What is the Nahá Ecolodge project?
This project is of 22 members, 11 men and 11 women, all of the community Naháde the Lacandon jungle. We are dedicated to ecotourism, we offer lodging services, food and activities in the nature where we take advantage of what we have but without damaging it. We carry out activities that help to preserve our environment, we have sewage treatment systems to not pollute the aquifers and solar cells, alternative energy that feed to 4 of the 15 cabins. We also have a rain water catchment system.
The Coopoerativa was formed in the year 2001, with 58 community members, a representative of each family. But the process is a little complicated, some wanted to see short-term profits, then they were discouraged and went out. In the year 2003 a request was made to the Indigenous Development Committee (CDI) and they were given financing for 3 cabins and one dining room. In 2011, I and another boy arrived and joined the team. We went training and started working on improving the service and changed everything from the visual aspect to the tourist treatment. In that same year we put another proposal to the CDI for the creation of a reception to the tourist and there remodeled everything. The group was more consolidated. We work a lot with the group to change their way of looking at things, the vision that you have to work hard and at some point see the utilities but first a lot of work and time.
Do you have important economic benefits today?
Yes, not as much as we would like but a little profit we have. Three years ago we had no customers or maybe two or three people a month, but now it’s increasing. There are people who repeat, who like and come back. Distance is an obstacle because we are far away, just like advertising.
How do you manage earnings?
We pay the employees, a little is dealt among the partners and we reinvest in still having the things right, rooms and quality products. The distribution is twice a year. But we reinvest because we do not want to rely on subsidies, we want to have economic independence.
The main market is national… Mexico City, Guadalajara, Guanajato. And as a second order Europe.
What is the contribution of the cooperative to the rest of the community?
In addition to generating jobs, many people have their own shops and craft stalls and benefit from tourists arriving at the Ecolodge and consuming their products. Also as social responsibility of the company we help the community with the donation of boats for example, we participate in events and collaborate economically or with species.
What is the objective or vision of the cooperative?
Our vision is that our company is recognized as one of the projects that take care of the environment but also, that is recognized by the quality of our services. And that at the same time, generate income and jobs for the whole community.
What are the services offered by the Nahá Ecolodge?
We offer accommodation, food, jungle trekking, bird watching, workshops with the people of the community (mud, bows and arrows, seed necklaces), and the experience of the Lacandon ceremony, where they are grateful to the gods.
What is the Mayan Lacandon culture like?
It is a culture that has always lived in the jungle and depends on the rainforest. It is characterized by caring for nature. Nothing is extracted in the jungle if it is not cultivated before. They have always been dedicated to the collection of fruits and vegetables, handicrafts and now to ecotourism. The Milpa for self-consumption and the planting of palm for export is a characteristic of this region.