Most of the local goods sold are Mayan weavings. The colors will liven up any room and the weavings are very intricate. Furthermore they are very inexpensive.
What to buy: You can shop for jade, artwork and other things Guatemalan but the locals make fine textile goods.
What to pay: Depends, anywhere from ten dollars and higher.
Jades, S.A. is one of the finest jade shops in Antigua, pulling a great number of fine pieces from the local areas. Guatemala is, of course, one of the largest jade-producing areas in the world. And this shop has excellent things to buy, in a range of prices. This shop was even featured in National Geographic once.
What to buy: Here you can find jade jewelry in all the colors (contrary to popular belief, jade is not just green, but can be any color of the rainbow), from rings to pendents and earrings. There are also small statuettes, and replicas of famous Mayan jade masks that have been found in excavations.
What to pay: The prices for real jade are rather steep, but you can find some smaller pieces in the $20-30. The jade masks can range from $100-2000, and the jewelry is anywhere in the middle.
Away from the craziness of the Mercado Municipal and with less overhead and a much lower rent (free?) than at the Mercado de Artesanias, local Mayans set up shop on the very wide street in front of the ruins of the Iglesia del Carmen. All the Mayan crafts you've seen elsewhere can be found here and at likely lower prices than in the shops of Antigua. Be sure to use your bargaining skills to get the best price!
What to buy: Mayan textiles, masks, etc.
What to pay: Depends on how well you bargain!
Shopping in Antigua is wonderful - there are many local handicrafts available and the goods are well made and cheap. There are several markets in the city where women gather during the day to lay out their wares.
What to buy: Hand or machine spun cloth, embroidered purses, pottery, and just about anything else you can imagine.
What to pay: Bargaining is essential if you want to get a good price. Aim to pay about 30-50% lower than what the asking price is, and you can figure you're getting a decent deal.
The largest, most-complete selection of Guatemalan arts, crafts, and souvenirs in all of Antigua can be found in the warehouse-like Nim Po't Centro de Textiles Tradicionales, which is located on 5ta Ave. Norte, next door to Frida's Mexican restaurant. One of the more amusing items we found there was the "retablo" shown in this photo, representing the acts of one "María Reyes" (which just happens to be the name of my mother-in-law). The message says, “thank you, Divine Face of Acapulco, because I killed my husband and they didn't do anything to me.”
This store is a one-stop shop for Guatamalan crafts at very reasonable prices. We found many gift items here for folks back home and even a couple of things for ourselves. Wood-carved masks and figures, ceramics, textiles, and metalwork are among the items for sale here. We saw a lot of items that we hadn't seen before as well. For ourselves we bought a small wood serving trey with a colorful textile under glass as the base, an oldish-looking ceramic pot, and a carving of Saint Francis, the patron saint of animals. I wasn’t sure if bargaining was OK here since it’s a store rather than a vendor stall so I didn’t bother and paid the listed prices. The fact that they were already reasonable made me feel like bargaining wasn’t really necessary here. Located across the street from the Iglesia de San Francisco.
What to buy: All variety of Guatemalan-made arts and crafts
What to pay: Varies but we found it to be very reasonable
The Mayan weavers of Guatemala are world famous for their distinctive wares. It was fascinating to see women using a lap loom, one end tied to a tree and the other, around their waist. The articles woven are sold very reasonably. You are expected to bargain, but please, not too hard.
Built next door to the main marketplace is this building which houses vendors of the varieties of Guatemalan-produced arts and crafts. You'll find all of the familiar Mayan handicrafts. The hand-woven textiles (blouses, pillow cases, place mats, napkins, etc.) are a highlight as are ceramics, jade, hammocks, etc. Be sure to take your time and check out all of the stalls as many have similar items and prices can vary. Then be sure to bargain hard for what catches your fancy. Prices may be better at the Mayan craft market outside the ruins of Iglesia El Carmen but there is a much larger variety of items here.
What to buy: Guatamalan arts and crafts
What to pay: Depends on how well you bargain!
MNG sweaters, ponchos, beautiful and original tops, skirts, pants for very reasonable prices. The owner is very inclined to give "discounts" as well so a certain degree of bargaining is fine here.
What to buy: A knit sweater or pashmina made with llama fur.
What to pay: Q100-200. There are bins with items as low as Q50.
This is THE antiques store in Antigua. If you're looking for vintage textiles then this is the Mother Lode! Casa Artes purchases all types of Mayan clothing directly from families who use them. If nothing else it's worth it to go in and get a history lesson on the variations in the design of the traditional women's blouse, the huipil. The staff are very knowledgeable and helpful. Prices are not low mind you. I did buy a woven men's shoulder bag from Nahuala ($60) which was significant since we had visited there earlier in our trip. But the inventory here is more than impressive. Besides the textiles they also have quite a variety of ceramics (bowls, pots, plates), some hundreds of years old, wooden and ceramic masks, and other indigenous artwork.
Seriously this is better than most of the musuems in town!
What to buy: Vintage Guatemalan textiles, ceramics, masks, artwork
What to pay: Big dough
For more reasonable priced local crafts and gifts, visit the Market about 5 blocks west of Parque Central on 4 Calle Poniente. The market has 2 sections --- a local market on the North side and a tourist market south of that. The market to the north have many of the same items as with the tourist market at cheaper prices. The tourist market has a better selection of items for sale.
Antigua Guatemala is probably the most expensive place in the country to purchase Guatemalan arts and crafts, but it also might very well be the place with the greatest selection of gifts and souvenirs. If you'll be in the country for a while and will have time to do some comparison shopping elsewhere (in Panajachel, or at the Mercado de Artesanías in Guatemala City), you could probably save yourself a bundle of quetzales by not buying everything that strikes your fancy on your first trip through Antigua's many gift shops. That said, a few of Antigua's stores merit a visit even if you aren't looking for gifts or souvenirs.
La Casa del Tejido Antiguo (The House of Old Weaving) is store and museum all rolled into one. For a small fee you can visit the museum section, where there are maybe a half-dozen exhibits of mannequins all dressed in the traditional outfits of certain villages. That doesn’t seem particularly necessary, however, since the store’s selection of hand-woven goods, including indigenous dress, is ample.
Nim Po’t has all sorts of handicrafts. The shop is large, and crowded with merchandise. They seemed to have some of everything, and I thought the prices were pretty good.
I really liked some of their masks and large carvings (too big to bring home.)
What to buy: I just bought Christmas ornaments and ocarinas, but they had a lot of interesting stuff.
I put this in the shopping category because besides the large array of baked goods and sweets on offer here, they also have ceramics in the traditional Antiguan design. I purchased a small ceramic chicken as a present for my mother and resisted the temptation to purchase cookies as we still had a stash of champurradas from Panadaria San Antonio. But I'm guessing the goods here are pretty tasty. At least they looked really tasty!
What to buy: Baked goods, sweets, ceramics
What to pay: Varies