In many respects, Guatemala City is a great place for shopping, particularly if you're interested in Guatemalan arts and crafts. While it's much more fun and culturally interesting to visit one of the traditional markets, like that in Chichicastenango or Santiago Atitlán, you can find just about anything made and sold throughout Guatemala on sale in the city. Moreover, you can find these arts and crafts in large, expansive markets, as well as in small, boutique shops. Note: It is illegal to export any pre-Columbian artifacts out of Guatemala.
The Shopping Scene
There are two main markets in Guatemala City, the Mercado Central, or Central Market, in Zona 1, and Mercado de Artesanías (Artisans' Market), in Zona 13. Both are massive and stocked with a wide range of arts, crafts, textiles, and souvenirs available throughout the country. Aside from these, the greatest concentration of shops can be found in the Zona Viva. These shops tend to be higher-end, and you'll often pay a premium price for the same goods available at the markets. However, the markets are often flooded with low-quality items, which are often weeded out from the offerings at the higher-end shops.
In addition to the Mercado Central, Guatemalans love to shop for bargains along 6a Avenida in Zona 1. This busy city street is crammed with makeshift stands and kiosks selling everything from bootleg CDs and DVDs to housewares and clothing. However, be careful; this is a busy and crowded area, and pickpockets feast on tourists.
Middle- and upper-class Guatemalans tend to shop in modern malls. Some of the malls in Guatemala City include Centro Comercial Miraflores, Calzada Roosevelt, Zona 11; Centro Comercial Tikal Futura, Calzada Roosevelt, Zona 11; and Gran Cento Comercial Los Próceres, 16a Calle, Zona 10, all of which could rival those in other parts of the world.
Liquor -- The Guatemalan Zacapa rum is one of the finest rums in the world. The 23-year-old Zacapa Centenario dark rum is as rich and smooth as a fine cognac. This rum has won widespread acclaim in international tasting competitions, and the company claims that part of their success and secret lies in the fact that the rum is initially distilled at sea level, near where the sugar cane is grown, and brought to a separate facility high in the Guatemalan mountains to age. Zacapa rums also come in 15- and 25-year aged varieties. For decades, the Centenario came in a bottle entirely covered in a woven reed. Today, these bottles are increasingly rare, and while the newer packaging features only a thin band of the weaving, the rum is just as good. You can get Zacapa rum at liquor stores and supermarkets across the city (and country). However, you'll find the best prices, oddly, at the airport. It's convenient to know you can save that last bit of shopping until the last minute.
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.