Best Places to Food Shop and Local Market Tips in Guatemala
Food shopping, is a huge question for everybody. Interestingly enough, food and shopping in Guatemala are not that cheap. Here you can find a lot of chain stores, and supermarkets like in most countries, but Guatemala is home to some of the biggest and most diverse local markets. Today we’re going to be talking about shopping, food, and necessities in Guatemala
Super Markets in Guatemala
We have Walmart, we have Pricesmart, and we have more local types of supermarkets. Some of the bigger ones are Pais, which is a cheaper or smaller version of Walmart. The same owners, la Despensa, which is definitely more like the necessities. It’s much cheaper than some stores, but they are very limited, and La Torre is a huge chain, and it’s definitely got a lot of really good stuff, and they have a lot of great deals.
The supermarkets in Guatemala, they’re not that much cheaper. They’re not that much cheaper than what you’re used to. Like when I go to the States, the States are definitely excessively expensive. But I have to say that a lot of the time the prices are comparable to the States, which is not a great thing. You think you’re living in Guatemala. How do people afford this with the local salaries?
PricesMart, which is similar to Costco, it’s similar to BJ’s. And like these big food places, you do have to pay a membership. So the main reason why a lot of people go to these types of stores is that you can buy in bulk, some things you just need to buy in bulk. But today, I have to be honest with you, Walmart offers pretty much all that very similar.
There’s very little difference in price between Pricesmart and what Walmart has to offer, and I have to say, at this point, we don’t even really go to PricesMart. We used to go to PricesMart a lot, but Walmart is starting to get a lot and you don’t need the membership. And their prices are very comparable. Walmart in Guatemala is not like Walmart in the States. It was not as cheap.
We just came back from Spain, and I have to say, the prices in Spain for the supermarkets were much better than Guatemala. But that’s how it is. So you just deal with it, you adjust to it,
Local Markets in Guatemala
But if you really want to go local and pay like the local prices, the central markets are the best deals by far. So what do the central markets offer? Everywhere you’re going to be living will have a central market. We live in Antigua, we have our central market. Also, Guatemala is home to one of the biggest central markets in Central America, it’s called Chichicastenango.
Guatemala City, obviously, because it’s so big, has those different zones and even little neighbors, and they all have central markets. If you live in Lake Atitlan, again, little villages, they all have these little central markets or outdoor markets and fruit and veggie markets everywhere. Once you decide where you’re going to live, you will find your local market. But they are the best. Several reasons.
Benefits of Local Markets
Those two factors are a big deal. Because you’re definitely going to be going to the supermarket. I mean, that’s inevitable because first, it’s easier. You’re going to be finding a lot of things that you can’t find at the local market. Although you’ll be surprised, the local markets do have quite a lot of great things.
- First of all, you will get the local prices
- Secondly, you’re actually directly contributing to the local people.
How Local Markets Work in Guatemala
The local markets, the way they work, is they have market days.
I’m going to be talking mainly with Antigua one because I know these are the days here. However, once you find your local market, just ask, when are the market days? So the markets are open every day, but then on market days in Antigua they are Monday, Thursday and Saturday. All that means is that they are when all the food from all over the country, not only food, but different vendors come.
Best Day to Go to Local Markets
So you have a humongous array of whatever you want to choose, and it’s usually a little bit cheaper, but it’s total chaos, so be prepared. A lot of people love that chaos. I prefer to go on Sundays because everything I need is fruits, veggies, whatever is there. And it’s not market day, and there are pretty much no people. And I think that the prices are similar, but there are a lot fewer options.
What Can You Find On a Local Market?
But for me, it’s enough. So, again, you need to decide that once you find your local market. So this is where you will find pretty much everything you need as far as fresh fruit, fresh veggies, spices, and whatnot. Plus on top of that, you have your local market, and they do have a lot of clothes, all this other stuff that you could find, and they’re usually open all the time.
You cannot use your credit card, though it is always local currency. And that is some people like to use credit cards, and that would be when you go to the supermarkets and other places. So this is the way it works for Guatemala, and this is where the local’s shop, because the locals, I honestly cannot imagine them really affording the supermarket prices, right, except for like a La Dispense that I mentioned. So for food shopping, I would really recommend going to your local market first and then whatever else you need, you will go to the supermarket.
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