Last Updated on July 23, 2017 by Audrey Scott
As we take off for Central America (this time to Costa Rica), we think back to our first visit to the region a couple of years ago: Antigua, Guatemala.
Although Antigua has a reputation for being touristy, we found that it wasn't too difficult to get lost and find a slice of authentic Guatemalan life. One of our favorite places to do this: Antigua's central market.
Walk past the front section of the market, past the souvenirs and freshly cut fruit intended for gringos, and just keep going back, back — deep into the market, maybe even into the adjacent back parking lot areas where on weekends vendors come from neighboring villages.
It's beyond this first scratch where you'll find it: real life.
As you take a spin around you'll see activity and people bustling about in every corner, from the woman making purple corn tortillas to women selling piles of mangoes, peppers and strawberries on the ground. You'll notice that some women are dressed in traje (traditional dress), something you see across Guatemala. If you stick around long enough you might even catch a Mariachi band roaming the place.
So when people suggest that Antigua is too touristy, our advice: go deep, get lost at the market — so lost that you might even have to ask for directions to find your way out just like we did.
10 thoughts on “Amidst Piles of Freshness: Antigua Central Market, Guatemala”
You are right Audrey. For one to experience what a particular destination has to offer one needs to go deep and get lost. Sometimes it feels good to get lost to a point you feel you’re much more of an explorer than a tourist.
@Raymond: Couldn’t agree more! We purposely “get lost” quite often when we travel. Often the best experiences happen when you get detoured on your way somewhere else.
I would get sooo lost in that market. But nevertheless it looks like it would feel great to be there. Thanks for sharing this!
@Makis: Think of it this way: even if you got lost, you’d have plenty to eat. You are welcome.
Getting lost in markets is one of our favourite things to do! We also had a good luck around this market when we were there last year, such a great place and I agree it wasn’t too touristy for us.
We were there when Semana Santa was in full swing so it was even busier than usual, but still a beautiful place. Thanks for sharing!
@Barry: Antigua certainly gets busy around Semana Santa – it’s a great time to visit and see all the processions. And yes, getting lost in markets is a favorite activity – some of our best experiences are from markets!
We love going off the beaten path and into the lives of the locals. It’s so much better than always playing the “tourist.”
@Carey: And sometimes it just takes a turn here or going further down a street there to find that slice of local life and people.
What a great blog guys! Very inspirational for a newbie like me. Couldn’t agree more about the market in Antigua, I got lost in there for hours haggling for second hand clothes and eating fresh fruit amid the chaos. It was an authentic experience in the middle of gringolandia. Peace and safe travels 🙂
@Eleisha: Gringolandia – ha!! So glad to hear you had a similarly great experience getting lost in the bowels of the Antigua market. Such a great spot. And, thanks for the kudos on our blog. Good luck with yours!