Permaculture and Sustainable Projects at Villa Sumaya
Villa Sumaya is Thriving in Harmony with Mother Nature.
Eco Sumaya is our ongoing vision to build a more ecologically-sustainable, natural sanctuary. We apply permaculture, alternative energy technology, and ancient Mayan agricultural techniques to achieve our goals. We have designed and implemented several living permaculture projects to energize a model ecosystem that promotes prosperous interdependence with the Earth. Our intention is to reconnect individuals with new holistic understandings of green principles in their own daily life.
Since 1999, we have been cultivating a sense of stewardship and appreciation for the food and herbs that nourish our body, mind, and spirit. Our initiatives include medicinal and culinary herb gardens, a citrus and food forest as well as propagating mixed greens and fresh wheatgrass for our restaurant. Café Sumaya Sol produces its own line of raw-living snacks and features a live juice bar. Chickens produce an abundance of organic eggs while contributing to our composting mix.
What We're Doing
Works in progress at Sumaya include:
- Managing our own pure water well, rain catchment installation, and erosion control systems
- Utilizing as many local and organic products as possible (from soaps to food)
- Using solar technology for hot water, hot tub, electrical power, and pumping water
- Seed collection and propagation of native species and biodiversity
- Integrated compost management
- Food forest development, reforestation projects, Eco Sumaya trails and a map of our food forest
- Selling reusable drink containers for to-go drinks, instead of plastic water bottles
- Stuffing plastic water bottles with clean trash for eco-bricks used in building projects
- Composting food waste, reducing, re-purposing and upcycling wherever possible
- Selling local handmade fair-trade items in our boutique
- Offering 95% local and vegetarian cuisine
Villa Sumaya is nestled in a landlocked bay on the north shore of beautiful Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. We are located on 18 acres in the traditional homeland of the indigenous Maya. This area is known to the Maya as the belly button of the Earth. We look directly across the lake at three spectacular volcanoes.
Our 5,000 foot altitude and proximity to the equator offers a high plane semi-tropical paradise often referred to as “the land of eternal spring." The deep caldera walls of the lake create a powerful inverse vortex to the volcanic mountains and ridges above, creating tremendous beauty and distinct natural challenges to work with.
Two green seasons (May/June and Sept/Oct) anchor a long dry season which spans from November to April every year. An additional dry season or spring break known as “canicula” comes each year in July and August. The sheer quantity of exotic flowers, trees and plant species is further enhanced by the abundance of bird life affording excellent first hand opportunities for bird watchers and naturalist alike.
Eco Sumaya Wish List
- A solar panel system to charge flashlights and phones
- Heirloom seeds for our food forest (we are in the Mediterranean zone)
- Excalibur 9-tray food dehydrator
- Special bee boxes with easy pour honey spouts
- Bee smoker and suit
Sumaya's Bee Initiative
We would like to bring bees back to the Lake Atitlan basin by helping other like-minded centers and ourselves to establish bee colonies. We also envision a local team of beekeepers who are trained to support this vision.