As tour operator we seek to assist local communities in their effort to promote their sustainable tourism activities. Cooperatives and non-profit projects offer opportunities for families with limited resources to take advantage of international tourism while visitors can experience first-hand the life and culture of local indigenous people in Guatemala.
AS GREEN AS IT GETS COFFEE COOPERATIVE (ANTIGUA)
This project has been in existence since 2005 and assists local coffee farmers to improve their coffee cultivation and processing techniques. The cooperative was founded by Franklin Voorhes, an engineer-turned-volunteer. After meeting poor rural coffee farmers who worked hard year-round to sell their coffee for a minimum, he was inspired to help them capture the true economic value of their labor. Cooperative members learned how to process their coffee into marketable roasted coffee and found financing for the purchase of the land and machinery needed to turn the cooperative into a profitable business. The simple concept of enabling people to earn a fair wage for their hard work had enormous potential to change the lives of many Guatemalans for the better.
On the tour you accompany one of the coffee farmers on his field and learn how he cultivates the coffee and how he combines the planting of coffee with the planting of other fruit trees to supplement his income. In the coffee picking time you help pick some coffee which later you take to family houses where the coffee is further processed. The families show you how to dry and roast the coffee and prepare a delicious cup of ‘homestyle’ Guatemalan coffee for you! The families share with you about their lives and how the coffee project has changed their social and economic situation.
The cooperative offers other experiences of sharing with local families by offering to elaborate typical bags and other textiles, an activity in which local woman engage in do to supplement their family income.
WOMEN’S COOPERATIVE SAN ANTONIO AGUAS CALIENTS (ANTIGUA)
Have you ever wondered what the story behind a typical Mayan dress is? Or how about typical Mayan food is prepared? Have you ever wanted to learn how to make tortillas or homemade coffee over a fire? Are you interested in learning about the customs or the Kaqchiquel people of Guatemala? This cooperative near Antigua provides an opportunity for you to learn about this rich culture, sample typical food, try on a typical dress, make tortillas and roast your own coffee. Includes a sample of typical meal.
TOTONICAPAN PROJECT (QUETZALTENANGO)
On this tour your visit individual houses and workshops of local families elaborating traditional crafts. You will visit a workshop for traditional masks and costumes that are worn at dances at local festivities and celebration mostly honoring the patron saint of the town. Also you visit a workshop where toys are made from wood and a ceramic workshop. Visit of a textile cooperative. The tour takes about 3 ½ hours and you meet and interact with the members of the Quiche Maya family owning the workshop who share with you about their lives and social conditions.
WOMEN’S COOPERATIVE ATITLAN LAKE (ATITLAN LAKE)
Visit of a women’s weaving cooperative. This project seeks to improve the quality of life of local Maya women by supporting a variety of social programs such as the forming of cooperatives, health workshops, training and participation in local and international craft fairs. The objective is to protect the local Maya culture and traditions by assisting in elaborating their traditional backstrap loom weaving art. You participate in the lives of the women by learning how to weave with them. You visit a Mayan village and get to know the families that make up the cooperative. They show you about natural dyeing methods and you may even participate in a shamanic ceremony.
COOPERATIVE CRUCE DOS AGUADAS
This community is situated within the Maya Biosphere in the north of Guatemala. The small settlement was founded by rural people extracting latex from the Chico Zapote tree and who were cultivating and harvesting ‘pimienta’ pepper seeds and ‘xate’, ornamental evergreen leaves. Since the emergence of synthetic alternatives to latex the community has been seeking alternative sustainable activities and a few years ago has created the local Commission of Community Tourism, which dedicates itself to organize and conduct responsible tourism activities in that area. The project seeks to protect the local environment and to introduce visitors to the rain forest ecosystem, while offering hikes to visit archaeological sites. The most popular trek is a 3-day hike