Guatemala City has some excellent shopping malls carrying the most basic or most exclusive items one could need, in addition to fashionable boutiques and department stores. None of the latter (curiously) seem to result from Guatemalan investment. These include Simán (El Salvador), Carrion (Honduras) and Sears (United States).
The city’s largest shopping mall is Pradera Concepción (Km. 17.5 Carretera a El Salvador, 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Thurs. and 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri.–Sat.), with a variety of familiar stores and restaurant chains including Sears and T.G.I. Friday’s. It adjoins a smaller, open-air shopping center known as Condado Concepcíon, which features a Starbucks and an Applebee’s in addition to several local chains.
Opened in 2003 and expanded in 2006, the sprawling Galerías Miraflores (21 Avenida 4-32 Zona 11, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri.–Sat., 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Sun.) also harbors some of Guatemala’s most exclusive stores, including a Simán department store, the international Zara boutique, and a L’Occitane store. Across the way is the Parque Comercial Las Majadas shopping center with a Sears, Fetiche perfume store, and a T.G.I. Friday’s.
In Zona 10, east up the hill toward the Carretera a El Salvador, is Galerías La Pradera (20 Calle 25-85 Zona 10, tel. 2367-4136, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Sat. and 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Sun.), an upscale shopping mall remodled in 2010–2011.
Though not as upscale as its Zona Viva location might suggest, Gran Centro Los Próceres (16 Calle 2-00 Zona 10, tel. 2332-8742) nonetheless has some good shops and eateries and is conveniently situated near the major Zona 10 hotels.
Zona 10’s newest and most upscale shopping mall is also Guatemala City’s nicest. Oakland Mall (Diagonal 6, 13-01 Zona 10, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri.–Sat. and 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Sun.) features 170 stores spread across three floors, in addition to several movie theaters. Among its stores and restaurants you’ll find an aquarium, an impressive waterfall producing geometric shapes, and even a carousel imported from Italy. A Starbucks with plenty of outdoor seating fronts the street along its main entrance.
Also in this sector is the very pleasant Plaza Fontabella (4a Ave. 12-59 Zona 10, tel. 6628-8600), built as an outdoor mall in neo-colonial style, where you can enjoy Guatemala’s spring-like climate and a decent selection of stores and restaurants while strolling the cobblestone pedestrian walkways. Guatemala’s first Carolina Herrera designer handbag store opened here in 2011.
In Zona 16, you’ll find another fine example of the recent trend toward construction of outdoor pedestrian malls in warm-weather locales. Paseo Cayalá (Ciudad Cayalá, Zona 16) is housed in a sprawling collection of white-washed Spanish neo-colonial buildings. There are numerous specialty stores in addition to cool restaurants and bars with outdoor patio seating fronting the cobblestone pedestrian thoroughfare. Three universities lie nearby and the shopping district is part of a larger residential complex encompassing homes and student apartments. There are lovely views of the city’s downtown core, off in the distance.
Excerpted from the Fourth Edition of Moon Guatemala.