Fresh fruit stand (photo by Rudy A. Girón, courtesy of

Fresh fruit stand (photo by Rudy A. Girón, courtesy of

Professional aroma therapy gets expensive. Practice your own this month by sniffing out so many wonderful smells around town, from evening jasmine to bracing coffee to earthy cornfields. Heady gardenia is in bloom now, alongside year-round rose buds. Street vendors send their pungent sizzling meat smell to mix with the orange odor from the juice stand down by the telephone office.

Guatemala beaches offer the perfume of salt spray and surf. Drive the coastal highways and enjoy the sweet caramel odors from sugarcane refineries. Climbing into the Highlands brings the scent of pine, of wood smoke, of fresh clean air. Evenings in the Highlands are cool enough to need an occasional fireplace, adding a pungent touch of burning oak or cedar to the breeze.

The big-city smells aren’t always pleasant, especially that thick diesel exhaust as a bus chugs by, but your nose knows how to differentiate and enjoy the chocolate store, the garden shop, the perfume of courtyards and central squares. With a buen provecho at a restaurant comes the rich odors of a steak, the touch of lime in the corn tortilla, the little dish of cardamom seed to add to your coffee. And Guatemalan ice creams use marvelously rich real vanilla beans to taste, smell and enjoy.

Duck into a candle shop, or check out the candle section in the public markets, and smell their offerings. Then stroll gardens, and find the candle aromas in real life. So many fine aromas await you in Guatemala.

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