BEST + CHEAPEST + MOST FUN MAYA BEACH COMMUNITY PETEN GUATEMALA


Cause Areas

When

It's flexible! We'll work with your schedule.

Where

Luv Xak in front of the dockSan Jose, Peten 17002GT

Svetlana from Russian cooking 300 tamales - she stayed with a local Maya family and helped with everything and anything that was needed.

About

la Danta Project is designed for slower travelers. A pre-paid 3 night stay at 20Q (~$3) per night from everyone who arrives. If you decide to leave early, that’s fine but not our preference - again, we’re designed for slower travelers.

The 3-night minimum creates more peace and is better fit for our three Maya communities. Truth is, there’s so much to see and do around here, you need at least 3 days to properly experience this ancient and beautiful Maya beach spot.

Travelers arrive daily from Flores, el Remate, Santa Elena, San Benito, Tikal, Belize, Chetumal, Palenque, Atitlan, Antigua, Guatemala City - and they always say the same thing...

...wish we knew about this place before.

It’s easy to make a reservation - no card/money/PayPal needed - all you do is register and then hookup with la Danta Project on Facebook and/or LinkedIn. Once those two/three bits are done, we’ll save your spot, send you a confirmation and hold your spot until sunset on your arrival day. If you don’t show, we’ll give your spot the next kind soul, sitting here, chilling in a hammock, swimming on the beach... waiting for a spot. Other than the reservation system outlined above, there is NO OTHER WAY to guarantee a spot will be waiting for you at la Danta Project.

Yes - a shared kitchen is available.

Yes - restaurants are everywhere: dine-in, take-out and delivery.

Yes - mosquito nets available, not really needed. There are very few mosquitoes here.

Yes - we have beds, dorms, private rooms, private apartments, camping, hammocks and Maya family homestays too. Clean, mop, wash, sweep everything before you leave or hire a local community member to do it for you. Leave everything for next arriving traveler as it was given to you, preferably a wee bit better.

Yes - we have secure parking for travelers on bikes, motorcycles, cars, buses, RVs, buses, trucks, boats... whatever. We also have our Central American security system, 'Vaca’ the Super Dog is on duty 24/7 - well, when she’s not playing on the best Maya beach in Peten Guatemala, swimming, chasing rocks or out on a bike ride. We do not accept travelers with pets.

Yes - it’s easy to get here. Fish bus ('micro’ 8Q) and/or chicken bus ('urbano’ 7Q) leave the Terminal Nuevo in Santa Elena every 30 minutes for San Jose from 6AM to 6PM - Sundays, something less. Best not to arrive on Sunday nor after 4PM. When you get to San Jose, go to the dock and look for the Green and White two-story with the little 'Luv Xak’ in front and enter through the Green and White gate to the side - here’s a photo. Here’s a Google Map, save it now for future reference. Nearest airport is Mundo Maya Internacional. The overnight bus ( Linea Dorado or ADN) to/from Guatemala City to Santa Elena is always a good option. If you are coming from Chiapas/Palenque, you’ll need to insist the shuttle driver drop you at the hospital in San Benito - cross the street and wait for the next chicken/fish bus signed with San Andres/San Jose that pass every ~30 minutes. There are no addresses in our little Maya village.

Yes - you can volunteer on your own, as a couple, family or group: organic gardening/farming, English classes for kids, computer classes for kids, community bike/coffee shop (the 'Luv Xak’), SUP/sail/water-craft fabrication, work with Maya families who need your help - or anything else you care to initiate. Create and manifest as you like.

Yes - will always consider a trade of work for accommodations on an individual basis. Share your desire of a trade for accommodations directly with your beach house host after your project tour, orientation and meeting some of la Danta Project’s Maya host families. Happy to support the travels of hardworking, like-minded bipeds. No freeloaders. No drainbows.

Yes - WiFi is available and it’s better bandwidth (brand new fiber optic trunk) than anything you’ll find anywhere around the lake.

Yes - happy to share photos of some of our beach house accommodations photo1 | photo2 | photo3 | photo4 | photo5.

Yes - whatever your sexual identity / coupling - no one cares / no worries - easy on the PDA as it’s not culturally appropriate within the Maya communities where la Danta Project is located.

