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Community Based Organization

Organization Location: 
San Jose, San Andres, Cobanera, Flores, Jobompiche, el Remate, San Pedro
la Danta Project
  • San Jose, San Andres, Cobanera, Flores, Jobompiche, el Remate, San Pedro, Guatemala
English, Spanish
Organization Description
After many collective years in social development, seems there are no medium to large organizations and very few small organizations, that can really do what needs to be done without sucking excessive and unjustifiable ‘juice’ from social development initiatives. We’re working towards a way of avoiding the ‘juice sucking’ pitfall – that’s dream of la Danta Project – a sustainable and easily clone-able approach to social development based on community, not bureaucracy and decreased efficiency as the organization grows.

la Danta Project is about permaculture. From Wikipedia’s permaculture entry…

“Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. The term permaculture (as a systematic method) was first coined by Australians David Holmgren, then a graduate student, and his professor, Bill Mollison, in 1978. The word permaculture originally referred to “permanent agriculture”, but was expanded to stand also for “permanent culture”, as it was understood that social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system as inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka’s natural farming philosophy.”

La Danta Project is all encompassing in its application of “permanent culture” as permaculture.

La Danta Project is not-for-profit. We’re simply about helping poor Maya families, promoting permaculture, keeping the bills paid and providing you with an authentic adventure traveler experience.

Adventure travelers who stay at la Danta Project can also volunteer in our Maya communities – some of what we offer…

organic gardening/farming
English classes for kids
computer classes for kids
hammock weaving
sustainable fabrication of light water-craft / SUP/sail boards / small sail/row boats
and anything else you care to manifest – do your own thing – whatever works best for you!
Yes, you can study Spanish, Maya Itza or Q’eqchi’ — plenty of local people are here to help you.

Yes, you can easily get to el Mirador from here and a considerable portion of our travelers do seem to end-up going there – biggest pyramid in the world. Yes, it’s bigger than the largest pyramid in Egypt. We have guides, mules, cooks and adventure waiting for you in Carmelita. Or, try and do it on your own – many of our travelers already have. If you have the guts/ignorance/knowledge to hike into the jungle on unmarked trails and sleep within the domain of animals that would have no issue eating you or biting / killing you – go for it! Be sure and leave a healthy tip for the guards at the camps when you buy/receive water/food. Also be sure and sign the release form in Carmelita before entering the jungle without a guide.

Members of our communities also offer Maya Workshops...

Maya Avocado Oil Workshop – the very first avocado tree was found right here in Mesoamerica. Avocado has been farmed here in Peten Guatemala by the Maya for thousands of years. Amazingly fresh, pure and natural avocado oil – a favorite ingredient in expensive anti-aging, cosmetic and hair-care products. Buy your avocados in the local market, craft and carry your the avocado oil with you. Yes, we have a collection of essential oils available to add to your avocado oil. 2 hours – 95Q + essential oil/s.

Maya Chocolate Workshop – make your own chocolate exactly like the Maya who invented it thousands of years ago. Authentic Maya chocolate contains a few key ingredients and we have them all. Maya chocolate has three-times more antioxidants than today’s commercial chocolate. Just like the ancient Maya thousands of years ago, craft chocolate with a wood fire and a stone metate. 2 hours – 150Q.

Maya Medicinal Plants – this is a hands-on and led by skilled Maya women. You’ll learn more than a dozen ancient Maya medicinal plant recipes that have been passed-down through uncountable generations of Maya women. This workshop is especially recommended for women. 4 hours – 195Q.
Maya Hammock Workshop – weave your own Maya hammock with the assistance of an expert Maya hammock craftswoman. Your hammock will be measured and made just for you – a perfect fit. Choose your own colors. Create your own design. Take your hammock with you, a perfect addition for your travels in Central America Two sessions of 2 hours + 20 hours of weaving anywhere you like – 200Q.

Maya Kitchen Workshop – learn local Maya recipes from skilled and experienced Maya women. Cook delicious Maya dishes in the Maya tradition. Yes, vegetarian Maya dishes are absolutely available. 3 hours and lunch or dinner included – 95Q.

Maya Jungle Survival Workshop – learn crucial rain forest survival skills from local Maya experts. This workshop is a perfect if you’re considering or planning to do the el Mirador Jungle Trek. You’ll go to an ancient Maya village with pyramids, Maya stella and get to know the jungle with an experienced Maya jungle guide. Learn how to gather water from jungle vines, make wild jungle teas, snake bite treatments, gather wild fruit/veggies and more. Once your jungle tour is completed, you’ll dive into our el Mirador Maya Guide Manual – it’s all in English, packed with information and you won’t find it anywhere else. 2 hours in the jungle + 2 hours of reading. Maya lunch included – 225Q.

Coconut Oil Workshop – the best and most natural coconut oil you’ll ever know. You’ll make it all 100% natural and organic and take a bottle with you. Coconut oil is an excellent base to make your own natural mosquito repellent and we have all the oils you’ll need. 3 hours – 175Q + essential oil/s.

So there are no misunderstandings...
Have a Permaculture Compound (Meet and Greet Home) where we host many travelers and volunteers - this is where you'll come when you arrive. All arriving volunteers stay at the Permaculture Compound a minimum of 3-days for their orientation and so we can get to know them better before putting them with a homestay in one of our Maya communities, if that's the volunteer's goal. But, VA policy requires a one-week holding period after your arrival before releasing your funds and then another week to process the withdrawal request. If you want a Maya community homestay, understand we cannot put you in a Maya community homestay, until the funds you've paid to VA are available. If you want a Maya community homestay, we encourage you to contact VA (once you've arrived and know everything is groovy) and request the funds be released so the good people hosting you can be paid - and you can create the sort of Guatemalan volunteer experience you want. Will VA release funds early, before their stated 2 weeks, we have no idea - but it's worth a try :)

Everyone loves staying in our treehouse at the Permaculture Compound and have included some photos below. We also have private rooms and shared 'dorm' you can stay in while you're here at the Permaculture Compound. We'll put you where we can and cannot guarantee specific accommodations. Good News is we're working on getting another treehouse built and hopefully that'll be completed and available soon!
Childcare / Children, Environment, Women
Skills Needed
Care and Community Volunteer, Construction, Creative Arts, English speaking
Accommodation Provided - Minimum Stay: 2 weeks
Average Cost per Week ($USD)
$42 per week
Estimate only - contact this Organization for actual costs to Volunteer
  • Homestay

Costs do not include Flights, Visas, Vaccinations, Insurance, Spending Money, Pre-Departure-Orientation, 3-Meals-per-Day, 2-Meals-per-Day, 1-Meal-per-Day, Volunteer-Hostel, Local-Transport, Airport-Pickup-and-Drop-Off, Internet
Memo, Hielke, Carlos, Jesus, Janeth, Maria and more :)
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