Ecotourism Network

Do something wild. Do something wonderful.

Panabaj Village | Guatemala

Overview

Nestled in a lush volcanic valley, the Tzutuhil Mayan villagers of Panabaj offer day tours for a unique look into their story of hope. The Asociación Nuevo Amanecer de Santiago Atitlán (ANADESA) is a cooperative of 16 artisans and their families. These indigenous people are dedicated to a positive future for themselves and their Mayan neighbors. This local community development organization is supported by the Mennonite Central Committee.

Accommodations

The ANADESA families invite you to stay in a Tzutuhil home and experience traditional Mayan life. The rate for the homestay option is Q90 (pppn) and includes 2 meals. The homestay option is rustic and consists of block houses with bunk beds and blankets. In addition, travel guides list lodging in nearby Santiago and Panjachel. If prior arrangements are made, lunch is provided during the ANADESA tour and for an additional charge.

Activities

“Walking in the Wake of Disaster” tour is 5–stop, 75 minute, 2.5 kilometer walking tour situated in the valley of Panabaj. The tour stops include:

Peace Park– A monument commemorating the 13 Tzutuhil indigenous people murdered by soldiers and long-awaited exit of Guatemalan military.

Coffee Forest- Some of the best coffee in the world is grown around the Lake and is a vital part of the local economy.

Volcano Canal– Example of the efforts being made by local government and international aid agencies to prevent future weather hazards from developing into disasters.

Ground Zero– A formerly bustling residential area buried after the fatal mudslides of Hurricane Stan.

Product Show & Lunch Site–Over lunch, get a change to relax and chat with the members of the cooperative themselves. In addition, you may browse their beautiful handmade crafts.

Tours cost about Q40 (about US$5) per person. Lunch, if provided, is an additional charge from Q25 (less than US$3) per person. The tour is in Spanish, but English translation is available by prior arrangement through the Connecting Peoples Program (see below). The translation services charge a Q75 fee per tour group.

The Lake Atitlán area is scenic and the tourist hub for Guatemala. While the ANADESA tour takes only a day, there are many more sights to see in the region!

Getting There

The Connecting Peoples Program of the Mennonite Central Committee may provide some assistance in help you meet the villagers of Panabaj. Their contact information is provided below. Guests travel to Panajachel city in southwestern Guatemala. Once at Panajachel, take a boat trip across Lake Atitlán to Santiago. Because the region is popular with tourists, there are many options for crossing the lake. The trip takes about 30 minutes and generally costs about Q25 pp (about US$3) one way. The tour guide will meet guests in Santiago and arrange transportation from Santiago to Panabaj. At the end of the tour, guests can stay in the village or return to Santiago, a distance of about two kilometers.

Making a Difference

ANADESA creates income generation opportunities by pooling the skills and resources of per- sons with similar talents. All profits generated by the tour are distributed among cooperative members and support the group’s activities. The cooperative uses your tourist income to run an adult literacy program, a children’s art and an environmental education program for its members and other at-risk persons living near Panabaj.

Contact Information

Juan Ramirez, your Spanish speaking tour guide in Panabaj | 502/5359-4302 Mennonite Central Committee office headquarters Guatemala City, Guatemala 502/2475-2870 | mccrep@guatemala.mcc.org Connecting Peoples Program — connecting@guatemala.mcc.org

NOTE: The village Panabaj is pronounced “pahn-a-bah.”

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