Tz’utujil People of San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala

San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala

Tz’utujil People

In partnership since 2019 

Xperitas partners with Centro Maya Servicio Integral, a nonprofit committed to working on behalf of people with disabilities since 1990.  

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Shopping in San Juan La Laguna GuatemalaSite Specifics

Altitude: 5,125 ft. 

Airport: Guatemala City (GUA) 

Typical Foods: Rice, vegetables, chicken, fruit and soup 

Lodging: Homestay 

Language: Spanish, Tz’utujil 

Transportation to Site: Meet at the airport in Guatemala City and transfer to Antigua. Stay overnight before going to San Juan La Laguna

San Juan La Laguna Guatemala Host FamilyA Brief History of the Community 

San Juan La Laguna is a municipality located on the western shore of Lake Atitlán, a picturesque lake surrounded by volcanoes. It has a population of about 10,000 people, 95% of whom identify as Mayan - Tz'utujil. Agricultural production, especially of coffee, is a primary source of income for the area. The community also has a growing tourism sector and distinguishes itself from other surrounding municipalities on the lake based on its development of community-based tourism. 

Xperitas partners with the nonprofit Centro Maya Servicio Integral on their project Alma de Colores. Alma de Colores is a labor and social inclusion workshop for people with disabilities in Lake Atitlán. The workshop provides training to enhance members’ employable skills in sewing, handicrafts, gardening, and restaurant/bakery management. Xperitas teams will stay with families in San Juan La Laguna and collaborate with Alma de Colores and their members on a project of their choosing, which may include renovations to Alma de Colores’ new restaurant space, construction of wheelchair-accessible bathrooms, and planting seeds in the garden.  

 

San Juan La Laguna Guatemala Youth Group​CP Philosophy

Xperitas is committed to deep and intentional relationships with our primarily indigenous community partners. Projects are designed and led by the community and serve as a vehicle for cross-cultural learning. Participants agree that cultural exchange is the primary purpose and most important aspect of the program. As an organization we have cultivated sustainable relationships with our partners that are long lasting; it is important that our participants engage with the community respectfully and honor our partnership.

Xperitas-La Laguna-Host-Family-DinnerWhat will we do?

Because Xperitas CP programs are led by our partner communities, every program is unique. The day-to-day activities will be determined and led by the community and as a result, participants experience an authentic immersion experience. Here are some activities you may engage in: 

  • Learn about Alma de Colores’ employability training model and collaborate with its members on a project that is meaningful to their mission. 

  • Hike Cerro de la Cruz to gain a breathtaking view of Lake Atitlán and its surrounding communities and volcanoes. 

  • Visit the Mayan women’s weaving association to learn about weaving techniques passed down for generations. 

  • Build relationships by sharing stories, cooking or playing games with host families. And maybe even learn a few words of Tz’utujil! 

  • Reflect on shared experiences with the team and developing knowledge of the community.

Xperitas-La Laguna-Tikal-RuinsExtend your Trip Ideas 

You may be interested in extending your stay in Guatemala to explore other enriching activities. While we are not a provider of these services, we may have recommendations and contacts near the site who can assist you with your trip extension. Contact Xperitas for more information. 

Here are some ideas for other activities you might enjoy: 

  • Visit Flores to explore the Tikal, ruins of one of the largest urban centers of ancient Mayan civilization.  

  • Swim in the turquoise waters of Semuc Champey, a series of natural limestone pools. 

  • Hike Volcán Pacaya, an active volcano outside of the city of Antigua.  

Contact us to learn more!