Discover every day life and the effect of tourism in San Juan, an ancient Mayan village also known as the ‘Swiss village’ of Lake Atitlan.
San Juan is unique even in Guatemala, with a mix of Mayan culture, village life, and trying to improve the living standard of its inhabitants. You will visit art galleries, women’s weaving cooperatives, a medicinal and curative plant garden operated by mid-wives, a coffee tour, confradia shrines, and even the mayor’s office. Meet several families, and learn about how their lives have changed through tourism. See a traditional children’s dance, and discover the story behind it.
Full day: 6 – 7 hours
Start with a guided walking tour of San Juan, lasting about five hours. You will learn about how this Tzutujile Mayan village has changed into a model community. Enjoy a locally cooked lunch with typical recipes from this area. Alternatively, try a cheese platter with over 20 Guatemalan cheeses.
San Juan is a village of the arts. Visit many galleries to see artists at work. There are over 40 public murals. Your guide will explain each mural in depth, giving you an insight into elements of Mayan culture, the Mayan calendar, and the counting system. Women Weavers and Nuestra Artesania will demonstrate how their beautiful fabrics are made from harvesting the cotton, spinning it into yarn, dyeing the yarn, and then creating unique patterns with the back strap loom.
The Qomaneel center is a medicinal and curative herb garden operated by midwives. Take a tour through the garden and receive samples of healing plants and information of their curative powers. Natural soaps, teas, and shampoos are made on premise. Learn about the confradia system and how it helps to sustain both Catholic and Mayan traditions. There are no entrance fees at the cooperatives. However, purchasing a gift or donations are welcome, to help these centers function.
After you book your experience, you will receive a confirmation email from us confirming that your payment went through. You will then be connected directly to the tour operator, in case you have any further questions. We are also happy to answer any questions about the tour, or travel in general in your country of destination.