2010-12-01

Carmelita unveiled III.

All this of course would not be possible without the active support of travel agencies in Flores, who, naturally, are all about the profit. It seems they don’t care if it is just one person benefiting from the tourism revenues of El Mirador, as long as the price of guides and mules is the lowest possible. Recently the Association of Travel Agencies in Flores (not sure if this is a legally existing organization) agreed on a fixed price for the 5-day hike to El Mirador, namely US$200. And they will send their groups to whoever offers the lowest price. According to Patricia, she will not reduce her prices that have been in effect for ever two years now just to start a pricing competition (she offers the same trip from Carmelita for about US$150). Apparently he logging cooperative will accept any group for any price as long as they get the job. My experiences support what Patricia told me, during my 10+ trips to El Mirador I often met with guides from the logging cooperative who often tried to persuade me not to employ Carlos as a guide, since he is not a member of the cooperative, even going to extremes in accusing him of being irresponsible, leaving people behind and stealing. Of course, none of this is true, nothing even close has ever happened on any of my trips guided by Carlos or his family members. Marina (or Maria) and Umberto, guides famous from El Mirador blogs were the worst, the former actually going up personally to anyone wanting to strike a deal with Carlos, and telling them that they should employ “cooperative guides” if they want to have a safe hike.

Carlos (who is also busy organizing and certifying a private collection of Maya artifacts with CONAP, similar to that in UaxactĂșn) in them meantime just shrugs, and tells me at the end the people who want him out of the business will lose to justice. I am not so sure.
It is not the purpose of this blog to provide justice, take sides or make business with anyone on either side (our guides work on a volunteer basis), all we can do is try to provide some extra information that might persuade future hikers to take a more responsible look at the situation in Carmelita, as opposed to foreign NGO’s using funds and a western approach, based on a few reports and day visits, to solve problems of community interrelations they claim to know all about.

4 comments:

  1. do these people have email?

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  2. No, since there is not even cell phone coverage in Carmelita, less email. Of course, most people have a cousin living in the city who has an email and they might even know it, but don't expect a reply or such...

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  3. Why is the link called "Carmelita phone numbers?" I don't see any phone information...

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