Check out this insightful article that discusses the benefits and drawbacks of ecotourism ventures run by outside companies, and presents an alternative: community-based ecotourism.
Check out this interesting article from the International Business Times about the value the UN is recognizing in ecotourism.
Find yourself surrounded by green mountains and dig into a plate of fresh trout and organic veggies as you share with the innovative small farmers of La Vega del Volcán. The Cooperative of La Vega del Volcano is made up of rural men and women committed to finding new ways to support their families without leaving home or harming the environment. This local development organization is supported by Mennonite Central Committee.
Guests can stay in the newly-built lodge with views of the whole valley, equipped with 16 rooms and hot water. There is also the option of staying in the home of one of the co-op families.
Both options cost Q30/$4 pppn; with the families, the guests have the option of trying out a traditional Mayan bath called the chuj or tamascal for an additional Q10/$1.50.
Meals are also available and range between $3-$5.
The “Trout Trail” Tour is 1.5km, 2 hour (light) hike, which includes the following stops:
Testimony of a Successful Producer: Froilan talks about turning the mountainous terrain into trout ponds and how he’s expanding his work.
Vega’s Natural Riches: Lisandro shows his land filled with Calla Lillies and the beautiful views of the Tacaná Volcano and the Cambaj mountain.
Hurricane Stan, Disaster, and Opportunity: Urbano shares how his family’s livelihood was threatened by Hurricane Stan, as well as how he has learned to take advantage of natural resources to support them.
Agro-ecology and the Future: Arnulfo and Mari give a tour of their organic farm and explain why it is so important to implement agro-ecology in the community.
Vega del Volcán sits at the feet of Tacaná Volcano, the second highest volcano in Central America. Apart from the “Trout Trail,” coordinator Gustavo Ramos can organize a hike up the volcano.
Add information on contacting MCC and the Connecting Peoples program for phone numbers and emails of local leaders of the co-op.
Guides from La Vega will meet guests in Sibinal, about a 2 hour bus ride from San Marcos, the head of the department. Visitors can easily find buses to San Marcos and the same for San Marcos to Sibinal. From Sibinal to La Vega, there is the option of taking a pickup (Q350/$45 for up to 10 people per truck) or hiking (three hours, moderate-difficult hike).
Making a Difference
Cooperative members receive income through acting as guides, cooks and housekeepers. Money from the tours is used to support the workshops and trainings in agro-ecology, trout production, nutrition, and community organization.
Gustavo Ramos: 502 5581 6055 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Connecting Peoples: email@example.com
And the top ten safest airlines for 2012 are:
2 Air New Zealand
3 Cathay Pacific
6 Eva Air
7 Tap Portugal
8 Hainan Airlines
9 Virgin Australia
10 British Airways
From the The Safety Index Top Ten by Europe’s Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre. No carriers from the USA made the top 20, but Southwest Airlines showed up at #21.