Sustainable tourism

The challenge of nature conservation in many world regions is to add a sustainably usable value to primary habitats. Some examples of this value are the use of medical herbs and other non-timber species, and the land use for science and sustainable tourism.

Primary cloud forest in Chelemhá
Primary cloud forest in Chelemhá.

The following features make Chelemhá an attractive tourist destination:

  • Pristine high-altitude cloud forest.
  • Scenic beauty with vantage points, which give way to a view over the Polochic river valley, a major geological fault, to the Sierra de las Minas mountain range.
  • Witnessing the life, culture and traditions in a Maya Q’eqchi’ village.
  • Possibility to obtain first-hand information about development perspectives in the area.
Local guides in Chelemhá
Local guides observing a Godman's Pitviper (arrow) from a save distance.

Sustainable tourism was recognized as an important component in order to add a value to the natural resources. This value can be “harvested” by the local population without damaging the natural habitats. The Chelemhá tourism program is a joint venture between UPROBON, other conservationsist organizations, local small enterprises, and the local population, with a focus on the following main activities:

  • Management of the Chelemhá Lodge and maintainment of forest trails.
  • Capacity building among the local people and providing jobs as:
  • Tourist guides.
  • Gardeners.
  • Cookers.
  • Room cleaners.
  • Craftsmen.

Many examples world-wide show that tourism can endanger natural resources or even be responsible for the definite destruction of natural habitats. We develop our tourism program under the principle of sustainability and as conservation tool.

Following features characterize our program:

  • Close involvement of the local population generates an economic income for them.
  • The income helps to fund conservation activities.
  • Fruit and vegetables are grown in an own garden, or bought on local markets.
  • The lodge is mostly built out of natural materials.
  • Drinking water is provided by several springs in the cloud forest. Our program protects these springs and garantees the water supply to many communities.
  • Locomotion within Chelemhá reserve is done by walking.

Conservation efforts in Chelemhá:


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