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Best Markets in Benque Viejo del Carmen

What are the best markets in Benque Viejo del Carmen? In this article we highlight the best markets in Benque Viejo del Carmen.
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Benque Viejo del Carmen, a charming town nestled near the western border of Belize, is a haven for expats and digital nomads seeking a tranquil lifestyle immersed in rich cultural heritage. While it may not boast the large-scale markets found in major cities, Benque Viejo del Carmen offers a variety of local markets that provide a glimpse into the everyday life and commerce of this vibrant community. From fresh produce to handcrafted goods, these markets are a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the local flavor and craftsmanship. Here are some of the best markets to explore in Benque Viejo del Carmen.

Benque Viejo Market

Location: Downtown Benque Viejo del Carmen
Type of Market: Local Market
Open: Daily, 6 AM – 6 PM

The Benque Viejo Market is the heart of the town’s commerce, bustling with activity as locals and visitors alike browse through a variety of stalls. Here, you can find everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to household items. The market is a great place to immerse yourself in the local culture and practice your Spanish or Kriol with friendly vendors.

We Recommend: Trying the local fruits, such as soursop or custard apple, which are not only delicious but also offer a taste of the region’s diverse agricultural offerings.

Handicraft Street Vendors

Location: Scattered around the town’s central area
Type of Market: Street Artisans
Open: Varies, usually daytime hours

While not a formal market, the street vendors in Benque Viejo del Carmen offer a unique shopping experience. Talented artisans display their crafts along the streets, particularly near tourist spots and parks. These vendors sell a range of items from hand-carved wooden artifacts to colorful textiles, providing a perfect opportunity to find a one-of-a-kind souvenir or gift.

We Recommend: The beautifully woven hammocks and tapestries that showcase the skill of local weavers and make for a practical and decorative reminder of your time in Belize.

Benque House of Culture Gift Shop

Location: 5 Church Street, Benque Viejo del Carmen
Type of Market: Cultural Gift Shop
Open: Monday to Friday, 8 AM – 5 PM

Located within the Benque House of Culture, this gift shop is a treasure trove of cultural artifacts and crafts. It’s an excellent place for expats and digital nomads to learn about the local heritage and support the community by purchasing authentic Belizean goods.

We Recommend: The locally made pottery and ceramics, which are not only functional but also carry the essence of Mayan and Belizean artistic traditions.

San Ignacio Market

Location: A short drive from Benque Viejo del Carmen in the neighboring town of San Ignacio
Type of Market: Farmers and Artisans Market
Open: Saturdays, all day

While technically not in Benque Viejo del Carmen, the San Ignacio Market is a regional highlight and well worth the short trip. It’s one of the largest markets in the area, offering an extensive selection of fresh produce, local cuisine, and artisanal goods. The vibrant atmosphere and diverse offerings make it a favorite among locals and expats.

We Recommend: Sampling the traditional Belizean breakfast dishes, such as fry jacks or johnnycakes, which are a delightful way to start your market day.

Maya Craft Market

Location: Close to the Xunantunich Mayan Ruins
Type of Market: Craft Market
Open: Daily, usually during daylight hours

For those interested in Mayan culture, the Maya Craft Market near the Xunantunich Mayan Ruins is a cultural hub. Here, local Mayan artisans sell their handmade crafts, providing a direct connection to the ancient traditions of the region.

We Recommend: The handcrafted jade jewelry, which is not only beautiful but also holds significant cultural value, representing the ancient Mayan civilization.

Please note that the availability and hours of markets can change, so it’s always a good idea to check locally for the most current information. Additionally, while Benque Viejo del Carmen may not have a large number of markets, the ones mentioned above offer a rich sampling of the local commerce and culture.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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