Find us @:
Mundo Maya International Airport, Petén 17029,
tel: + 502 55 75 43 35
Skype: manuel.villamar 
okanchac@tikalcnx.com

facebook: @ Tikal Connection Tou Operator

SPANISH SCHOOLS


ECO-ESCUELA

Our unique Eco-Escuela program combines intensive language instruction with informal environmental education. Our mission is to immerse students in the fascinating culture, and ecology of the Petén region of Guatemala, an area renowned for its tropical forest and ancient Maya Ruins.
At Eco-Escuela you will learn Spanish in a traditional Petén community. The school is owned and managed by a group of 56 local families, distributed between teachers and host families of the community, all conscious of the importance of conservation and the preservation of the environment for the future of children. 
Eco-Escuela started as a development project of ProPetén-C.I. to support conservation in the Maya Biosphere Reserve. It achieved independence three years after its establishment, turning  into a community business, owned by local people interested in the conservation of the environment. 
Eco-Escuela is located in San Andrés on the shore of Lake Petén Itzá, thirty minutes by boat from Flores. With a population of approximately 6,000 people, San Andrés is a small rural Petén community.


Spanish Instruction:
Classes are offered in weekly intervals, beginning every Monday throughout the year. Students have the chance to study 4 to 6 hours per day. Classes run Monday - Friday, in the mornings or in the afternoons and students may stay as many weeks as they want.
The school accepts students of all levels, from absolute beginner to advanced speakers. All classes are one-on-one, providing intense individual attention. Upon arrival, you will be given a written exam to assess your ability and to help us identify the most appropriate teaching materials and techniques for your level.
Thereafter, your experienced, certified teacher will work with you at your own pace to develop and strengthen reading, writing, conversation and comprehension skills.
At the Eco-Escuela classes are held in spacious buildings overlooking Lake Petén Itzá, with many windows to let in sunlight and fresh air in, students are provided with a comfortable learning environment

Homestay:
Living with a local family is a very special experience. San Andreseños are friendly, generous and welcoming to visitors. They enjoy sharing jokes and stories of their lives in the region. In addition to daily language interaction outside the classroom, home stays also provide a unique opportunity to participate in the lives and customs of the people. These living arrangements also allow students to observe how local families depend on the forest and its resources as part of their day-to-day existence.
Each family is carefully selected and most have worked with the school for several years. All homes are located within walking distance of the school. Accommodations are modest, but comfortable. Each student has her/his own room and usually shares a bathroom and shower with the family. Students are provided with three meals a day. Laundry is an additional cost. Living arrangements for couples, friends and families can be accommodated.

Cultural and Ecological Immersion:
Our group is dedicated to jungle conservation, naturally giving our students the opportunity to participate in the variety of ecological and social activities organized by the school. Among these activities, we have the following:
Environment themed class discussions:
Students will exchange knowledge with local naturalists, midwives, chicle harvesters, and community members who can teach interested students about traditional cooking and local recipes.

Volunteer work:
Sacbequecan Interpretative Trail:
This is a municipality land given to Eco-Escuela in order to manage and protect it as a community reserve for future generations. The Eco-Escuela invests a percentage of its income to provide trail maintenance and land control. The area is designed for the observation of lumber-producing trees (mahogany and Spanish cedar), non-lumber trees (Chico-zapote, allspice, xate) and fruit-bearing trees and other species native to region.
There are opportunities for students to do voluntary work in the area accompanied by locals who provide firsthand knowledge about forest culture.

Ixcalap Reforestation Area:
Here we work preserving our forest. Students have the opportunity to support this community project developing activities such as cleaning trails, planting seeds as web as educational walks in the forest.

Macantun Public Beach:

  • Canoe trips on the lake
  • Traditional cooking
  • Ecological video presentations
  • Sport afternoons
  • Public dances
  • Readings on regional ecology, traditions, and customs by community leaders and families working with our school

 

Special Volunteer Work
When students have a higher level of Spanish and a minimum of four weeks of classes, it is possible to coordinate activities giving the student opportunities to visit healers, midwives and local organizations that could benefit from your personal time and commitment to conversation and sustainable development expertise. 
A Social Program:
In addition to providing jobs for more than 56 families in the town, our School dedicates 5% of its income, to the support of community projects benefiting the general population, including:

Economic support and supplies to schools

  • Remodeling of the local Eduardo Fión Elementary School
  • Rebuilding of a playground at the 29 de Agosto Elementary School
  • Donation of School supplies to needy children at the beginning of every school year
  • Economic support and supply of materials to schools

Safety in Our Region:
The political situation in Guatemala has improved significantly over the last several years. In 1996 a peace accord was signed, bringing to an end many years of political unrest throughout the country.
Tourism is a foundation of the Petenero economy, and the local people are welcoming to tourists. As when traveling to any foreign country, individuals should always use good judgment and take necessary safety precautions.


ESCUELA BIO ITZA


Greetings, from the heart of Guatemala's tropical Petén region! We would like to personally invite you to our community-owned Spanish language school in San José for an exciting intercultural, educational experience you won't soon forget. Our unique program combines intensive language instruction with informal environmental education and cultural enrichment. Our mission is to immerse students in the fascinating language, culture, and ecology of the Petén region of Guatemala, an area renowned for its tropical forest.
The San José villagers who run the school trace their roots back to the ancient Maya people. In fact, the Maya Itzá language was originally the only language spoken in San José. Today, only a handful of villagers know the language. Realizing the need to preserve the foundation of their culture, the village of San José is now dedicated to reviving the Maya Itzá' language and other traditional practices.
Time spent in San José will include intensive Spanish language instruction and participation in projects of the Itzá people. The school has developed a curriculum that combines classroom studies with field trips and volunteer work opportunities. While students focus on Spanish language training, they are also introduced to the traditional heritage of the local people by visiting the Bio-Itzá Reserve, a conservation area of 36 sq. km.

