31 March 2015

finished dorm at TEA  Sign at Laguna TEA  Laguna men work on dorm

Laguna  TEA, Toledo Ecotourism Associations, has a new Guest House!  Reconstruction and upgrading of the  house started in December last year and is now finally complete. The new Guest House, has a private couple’s room located in the loft of the building now, 3 bedrooms with bunk beds and a common room, where guests can gather and socialize. The new Guest House can host up to 12 people.  The Utility house was upgraded with flush toilets and a shower room. The improved facilities provide visitors a more pleasant and cozy stay while they experience the traditional Q'eqchi' Maya culture in one of the most scenic areas of Toledo District. Laguna is a friendly village, located next to a beautiful lagoon and the Maya hills covered with virgin jungle where many species of wildlife can be observed.  It is committed to providing an unforgettable experience for students and tourists interested in ecotourism and the Maya culture in the Toledo District.

The Guest House is operated by families of the Laguna Village, who are members of the TEA, Toledo Ecotourism Associations, and who share the profits among themselves, with part of the profits being saved the for future needs of the business . The families provide operational services for the guests, including determining the kind of services to be provided, the length of stay and housekeeping. The families also host dinners and lunches for the guests, allowing people to sample traditional Maya food and learn how it is prepared. The stay at the Guest House can be seen as a homestay with a Maya family but with private sleeping space for personal comfort and privacy.

The renovation of the TEA Guest House is a result of a no-interest loan advanced to the TEA by the Institute for Sustainable International Studies, in San Ignacio.  We have long enjoyed a great working relationship with Laguna and its Guest House Program and thus were committed to assisting the TEA with these improvements. The TEA has already began generating income and repaying the loan though the provision of in-kind hosting services for their visiting students and faculty.
 
The Institute is very pleased with our continued collaboration with TEA, and believe that this unique program is a great opportunity for our students, and for anyone else, to experience the authentic Maya culture in a warm and friendly setting.

For more details, contact Filiberto Penados, Director of Engaged Scholarship and Service Learning through our contacts page.

  group photo at Laguna Maya woman with new furniture  Vermont students building shelter  

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