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Tarrales Farewell

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

One of my favorite images from Los Tarrales: a toddler-sized chicken with a chicken-sized toddler.

Los Tarrales is a place where an ecoutorist can feel at home, as if she is contributing something of value to a vital, functioning establishment which gracefully balances tourism with sustainable agriculture. A family goes to work in the morning, to cut flowers or hack away weeds with their machetes. They pass me, going out to watch birds. I remind myself that watching birds is part of my work. The baby has tiny diamond earrings. Eddie, whose older brother Josue showed us many elusive birds, arranges some freshly cut heliconias. It was hard to sneak up on Eddie; he's just as sharp as Josue.Hearing my camera, he gives me a shy smile. I look at the riches in the joint compound bucket, and know that a hotel in Boston or New York would willingly pay hundreds of dollars for such a bouquet of heliconias and gingers, if one could be had.

Just down the road, a white-tailed deer steps lightly across the path.
A Maya woman packs bananas for shipment, overlooking the playing fields that serve as a gathering place for Tarrales' residents. Cinnamon hummingbirds hover around a luminscent vine, its color shivering in the shadows. Petrea volubilis, Queen's Wreath (Verbenaceae). The true flowers are darker blue; the calyxes are persistent, and extend the apparent bloom time by hanging on. Thanks to Liz Gordon for the ID!

A passionflower glows like a hot coal as it clambers over a fence.
The rooster's comb is almost as bright.
He flaps, to show me that he is king of the rubbish dump.
Volcan Atitlan hovers over it all. I look at its slopes, knowing that horned guans clamber in the highest reaches of the forest. Having given its rich ash to the farm fields of Los Tarrales, it is silent, for now
while an unquiet neighbor to the east lets off a belch of smoke to start the day.These are some of my favorite images from an enchanted three days at Los Tarrales in Guatemala. Please, consider going there, too, for an ecotourism experience that excites, then calms the soul.


Now that is one heck of a farewell.
Three days filled with great shots and poetry in the details. Gracias!

Off the subject--everyone, watch the skies tonight for northern lights. We have an aurora alert.

What wonderful pictures, especially when accompanied by your comments. We truly feel that we had a little taste of what you saw and did.

I especially loved the toddler and the chicken. We have so enjoyed your trip. Thank you for sharing such great stories and pictures.

Julie, it's a land of the fortunate, for sure. The people, the smile, the toddler-sized chicken, and everything you have shown makes me groan with delight and desire to break away...

You did good. Thanks.

I had many Guatemalan neighbors when I was living in and apartment in Chicago. They were warm and friendly people who would bring me up plates of delicious food when they were having a fiesta.

I look forward to going to Guatemala some soon as someone tells me how big the spiders are, or where I can go to avoid them.

I'm serious. I have a phobia.

The woman with the bananas is Juana...her dad deivered the vegetables for years to Tarrales when Andy was a child...the magic is in the love!

Just so beautiful Julie. Thanks so much for taking us along.

I have loved this picture-tour of just three days!
And, would love more time there in person.

It seems this time of year, as we northerners anxiously await the return of greenness, it is even more appreciated!
Thank you!!


How is the best way to get there? I noticed on their web site that there are several bus connections. Which one do you recommend?

Volcanoes, redstarts, sustainable agroturism, who could ask for more?

Thanks for sharing the trip!

Lectric Lady, I'd be delighted for you to experience Los Tarrales. Questions that specific are best addressed to Reserve staff at


I came in a private vehicle so I'm not the best source for information on local buses.

Please keep in touch should you make it there!

Birdie, it was cloudy last night, bahh!

April, I don't remember seeing a single spider in Guatemala. Seriously. It's no buggier than the U.S.

Wizzie, thanks for the embroidery--you jump in anytime--you're a natural reporter.

Max, Nina, Mary,ncmountainwoman,Jayne, you are more than welcome. As you know, the joy is in the telling as well as the experience. Thank YOU for reading.

Just added Los Tarrales to my travel wish list... Someday!

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