Exploring the Markets in Latin America
Whether I head to a large city such as Budapest, Vienna or London, or to a smaller, hidden location, such as the medieval town of Sighisoara, I always ask around to find where the local market is located. Why? Because shopping at markets is one of the things I love to do while traveling, helping me to get the vibe of the local community.
If you are used to the markets in Europe or in farmers markets in North America, you’ll probably have a bit of a shock reaction when you visit the markets in Latin America . For the outsider it looks like a chaos, but you should know things are actually organized. Knowing at least some phrases in the local language will definitely help a lot. And in many places you can even bargain (depending on the local customs).
Probably the first thing that will catch your eyes in Guatemala are the exotic Latin American fruits : dragon fruit, guava, tamarillo, physalis (Cape Gooseberry), passionfruit, Cherimoyas or the Indian fig; all are available in the area and some are native to Guatemala. And yes, if you tried them at home (bought from a supermarket) they will taste totally different when you buy them from a local market.
But aside from soaking up the local atmosphere, you can also shop at the markets to cut down the costs of your vacation. Hostels in Guatemala offer affordable accommodation and most also have a common kitchen you can use. So, buy the food at the market and cook at the hostel.
And don’t forget to pick up some souvenirs for your family and friends back home. I tend to favor clothes.