Comunidad Lagunita El Salvador


Location: Lívingston
4.7/5 rating (3 votes)

The community of Lagunita, nestled on the Río Dulce in El Salvador, is a pleasant sanctuary from the bustle of Guatemala's larger cities.  Only half an hour from Livingston and Rio Dulce, you'll feel a world away whether you come for a meal, a tour, or to stay a few days.

Getting here

The only way to arrive is by boat.  you can either arrange a boat with the local lanceros or call ahead to reserve a boat with the community.  If you are coming from Río Dulce or Lívingston you can take the lancha colective which costs 125Q per person.  If you have a large group it may be more economical to use the boat service that the community provides.  They can send a boat for 350Q total- call 5992-1853.  

If you are coming from Puerto Barrios, you can take the lancha colectivo to Lívingston for 30Q per person (they leave roughly every hour) and then the lancha colectivo to Lagunita, or call to negotiate rates.

From Río Dulce, the trip takes about 35 minutes; from Lívingston, the trip lasts about30 minutes. 

Contact

Community Tourism Coordinators:  Luis and Filomena Xol Rax.

Phone:  5992-1853;  5363-0018

Email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (Note:  they can only check email every few days- there is no internet in the community)

Website: www.ecoaldealagunita.com

Rooms and rates

All rooms have electricity and running water.  Bathrooms have showers and flushing toilets.  Beds are equipped with mosquito nets.

Maximum capacity:  38

Double room:  55Q per person

Private room: 70Q per person

Bungalow:  185Q per person 

Restaurant

Local ingredients are used to prepare fresh, traditional foods such as Ka ik, a Mayan soup made from turkey, and Mojarra, a local fish which is wrapped in banana leaves and served with rice and a salad.  Fish, pigs, and chickens are raised in various organic farming projects in the community.  Visitors are free to visit the organic farm.

For a large group, the residents need advance notice in order to prepare food, although there is always plenty for a few people.  Sometimes they may have limited options, but they can always make something!  If you have special dietary needs, it is best to call in advance.

Activities

The community has opportunities for:

  • Hiking
  • Bird Watching
  • Traditional dance/performance
  • Fishing
  • Visiting local schools
  • Volunteering

The Lagunita community provides a variety of cultural and ecological tours and is happy to arrange special trips or experiences based on visitors' needs or preference.  The community is small and they are happy to show you around and let you participate in village life as much or as little as you would like during your time here.

Listed below are a detailed tours offered, including prices.  Keep in mind that they are flexible and that other itineraries and activities could be created around your needs.  Prices include transportation and a local guide from the community, but do not include lunch (unless specified), entry fees, or tips.

Transportation Services:

Lagunita - Rio Dulce 350Q (per boat, not per person)

Lagunita - Livingston 300Q (per boat, not per person)

Lagunas Escondidas Tour- 2 hours

This is a tour in cayuca, or traditional Mayan canoe, to see the laguna, look for local wildlife like birds or manatee, and visit some of the hidden spots on the lake.  The difficulty level is low and the tour lasts about 2 hours. 

Prices: For 1-5 people 85Q per person, 4-6 people 75Q per person, 7-12 people 65 Q per person

Selva Maya- 3.5 hours

This is a jungle tour which starts with a tour in a cayuca, or traditional Mayan canoe, and ends with a hike through the jungle. You will have the opportunity to learn about local medicinal plants and look for local wildlife such as manatee and monkeys.  At the end of the tour you can swim in the river if you want. Lunch is included in the price. The difficulty level is medium, as you will be hiking through the jungle and paddling a canoe.   

Prices: 1-3 people 150Q per person, 4-6 people 110Q per person, 7 or more people 100Q per person.

Aldeas Balnearios Mayas- 5.5 hours

This is a tour of the local communities and swimming holes and is done in a lancha, or a small motorized boat.  First you will travel up Rio Tatin to visit Aktenamit, a Mayan organization with a school and clinic in the jungle. Next you will visit Aguas Calientes, a community-run hotsprings where you can swim in the hot spring, visit the cave, and walk through the jungle.  The difficulty level is medium.

Prices: 1-3 people 165Q per person, 4-6 people 140Q per person, 6-12 people 120Q per person

Livingston/7 Altares/Playa Blanca- whole day trip

This is a full-day trip visiting a local beach, Lívingston, and a beautiful waterfall in the jungle.  This trip takes an entire day, and is a tour in a lancha, a small motorized boat.  Playa Blanca is a beach near Livingston with white sand and you will have plenty of time to relax on the beach, swim in the ocean, and work on your tan. From Playa Blanca you will head to Siete Altares, which is run by a local Mayan community and is a waterfall comprised of seven gorgeous pools, or alters to the gods.  As you hike through the jungle from pool to pool, you will finally arrive at the seventh pool, a place where they still occasionally perform traditional ceremonies.  The last pool is a natural swimming hole and also has a large waterfall you can jump from, making for a refreshing treat after the hike up.  From Siete Altares, you go to visit Lívingston, which is a small, colorful Caribbean village and the home of many Garifuna people. You can shop for souvenirs, eat local specialties like Tapado at one of the many restaurants, and experience the local culture.  The difficulty level for this tour is medium, since visiting the waterfall does involve hiking through the jungle forabout 30 minutes. 

Prices: 1 person  780Q, 2 people 390Q per person, 3 people 260Q, 4 people 195Q per person.

Sustainability

Overview of Sustainable & Green Practices

The community is doing everything possible to minimize their environmental impact and have a number of wonderful projects they are currently working on.  They rely almost completely on solar panels, and have composting toilets.  They have an organic farm with pigs, chickens, and fish, and trap propane gas created by the pig’s excrement to use for cooking.  They are a community-run, democratic organization where women are treated as equals and hold leadership positions.  They are currently working on creating a large compost for the community and creating a system to treat and filter their water. 

All of the guides are local and speak both Spanish and Quechi, as well as some English.  All of the money goes to a community fund and is used for to cover overhead costs to maintain the tourist facilities and community needs such as the school, clinic, emergency medical trips, and scholarships for students to study in middle school/high school (there is only a primary school in the village so they must study elsewhere after 5th grade).  The community is very small, composed of only 19 families. 

There is a small handicrafts store show casing local arts and crafts and the women are happy to give demonstrations of traditional cooking techniques.  They can also teach you about their culture and history, and can arrange a traditional Mayan dance called the “Danzade Venado” or the “Dance of the Venom” for around 800Q.  This dance includes a concert of traditional Marimba music and the dancers wear traditional costumes. 



 



 



 

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