Genuine Gems at a Handicraft Market in Panama

Last week I visited the Handicraft Market at May 5th Plaza to take a Canadian tourist who was interested in buying small Christmas gifts for his friends and relatives back home.   Even though I have been to this place many times, before there are always new products in display.  The creative imagination of our artisans has no bounds.  This time it was no exception.  I saw the most colorful and unique products I’ve seen in a very long time.  These products were marketed by Luis A. Pitty and his family.

Luis comes from the proud Province of Chiriquí which borders with Costa Rica to the North-West.  That’s also my beloved province where I was born 63 years ago.  After a friendly chat about our common province, he showed the tourist his best items.  My eyes were wide open at his colorful collection of souvenirs any tourist would buy without hesitation.

These specific souvenirs caught my eyeballs like a magnet.  There were other articles as well, but it would have taken all day to capture them with my Birthday camera.  I concentrated on what I thought were the most exotic and unique.

This is what I saw and photographed last week at Pitty’s  place at the Mercado de Artesanías in Panama City, Panama.  Here we go.

Photograph of Luis A. Pitty together with his daughters, Liliana and Tatiana. (Credit: ©Omar Upegui R.)
Photograph of a whole wall covered with Carnival masks. If I ever see somebody wearing one of these masks at night, I would certainly piss in my pants. They're scary. (Credit: ©Omar Upegui R.)
A closer view of colorful masks worn during Carnival in Panama. (Credit: ©Omar Upegui R.)
Photograph of two miniature iguanas carved on a special seed known as "tagua" by Darien Indians. The detail of this miniature work is unbelievable. (Credit: ©Omar Upegui R.)
A miniature iguana carved on "tagua" by the Province of Darien Indians. The iguana was painted with small needles. (Credit: ©Omar Upegui R.)

There were many more miniatures like this with images of cougars, snakes, tapirs, and other tropical animals from the rainforests of Darien.  These jungles are so dense, that it’s almost impossible to penetrate them.  Even the rays of the sun have a difficult time filtering through the leaves of the gigantic trees.  The Province of Darien borders with Colombia to the South-East.

And now you know what you can find in an artisan market in Panama.  Luis and his family will be more than glad to help you  out making a good buying decision.  Good Day.


2 thoughts on “Genuine Gems at a Handicraft Market in Panama”

  1. Omar, loved the pictures of the Mercado de Artesanias. We were there last year and will be returning just for a day again soon. Would love to have someone local, like yourself to show us around. Would you know anyone? Coming with 6 friends. Any help is appreciated. Gracias, Virginia

    1. Hello Virginia:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures of the Mercado de Artesanías. I could provide Guide Services in Panama City if you accept our offer. Since you are a group of seven, I recommend you rent a large vehicle to accommodate such a group. There are many car rental options in Panama City.

      You can locate me at

      Best Regards,


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