San Juan La Laguna is a small town on the banks of Lake Atitlán. Surrounded by mountains, it is a beautiful community with over 6,000 residents, the majority of which are Tz’utujil Maya. More so than many other places in Guatemala their ancestry is at the forefront of their culture with many murals and paintings dotted around the community depicting ancient Mayan Myths.

The town has also developed an ever increasing sense of pride in their craft traditions, painting and weaving specifically. They have developed their own tourism infrastructure to show these traditions to visitors with many weaving cooperatives practicing fair trade and allowing profits to be injected straight back into the community.

An incredibly scenic boat ride takes you to the village of San Juan La Laguna, where you will experience the different ways this community keep their traditions alive. Visit a women’s textile cooperative to see hand-weaving and natural dyeing processes, the studio homes of celebrated naïf painters and the shrine of the Mayan God Maximon, where you will learn about the beliefs of the Tz'utujil Maya. The day finishes with a boat trip back across the lake

 

Your Local Impact

The idea of the cooperatives of San Juan de la Laguna is for women to come together and work on a particular trade such as arts and crafts, textiles in the form of weaving or midwifery and medicine. By working together as a co-operative, they are able to keep costs low benefits as high as possible, which primarily is used to educate their children.

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