Must-see shopping in Central America

  • Sophos

    Guatemala City

    A relaxed place to read while in the Zona Viva, with a good selection of books in English on Guatemala and the Maya, including Lonely Planet guides, and…

  • Ut'z Bat'z

    Chichicastenango

    This fair-trade shop by the plaza's southwest corner displays the work of a local women's cooperative comprising 30 weavers, including scarves, shawls,…

  • Doña Elba Cigars

    Granada

    If you aren’t heading to Estelí this trip, stop here for a cognac-cured taste of Nicaragua and a peek at the cigar-manufacturing process. You can even…

  • Belizean Breezes Soap Co

    Ambergris Caye

    New place that sells a variety of unique, natural products, from cupcake soaps to whipped shower butters. There are two locations, one on Barrier Reef Dr…

  • Souvenirs El Buen Amigo

    La Ceiba

    This small family-run place sells Honduran artesanías (handicrafts), including Lencan pottery, wood carvings and hammocks. It's a good spot to pick up…

  • Fabrica de Chocolate Momotombo

    Managua

    These artisanal bean-to-bar chocolate makers create sweet concoctions using Nicaragua's finest cacao. Chocolate beverages, hand-crafted chocolates and…

  • Mercado de Artesanías

    Western Highlands

    The upper level of the main market building is devoted to the town's renowned handicrafts. You'll find quality textiles, carved wood objects, ceramics and…

  • Central Market

    Quetzaltenango

    Xela's central market is three floors of reasonably priced handicrafts, as well as everyday items and fresh produce. Souvenir hunters will need to bargain…

  • Market

    Quiché

    Nebaj's market sprawls northeast of the church, particularly on market days, Thursday and Sunday, when all the streets around it are draped in a canvas…

  • Mercado de Artesanías

    Guatemala City

    This sleepy official market near the museums and zoo sells fabrics, clothes and other standard souvenirs without the crowds of the other markets.

  • Distrito Carmen

    San José

    Cool design store where you can pick up interesting art, clothing, jewelry and other odds and ends created by a couple of dozen local artists.

  • Lucho Libro Books

    Granada

    Swing in to this friendly store with a good selection of English-language books and maps, including numerous Lonely Planet guidebooks!

  • Librería Hispamer

    Managua

    This bookstore on the premises of UNAN campus has a good selection of Nicaraguan and Latin American literature, history and poetry.

  • Lido Isle

    Bocas del Toro Town

    This upbeat boutique sells women's clothing designed by the Californian owner as well as original jewelry, bags and wallets.

  • Frontera Books

    Managua

    This bookstore has the best bilingual selection of books by local and international authors, as well as maps and magazines.

  • Telar Manual Textil La Fé

    León

    Well worth seeking out for the gorgeous handmade weavings, made by a local family co-op. Find them on Facebook.

  • El Reino del Jade

    Antigua

    This shop near the Santa Catalina arch specializes in designer jewelry featuring jade and other gems.

  • Kamañ

    León

    Handmade clothes from around Latin America, as well as crafts, toys and artsy postcards.

  • Diconte-Axul

    Western El Salvador

    This store is popular for its homemade textiles, tie-dyes and hand-painted objects.

  • Niní Fashion Style

    Managua

    Women's high-end fashion by Nicaraguan designer and fashion blogger Norma López.

  • Mercado Central

    Western Honduras

    The central market, behind the church, sells everything from carrots to clothing.

  • Market

    Western El Salvador

    Ataco's sprawling market makes for a fascinating stroll.

  • Oakland Mall

    Guatemala City

    One of Guatemala City's fancier shopping malls.

  • Jincho

    Managua

    Modern, urban Nica design for men and women.

  • Victor's Panama Hats

    Panama City

    Although Ecuadorian in origin, Panama hats were firmly adopted by Panamanians after President Roosevelt was photographed wearing one at the construction…

  • Albrook Mall

    Panama City

    Next to the bus terminal, this mall has a cinema, a supermarket and dozens of stores, including American and European chains. If you need it, there's also…

  • Zona Libre

    Colón

    Second in size only to Hong Kong’s, Colón’s free-trade zone is a huge fortresslike area of giant international stores selling items duty free. Most stores…

  • Heladería Monteverde

    Monteverde & Santa Elena

    Formerly the Monteverde Cheese Factory, this business was started in 1953 by Monteverde’s original Quaker settlers. It produced everything from a creamy…

  • Orange Gallery

    Cayo District

    On the highway, east of Georgeville, Orange Gallery is a quality gift shop and gallery showcasing a wide selection of Belizean souvenirs and handicrafts,…

  • Austin Rodriguez

    Dangriga

    This master artisan carves Garifuna drums from mahogany, cedar and mayflower wood in his outdoor workshop by the water's edge (southeast of Dangriga…

  • Casem

    Monteverde & Santa Elena

    Begun in 1982 as a women’s cooperative representing eight female artists, today Casem has expanded to reportedly include almost 150 local artisans (some…

  • Ixchel Women's Group

    Southern Belize

    Operating from a hut in Indian Creek village, the Ixchel Women's Group is run by a small cooperative of Kekchí Maya women who produce traditional…

  • Fábrica de Carretas Eloy Alfaro

    Central Valley & Highlands

    Just west of the town center, 100m north of the Palí supermarket, this workshop produced the massive oxcart in Sarchí's main plaza. It's the place to pick…

  • Cerámica Negra Tradicional

    Matagalpa

    Mrs Rosa Ernestina Rodriguez has been crafting traditional indigenous black pottery sculptures for over 30 years and is a well-known local artist and…

  • Cata/Solo Bueno

    Playas del Coco

    So, how are you going to transport delicious chocolate, roasted and refined on-site from cacao grown on an experimental finca in the Costa Rican mountains…

  • Taller Jaén-Reyes

    Península de Azuero

    For a chance to see how polleras are made, particularly the lace trim, visit this workshop just off the main road run by husband and wife William Reyes…

  • Colon 2000

    Colón

    This sterile shopping and entertainment sector geared toward cruise-ship travelers sits on the east side of Colón. Though lacking in any discernible…

  • Mercado Municipal Ernesto Fernández

    Masaya & Los Pueblos Blancos

    This is the 'regular' marketplace – ie not the Mercado de Artesanías, which brings many travelers to town – though the mercado municipal also has a small…

  • Weil Art Casco

    Panama City

    Attached to the Iglesia San José, this gallery showcases Rolo de Sedas' manga-cute pop art of Panamanian women in rainbow bursts. Women in Congo dress and…

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