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.
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
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.
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
- 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
- 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.
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
- Museo Casa del Tejido Antiguo
( Weavers Museum)
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,
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
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
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
Usually hourly free transportation from central park - but check to make
- 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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
|Maria's family's shop
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
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