Shopping At Guatemala’s Mercado Central

Queso fresco, queso de capas, queso de Jalapa, queso de Petén, queso de Taxisco: it’s all here, deep down in the lower levels of the Mercado Central in Zone One of Guatemala City.

Years ago, the market took place in the grand plaza two blocks to the west but as time went on and it grew in size, the city decided to create a permanent facility. Now located behind the Palace of the Archbishop, a block southeast of the National Palace, the market is the sprawling three-story indoor covered market for crafts, foods and assorted oddities that defy description.

There’s a parking lot on the west side but the entrance is tricky, i.e, narrow … down the steps takes you to the level with the fountain and then down those stairs … it’s arts, crafts, fabrics, textiles and key-chains.

Below that, the food section … and a riot of color and textures: bags of spices, mounds of fresh fruit, vegetables, freshly cut to order beef and chicken and the cheese section. There are a few food stands, with stew of some sort slowly simmering.

It can get a bit crowded and dark in some of the corners and the children of the vendors like to play ‘hide and seek’… sort of like looking for the flower section, if you can find it.

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