Spanish Instruction:
Classes are offered in weekly intervals, beginning every Monday throughout the year. Students have the chance to study 4 to 6 hours per day. Classes run Monday through Friday, in the mornings or in the afternoons and students may stay as many weeks as they wish. The school accepts students of all levels, from absolute beginner to advance. All classes are one-on-one, providing you with intense individual attention. Upon arrival, you will be given a written exam to assess your ability and to help us identify the most appropriate teaching materials and techniques for your level. Thereafter, your experienced, certified teacher will work with you at your own pace to develop and strengthen reading, writing, conversation and comprehension skills.
At Bio-Itzá, classes are held in a comfortable room with many windows and ceiling fans, a second room with a beautiful view of Lake Petén Itzá, and a spacious garden area for those who want to maximize their time spent outdoors.
In addition to Spanish training, the town of San José is committed to recovering the foundation of their culture which is the Maya Itzá language. For this reason, the town supports the teaching of Maya Itzá in the local schools. Students attending the Bio-Itzá school have the opportunity to attend talks given by the Guatemalan Mayan Language Academy about projects to conserve and teach the Maya Itzá language. Furthermore, in San José, there is "La Academia de las Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala" or "The Academy of the Mayan Languages of Guatemala" which is devoted to investigating the origins of this language. Students are welcome to visit the Academy and participate in its activities.

Homestay:
Living with a local family is a very special experience. San Josefinos are friendly, generous and welcoming to visitors. They are proud of their indigenous heritage and enjoy celebrating cultural dances and festivals and wearing traditional clothing. In addition to daily language interaction outside the classroom, homestays provide a unique opportunity to participate in the lives and customs of the people of these two neighboring communities. These living arrangements also allow students to observe how local families depend on the forest and its resources as part of their day-to-day existence.
Each family is carefully selected. All homes are located within walking distance of the school. Accommodations are modest, but comfortable. Each student has her/his own room and usually shares a bathroom and shower with the family. Students are provided with three meals a day. Laundry is an additional cost. Living arrangements for couples, friends and families can be accommodated.

Extra Class Activities:
Language classes are usually held in the morning so students can enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the outdoors conversing and spending time with the locals. Depending on the weather, our students can take part in a variety of activities from cooking lessons to visiting the Maya Languages Academy where the elderly work to keep the Maya heritage alive by teaching younger children the Itzá language. Students can also accompany the local people as they to gather species.

Volunteer Opportunities:
While studying at the Bio-Itzá school, you will be provided with an opportunity to do volunteer work. This volunteer work will not only help the development of the town and the conservation of the surrounding environment, but will also enhance your learning experience at the school.
Specific volunteer opportunities for the Bio-Itzá school include:

Traditional Uses of Medicinal Plants:
Until the later part of this century, San Jose's inhabitants utilized medicinal plants to cure illnesses. Local knowledge of the medicinal properties in these plants was not written down but transferred verbally from one generation to the next. Today, various social factors and the introduction and promotion of modern medicine is threatening to extinguish the wealth of knowledge about these plants that has accumulated over the past 1000 years. Furthermore, many of the medicinal plants that were traditionally found in the area no longer exist due to the growth of surrounding communities. Only a few remaining community members still remember receiving natural medicine treatments as children.
It was the Bio-Itzá Women's Group in San Jose that came up with the idea to rescue the knowledge and use of San Jose's medicinal plants. They have established a garden with an interpretive path and a production center for extraction of medicinal properties, and for processing the plants into the form of dyes and dried plants that can then be sold in local markets. The School curriculum includes voluntary opportunities to work with the women's group and learn about the use of medicinal plants. If you are interested in participating or would like more information about these activities, please contact Tikal Connection Tour Operator at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
If you have special interest in learning about the use of Medicinal Plants there you can participate in a weekly program to do voluntary job and work with the Women's Group.
Traditional uses of Non-timber Forest Products (NTFP) are forest products (other than lumber) such as leaves, seeds, branches, vines, etc. These products were used by ancient communities in the Petén for subsistence and ceremonial purposes. In addition to hunting and gathering agriculture, forest communities were dedicated to protect these natural resources as they were the economic foundation of their way of life.

The Bio-Itzá Reserve:
Located 24 kilometers to the northeast of San José, is the first Cultural and Etnobotanical Reserve in Guatemala. Bio-Itzá Reserve promotes the preservation of Maya Itzá culture as well as the sustainable use of natural resources by local people.
Managed directly by the Bio-Itzá Association, the reserve offers opportunities to learn about the forest, its six archaeological sites and the work of the local guards who patrol the perimeter of the area and maintain the trails.
A very basic "ecocamp" has been built near the Reserve in the traditional style of the tropical forest. The School also offers tours to the Reserve at reasonable prices. Tours are one day and one night and include overnight with the option of horseback riding.

Safety in Our Region:
The political situation in Guatemala has improved significantly over the last several years. In 1996 a peace accord was signed, bringing to an end many years of political unrest throughout the country.
Tourism is a foundation of the Petén economy, and the local people are welcoming to tourists. As when traveling to any foreign country, individuals should always use good judgment and take necessary safety precautions.

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