Chuitinamit Environmental centre (CEC) is being developed on a strip of rustic land on the slopes of the San Pedro volcano at the edge of Lake Atitlan, Sololá, Guatemala. This crater lake, the largest expanse of freshwater in Guatemala, is surrounded by 3 volcanoes ; nestled between the Altiplano and the Pacific Ocean it is a unique natural heritage site host to a rich biodiversity of wild fauna and flora.
CEC is situated on the slopes of what was, in the time of the ancient Mayan civilization, the site of the court of the Tz’tujil kings. Chuitinamit is thought to mean House of the birds. Indigenous communities, descendents of this ancient civilization, still surround the lake and there is a wealth of linguistic and cultural diversity as you travel around it.
Accessible only by boat you reach CEC and find a fertile land due to the volcanic composition of the soil, blessed with natural forest, fruit trees, wild flowers and medicinal plants in abundance, and harvest s of coffee and avocados.
The lake provides the communities with water for domestic use and irrigation and a wealth of fish and aquatic plants. In recent years, the lake has suffered a progressive deterioration of water quality. This is due to the increase in waste water, rubbish and chemical fertilizers entering the lake and to the wider impact of deforestation, population growth, tourism and recent hurricanes.
The land is a tranquil place enabling us to reconnect with natural and spiritual surroundings. It is a generous space for a practical learning laboratory; to bring together Mayan ancestral knowledge and transferable alternative environmental technology to find practical sustainable solutions to rebalance the fragile relationship between people and their environmental surroundings and in so doing contribute to slowing the progressive contamination of Lake Atitlan.