Sensuous Guatemala: Enjoy Your Valentine

rose (photo by César Tián)

Ignore the deep sky-blue, the forested green Highlands, the foamy ocean surf, the coffee browns, the rich oranges and yellow lemons stacked high in market stalls. This month, drink in Guatemala’s Valentine colors—bright reds, soft pinks, pure whites.

Valentine reds are long-stemmed roses in the markets, bougainvillea spilling over walls, poinsettias still in bloom from the holidays, brilliant scarlet huipiles (blouses) from Patzún, and the richer cardinal brocade weavings from Aguas Calientes, near La Antigua Guatemala. Red crayons are the schoolchildren’s favorites for hearts, lips and dolls. Reds dot windows with advertising signs for soft drinks, phone cards and movie posters.

Valentine pinks are in delicate carnations, gentler roses, little shrimp flowers, roadside oleanders. Pink is the choice for little girls’ doll dresses, for blankets wrapping babies as they snuggle close to nurse, for tiny begonia blooms edging tiled walkways. The kids enjoy singer Pink; we’ll stay with bouquets of pink blossoms.

Valentine whites abound this month, from fluffy clouds to foamy surf, white lilies, white confirmation dresses, white corn, white puffs from volcanoes.

White walls, of course, are the Antigua staple, all the better to set off garden blossoms. White church facades dazzle in bright afternoon sunshine, and white herons swoop back from the cornfields to roost as evening falls.

Red, pink, white, the Guatemalan Valentine colors are often combined in fuchsia vines on hanging pots. Red, pink, white—see how many Valentine colors you can spot all around Guatemala this February, and enjoy.

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