This two-week intensive course goes above and beyond the full 72 hour curriculum as laid out by the founders of Permaculture. Using a great mix of field trips, practical work, numerous guest facilitators, and design practicals, this course provides participants with much more than just the internationally recognised Permaculture Design Certificate. It also provides the foundations for a new way to see the world. How to capture energy, become a producer, and respect and encourage diversity. Led by Shad Qudsi, the renowned ninja farmer of Atitlan Organics and Ronny Lec, founder of the Instituto MesoAmericano de Permacultura (IMAP). Price includes course, field trips, plus all food and shared lodging across the two sites.


Our amazing course curriculum covers SIXTEEN points:

1. Permaculture Ethics and Principals of Natural Systems and Design

The course begins by covering the three main Permaculture Principles of Earth Care, People Care, and Sharing the Abundance.

2. Mayan Cosmology and the Influence on Natural Systems

This is a special component that is unique to our course. Led by our lead facilitator Ronaldo Lec, an indigenous Mayan Anthropologist, this component will provide an in depth look at the Mayan calendar and how to use this and other astrological tools to guide your interaction with the landscape. Aside from the calendar, there will be ample opportunities to connect with native Mayan communities and learn traditional techniques of seed saving, food production, and indigenous design. 

3. Understanding Natural Systems and the Establishment of the 3 Major Land Types within a Site

This section takes a look at trees and forests, as well as wetland areas, pasture, and other natural ecosystems in order to understand the importance of each and how they can be integrated together to build resilient landscapes.

4. Earthworks, Swales, Contours, and Deep Site Modification

Earthworks are a major piece of permaculture that often gets overlooked. Stripping native vegetation can often cause people to shudder and write this whole process off as not being ecologically sound. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

5. Water Management, Capture, and Efficient Use

Water is the most important resource that is available for us to capture and utilize. We cover a wide range of strategies across a variety of different climatic conditions for the efficient capture, storage, and use of water.

6. Permaculture Gardening Techniques, Soil Basics, and Fertility Management

Mainly a Zone 1 and 2 strategy, this part of the course will cover intensive vegetable gardening techniques that allow for big production in small spaces with minimal reliance on outside inputs.

7. Sustainable Animal Systems, Wetland Integration, and other Innovative Land-Use Strategies

This part of the course will cover a variety of animal systems and their integration into the total landscape design. Free range systems, rotational grazing, wetland integration, grazing within food forests, and other designs will all be covered in detail.

8. Food Forest Establishment

This is where all the various components come together, focusing on the integration of animals, wetlands, and perennial/annual productions systems.

9. Seed Banks and Plant Propagation

Nursery work and seed saving are major activities that can aid in building the diversity of a site. Learn to master the tools that nature has given us, which allow us to tap into her abundance through the use of propagation material for useful plants.

10. Value-Adding, Fermentation, and Handling Abundance

Another component that is heavy on the hands-on participation. Students will have the opportunity to kill and process a chicken (which will be part of their meals for non-vegetarians), as well as milking goats and making cheese/yogurt. There will be a fermentation workshop and lectures on how to preserve the harvest and improve its value over time, without diminishing the nutritive value.

11. Small-Scale, Sustainable, Land-based Business Opportunities

Another unique aspect of our course is the focus on making a sustainable and comfortable living based on a Permaculture site. Basic business models for small-scale cottage industries are covered, as well as case studies of past successes and failures.

12. Aquaculture

We will briefly cover aquaculture and the diversification of landscapes via ponds, wetlands, and water systems. Useful plants, animals, and water retention systems will be looked at and the opportunities for aquaculture will be covered, with relevant examples provided.

13. Natural Building

Guest Speaker Charlie Rendall will be leading the natural building component of the course. His specialty is building with bamboo, but he also has extensive experience in cob structures, natural stucco, traditional stone buildings, thatch roofing, and many other natural building techniques.

14. Alternative Technology

Both passive and active technologies will be explored, with many examples and hands-on opportunities.

15. Community-Based Alternatives and Invisible Structures

Building on the small-scale business opportunities for permaculturists, this lecture will examine invisible structures at play in the current prevailing socioeconomic arrangement and cover a variety of ways that we can work to change the status quo.

16. Design for Climate Change and Resilience to Natural Disasters

This area will focus on how to design for climate change and natural catastrophe, via the built-in resiliency that can be achieved by permaculture design. 


A typical day would look like this:

7:00 - 8:00 Breakfast

8:00 - 10:00 Practical #1

10:00 - 10:30 Snack break

10:30 - 1:00 Practical #2

1:00 - 2:30 Lunch, break

2:30 -4:30 Review and Presentation

4:30 - 7:30 Free time and Dinner

7:30 - 8:30 Optional Movie


  • "The most fruitful thing I'll walk away with is a feeling of empowerment and understanding how we can implement what we learned . . . into any and all aspects of our lives.” -Todd, England, Class of April 2015
  • All-Inclusive price covers all course facilitation, materials, field trips, food and shared lodging across both sites!
  • Delicious, nourishing vegetarian meals prepared from fresh, local ingredients plus snacks and dessert
  • "Before last week I had never thought about Permaculture. Now I will use it for the rest of my life."

Living Conditions.


  • shared rooms

Vegetarian Food

  • restaurant on site
  • over 80% locally sourced


  • medium: voice calls (no video)

Getting here.

The PDC begins with a week at IMAP. IMAP’s educational center is located in the community of Pachitulul, on the south edge of Lake Atitlán between San Lucas Tolimán and Santiago Atitlán.

You can get here by going to Panajachel and then taking a boat to Santiago and a pickup to IMAP. Alternatively, we’d also be happy to book you a taxi that can bring you directly here from Guatemala City or Antigua for $100.


1) Take a shuttle from the airport to Panajachel (3 hours, $25). Atitrans has 3 daily shuttles, but there are other companies out there. Just make sure to leave before noon in order to secure a spot and get here in good time.

2) From Panajachel you’ll take a public boat (“lancha”) to Santiago (40 minutes, Q25 – have exact change ready). There is no direct boat to San Lucas Tolimán. The last boat for Santiago leaves from Panajachel between 4.00pm and 5.00pm.

3) When you arrive in Santiago, walk up the hill and when you see a restaurant called El Pescador on the corner, go left to the end of the street. Here you can catch a pickup to IMAP / Pachitulul (20 minutes, Q5).

4) You will see a sign on your left-hand side after you pass the small town of Cerro de Oro that says IMAP / Pachitulul. Get off here. Walk 1 km down the path by the sign. IMAP will be on your left-hand side, across from the lakeshore.

If you have a lot of luggage, stay on the pickup and get off at San Lucas Toliman (10 minutes from IMAP), and catch a tuk tuk to IMAP / Pachitulul (Q10).


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