Santa Catarina Lake Atitlan Guatemala Terrace Farming

Here is a video and a few photos of the terrace farming down above the village of Santa Catarina on Lago Atitlan in Guatemala.

This is a farmer who explained the crops being grown up at this level, his name is Hymie, and however I probably am spelling incorrectly.

Panajachel, Guatemala --- Saturday, March 20, 2010
By Andy Graham of


Guatemalan farmers for the most part are Hoe Farmers, I cannot remember ever seeing tractors here, but there may be some in flatter areas. If you study human development, there are different levels, something like:

Hunter Gatherers
Animal Ploughs
Diesel or Gas Tractors

Subsistence Farming
I would estimate that roughly 50 percent of the planet is farmed with hoes, which is often called subsistence farming. I used to think this was sad, I am now happy when I see subsistence farming because it is 100 percent employment and give higher levels of pride to the farmer.

Subsistence farmers generally only grow enough to feed their family, they are self-employed, while they may eat some of their crops, they also sell some for other products. It is difficult for them to lose their jobs; they are employed through economic lows and highs

I believe many tourist feel sorry for these farmers because they never done hard work in their life, and realize they are too lazy to do this type of work; this creates havoc on the planet with inappropriate and irresponsible behavior by the tourist.

This is a view from the farm plot as it looks out over Lake Atitlan here in Guatemala. I consider this one of the most beautiful lakes on the planet, where I am standing is one of the most beautiful and wonderful place I have ever encountered in my 12 years and 88 countries of travel, this is truly a place on top of the world.

As I understood Himie, this is not string beans; he is growing Black, Red, and White beans, and some Onions. I asked about Peanuts, but he said they were grown in other locations.

The farmer is using water that is coming from a small stream or crick that has started at the top of this small mountain to irrigate his plots. Each Terrace or Tablon is not level, this water more or less flows around the plots when he diverts or splashes the water onto the plots. He had a bag of top soil that he was spreading on top of the existing to plot to help new onion seeds to germinate.

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Santa Catarina Lake Atitlan Guatemala Terrace Farming


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How much is a house lot with a view like that cost ?

"WOW"! What a gorgeous location! I know this is not beach, but with the lake, mountains and central location this looks like it might make my top 10 list of potenal places to retire. Did not even think of it until now. I think I'll start researching Guatemala right now. For more information visit

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