After living in Guatemala for over two years I learned that over 50% of its economy depends on street vendors who sell anything like: cheap toys, handcrafts, paintings, food and even furniture.
As a traveler I also learned that if you want to be get the biggest bang for your buck street vendors are your best option. They offer merchandise for a lower price than any other souvenir shop, local store and even restaurant. That’s because street vendors don’t have the money to pay rent, and services such as water & electricity.
I would highly recommend buying as much as you need from them because you will be helping a poor family to survive.
When it comes to street vendors that offer food I have two opposite opinions about it. I’ll tell you about both of them and you can choose the best option for you:
- On one hand, with these kinds of businesses you will find a huge variety of the most delicious traditional dishes of the country (jocon, pepian, piloyada, traditional candies, hilachas, mole, etc…). By eating at one of these street stands you will be able to taste the true flavors of the country.
- However, on the other hand, these food stands aren’t always the most hygienic.
These street vendors are really common all over the country year round. But come out in hordes during local festivities and especially Semana Santa.
At the end of the day street vendors are part of Guatemala’s beauty and definitely worth trying – at least once!
Marina K. Villatoro is an expat living with her family and traveling in Central America.