Firefly Gardens is a small, spiritual, educational, experimental, natural-building, off-grid permaculture community just getting started in Bahia de Santiago. We are located outside the Tzutujil Maya communities of Tzanchaj, Panabaj, and Santiago Atitlan.

We are passionate about offering hands-on earth-focused building experiences through workshops and volunteering. Our center is grounded in sharing, caring, and the principles of Permaculture and Earthship Biotecture.  We work to transform "waste" into valuable resources, used to heat our water, feed our gardens, & build artistic structures.

We are travellers and yogis, musicians and farmers, foodies and healers, dreamers and believers! Our aim is to build space for holistic healing and intimate educational retreats, through yoga therapy, meditation, food as medicine, cocoa ceremonies, and cultural exchange.  We are now looking for inspired humans to help co-create this community of light <3

Firefly Gardens is a budding seed poking its head out of the ground, seeking the light!

We are ideally situated next to the caldera rim at the southern edge of Bahia de Santiago and Lago de Atitlan. An area that is known for hosting the Cosmic Convergence music festival every New Year's eve.

The top-soil is incredibly rich and productive, and we are planning to expand and grow a diverse food forest while demonstrating the use of simple, shareable technologies like rainwater catchment, solar cooking, renewable energy, composting, thermal mass, fog harvesting, and contained waste treatment.

So far as a community we have built a 2-story SuperAdobe Earth dOMe, permaculture gardens, a communal bamboo kitchen temple, fruit tree citrus grove, sacred fire gathering area, and composting toilets. We are now working on covered camping platforms, compost powered hot showers, a yoga shala, a treehouse, and finishing the inside of the superadobe dome.

We are developing partnerships with local community organizations in order to develop in a responsible way and offer educational opportunities for indigenous locals and travellers alike. We hope to offer a peaceful space for spiritual growth and nature retreats. Jolene is an experienced yoga teacher and registered yoga therapist. Kyle is an international adventure guide and wildland firefighter.

Together we are the Fireflies, trained in natural building practices at the Earthship Biotecture Academy in Taos, New Mexico.
We are living the intention to build bridges of culture between North & Central America, and transition towards a more sustainable, just, and mindful expression of life.
We aim to do this through creativity and love, by combining the ancient wisdom of indigenous practices with modern technologies of green energy and audiovisual arts.

 To learn more, check out our website
www.lewisandthefireflies.org (under construction)



Firefly Volunteer work trade

Dec 01 - Mar 05, 2018Minimum stay: 2 nightsMaximum capacity: 11 people
Food included
Come join us at Firefly Gardens!
This winter we have lots of projects on the go to improve the center and volunteer camping areas/services. We are now building a yoga platform and compost powered water heater for hot showers. We are also making improvements to the superadobe firefly dome.

We are helping our neighbours build a cob house this winter as well.

The work involves natural building, gardening, basic carpentry and plumbing, and helping in the kitchen. We provide the food. Meals are generally prepared communally, so we take turns cooking. You will get hands-on experience learning with cob, composting, permaculture, solar power, bamboo framing, etc.

You can camp directly on-site. Must supply your own camping gear. Sometimes we may have extra tents available that you can use. Our off-grid impact center is just starting out and very rustic. We have a composting toilet, outdoor rock shower, solar oven, propane stove, filtered drinking water, small solar charging station, etc.

The surrounding area is incredibly beautiful. You can go hiking up up the hills, down to the lake, etc.

Flexible is schedule, but we generally work about 5- 6 hours per day.

Price of Q40 or $6USD/Day is your contribution for shared food expenses.
Daily price can be waived for skilled tradespeople (carpenters, etc)

Santiago Atitlan is the nearby pueblo. It is an exciting Tzutujil Maya town erupting with life. This is where we run errands, pick-up supplies, and go out on the town :)

The other villages around the lake can be accessed by public lancha (boats) from the dock in Santiago Atitlan.

Key Stats.

Year founded


Size of project site

0.4 hectares

Dry season

December to April

Languages spoken

  • English
  • Spanish

People on site

2 - 10

Wet season

May to November

Living Conditions.


  • tent camping

Vegetarian Food

  • over 80% locally sourced
  • communally cooked meals
  • communal kitchen access


  • None: Off the grid

Ongoing classes

  • yoga
    3-5 times per week


Firefly Gardens is currently offering the following opportunities:

  • Natural builder
  • carpenter
  • bamboo builder
  • permaculture
  • gardeners
  • treehouse builder

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