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.

We are passionate about offering hands-on earth-focused building experiences through workshops and volunteering. We help to facilitate cultural exchange between international backpackers and indigenous Tzutujil families. Our center is grounded in sharing, caring, and the principles of Permaculture and authentic Eco-tourism.  

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

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Medicinal Plant Forest Walk / Mirador

Go for a walk in the neighbouring cloud forest with our local Mayan guide and Firefly caretaker Cheyo! He can also guide you up the ridge to a beutiful mirador over the lake.

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 :)

Volunteer work-stay

11月 01 - 12月 26, 2019Minimum stay: 5 nightsMaximum capacity: 3 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 off-grid and include solar lights/,charging, compost toilet, 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.

$5/day goes towards communal food costs. Cooking food for eachother is one of the volunteer jobs here.

There is an Earthbag Dome, with a 2nd floor loft available, and our outdoor yoga shala. We are also building a stone bathroom building and bamboo greenhouse. We have a full kitchen, solar oven, composting toilet, 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.

Cosmic Cob Cottage VIP Festival Retreat

Available: 12月 27 - 1月 04, 2020Minimum stay: 4 nightsMaximum capacity: 3 people
Food Not Included
An ideal festival accommodation experience for 2-3 people!

Located in the lush avocado forest up the hill, with HOT SHOWERS and only a 5 minute walk from Cosmic Convergence Festival.....check out this totally unique opportunity to stay in "Casa Bela" at Firefly Gardens.

Experience private VIP "glamping" in our comfortable earthen home and off-grid garden haven a short walk from the festival grounds.

-Stay in Casa Bela, a beautiful cob & timber frame tiny house.
-Lockable door, hammock and private indoor space
-2nd floor loft with high quality double bed perfect for a couple.
-There is also a single bed for a 3rd guest on the ground floor.
-Includes all bedding, blankets, towels, and
-Simple solar lighting system & inverter for charging your devices.

-On the property you have shared access to
-Full kitchen with stove and basics,
-Pressurized hot solar greenhouse shower,
-Filtered drinking water,
-Composting toilets,
-Firepit area,
-Bamboo relaxation temple,
-and large Cob/Bamboo yoga deck.

-A Safe Space with local security on-site 24/7.

Enjoy our awesome communal areas and your own private space to relax in between sets at the festival. The perfect option to have a magical little getaway during the gathering, while staying in walk-able distance close to the action for the wildest New Year's Eve celebration you've ever seen!

Key Stats.

Year founded


Size of project site

0.6 hectares

Languages spoken

  • Tzʼutujil
  • English
  • Español

People on site

2 - 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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