July 25, 2009

Loma Linda, an other ecotourism project

On Tuesday, I went to visit Loma Linda a Community close to Nueva Alianza and who is developping an ecotourism project. Luisa, a Canadian friend, has been living there for the last 2 months and asked me to come with her to pick up a computer in Chimaltenango and bring it to the community. The computers are brought to Guatemala by a NGO named Computers for Guatemala . We were supposed to do it in a day Xela- Chimaltenango -Lake Atitlan -Reu and Loma Linda but because of manifestations we got stucked close to Retalhuleu for 2 hours 1/2 and decided to go back to Xela at night and try again the next day.

There had been lots of manifestations around Guatemala lately, people blocking the main access roads like at 4 Caminos, Los Encuentros, Retalhuleu, Huehuetenango and the roads going to Peten. The reasons are:
- Campesinos wanting the government to close a mine close to San Marcos (North of Guatemala) which is contamining the environement
- Campesinos asking financial assitance for agriculture, fertilizers and increase of the salaries
- people working in the health department asking the governement to give back the cut of 375 million of Quetzales in the budget
- and people were manifesting too against the exorbitant price of the electricity

So on Tuesday morning we arrived at Loma Linda. It's a community of 180 families living 1 hour from Retalhuleu, close to Nueva Alianza. They have a very different story. The land was bought by a Spanish priest in 1976 who invited the families to come and work. The community has very strict rules like no alcool, no cheating and no grossiping. If someone break one of the rule, he has to leave the Community.
They have started an ecotourism project and are building a small hotel all in wood with 10 beds to be able to accomodate the visitors. But their main problem right now is not having access to internet. But now that they have a computer, they are in the process to get acess.
The other problem is the access to the community. I have always thought the road to Nueva Alianza was bad but compared to the one to Loma Linda, it's really good!!!

I did a 2 hour hike to their waterfall with explanation of the diferents plants. A nice hike along the river and with view on the valley. I didn't have time to do the whole hike but I'll be back.
Between October and December, you can see the Quetzal, the national bird. Because they have a special plant the Quetzal eats, he comes very close to town. So I definitly need to go back there at this period because who is not dreaming to see a Quetzal?

View on the Community

A nice hike along the river

The waterfall

With my Canadian friend Luisa


Jennifer said...

Can you tell me how to get in contact with Louisa? I met her this past summer and wanted to send her a quick email. Thanks.

Manuelito said...

By the time Louise is not in Loma Linda, but in order to reach that heavenly place, you can call the following number 00502-40010101, if you are outside of Guatemala, but Guatemala is within you can call and remove the 00,502 and / or contact the following email eleazme@yahoo.es is a unique experience that you can commune with nature. If you want to get an idea can enter the Internet page in the section www.telediario.com.gt reports and found a video where you can see the Quetzal, which is the national bird, one of the most beautiful of the planet and certainly is in danger of extinction.