COMMUNITY DESTINATIONS
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Inicio / Guatemala / Culturas vivas
 
Guatemala / Culturas vivas
Laj Chimel Maya Community (El Quiché)

1. How to get there: K’iche community is located in the municipality of San Miguel Uspantán department of Quiche. You can access it from Coban, reaching the town of Uspantán through a paved road to the municipality of San Cristobal Verapaz, where you take a dirt road 62 km. The other option is starting from Guatemala City to the Municipality of Sacapulas through paved road, where you must turn onto a dirt road 40 km to reach the town of Uspantán. From Uspantán to Laj Chimel there are 25 km to be covered in a four-wheel drive vehicle on unpaved road. You can access the community throughout the year.

2. Ecosystem: The community is situated at 1,972 m of altitude and is surrounded by a magnificent cloud forest, which plays a key role in the water balance of the area. The forest's elevation ranges between 2,000 and 2,400 m; its annual rainfall average of 2,750 mm, makes it a lower montane wet forest. The area has spring water sources of high quality continuously throughout the year. The forest has wonderful landscapes and exuberant flora consisting of epiphytes, mosses, ferns, bromeliads, orchids, lichens and other plants with medicinal or ornamental uses. It also has magnificent specimens of giant trees, several species of oak, cypress, pine, huge tree ferns and vines. It also has a varied fauna, composed by birds, howler monkeys, snakes, pumas, jaguars and quetzals.

3. Tourist attractions: Laj Chimel means “Little water pond" and is the village that gave birth to Rigoberta Menchú, Nobel Peace Prize 1992. The town was destroyed during the civil war and now works to ensure their welfare and development in harmony with nature that surrounds it, mainly the "For Life and Peace Ecological Park”. Its main attractions are the cloud forest and Mayan cultural traditions preserved by its inhabitants.

4. Tourist activities: Excursions are organized to the cloud forest to observe local flora and fauna, and by chance to watch the quetzal; accompanied by local guides who survived the armed conflict. You can stay with host families in the community to share their lifestyle, participate in the crafts making and their agricultural activities, and possibly learn to play the marimba, a traditional musical instrument.

5. Tourist services: The community provides food and lodging with toilets and cold water shower in a hostel or in the homes of local families. There is the possibility of taking steam baths or sweat bath. Guidance through the forest is led by young natives who will offer you two options based on the degree of difficulty. You can attend community concerts of marimba and develop embroidery crafts. Each service has a specific price ranging between USD 4 and 15.

6. Suggested tour package: There is a 4-day package offered for groups of three people; a journey through Laj Chimel forest or Pine Pache Hill, depending on weather conditions and visitor’s physical condition. Visitor can be engaged in sharing with the community and host families in afore mentioned activities. The price per day is USD 82 per person; if you buy the package, the price is USD 74. Picking you up at the airport in Guatemala City and shuttle service to the community and return is USD 150.

7. What to bring: Clothing should be adapted to a cold and rainy weather, including pants, jacket or sweater, gloves, hat, balaclava helmet, socks, raincoat and hiking shoes. We also recommend bringing a backpack, walking sticks, water bottle, flashlight with extra batteries and pocket knife. For your protection bring sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balm, insect repellent, personal hygiene equipment and medication, and first aid kit.

8. Our organization: Rigoberta Menchú Foundation supports Laj Chimel community, since one of its functions is to help indigenous peoples to achieve recognition and respect for their identity and collective rights. Its main motto is: "No peace without justice, no justice without equality, no equality without development, no development without democracy, no democracy without respect for the identity and dignity of cultures and peoples." The Foundation conducted a preliminary study that concluded with a series of proposals for developing an ecotourism project in the area, and managed to install a solar energy system in the community. This improves the household economy and reduced the pressure on the local and surrounding forest.

9. Booking information: For reservations, sales and travel information, call or write to:

  • Phone: (502) 2232-0793, (502) 2230-2431 and (502) 2232-2192.
  • Email: creyes@frmt.org
  • Website: www.frmt.org
  • Contact: Paul Menchú and Constantino Reyes.
  • Address: Avenida Simeón Cañas 4-04, Zone 2; Guatemala City.



2011-01-10

 

 
MAS...
   Ecoquetzal: San Lucas y Chicacnab communities (Alta Verapaz)
   Ecoquetzal: Rocjá Pomtilá community (Alta Verapaz)
   Laj Chimel Maya Community (El Quiché)
   Association for Integral Development, Kumool (El Quiché)
   Pascual Abaj Valley restaurant, CASODI (El Quiché)

 

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Information: info@redturs.org; Management REDTURS: C. Maldonado; karlmalcam155@gmail.com

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