Tianguis

The Labyrinthine Markets of Mexico and Central America

There is nothing quite like visiting the weekly markets of Mexico and Central America. Although supermarkets and department stores do exist, the average indigenous Mexican or Guatemalan would prefer dealing with vendors at a market. The experience, for one thing, is personal. One can bargain and—if one does not have the wherewithal—get something that’s not quite so good, but will do in a pinch.

The above photo was taken at the market by the second class bus station of Antigua. Below is a scene from the Thursday market at Chichicastenango, where the women shown prepared a great breakfast of beans, eggs, fried plantains, and atole (a hot corn beverage) for just a few quetzales.

These Women Prepared a Great Breakfast for Me in Chichicastenango

Many of these markets are great places to have a meal. I remember having venado (venison) with rice and fresh corn tortillas at the main market in Mérida, Yucatán years ago. The food is usually good and inexpensive, probably your best best for cheap food anywhere in Latin America. Of course, not all markets are good; but I have fond memories of many simple, tasty meals. There is never any pretense: It is quite simply the food of he people.

At Chichicastenango, I also bought a beautiful straw hat for the latter part of my trip in the jungle. I expected heat and sun, but I found that I had created something of a bugbear about visiting the jungle. Although I didn’t need the hat, it sits right next to my computer as I write this. I always admire the multicolor woven hatband that came with it.