Must-see shopping in Central America

  • Ezequela Maure

    Península de Azuero

    Visitors are welcome at the Ocú workshop of this nationally known maker of Panama-style hats. Drive or walk north about 1km on Av Central; if you come to…

  • Kolibri

    Tortuguero Village

    Colorful artworks made of recycled driftwood, jicaro fruit and the flower pods of coconut trees are housed in this sleek white gallery space on Tortuguero…

  • Cooperativa de Artesanos Guararé

    Península de Azuero

    This mini-shop in the center of Guararé and run by the local artists cooperative is an excellent place to pick up locally produced treasures – from…

  • Doña María Gordillo Dulces Típicos

    Antigua

    If you want to eat your way around some toothsome traditional Guatemalan sweets and pastries, this is the place for you. Try the coconut macaroons, dulces…

  • Mercado Guamilto

    San Pedro Sula

    If you're flying out of San Pedro Sula and want to stock up on handicrafts, this is the best place to do it. Many items come from Guatemala, so ask if you…

  • Taller Portobelo

    Portobelo

    This artist-run studio is fascinating for art and culture buffs. Resident artist Gustavo can explain the historical and cultural significance of Congo art…

  • Taller Casco Dablia

    Northern Highlands

    One of the best soapstone workshops in town. Visitors are welcome to come and watch the artisans work (but call first to make sure there is someone around…

  • National Handicraft Center

    Belize City

    This store carries the best stock of high-quality Belizean arts and crafts at fair prices. Attractive buys include shade-grown coffee and local chocolate,…

  • Galerías Escalón

    San Salvador

    Galerías has three air-conditioned levels of upscale clothing and jewelry stores, electronics stores, cell-phone offices, banks and a cinema. The mall is…

  • Tienda Schwan

    Cobán

    If what your Guatemalan journey lacks is a triple-player chessboard, a Rubix Cube in all sorts of sizes/flavors, or puzzles that will keep you entertained…

  • Fábricas de Hamacas

    Masaya & Los Pueblos Blancos

    One of several places where you can not only watch traditional hammocks being handmade by local families, but you can buy them for a fairer price than at…

  • Utila Handmade Co-op

    Utila

    Locals from school children to expats sell their wares at this fun little shop. Highlights include mats, key chains and more made by local kids out of old…

  • Envasados Dulces Lorendiana

    Western Honduras

    An incredible find, this little store has shelves stacked floor-to-ceiling with hundreds (thousands?) of jars filled with pickled vegetables, chutneys and…

  • Mercado de Artesanías

    Antigua

    Masses of Guatemalan handicrafts fill the stalls of this building at the west end of town just below the main market. While not at the top end of the…

  • Mora Books

    San José

    Dog-eared paperbacks in mostly English but also Spanish, French and German teeter in precarious towers atop crammed shelves at this chaotic jumble of a…

  • Garimaya Gift Shop & Gallery

    Hopkins

    This excellent gallery and craft display is a one-stop shop for arts, crafts and souvenirs from the local area and all over Belize. Fabulous displays of…

  • Telares de Nicaragua

    Matagalpa

    This fair-trade association sells brightly colored fiber arts from indigenous artisans in El Chile, corn-husk dolls, beaded jewelry, baskets and a…

  • Organic Market

    Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio & Around

    It's pricey and geared towards monied tourists, but the products are top quality. Stock up on local chocolate and all manner of local and imported organic…

  • eÑe

    San José

    This hip little design shop across from Casa Amarilla sells all manner of pieces crafted by Costa Rican designers and artists, including clothing, jewelry…

  • Cooperativa El Parche

    Granada

    Inside the Hostal Entre Amigos, this excellent gift shop sells crafts made by local artisans. What makes it special are the items made of recycled…

  • Friday Market

    Highlands

    Held behind Mana restaurant, this weekly farmers market is a great place to stock up on picnic items. Homemade hot sauces, aged goat cheese, baked goods…

  • Mercado Mayoreo

    Tegucigalpa

    Every Friday and Saturday, this cheap, colorful market sets up shop near the Estadio Nacional. There’s a dazzling array of produce and stalls, hawking…

  • Jade Maya

    Antigua

    Started by a pair of North American archaeologists who were researching ancient jade quarries in the Motagua valley, this shop features a jade workshop…

  • Centro de Arte Popular

    Antigua

    Inside the courtyard shopping arcade Casa Antigua El Jaulón, this shop/museum displays Tz'utujil oil paintings, cedar figurines, masks and other crafts…

  • Mercado de Artesanía

    Masaya & Los Pueblos Blancos

    While Masatepe's famous furniture market features beautiful hardwood and rattan furniture items that probably won't make it home in your backpack, the…

  • Mercado La Democracia

    Quetzaltenango

    For one of Xela's more intense everyday marketing experiences, hit the Mercado La Democracia, about 10 blocks north of Parque Centro América in Zona 3,…

  • Satis Factory

    San José

    Quirky new store in Barrio Aranjuez that stocks art, jewelry, furnishings and clothing, along with little plants and other odds and ends. Each item is…

  • Mercado de Artesanías

    Quiché

    The numerous vendor stalls here offer well-made rebozos (scarves), cintas (the pom-pommed braid woven into Ixil women's hair) and huipiles, which can cost…

  • Little Blue Gift Shop

    Caye Caulker

    This excellent gift shop near the dock sells handcrafted artisanal products made from local ingredients, including non-chemical bug spray made with…

  • Image Factory

    Belize City

    The shop at this hip art gallery has the country's best range of books, including international literature, and titles on Belizean and Caribbean society…

  • Mercado de Artesanías

    Lago de Atitlán

    This small but excellent market on the upper level of the town hall displays beautiful huipiles, beadwork, bags and other crafts produced by a cooperative…

  • 12 Belize

    Ambergris Caye

    If the cheesy offerings on the front street aren't really your style, head up the stairs to this small shop to find a selection of interesting, locally…

  • Grupo Ecológico Teixchel

    San Pedro La Laguna

    This is a Tz'utujil women's collective that sells fair-trade woven goods and offers weaving classes for Q30 per hour (not including materials). It's about…

  • El Palacio del Sombrero

    Panama City

    For a Panama hat with a twist, head to this shop with a small selection of traditional hats dwarfed by other bright, bold designs. Choose from a rainbow…

  • Fundación Emprendedores Por El Mundo

    Central El Salvador

    Run by a group of young Salvadoran creatives, this shop sells the products of more than 50 entrepreneurs from around the country. Items include hand…

  • Little Old Craft Shop

    Ambergris Caye

    Talented and friendly local artist Ricardo Zetina crafts beautiful jewelry and figurines, as well as wonderful wood carvings. If your purchase is too big…

  • Gallery of San Pedro, Ltd

    Ambergris Caye

    Maintains the largest collections of paintings by Belizean artists in the country, in addition to a wide variety of other quality arts and crafts…

  • Arte Añil

    El Salvador

    Local indigo artist Irma Guadrón runs a cozy shop that specializes in high-quality indigo-dyed pieces; each one is meticulously handcrafted, and she…

  • Mercado La Terminal

    Quetzaltenango

    The hectic, sprawling market immediately south of the main bus terminal is an endless labyrinth of stalls piled high with produce echoing with the cries…

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