travel dates don't coincide.  Lynn   9/22/2012  


Walking Around Town - Things to see  (cobblestone streets, wear comfortable shoes).  We are not experts on colonial building and churches - suggest check elsewhere for this information.

  • The Plaza (Parque Central) -- Trip Advisor  8/38 Attractions
    -   Town square, with trees, park benches and colonial churches and buildings. Interesting people watching scene, sometime music. Favorite of tourists and locals.
    -   Cafe Condesa - best carryout coffee and pastry on the square.
    -   Next door to Cafe Condesa is a small artisan market (interior with vendors)
    -    My friend, Dora is an exceptional weaver and vends things in the Cultural Center on the corner near the church.  She is trying to help her daughter stay in medical school.   
    -    Nearby Centro de Arte Popular  gallery has quite a selection of fine quality Guatemalan Art for sale  (4a Calle Oriente y 3a. Avenida Norte No 10., Interior Casa Antigua) and a small museum of works of famous Naive Painters
  • Main Commercial Market (Saturday is market day, but always lots going on)
    -   Usual Latin American market where everything is sold and the general population buys everything. Fun to wander around.  Some of the artisan families that I buy products from are pictured below.


    Maria's family has a shop in the market selling her work and work of others. Her daughter just finished medical school. She makes many of Terra Experience's Coban Doll Huipils. 



  • Mercado de Artesanias (Main Artisan Market) ---   Trip Advisor This artisan market is next to the main commercial market and bus station.  You will an incredible amount of Guatemalan textiles, arts and crafts.  Much of it the usual stuff, but also some quality hand-made items.  I usually ask the artisans which products they made (most shops have both things their family made and other stuff for variety).  I try to buy what they have made and  while bartering is part of the culture, try to pay a fair price for the piece. If you can figure out which of the vendors actually are displaying their own work, you can help an actual artisan family (rather than the ladino shop owners of the main street).  Some vendors are only merchants, or are hired by merchants and are only selling stuff they didn't make.  A few of the vendors Terra Experience buys from are pictures below.

Nila from Chajul (weavings & carvings)

Manuela from Chajul (carvings) Theresa from San Antonio Aquas Caliente

When we first went to Guatemala in 1996 artisans were allowed to weave and sell in many of the parks in town (not the Central Park) and in a community market in one of the ruined colonial buildings. It was fun walking around these areas.  Around 2005 someone decided that it was better to confine most of the artisans in one place,  got a grant and built this artisan market.  Its more expensive for the artisans, they have more competition, but they don't have to haul their stuff around (and the ladino owned stores in town have less competition).  On a side note --- Its worth asking Ladino store owners in Antigua where they buy their products and how they pay the artisan who made.  Some do understand fair trade principles and are striving to help their artisan communities, some do not.

  • Museo Casa del Tejido Antiguo ( Weavers Museum http://casadeltejido.org 1a. Calle Poniente # 51 Antigua, Guatemala.  Close to the main market, the museum while not fancy, has a surprising wealth and quality of information and different textiles.  The shop has quality textiles produces by one or more woman's groups and the artisans themselves appear to benefit when you purchase here. 
  • Arco de Santa Catalina & walk 5th Avenida North (Street with Arch)
    --  Classic landmark arch  is between old monastery and school
    --  various shops along 5th  - some have nice weavings for table cloths..., water color artisans, places to eat
    --  Nimpot - (near the arch) An amazing place to see a wide variety and learn about Guatemala textiles, arts and crafts.  Has a website that is a virtual museum of Guatemalan Textiles and over the years has had an important role in helping tourists appreciate Mayan textiles and traditions. Today its a large consignment shop that sells its own stuff as well as that of others who are willing to pay the consignment fee (artisans, merchants, groups....). 
    Church at end of avenida  (on the corner before you get to the church Evalia and her daughters have a stall in a shop complex where they sell many of their fine weavings.  Since 2000 they have made many of Terra Experience's San Antonio Aguas Caliente Doll Huipiles.

  • Museums at hotel Casa Santo Domino https://www.casasantodomingo.com.gt/en are interesting. It is a five star hotel, in an old convent that has been superbly  restored - would be nice to stay at if you can afford it, but definitely worth a look at).
  • San Francisco Church  Trip Advisor 1/38 attractions (Hermano Pedro - Guatemala's first and only Saint is buried there.)

