If you’ve got a hankering for some souvenirs and/or some fresh local produce, or you just feel like people watching in a cool, cultural atmosphere, spend an afternoon exploring Antigua’s daily market. It’s impossible to miss: simply start at the northern end of Parque Central and head three blocks west. Though it’s grown significantly in size over the decades, this indoor/outdoor market is still one of your best options for discovering a slice of authentic Guatemalan living in an otherwise touristy city.
And just what does this “authenticity” entail? Probably everything you’d expect. There are meat and produce stalls, new and second-hand clothing vendors, a variety of restaurants and countless artisan shops selling everything from colorful shoulder bags to hand carved masks. Since this is still where a bulk of the local populace buys its necessities, you can also find basic travelling goods like shampoo and the always-handy bug spray. Things get pretty crowded, especially on Saturdays, so don’t be too worried if you lose your bearings. Just be smart, watch your valuables (pickpockets tend to be on the lookout for unsuspecting tourists) and don't be afraid to immerse yourself in this singularly vibrant Guatemalan experience.