The design of an ecotourism route that involves coffee and cocoa producing farms, as well as microenterprises, is one of the initiatives that are part of the project “Improving the quality of life of cocoa and coffee producing families in western Honduras“, implemented by the ETEA Foundation – Development Institute of Loyola University together with the Coffee Cooperative “Fraternidad Ecológica Limitada” – CAFEL with funds from the Spanish cooperation (AECID).
The route aims to take advantage of the potential of Copán as one of the most outstanding tourist destinations in Honduras, for its different natural and archaeological attractions and its cultural diversity. The ecotourism offer includes the establishment of training campuses on coffee and cacao for professionals in the sector and tourists who love this type of experience. In addition, some productive farms have been considered to offer adventure, meditation, relaxation, rest and local gastronomy.
Diversification with a leadership approach
The purpose of this route is to diversify the economic income of the producer families, as well as to entertain local and international tourists by raising awareness of the productive sector and its good agricultural practices. At the beginning of this project, 20 participants with the potential to achieve the objectives of the route were identified.
In the first phase of this initiative, the training component is being developed through a motivational camp aimed at promoting leadership and entrepreneurship among coffee and cacao producing families, as well as people linked to companies in the tourism sector. Using a methodology based on recreational learning, more than 60 people from 10 municipalities in the area have participated in these workshops, which have addressed economic, social, political, environmental and management issues, among others.
The second phase will focus on geographic issues (measurement of times between points along the route,…) and on the evaluation of those farms with the greatest potential to strategically connect with tourist sites, especially those linked to the Mayan culture.
The aim is to develop an attractive tourist experience for visitors that is adequately integrated into the daily routine of the productive fields.
Connection with the Mayan culture
In the Honduran department of Copán, in the north of the country, there are three recognized sites of the ancestral Mayan people: the archaeological park El Puente, located in the municipality of La Jigua; the archaeological park of Rio Amarillo, better known as La Castellana and La Canteada, located in the municipality of Santa Rita; and the Mayan site of Copan Ruinas, which represents the greatest expression of the Mayan civilization in the Honduran territory, for which it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.