Local Businesses


In most cities of any size you will find a supermarket, a chain drug store and so forth. In a “colonia” (basically a suburb) you will likely need to walk a long way or drive to any store. However, in a barrio — a neighborhood — you will find lots of small businesses. Here are some examples.

A typical tienda

This one is pretty typical. It is a small store that sells everything you are likely to want to buy most days. From phone “saldo” to headache medicine, to bread and eggs and junk food and … This cone also sell Transurbano recharges.

Don’t expect something fancy and expect the owner to know you after a few visits. As far as prices, they generally are fairly decent because of their low overhead.

Typically the size of a garage (because they usually are the garage of a house) a used clothing story is another “local business” you will find in most barrios. Some of the stuff will be local exchanges, some will be the stuff that the “pacas” (real used junk stores) didn’t sell, they are local and usually cheap. Don’t be afraid to negotiate.

I a typical neighborhood you will likely encounter someone who sells tortillas. Not ones they bought but ones they make. Expect to get four for a Quetzal. And, well, at that price don’t expect to see a fancy neon sign.

One warning: while you can’t grow GMO corn in Guatemala, the current price of GMO corn from Mexico tends to be cheaper than Guatemalan corn. So, ask. Note that if the people working there are indigenous, it is less likely to be GMO corn.

This ia a typical tienda plus it has helados. (Yeah, that should mean ice cream but it is really frozen ground up fruit — my favorite being coconut.) Chocobanas are, as you might expect, a frozen banana dipped in chocolate.

Q3 is a typical price. This particular place in not far from where I live and a step up from the Q5 to Q10 ice creams from the freezer in most tiendas.

Don’t be surprised by “multi-use” tiendas. For example, this one cuts hair and sells chocobananas. While I have never been in this one it would not be a surprise of “mom” does the haircuts and a teen or pre-teen daughter splits her time between selling chocobananas and taking care of her younger siblings.

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