Sweet Beauty

La Tienda de Doña Gavi

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

On a recent assignment 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 scruptious. 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 products 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? We’ll never know for sure but I bet the Mayans had beautiful, glowing epidermes.

Then there’s the modern day Guatemalan beauty, Doña Gavi. Her shop in the colonial city of Antigua 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.

Shelves of lotions and potions at Doña Gavi's

La Tienda de Doña Gavi feels like a mysterious curiosity shop of old: Large pots overflowing with colorful soaps, jars and boxes bursting with balms and butters and shelf after shelf of Doña Gavi’s hand made skin savers.

Jars of beauty at La Tienda de Doña Gavi

She’s passionate about skin care (if you visit, she’ll open jar after jar of delectably smelling potions for you to try), and is even writing a book on simple skin care concoctions you can make at home. See her skin—she’s 62 and looks like a glamorous film star of old—and you too will extol the benefits of the Mayan’s secret ingredient—chocolate—for yourself.

Doña Gavi in her organic beauty shop, Antigua, Guatemala

Sadly, her luscious organic products are unavailable to purchase online because they are simply too fresh and small batch and have a limited shelf life. You’ll simply have to visit Doña Gavi’s shop yourself: La Teinda de Doña Gavi, 3a Avenida Norte #2, Antigua, Guatemala.

Want to read more about Guatemalan chocolate? I’ll keep you posted on the publication date of my Mayan chocolate article coming soon in an upcoming issue of DestinAsian magazine.

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