International Beauty Report: Sweet Things in Guatemala

The Mayans had a sweet thing going on. Sure they made human sacrifices a la Apocolypto, but on the flip side, their entire culture revolved around chocolate and for that we can truly thank them.

On a recent visit to Guatemala—home to an incredible amount of Mayan ruins, culture and living traditions—I immersed myself in this chocolate fantasyland and what I found was incredibly sweet. Massages and body scrubs so decadent I felt like a human truffle, rich and creamy hot chocolate to accompany every meal (and we’re not talking Nesquick here) and beauty treats so pure they are edible.

We’ve all heard by now about the benefits of eating dark chocolate, but did you know that chocolate is full of hydrating and cell renewing nutrients to enhance your skin topically too? No wonder the Mayans had beautiful, glowing skin.

And there’s also Doña Gavi. Her shop in Antigua, Guatemala is a treasure trove of organic skin care, including, of course, a line of products containing the wonderworking cacao—shampoo, conditioner, creamy lip balm and soap—all temptingly good enough to eat.

La Tienda de Doña Gavi reminded me of a curiosity shop of old: Large pots filled with soaps, jars and boxes bursting with balms and butters and shelf after shelf of Doña Gavi’s hand made skin savers. See her skin—she’s 62 and looks like a glamorous film star of old—and you’ll start touting the benefits of chocolate from the rooftops.

Sadly, her products are unavailable to purchase online because they are simply too fresh and small batch and have a limited shelf life. If you go: La Teinda de Doña Gavi, 3a Avenida Norte #2, Antigua, Guatemala.