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

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Volunteer work-stay

Minimum stay: 3 nightsMaximum capacity: 4 people
Food Not Included
Come and join Firefly Gardens in caretaking this beautiful space!

This is a worktrade position which includes camping and access to our kitchen and services. There are spaces to setup your tent here at the gardens. Facilities are semi off-grid and include compost toilets, pressurized solar shower, propane stovetop, filtered drinking water, hammocks, covered yoga deck, etc.

We have a couple nice dogs and there is typically anywhere from 4-6 people here during construction (dry) season, and 1-4 people living here in the rainy season

Cheyo is the manager of the center while we are away in the rainy season. He is our local Tzutujil partner and caretaker of the gardens. He can teach you about the local culture and language. Spanglish and language sharing are common here :)
Volunteers can take a few days a week off to go into town or explore the around. It's a nice community to home base while you can see some other villages around the lake.

Food costs are shared cooperatively within the group. Cooking good food for each other is one of the main volunteer jobs here.

There is an Earthbag Dome, with a 2nd floor loft available We are also building a stone bathroom building and bamboo greenhouse. We have an outdoor kitchen, clean running water, and ceramic filter for drinking water.

It is a quiet neighbourhood in the forest, near the caldera rim surrounding Lake Atitlan. Here you with our friends and the villagers yiu can really get in touch with Tzutujil Mayan Culture. The village of Tzanchaj is 1km away. Santiago Atitlan is a 10min drive away, we also have a bicycle, and there are numerous public transportation options to get to town. We are up the hill from the lake, but have a view of Volcan San Pedro from the land.

Key Stats.

Year founded


Size of project site

0.6 hectares

Languages spoken

  • Tzʼutujil
  • English
  • Español

People on site

2 - 10

Dry season

December to April

Wet season

May to November

Living Conditions.


  • tent camping
  • private room
  • shared rooms
  • entire house
  • hammocks

Vegetarian Food

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


  • medium: voice calls (no video)


Firefly Gardens is currently offering the following opportunities:

  • Natural builder
  • carpenter
  • bamboo builder
  • permaculture
  • gardeners
  • homesteaders
  • arborist
  • musician
  • Stone builder

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