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Mayan Permaculture Workshop - A Volunteer Project

Start and End Dates: November and June
Duration: 7 Days (with 14 and 17 Day Options)
Location: San Lucas Tolíman, Guatemala
Price starting at: $2000 - Includes all program-related travel (except airfare), lodging and all but one dinner on your own. For 14 & 17 Day Prices Contact Us.
Program Type: Permaculture Workshop and Service Learning
Meals: All but 1 dinner included
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Mayan Permaculture Workshop and Volunteer Project
A Lodge-Based Service Learning Adventure

  •  Permaculture Basics
  •  Assist in infrastructure and sustainability improvements
  •  Local Exploration
  •  Spanish Language Intensive
  •  All-inclusive (one night dinner on your own)
  •  Active
  •  Camp, Cabins and Hotel Accommodations
  • Featured in Moon Guide To Latin American Service Learning


The Basic 7-Day Itinerary in Guatemala

(Contact us for a detailed Itinerary and for 14 and 17 -Day options)

Day 0 – Departure from Your Country; Meet Facilitator at Guatemala City Airport; Transfer to San Lucas Toliman

Day 1 - Mayan World View and Permaculture
+    Mayan calendars and Mayan worldview
+    Ancestral Knowledge
+    Traditional Mayan Ceremony
+    History of Guatemala, socio-political context

Day 2–Introduction to Permaculture
+    What in the World is Permaculture?
+    Why is it Important?
+    History, ethics, characteristics, and principles of Permaculture.

Day 3 – Natural Ecology and the Ecosystem of Lake Atitlán
+    Hiking through the only first-­-growth forest of Lake Atitlan (Mount Iquitieu)
+    Learn about natural and cultivated ecosystems, ecology, microclimates, soils, flora, fauna, and nature’s patterns.
+   Visit local community projects that practice sustainable agriculture
+   Tour of Ijatz ecological center; soil and water management practices

Day 4 – Permaculture and Aquaculture Applied
+    A visit to the community of Quixaya to learn about cultivated ecosystems, climate change, and its consequences on the people and the land.
+    Swimming in the Quixaya River
+    Learn about aquaculture, food production, land conservation, and forest gardens.

Day 5 – Water Day!!
+    Water conservation and water sanitation
+    Boat Tour to study lake ecosystems and how they affect the surrounding communities
+    Visit to local organic farm (Atitlán Organics)
+    Hike to Waterfalls of Tzununa

Day 6 – Practical Applications
+    All-day hands-on application of what has been learned so far through a practical project of choice
+    Building a banana circle / making instant gardens / composting / setting up a vermiculture station).

Day 7 – Return to Guatemala City and visit to Iximche Archaeological Site
+    Iximche Archaeological Site
+    Wrap-up and goodbyes

The Travel:  This itinerary is based out of San Lucas Tolimán on the shores of Lake Atitlán in the highlands of Guatemala.

Time of Year: November and June

Season: Perpetual Springtime!

Daily Distances:  2 - 5 miles per day in program-related activities and hikes.

Terrain:  Mountainous and Rural

Elevation Max/Min: 5000+  (to 10,000 feet on optional hikes); workshop and project takes place at around a mile in elevation >5300 feet


The Education 

WANDERLAND  is offering a full educational and service learning package including the IMAP Permaculture Workshop PLUS an additional related permaculture service project.  As well, Wanderland provides in-country airport-to-airport services; Spanish language instruction; translation services during the Workshop; professional natural history interpretation; certified Wilderness First Responder hosts; travel arrangements for school groups and, of course, Fairly Traded Travel Services.


CURRICULUM —       Permaculture, Guatemalan Geography, Guatemalan Biology, Mayan History and Culture, Mayan Cosmovision, Aquaculture , Lake Atitlan Volcanic Geology, Sustainable Communities, Applied Permaculture, Guatemala’s Ethnic Foods & Beverages, Spanish Language Intensive.  Relevance.


As Seen in the Moon Guide to Latin American Service Learning.


IMAP - The Institute of Mesoamerican Permaculture
Instituto Mesoamericano de Permacultura

Nestled in the Guatemalan highlands, the Mesoamerican Permaculture Institute (Instituto Mesoamericano de Permacultura – IMAP) is a Maya-run, Maya-owned not-for-profit organization located 10 minutes outside San Lucas Tolimán.

IMAP was founded in 2000 by a group of locals concerned by the serious environmental, social, political and cultural problems affecting Mesoamerican communities. They established an ecological education center on the shores of Lake Atitlan, promoting permaculture techniques, ecological construction, production of organic food, and a seed bank that strives to reconstruct the lost Mayan seed heritage.
Through workshops, tours and certified permaculture courses on-site and in the field, IMAP has offered hands-on training to hundreds of small scale farmers and communities. The IMAP team has also implemented sustainable systems to enable people to produce their own food, maintain and conserve soil fertility, and manage water effectively.

But first and foremost, the answer is in the seeds. “Without seeds, there is no food,” repeats Rony Lec, the Coordinator of IMAP. Conserving seeds is about more than just bringing food to the table. It’s about conserving biodiversity, conserving traditional knowledge, and conserving people’s capacity to take their future into their own hands.