Sitting in Central America, south of Mexico, is Guatemala. Guatemala is a wonderful vacation spot because of the tropical weather, vibrant colors, and famous hand-crafted textile art. Known for having a rich culture that dates back to the Mayan civilization, this destination is gaining popularity thanks to its thriving design and natural scenery. Like many other countries, Spanish culture infused itself during the Spanish colonization. Today, the Mayan population still takes up more than half of the people living in Guatemala today.
The vibrancy of Guatemala
Mayan history and culture are omnipresent. The architectural buildings are often decorated with a bright tropical color. The buildings are still in wonderful shape even though they have been built hundreds of years ago. Often using wood, cobblestone, and stucco to build their structures and floors, Guatemalans construct strong buildings that last many years.
When walking around Guatemala, visitors fall in love with the bold colors and designs on the walls and buildings. There are often religious symbols, flowers, birds, and intricate patterns that are symbolic of Guatemala. The bright colors reflect the colors of Guatemalan fruits, weaving and embroidery, and the plants that grow in the small villages. One may notice many beautiful works of street art and murals because art is a big part of Guatemalan culture. It is one way they tell stories.
Throughout our time in Guatemala, we got to visit 3 colorful villages:
Surrounded by Volcanos, Antigua is one of Guatemala’s most visited towns. This small city is known as the best-preserved Spanish colonial city in Central America. With its cobbled streets and baroque architecture, it is quickly becoming popular every year. When walking through the city, you can see many Spanish design elements such as traditional Spanish colors like shades of burnt reds and yellows.
Road to Chichicastenango
Driving to the famous Chichicastenango, we pass many homes with colorful accents, such as the home painted in turquoise, maroon, and cream. Throughout this drive, the scenery changed, and unlike Antigua’s Spanish-inspired architecture, the buildings became more simple but the colors became brighter.
Similar to the road leading to Chichicastenango, Flores is full of bright and bold colors. Surrounded by water, Flores brings a more tropical and vibrant color scheme to its buildings. You see many bright shades of blues and greens, which reflect the lake’s colors and mountains.
Throughout our trip, all the colors and local materials inspire us. In the end, we compiled everything we have seen into three different material palettes that describe Guatemala to us. All the mood boards’ materials are locally sourced from Guatemalan creators and vendors we met on our trip.
For our first mood board, we translate the different architectural masterpieces we see throughout Antigua, Guatemala. The colors we see on the murals and the handwoven fabrics represent Guatemalan culture and feature the predominantly red and yellow colors seen in Antigua.
The second mood board we have created brings together all of the colors we have seen throughout Guatemala. Being such a colorful country, all of their designs and colors complement each other. Known for their textiles and handcrafted art, we include two ceramic spoons we bought and two colorfully embroidered fabrics that depict the Guatemalan color palette.
Our third and final mood board we have created represents the long history of Mayan culture. At the end of the trip, we visit the Mayan ruins of Tikal. There, we feel the rich history this country has and felt in touch with nature. Many of the elements of this mood board are representative of the Mayan temples. Since the ruins are located deep in the forest, we see many monkeys swinging from tree to tree. The embroidering on the textiles represents old hieroglyphics.