Church Village, San Carlos Village, and Lamanai
Touring Inc. offers clients the opportunity to assist with
sustainable community development in the communities of
Indian Church and San Carlos located in northern Belize
and surrounding the Lamanai Archaeological Reserve.
As a client of Beyond Touring you are NOT
obligated to volunteer on any level and simply
by traveling with us you help to support our goals.
CHURCH VILLAGE –
Church Village is immediately adjacent to the southern
boundary of the Lamanai Archaeological Reserve, in the
Orange Walk District in northern Belize and is home to
approximately 260 people. The majority of the residents
are originally from Guatemala and relocated to Belize
primarily between 1976 and 1978 during political unrest in
their home country.
They took their village name, “Indian Church,”
from the original name of the archaeological site, which
was changed to Lamanai when Spanish documents revealed it
as the original Maya name.
1991, a positive direction was taken when the government
of Belize established the archaeological reserve to
protect the cultural and natural resources immediately
surrounding the ancient Maya city.
The people of the village were then allocated
individual family plots of land and plots of land for
This is a remote rural village that is economically
there is no electricity, the school is substandard,
and employment opportunities are few.
However, most people are eager to learn and improve
their standards of education and living.
The village has a Craft
Training Project, the goal of which is to offer
residents a positive sustainable development endeavor that
will generate income from tourism, helping to improve
Many of the residents believe the project will
benefit the entire village because tourism is increasing
at the site of Lamanai.
This endeavor should entice tourists to support the
village through purchasing craft products on-site or
visiting the village to see the projects.
CARLOS VILLAGE –
village is located directly on the west bank of the New
River Lagoon about a 12 minutes drive south of the site of
Lamanai and is a cooperative village in which all land is
owned by the community, and allocated to individual family
There are approximately 200 people who reside in
this community who predominantly moved here in the early
1970's from the village of Guinea Grass.
The village is as of yet mostly technologically
Water is pumped from wells; electricity is only
used as a luxury by use of generator in the evening,
primarily for light and to power the communal television.
Its economy revolves around agriculture, which
includes a host of fruits and vegetables, including
onions, habanero peppers, and watermelons.
this time we are concentrating our efforts on Indian
Church but have plans in the near future to assist San
Carlos with sustainable tourism projects.
grassroots efforts raise funds through ecotourism for
This non-traditional private fund raising effort
offers numerous advantages to both the interested traveler
and local residents.
Travelers have an opportunity to truly 'give back'
to the areas they visit by becoming involved beyond
observation; they get first-hand knowledge of project
results, and get a new perspective on their own life
compared to residents of Indian Church.
and Current Projects –
stated above it is NOT A REQUIREMENT to partake,
below are some of our current and past projects.
There are numerous other possibilities but this
provides everyone with a good idea of what we are striving
of library books or supplies that meet the needs of
Donation of school supplies such as paper, pencils,
backpacks, uniforms, or other needed items
Donations of clothing
Assist with repairs, additions, or new construction
(carpenters, electricians, masons)
of cooperative relationships such as:
"Sister" Artisan Center
Medical Center, health organization, or hospital
Adoption or partnerships with the government
schools students, classes, and/or teachers
Partnership with a humane society or other
of artistic greeting cards with Maya symbols
ceramic skills including clay processing, hand building,
firing, and slipping
sewing, or silk screening techniques
Stone or woodcarving projects, including processing
projects for children or adults through either the library
or government school
Conservation lectures, fieldwork, or lesson plans
Health, safety, or sporting issues and programs
Farming methods and techniques