Firefly Gardens is a small, spiritual, educational, experimental, natural-building, off-grid permaculture community just getting started in Bahia de Santiago. We are located just 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 feed our gardens, and build natural and 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

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Medicinal Plant Forest Walk

Go for a walk in the neighbouring cloud forest with our local Mayan guide and Firefly caretaker Cheyo!

Cheyo will take you on an educational hiking tour, showing you the medicinal plants and some of their potential uses. He loves to share his culture and some Tzutujil maya words too!

Cheyo grew up here, in the village of Tzanchaj and working with his father in the cloud forests around Firefly Gardens. He is gentle soul with a big love for nature and animals.

Comprehension of basic Spanish will help you get most out of this tour. Cheyo is a patient teacher, though his English is limited.

100% of the proceeds of this tour goes to Cheyo and his family.

Other hiking tours are available in the area as well :)

Casa Bela Tiny Home Rental

1月 21 - 12月 05, 2019Minimum stay: 1 nightsMaximum capacity: 3 people
Food Not Included
Great option for backpackers who want to come and experience Firefly Gardens in comfort, without having to work for your stay :)
Can include a healthy breakfast!

Stay in Casa Bela, our new cob cottage here in the avocado forest. Experience off-grid life in this beautiful earthen home. It is a 2-story cob cottage is built in the wattle n daub style with an epic bottle mosiac and artisan stone floor. There is a 2nd floor loft with a nice comfy organic cotton double bed. Perfect for a couple. Includes all bedding, blankets, and towels. On the ground floor there is a hammock and another bed for relaxing, or to sleep an extra person.

The house is equipped with a solar lighting system and inverter for charging your devices. Outside you have access to shared full kitchen, filtered drinking water, outdoor shower, composting toilet, fireplace area, bamboo relaxation temple, and cob/bamboo yoga deck.
We run a dog sanctuary as well so there can be up to 4 friendly dogs living on the property.

We are a functioning natural building school and healing center transitioning into quiet off-season mode. You will have your own private space with access to all community amenities.

Key Stats.

Year founded


Size of project site

0.6 hectares

Languages spoken

  • Tzʼutujil
  • English
  • Español

People on site

1 - 10

Dry season

November to April

Wet season

May to October

Living Conditions.


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

Vegetarian Food

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


  • None: Off the grid


Firefly Gardens is currently offering the following opportunities:

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

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