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San Jose Village

Getting Here & Around | Accommodations | Area Attractions

San Jose is all Mopan Maya. It was established in 1954 when farmers in the nearby forest came together and formed the village so their children could go to school. The area that is now San Jose was attractive because of the fertile farm land and two rivers that flow year-round, winding throughout the village. San Jose is known for being a progressive Maya Village. Most families depend on farming organic cacao, corn, beans, vegetables, and livestock for income. The San Jose Women's Craft Group is working to provide an alternative family income to help pay for basic family needs, including education and medicine.

The best thing about visiting and living in San Jose is experiencing firsthand the life of indigenous Maya people and the village they call home. It is a laid back atmosphere with quiet star-filled evenings, cool Maya Mountain breezes, friendly local people, fresh fruits, locally grown food, cool swimming holes, beautiful forest and wildlife.

Getting to and around San Jose

Village buses from Punta Gorda to San Jose are available every market day (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat) at either 11:30 am or 12:00 pm. Ask locals in town for directions to the bus which is owned by either the Bolon or Choc family.

Transportation in San Jose is by foot, or you can ask a villager to borrow their horse.

Accommodation and Meals

San Jose Village participates in the Maya Village Homestay Network. Read more information about the program and how you can participate.

Attractions around San Jose Village

Caving: Gibnut Cave is nearby and can be reached via local farm trails. There are remains of ancient Maya pottery scattered throughout the cave. Other caves are scattered throughout the surrounding Maya Mountains and further exploration of these caves can be arranged though any of the local trail guide groups.

Hiking: The forest surrounding San Jose Village is easily explored by the numerous farm trails that connect to the village.

Jungle Treks: San Jose is the ideal jumping off point for the hard to reach and remote portions of the Columbia and Chiquibul Forest Reserves. Trail guide groups in San Jose can help you arrange 1 to 12 day jungle treks through some of Belize's last remaining old-growth rainforests. Contact Valentino Tzub, Alfredo Sho, or Felipe Teck.

Tour a Maya Farm: Learn about the farming techniques handed down for generations and how they have been adapted to modern needs. Farmers take great pride in their land and crops cultivated. San Jose is one of the leading communities, in the Toledo District, that is producing organic cacao for sale in the United Kingdom. The importance of cacao dates back to the ancient Maya times and it is exciting to see the importance of this crop in San Jose today. All you have to do is ask about a man's farm and he'll be glad to show you around.

Swimming: Two, clear, cool, rivers run though the village of San Jose with a nice swimming hole at each bend, they are a great way to cool down from a day spent working, exploring, or relaxing.

Maya Sites: Locals know of ancient Mayan burial mounds and of unexcavated Maya sites.

Toledo Maya Botanical Garden: Contact Alfredo Sho for a trip to his botanical garden. Hike the trail and learn about local plants, timber and fruit trees, and medicinal plant uses.

San Jose Village Women's Craft Group: Sixty plus Maya women create a variety of crafts in their spare time from jipijapa baskets to embroidery, beaded and seed jewelry to carving Maya Gods and Goddesses on calabash gords, as well as sewing traditional Maya dresses and blouses. The women have recently opened a craft shop in San Jose across from the school.

Cultural Activities: Include customary meals, cooking lessons, Maya music and dance with musical instruments such as the marimba, Maya harp, violin, and guitar.

Sporting Events: Almost every afternoon people play volleyball or football (soccer).

NGO's: San Jose is working with Sustainable Harvest International, PLENTI, INCAP, United States Peace Corps, Toledo Maya Womens Council.

Volunteer Opportunities exist in working with the Toledo Maya Botanical Garden. Contact Sustainable Harvest International or Alfredo Sho for arrangements.

Note: For information specific to Na Luum Ca Village and Aguacate Village contact the Maya Village Homestay Network.

Maya Villages:  San Jose Village | Na Luum Ca | Aguacate Village

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