Yes - activities and workshops of all types are available: coconut oil, Maya cooking, Maya calendar, Maya jungle medicine, Maya hammock weaving, Maya basket weaving, Maya boat building and more. Study any of the three languages spoken in the 3 Maya villages we serve: Spanish, Maya Itza and Q’eqchi’. Nothing is free. Donate directly to any families, people and workshops you like.

Yes - there are clubs, bars and dancing too.

Yes - veggie and/or vegan diets are easy here.

Yes - we’re happy to help you with treks/tours/trips to anywhere you like: Tikal, la Danta / el Mirador, Yaxha, Semuc Champey, Maya islands, Maya lakes, Maya caves and river, Uaxactun, Flores, el Remate, Belize, Chiapas, Rio Dulce, Lake Atitlan, Antigua and more... everything always as sustainable as possible.

Yes - we have more and better el Mirador Rainforest Trek information than anyone else in the entire area. Base your el Mirador Rainforest Trek from right here, the most beautiful beach in Peten Guatemala. Yes, you can do el Mirador and visit la Danta, biggest pyramid in the world, without spending tons of money for a commissioned/middleman tour. We’ll hook you up with everything you need. Cheap public transport leaves from right here for Carmelita every morning at 5:45AM. We’ll store your extra gear right here while you enjoy the Maya rainforest of el Mirador and la Danta, biggest pyramid in the world.

Yes - you can arrive without your gear, leaving it behind in Flores or wherever, and shop la Danta Project. But, you won’t be warmly received. We have no desire to entertain travel 'shoppers’ - shopping is not permaculture.

Yes - this is Central America. Everything is manana (tomorrow) or manana manana or the manana after that. Absolutely nothing is guaranteed. This is not a 5star Resort. We have no room for those with an 'entitled’ demeanor. La Danta Project is a place for adventure travelers. No whiners. No wheels on your luggage - not kidding. It’s not difficult to get here, can’t/don’t accept people with wheels on their luggage - it’s a religious belief of the local Maya.



Maya Chocolate Workshop - learn to make chocolate like the people who invented it more than 3,000 years ago. Cacao was the money of the Maya - a hundred cacao beans was worth a turkey hen or 250Q or 33USD today. The local Maya served chocolate as a warm, frothy drink made with a bit of spice. Very tasty stuff and loaded with 4X more antioxidants than modern chocolate. You’ll prepare and process your authentic Maya chocolate entirely by hand and with the help of a wood fire and a grinding stone, just like the ancient Maya. 1 morning 100Q paid direct to the Maya.

Medicinal Rain Forest Plants Workshop - hands-on workshop working directly with a local woman who’s been sleeping in the rainforest since she was a little girl - grew up without electricity/television. Medicinal plant recipes passed down through the family for generations. 1, 2 or 3 days - 150Q paid direct to the Maya.

Coconut Oil Workshop - the best and most natural coconut oil you’ve ever seen. All crafted by a Maya coconut oil artisan with 10+ years of coconut oil crafting experience. You’ll take a bottle of the coconut oil you created with you. 120Q - paid direct to the Maya.

Avocado Oil Workshop - amazingly pure and natural - a favorite ingredient in over-priced cosmetics and beauty products - highest smoke point of any cooking oil. Buy your avocados in the local market, make and take the oil with you. 1 morning - 35Q paid direct to the Maya.

Bial Weaving Workshop - you’ll make and take your own groovy Maya jungle hat with you. Elena, the woman on the homepage of our site, is wearing one of those groovy bial hats - perfect for the el Mirador Rainforest Trek. 2 day workshop - 75Q paid direct to the Maya.

Maya Hammock Workshop - you weave your own hammock with the expert training of a local Maya Hammock craftswoman. Take the hammock with you - it’s yours - all yours! 2 mornings of workshop and 4 days of weaving - 200Q paid direct to the Maya.

Natural Soap Workshop - use natural local plants to make some awesome soap with many different types of medicinal qualities. 1 morning - 35Q paid direct to the Maya.

Maya Cooking Workshop - learn local Maya recipes from a trained Maya chef - 1 morning - 35Q paid direct to the Maya.

Maya Fishing Workshop - a morning on Lake Peten Itza with a skilled Maya boatbuilder and fisherman - the best fisherman in all three villages - a great guy with great stories and intimate knowledge of local Maya culture and tradition. Going fishing with the guy who built the Maya boats for the Survivor television series when it was filmed here in Peten Guatemala. 175Q paid direct to the Maya.

