A small bookshop in the entrance of this well-known Antigua establishment stocks a good number of titles, and a gamut of seating arrangements provide the ideal spot to curl up with your new read or discuss it with new friends. To keep you fueled, the menu offers a variety of cuisines (including plenty of vegetarian food), such hummus and falafel, traditional breakfasts, and plentiful drink selections. Happy hour runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. every evening, with live music most nights and lectures about local history and environmental initiatives every Tuesday.
The biggest supermarket in town stretches for a full block - you can enter just east of the Mercado de Antigua, across the Alameda Santa Lucia, through the doorways on either the 4a or the 5a Calles. Space is tight, but choices are plentiful, with all kinds of packaged foods, dairy products, baked goods, alcohols, cell phones, and cosmetic products offered on just the ground floor. For produce, however, most Antigueños prefer to cross the street to seek out fresher options at the open air market.
Tienda Delicio, S.A., true to the word play in its name, offers a laundry list of delicious gourmet goods. Prepared sandwiches await suggestively near a case of beers, wines, and liquors, or the cheeses and dips make great accompaniments to their homemade baked goods. Pastas, meats, fish, and spices are welcome sights for those with access to a kitchen, and the deli even offers delivery... although, only two blocks from center, the location is conveniently accessible from most of Antigua.
Amongst the beautiful gardens of Antigua, Escalonia offers a particularly enchanting seating area. Tables are sheltered by umbrellas lit with strings of white lights in the evenings, or sit under a vine-filled arbor with flowers dangling overhead like living ornaments. The restaurant serves a menu focused on lovely desserts, coffee drinks, and breakfasts. The establishment is also a plant nursery, and customers can carry home a variety of floral, artisanal, and culinary souvenirs, as well as their memories of the time spent in this lush garden.
Passers-by peering through the open doorway of El Telar get a tantalizing glimpse of gorgeous tasseled hammocks, one example of the textile creations sold here. The artistry and quality of these products is impressive; each design is testament to months of work by hand. The emphasis of the merchandise is on home accessories, such as carpets, cushions, table cloths, and pillows.
Slip past sparkling jewelry displays in the front of this group of stores to access a dense selection of well-chosen books; world-traveling guidebooks are joined by literary treats like Isabel Allende novels and Harry Potter translated into Spanish. The shop also sells textbooks, magazines, calendars, and will gladly place special orders for other requests.
Conveniently located across the street from the Parque Central, El Mercadito (the little market) is an excellent source for high quality folk art. Shoppers can expect to find wood carving, waxworks, glass work, and ceramic pieces along with softer artesania such as clothing and textiles, or sparklier artesania such as jewelry. The entrance hall is lined with brilliantly colored examples of traditional embroidery, visually luring passerby into the pleasantly colorful store.
Vending folk artwork from the highlands of Guatemala, Casa de Gigantes grabs customers' attention immediately with two huge carved wooden statues of a man and a woman standing midway through the store. They are traditional artifacts from the Baile de los Gigantes of the Fiesta de Corpus Christi, celebrated 60 days after Easter each year. Founded in 1963, Casa de los Gigantes is proud to offer both traditional and original designs of furniture and home accessories in pine wood, as well as providing a retail venue for women from around Guatemala who work in other materials. Textiles, pottery, beading, and carved stone crafts are available in the store.
Just under the beauty of the Iglesia El Carmen, a bustling market of artisanal folk crafts winds between a couple entrances… you might have to ask for directions when you want to leave! An enormous selection of everything from weavings to woodworking, flutes to footwear, bracelets to backpacks, and purses to postcards awaits for the express purpose of being sold to you. Many of the crafters are there in person, selling their work, and are excellent resources for finding out about the history and process of creating your souvenir.
A small restaurant, café, and shop for gourmet and imported foods, Culinaria melds European and Guatemalan influences in creating satisfying dishes and tempting desserts. Focaccia, fusilli pasta, and a traditional Guatemalan soup called chapina are among the favorites choices on the menu—although children tend to prefer a simple quesadilla. The sweet treats behind glass cases, such as tartaletta de limón and tourist-recommended brownies, are a great way to finish the meal. In the shop, pick up specialty meats, bottles of wine, and imported cookies and cheeses to take home.
This small, clean shop is staffed by experienced tattoo and piercing artists who make an indelible mark on many travelers' experiences of Guatemala. Relative to U.S. prices, tattoos are extremely affordable for their quality here - and the fact that the establishment has been in business since 1998 testifies to that quality. The shop in front carries some truly unique items, such as hand-carved jade plugs for gauged piercings, made by a local artist for the shop.
Abutting the Parque Central and set on the corner of the Catedral de Santiago itself, the Casa de la Cultura holds a wealth of cultural artifacts such as textiles and massive exemplifications of wooden marimbas, a traditional instrument of Guatemala. Tourist assistance is also offered inside, so give them a visit!