This year I had the privilege of traveling to Lake Atitlan and Antigua, Guatemala with Alyssa Yamamoto and the Hiptipico team. Beyond making awesome products that preserve traditional textiles and repurpose them for modern use, what I was most impressed by is the transparency their community offers into the lives of the artisans. Not only do Alyssa and her team show you behind the scenes of their daily operations, but the artisans themselves choose how they want to be introduced, shared, and involved on Hiptipico’s social channels and ethical travel itineraries.
Alyssa’s creative eye combined with the talent and skill of the artisans results in a high-quality product that contributes to and empowers the Maya communities of Guatemala. Hiptipico is not the only company that remakes huipiles and textiles into bags and camera straps, but it’s clear that they do it the best. In addition to recycling fabrics found at the local markets where the textiles have been bought-and-sold multiple times, Alyssa wanted the weavers themselves to benefit directly from the sale of Hiptipico products and has begun sourcing directly from female-led weaving co-ops to produce an exclusive woven collection. Their mission at Hiptipico goes far beyond making cool products- they give artisans a voice and a fair wage, they show their customers exactly how their dollars can benefit a community, they offer an inside look into how the textiles are really made, and most importantly they bridge the connection between artisan and customer.
How to Travel Ethically in Guatemala
Visiting Guatemala with Hiptipico is a great choice for travelers, students, families, industry professionals, and bloggers interested in sourcing textiles, learning about textiles, or simply wanting a memorable experience. This is not voluntourism. Voluntourism often refers to practices that lead well-intentioned travelers to believe they are doing “good” while abroad, but in reality, are doing more harm because the impact made is not lasting, sustainable, or empowering to the local community. (You can read more about why voluntourism is bad here.)
If you are a traveler who wants to contribute to a local community in Guatemala, the best way is by traveling with a company (like Hiptipico) that is committed long-term to empowering the women and mothers, which will then benefit their families and children. Alyssa has lived in Panajachel, Guatemala for seven years and has built her company around a mission of supporting the creativity and tradition of Maya culture and Guatemala’s local communities. She is committed to the cause and is dedicated to sharing her experience in a transparent and thoughtful way.
As a traveler and consumer, every dollar you spend is a vote for the kind of world you want to live in, so spend wisely. One of the most effective and responsible ways to do good while traveling is to support businesses like Hiptipico that provide lasting and sustainable benefits to local economies. Invest your spending money in vendors, organizations, and companies that employ locals and provide living wages. Hiptipico admits they are proud to be a part of the “slow-fashion movement”, where each item is thoughtfully hand-made and offers an alternative to mass-produced products. You can get involved by planning your travel to Guatemala with Hiptipico or simply by shopping their products!
Your ethical travel itinerary with Hiptipico is customizable. Plan a full detailed itinerary for your whole trip or schedule a daily tour, either private or with a group. Click here to browse through your options or visit Hiptipico’s blog to see the itinerary from my trip.
Lake Atitlan and Antigua Guatemala Travel Itinerary
Santa Catarina Palopo
In-home Weaving Demonstration with Hiptipico Artisan Maria
Accommodations at Tzampoc Resort
Day trip to Central America’s Largest Market
San Juan La Laguna
Textile Demonstration at a female-led artisan co-op
Accommodations at Lush Atitlan in San Marcos la Laguna
Explore the town, a UNESCO World Heritage site
Accommodations at Good Hotel Antigua
Shop My Favorite Hiptipico Products
Planning your trip to Guatemala or have any questions about my experience? Drop a comment below!