Must-see shopping in Central America

  • L'Epicerie Super & Deli


    This upmarket deli is for self-caterers with cash to burn. It's packed with salivatingly good artisan creations from the area and abroad, from cheese and…

  • Soy Nica


    Come here for stylish purses, shoulder bags, belts and other accessories made of Nicaraguan leather. You can see them being made at the workshop next to…

  • Simplemente Madera


    Simplemente Madera ('Simply Wood') makes gorgeous bespoke furniture out of sustainable Nicaraguan wood. They can help you with shipping your acquisitions…

  • Libros del Lago


    Has a refreshingly good stock of books in English and Spanish on Guatemala, the Maya and Mesoamerica, plus maps and Latin American literature in English.

  • Casa Latina

    Panama City

    Colorful Casa Latina has a large selection of beautiful handicrafts, ranging from the affordable to a Panama hat on sale for US$2500! Some of the items on…

  • Weil Art Gallery

    Panama City

    If you’re looking for Panamanian art, then you should visit one of the three branches of the Weil Art Gallery. Each space stocks a selection of paintings…

  • El Hombre de la Mancha Bookstore

    Panama City

    Located in La Plaza in Ciudad de Saber, this small but well-stocked bookstore is an ideal spot to find kids' books and toys. Books are in Spanish and…

  • Mercadito Artesanias Catedral shop.

    Mercadito Artesanías Catedral

    Panama City

    You may not notice the Mercadito Artesanías Catedral if it wasn't for the resellers who sometimes pop out to invite you in. Spread along an indoor gallery…

  • No Me Olvides

    Panama City

    Featuring the classic Panamanian-made guayaberas (tropical dress shirts) made popular in the 1950s, in all colors and patterns, with a few selections for…

  • Nina Concept Store

    Panama City

    This fanciful lifestyle store is filled with a curated selection of homewares and curios. There’s also a cafe-restaurant serving light bites and decent…

  • Multiplaza Mall

    Panama City

    The biggest downtown mall, with designer shops, restaurants and a cinema. It's east of downtown, on the way to Panamá Viejo.

  • Reprosa

    Panama City

    Sells quality huacas (replicas of pre-Columbian gold pendants) and necklaces made of black onyx and other gemstones.

  • Multicentro Mall

    Panama City

    Has a cinema and shops, along with many outdoor restaurants.

  • Belize Central Prison Gift Shop

    Belize District

    The only prison in Belize has a small gift shop (located on the road and outside of the actual prison itself) filled with items from the reformatory’s…

  • Mercado Artesanal

    El Valle

    El Valle is home to one of Panama’s largest handicrafts market. Indigenous Ngöbe-Buglé people, along with a sprinkling of Emberá and Wounaan, bring a…

  • Mercado Roberto Huembes


    Next to the southbound bus terminal, this sprawling beast of a market offers an authentic slice of Managuan life. There are labyrinthine rows of stalls…

  • Ceramica La Peña

    Veraguas Province

    A ceramic workshop and artisan market, this place sells wood carvings and baskets made by the Emberá and Wounaan peoples of the Darién, woven purses and…

  • Quesos Chela

    Panamá Province

    The nondescript town of Campana, located 65km from Panama City, is home to this famous cheese shop, an institution that few Panamanian drivers can pass by…

  • Galería Namu

    San José

    The Bribrí word for jaguar, Namu fair-trade gallery brings together artwork and cultural objects from a diverse population of regional ethnicities,…

  • Casa Cultural

    Darién Province

    About 3km south of the Interamericana this thatched 'House of Culture' on stilts in Ipetí Choco shelters some two-dozen women artisans who will sell you…

  • Kiosco SJO

    San José

    With a focus on sustainable design by Costa Rican artisans, this sleek shop in Barrio Escalante stocks handmade jewelry, hand-tooled leather bags,…

  • Cerámical Artistica Salitral

    San José

    A long-standing, oversized ceramic store and pottery workshop on the curving country road from Santa Ana to Salitral. There are some great finds here,…

  • Esterillos Towncenter

    Central Pacific Coast

    This strip mall had been abandoned after the housing slump of 2008, but was rescued in 2017 from disrepair and revamped by a local visionary. With a fresh…

  • Art Box


    It's hard to miss this cube-like two-story building on the highway just before the Belmopan airstrip. It's a combination gallery, store and cafe, with…

  • Choco

    Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

    Québécois partners Martin and Nelson have turned this tidy air-conditioned shop into a must-stop for local Talamanca chocolates (five different brands)…

  • Coopeldós RL

    Monteverde & Santa Elena

    Coopeldós is a cooperative of 450 small- and medium-sized organic coffee growers from the area. You can visit this coop store and buy their coffee…

  • Artistry in Bamboo

    Caribbean Coast

    For three decades and across several countries, expat master craftsman Brian Erikson has been fashioning wonderful things out of bamboo. You may have even…

  • Mercado Central

    Guatemala City

    Until the quake of 1976, Mercado Central, behind the cathedral, was where locals shopped for food and other necessities. Reconstructed after the…

  • Castillo de Arizmendi

    Flores & Santa Elena

    This market is a monument to Martín de Ursúa Arizmendi y Aguirre, who snatched the island from the Maya in 1697. The castle on the main plaza's north side…

  • Jaime Peligro

    Playa Tamarindo

    If you're still into the non-downloadable beach tome, 'Jimmy Danger' is your man. He's got a treasure trove of used travel guides, fiction, CDs and DVDs…

  • Belizean Arts Gallery

    Ambergris Caye

    This is one of the country's best shops for local art and handicrafts, selling ceramics, wood carvings, Garifuna drums and antiques alongside affordable…

  • Taller de Cerámica Ducualí Grande

    Northern Highlands

    This collective of women potters sells their fine work all over Nicaragua. It's located in the community of Ducualí Grande, 3km northwest of town. Any…

  • Artesanías Ocueñas

    Península de Azuero

    Overlooking the central plaza in Ocú is this outlet of the internationally renowned women's co-op Artesanía Ocueña. The group sells intricate montunos …

  • Elena Montilla

    Península de Azuero

    Elena Montilla is a nationally known maker of Panama-style hats based in Ocú; she also makes polleras (traditional dresses from the Península de Azuero)…

  • Cooperativa Santa Ana

    Western Highlands

    Half a block downhill from the church plaza, this handicrafts cooperative is made up of more than 600 local women. Finely woven vests, jackets and…

  • Axul Artesanías

    Western El Salvador

    This store sells a range of handicrafts made by local artists and artisans, including beautiful handwoven tablecloths, painted boxes and jewelry. Bike…

  • Rosquillas Vilchez

    Northern Highlands

    This workaday backyard is where the best traditional rosquillas (crusty cornbread rings) in town are produced. Each batch is baked in one of three massive…

  • Xocolatísimo

    San Salvador

    Since most of the country's cacao is exported, quality Salvadoran chocolate can be hard to find, but this chocolatier is the exception. The award-winning…

  • Lema

    San Juan La Laguna

    This small shop in the center of town is run by a cooperative of women seeking to reclaim the tradition of using natural dyes. Using ancestral techniques,…

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