Baird’s Tapir "Danta" Workshop - the locals call them 'danta’. Travelers who go to el Mirador without mules usually see juvenile tapir - a rare and wonderful thing - one of the most endangered animals on the planet. Danta’s are amazing animals that can weigh as much as 700lbs - jaguars cannot even take them down because of their incredibly tough skin. Female danta can only birth one new danta every 2 or 3 years. Average danta life-span is ~20 years. We’re working with Manolo, most respected tapir expert/scientest/researcher in all of Guatemala and assisting with his important tapir work in the Carmelita / el Mirador area of the Maya Biosphere - just up the road from our spot here on the best beach in Peten Guatemala. As part of this effort, we offer tapir education and awareness classes to our local Maya community schools - teaching kids about these wonderful and rare animals - help us. Please take this workshop if you plan on doing the el Mirador Rainforest Trek so you can help us protect these wonderful and critically endangered animals - so we can produce more printed for materials for the workshops for the kids to take home and share with family and friends - Danta Propaganda. 1 morning workshop - 50Q paid direct to the Maya.

Maya Calendar Workshop - if you’re into astrology, you’ll be amazed at the accuracy of Maya astrology. We’ll walk you through the steps to find your true Maya sign. Practice 'living the Maya calendar' and catch the onda of the Maya approach to living your life in a peaceful and serene state of acceptance and knowing. It really works. Best if we know if you were born before or after sunrise and when your birth started, mom’s first contraction. So call/email your mom, dig-out that dusty old birth certificate and bring the actual start and delivery time of your birth with you. If you want to look into the Maya significance of others in your life, best if we have their birth details too. One morning session with the most popular coffee in Guatemala or some fresh juice/liquado/smoothie included. 100Q paid direct to the Maya.

El Mirador Rainforest Trek Workshop - learn crucial rain forest survival skills from local Maya experts. This workshop is a great fit for adventure travelers doing the trek without a guide/support - it could save your life. You’ll learn how to gather naturally purified water from jungle vines, make wild jungle teas and snake bite treatments, gather wild fruit and veggies (carry less food / less weight). Dive into our el Mirador Guide Manual (English) - you won’t find it anywhere else - authored with the assistance of one of the most experienced and respected adventure guides in the world - a friend of ours who’s led more than 100 treks to el Mirador and dozens of other extreme adventures all over the world.

Recent travelers on the el Mirador Rainforest Trek (no guide/mules/cooks) saw a jaguar emerge from inside of a Maya pyramid - less than 10 meters from where they stood. Same travelers also saw a baby tapir and as usual lots of monkeys and pisotes and toucans and oscillated turkeys - very groovy, Paolo from Brazil and Cristiano from Italy.

Yes, you can easily get to el Mirador from here and most of our travelers do the el Mirador Rainforest Trek - stand on top of biggest pyramid in the world (la Danta). Yes, la Danta is bigger than the largest pyramid in Egypt. If you like, once you’ve completed the El Mirador Rainforest Trek Workshop, we have mules and a muleskinner waiting for you in Carmelita - load your gear+supplies on their mules and head into the rain forest - $8 per day per mule, two-mule minimum with muleskinner included. Or, save some cash and do it on your own - many of our travelers already have. If you have the guts / ignorance / knowledge to hike into the rainforest on unmarked trails and sleep within the domain of animals that would have no issue eating you or biting / killing you - go for it!

The el Mirador Rainforest Trek Workshop is two mornings and includes a trip to Motul the ancient Maya village just up the road from the Beach House. Be educated. Be prepared. 175Q paid direct to the Maya.

Maya Language Workshop - these are completely free and run Monday and Tuesday, two hours each. You’ll be sitting in a class with a bunch of local Maya kids who are studying Maya. Not 20 years ago, the Maya were publicly beat and imprisoned if they spoke Maya. Participate in these classes and show your support for the Maya - have some fun too. We recommend a donation of 20Q cash per class, direct to your teacher, to support the good people running this very important project.

Spanish Language Workshops - are held one-on-one with a certified and experienced Spanish teacher. Schedule your Spanish sessions as/when/where you like in any of the 3 Maya communities we serve - 20Q per hour, paid direct to your Spanish teacher.

Skills

  • Agronomy
  • Teaching / Instruction
  • English as a Secondary Language (ESL)
  • Spanish
  • Gardening
  • Community Outreach

Good Match For

People 55+ Group

Requirements & Commitment

  • Stay as long as you like
  • a good heart
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