Finca Ixobel is an ecolodge located in the northern jungles of Guatemala. Our family spent four wonderful days relaxing, swimming, hiking and eating unbelievably delicious food.
This self sufficient community was founded by Carole DeVine and Michael Devine, two Americans who travelled in down to Central America in search of a perfect piece of land to purchase. Since they bought the 400 acres in 1971 the community has evolved to house several houses, outbuilding, barns, natural swim lake, cabins and campgrounds. The vibe of this place is like no other. I attribute it to the fact that each detail has been lovingly hand created with the help of volunteers from around the world.
It is possible to volunteer at the ecolodge for room and board. We stayed as guests but the boys dove right in to volunteering with the animals. They woke up every morning at 6:30 (often while Dr. J and I slept!) and gathered for the morning meeting where responsibilities were assigned and they worked with the horses, chickens and even fed the turtles one morning. It was with a great sense of pride that my youngest gathered the chicken eggs each morning and brought them to the kitchen to be used for the days meals.
Ways that Finca Ixobel is eco friendly include it’s self sufficient water supply from natural springs on the property. They use a RAM PUMP SYSTEM which doesn’t use any energy source save the water and air pressure. There is a solar clothes dryer. All the food is composted and they use velmiculture (red worms) to produce black dirt. There has been an ongoing reforestation program to plant native plants and fruit trees.
The natural swimming pond is a spring fed and chemical free. There are several hammock huts around the swimming pond as well as a floating dock and water slide. To say I enjoyed spending time in the hammocks is an understatement.
Check out this little friendly guy the boys discovered, the poor fellow ended up in a cup with cellophane and air hole for the better part of the day until I FIRMLY informed my boys that under NO circumstances was he coming into MY cabin.
We stayed in a Deluxe Cabin which was a free standing building on stilts. The private bathroom was downstairs and our room consisted of three double beds with mosquito netting as well as a balcony with a private hammock and table with stools. Needless to say it was perfect.
There is an un-excavated pyramid on site which we braved
the heat and humidity of the jungle to climb. We kind of got lost and became very disoriented as the trails are not very obvious. My older son was worried we would get attacked by guerrillas which my younger son took to mean large monkeys were going to eat us. We laughed all the way down to safety.
The meals were all served with an honor system. You could help yourself to many foods and drinks during the day and just record it in the binder under your name. The evening meal was a family style meal which usually included two choices of main dishes, several side dishes and salads as well as a vegetarian option. Everything was either produced on site or bought locally so it was all seasonal. We often ate by candle light and my boys were the official dinner bell ringers during our stay. Carol the owner and her daughter joined us for most meals and it was very interesting to sit and talk with her, as well as volunteers and guests from around the world.
These two macaws were at the front of the property. One was very friendly and talkative, the other was rumored to have bitten a finger or two.
One of the coolest experiences of my life was going to the jungle bar.
Picture making your way into a dark jungle, in the middle of the night with the sound of music beats as your only guide. Dr. J and I did this one night and it was a pretty neat experience to find a bar in the middle of the jungle. The picture above is what the bar looked like during the day!
Have you every stayed at an ecolodge?