- Nim Po't (Antigua, Guatemala): A massive indoor space with a soaring ceiling houses this local craft-and-textile cooperative warehouse. Textiles, woodcarvings, and ceramic wares from across the country are available here. The quality varies greatly, but if you know what to look for, you can find some fine works without having to venture into the farther reaches of rural Guatemala.
- Chichicastenango's Market (Chichicastenango, Guatemala): Guatemala's Maya people are world-famous for their incredible arts and crafts, which they sell predominantly at local and regional open-air markets. There's a reason Chichi's twice-weekly open-air market is so famous. The abundance and variety of wares for sale and the semicontrolled frenzy of the entire operation are not to be missed. You may find better bargains and products around the country, but you'll never see so much in one place at one time.
- Diconte artisans shop (Ataco, El Salvador): This five-room shop in the town of Ataco along the Rutas de Las Flores offers unique whimsical paintings, woodcarvings, and crafts in the surrealistic style of Ataco's two main artists, as well as a room full of colorful textiles made on-site by artisans working five old-style looms. You can also watch the artisans work from the shade of a small garden-side coffee and dessert cafe here.
- Mercado Central (San Salvador, El Salvador): Mercado Central near San Salvador's central plaza is the antimercado. It's a sprawling, seemingly chaotic warren of shouting vendors, blaring horns, and old women in traditional clothes chopping vegetables in the street. Its biggest attraction is that it's not an attraction. Instead, it's the place to visit if you want to see a slice of unfiltered El Salvadorian life.
- Guamilito Market (San Pedro Sula, Honduras): Products from around the country, as well as El Salvador and Guatemala, fill up literally hundreds of small stalls at this market. You'll find everything from hammocks, T-shirts, and Lenca pottery to cigars, Maya figurines, jewelry, coffee, Garífuna coconut carvings, and tortilla stands.
- Mercado Viejo (Massaya, Nicaragua): The Gothic, palm-lined walls of Masaya's block-size Old Market offer an endless array of tempting souvenirs such as intricate pottery, handsome woodcarvings, sturdy leather ware, and beautiful hand-woven hammocks. They are all made in the surrounding city and hilltop villages known as Pueblos Blancos.
- Galería Namu (San José, Costa Rica): This is my favorite gallery and gift shop in downtown San Jose, with an excellent collection of art and craft selections. These folks specialize in finding some of the better and more obscure works done by Costa Rica's indigenous communities.
- Mercado de Mariscos (Calidonia, Panama City): This bustling market is the distribution headquarters for fresh seafood from the Pacific and the Caribbean. Even if you're not here to buy any fish, this is a fascinating place to see the everyday hustle and bustle of a typical Panamanian market and check out the often weird and mysterious seafood selection. You can get some of the best seviche in the city from vendors located at the entrance to the market. The Mercado de Mariscos Restaurant on the second level serves tasty and authentic seafood dishes.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.