We travel by boat to San Juan la Laguna on Atitlan’s southern shore. We visit studios of the pueblo’s artist co-op which offer quality oil painting in a variety of genres, to include Arte naďf. We visit a weaving co-op operated by women, who grow their own cotton at home to make thread as well as plants from which to extract natural dies. With the dyed thread they weave beautiful pieces on locally-made back strap looms. Near the weaver’s demonstration area, we also receive a demonstration of how locally produced cacao is transformed into chocolates. We then walk to a nearby midwives’ co-op where the women grow a large variety of medicinal plants and process them into traditional medicinal products (e.g. shampoos, teas, salves). The final stop (which is optional for a longer-day tour) is a coffee plantation and processing plant operated by a co-op of families who cultivate coffee trees and harvest the coffee beans. These are brought to a processing plant area where they are converted into coffee products and sold locally as well as to international vendors via fair-trade routes. The entire process is explained / demonstrated. At all co-ops, what you see is offered for direct sale at costs that eliminate a ‘middleman’.
(Half & full day options: 8 a.m. - 12 a.m. or up to 4 p.m.)