Short Excursions (require Chicken-bus or other transportation 2-4 hrs adventures by the time you get there and spend some time)

  • San Antonio Aguas Caliente  --- a small pueblo  about 5 miles from Antigua, well known for its weaving craft.  Centrally located, 2-story artisan market has vendors weaving and a small museum.  Artisan market is adjacent to a small central park and catholic church.
  • Centro Cultural la Azotea - Three connected museums in Jocotenango about 1.2 miles from Antigua. The very unusual Music Museum  Casa Kojom  http://www.kojom.org/ , . Rincon de Sacatepequez (small weaving museum) and Coffee Museum. Web option for a neat virtual tour.  Usually hourly free transportation from central park - but check to make sure running.
  • Del Cerro  --- Trip from hotel, Casa Santo Domino Hotel to Del Cerro  complex at top of hill (has nice restaurant, excellent view and interesting sculpture  and art exhibits. ) . While built as a convention/meeting complex, it is a good destination for a change of view and pace from the city.

Places we eat (we are rather frugal and cautious - so get into rut, and probably have missed much). Inexpensive good food is hard to find, Antigua is an area priced for the tourist market.

  • La Condesa http://www.aroundantigua.com/dining/condesa.htm  Trip Advisor Review 18/138  (excellent coffee, good breakfast or lunch spot, also pastries).  If you are walking main park have good coffee take out spot.
  • Dona Luisa's Xicoteneatl  Trip Advisory Review   36/138 (Local spot Guatemalan families and tourists to congregate especially on weekends - variety of dishes including sandwiches, some traditional some not,
  • Rainbow Cafe    http://www.rainbowcafeantigua.com/  38/138 Trip Advisory Review (small cafe, inexpensive good breakfast and coffee, used English books, and Tuesday night usually a talk by a nonprofit organization working in Guatemala and music other times).
  • Fonda del la Calle Real  Trip Advisor  54/132 (Good traditional Guatemalan food, 2 locations, across street from each other. I like the Chicken Sopa. Service can be slow. I usually try to sit where I know the wait staff can see me.).
  • La Pena de Sol Latino  Trip Advisory Review  13/138 (good  food & usually has music. Nice atmosphere).
  • Winers  Trip Advisory Review 31/132 Viener snitzel spot near main market, (if you are at main market and get hungry and don't want to eat at Pollo Campero this spot has good food at reasonable price.)


Posado Los Volcanes  Trip Advisor  1/21 http://www.posadadelosvolcanes.com/eng/index.php   This has been our home away from home in Pana.  There are probably fancier spots, less expensive spots, more expensive spots --- but we feel like we are home when we see Julio and his family and the manager Francisco.  They also provide tourism services and can help you get a minivan to where-ever you want to go.  The first 5 years we visited  Pana (1996 +) we stayed at a number of other places.  Once we found Posado Los  Volcanes, about 10 years ago, we have returned every year.

Places to Eat
Guajimbo's -   Trip Advisor 3/21 Our kitchen away from home. Great grill and also vegie options. Raul provides exceptional service. Music some nights.  Good value.
- Sunset Bar Trip Advisor 3/21 Great place for drink and maybe supper at sunset. Usually has music. Food good, pay a little extra for the view.
- The Circus Bar -  6/21  http://www.panajachel.com/circusbar.htm Up the side street, surprising variety of old circus posters and interesting decor. Unusually good Italian type menu including pizza and ratatouille, drinks and excellent music.

Santiago Atitlan

  • Colonial Church  (Built on a Mayan Temple, Interesting especially with tribute area to Father Stan and Santiago Atitlan people that were murdered during the war). Top of town near city part - suggest TukTuk up and walk back down.
  • Market Square  - small park below the Church on which the government buildings, commercial market (in a building on the corner), and school are located
  • Street to Boat Dock  (shops with incredible  textiles, woodcarvings and paintings, often made by an artisan family)
    Cojolya Weavers  http://www.cojolya.org/marketplace/ Fair Trade Weavers Group & Museum.   Museum small, but excellent.  They design and sell high fashion bags and scarf collections    (they have moved location in last 4 years to up the main street, from a spot nearer the shore, old travel guides may have the old location)
  • Some of the Artisan Famlies Terra Experience buys from:
Maria's family's shop  Galeria de Chutinami. Her father and brother do very fine religious carvings. Maria and her mother make many of Terra Experience's Doll Huipils from Santiago Atitlan. Carlos and his wife make some nice mask and bird carvings  
  • Hospilito Atitlan http://www.hospitalitoatitlan.org/- TukTuk distance.  If you can plan ahead, bring medical supplies and arrange a tour of the new complex that was built after a landslide associated with hurricane Stan destroyed the original in 2005.  We support their work.
  • Posado Atitlan  http://www.posadadesantiago.com/- nice place for a meal. A bit of a walk, suggest TukTuk. This is probably where we would stay if we stayed in Santiago Atitlan although a bit more expensive than we like to pay.



State Dept Advisory for Guatemala 




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