The Street Vending Issues in Antigua Guatemala

The street vending issue by Rudy Giron

The lady in the picture was selling camotes, sweet potatoes and elotes, corn on the cob, for Q5/$0.60 and güisquiles, pearl squash, for Q3/$0.38 a piece.

There’s a mouse and cat chase around Antigua Guatemala between the street vendors and the municipal street vending regulators. Street vendors want to be left alone and be allowed to sell anywhere they want. The authorities believe order and cleanliness of the walk throughways is required. I hope they can find a happy equilibrium.

What’s your position regarding street vendors?

© 2012, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • NYChapin

    Well, let’s see. Last time I was in Antigua, my non- chapina girlfriend was starving after a long drive and insisted on buying an elote from a street vendor ( 4a calle, right outside the Mcdonalds !) I could hear my mother saying ” pero como se le ocurre, se puede enfermar”
    Later we bought a rellenito and some dulces and sat on the curb right outside La Merced. To this day, she keeps talking about that elote as the most delicious one she has ever had and learned making rellenitos from my mom. For me, there is something magical when a street vendor opens their canasto and releases the steam up in the air.

    • So, you’re up for more street vendors, right?

  • Erick!

    I don’t have any issues with street vendors — after all, they are making an honest living, but I can also see why the city would want to set regulations. When I lived in the city, a few street vendors quickly turned into pedestrians having no place to walk and a lot of trash being left behind. So, as you mentioned Rudy, hopefully they can come to an agreement that benefits both sides. Having said that, I’m not going to lie, I’ve purchased some delicious tamales, atol de elote, tostadas, etc, from them.

    • Hi Erick, you know that’s what the lady said, she’s only trying to make an honest living. The biggest problem around Antigua and in Guatemala in general are the narrow sidewalks.

  • NYChapin

    Rudy: I don’t know if “more vendors” is my positon, but I definetely support the street vendors and like you, hope that they find a fair resolution.

    • Hola NYChapin, you know I grew up in LA where there are a few street vendors especially if we compare it NYC, which I visited recently and I was in awe at the amount of the street vendors; I guess no city is alike.

  • Eric

    I think as long as the street vendors sell their wares on the wider sidewalks, where others can get around them, there shouldn’t be a problem. The only times I’ve noticed disorder and uncleanliness on the sidewalks is out front some of the bars in the city. Maybe La Antigua should make the drunks clean-up their messes first, hmmmm….?

    • Hello Eric, I believe the Muni is already regulating the bar scene at night. 🙁

      • Eric

        “Regulating” should be done by offering those who cannot hold their liquor a mop and a bucket ! ;D

        • Oh come on Eric, you’re being too tough on the youth, remember we were them once. 😉

  • Luis

    I don’t mind walking around the street vendors. I agree with Erick!, they are making an honest living and they are part of our guatemalan culture. Regarding garbage, there is a street vendor where I buy my corn atole that is always picking up the trash around the sidewalk where she sells her food even if it is not from her business so I don’t think we can, in general, blame street vendor for the garbage on the sidewalks.

    • Hola Luis, I agree with you, most street vendors do pick the mess left behind not by them, but by the customers.

  • Tom de NY

    I love the street vendors! They have always been part of the whole experience for me. The cops should leave them alone and get busy rounding up the real bad guys.