One of the best things about living in Antigua Guatemala is the exciting number of dining options are available. Due to the huge influx of tourists, you can find good, quality restaurants representing almost any type of cuisine. Do you want French food? Plenty of options. Thai? Japanese? Mediterranean? Italian? All covered. Getting your fix of the food you enjoyed back home is pretty easy.

Unfortunately, dining out all the time is not a budget-friendly option. An easy way to control your budget (and eat healthier to boot!) is to take advantage of Antigua’s local farmer’s market. For fresh fruits and veggies at great prices, El Mercado (The Market) in Antigua Guatemala is hard to beat. Here’s a typical haul I brought from the market:

Antigua Guatemala Market

My weekly shopping haul

How much did this spread set me back? Exactly Q165.50 – about $22.00USD

Here’s the cost breakdown:

FRUITS

Strawberries (2Lbs):     Q8.00

Pineapple:     Q10.00

Melon:     Q10.00

Blackberries (1Lb):     Q3.50

Young Coconuts (4 @ Q5 each):     Q20.00

VEGGIES

Tomatoes (2Lbs):    Q6.00

White Onions (1Lb):     Q3.00

Broccoli head (2Q each):     Q4.00

Carrot (2 @ 1Q each):     Q2.00

Lettuce head:     Q3.00

Radish (bush):     Q2.00

Eggplant (1):     Q3.00

Local Avocados (2):     Q5.00

Cilantro bunch:     Q1.00

Green Bananas (6):     Q4.00

Sweet Corn (4-Pack):     Q6.00

Sweet Plantain (6):     Q10.00

Yucca:     Q4.00

MEATS

Smoked Pork Chops (1Lb):     Q25.00

Fresh Chicken – Cut Up (4Lbs):     Q36.00

El Mercado itself is a pleasure to shop in. It is kept very clean and police continuously patrol the market on the lookout for miscreants. While I always exercise caution and try to be aware of my surroundings, I can say it is not rare to see tourists walking around with fancy camera equipment happily snapping pics.

The easiest way to adapt to the culture, minimize homesickness and protect your budget is to eat like the locals do. One can eat very well here by sticking to a healthy diet of in-season fruits and veggies.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting one to read. I’ve always heard that Central American countries are cheap, but I had no idea by how much.

    Thanks for putting it together.

  2. Rich,

    Thanks for this “precise” post. Very helpful and revealing. I don’t regularly do the shopping in our house but I can say that at a minimum here in Canada – things are 4 times more expensive (and getting more expensive all the time – fresh stuff).

    One memory I do have was once spending $11 for an orange in Korea (I’m a terrible shopper – glad my wife does it now). Found the pic/evidence – http://bit.ly/15zwhz0

    I’m planning on moving to Antigua by Oct. and one of the first things I’m going to do is get a bigger food processor that will take everything: seeds, skin etc… and make a drink of it. I think it will be very handy there where you can get fresh food cheaply and relatively easily (the market not being too inaccessible).

    David

    • $11 for an orange? Yikes! Not unless I was dying of scurvy :)

      Bring your own food processor. Kinda hard to find and expensive here ;)

      -Rich

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