Camazotz Cohaven

Community-Driven Hospitality & Co-Living in Yucatan Mexico

Volunteer Program

Donate Your Skills, Energy & Time At Camazotz Cohaven To Help Us Improve On-Site Facilities For All Visitors & Guests

The property has provided dozens of volunteering programs over the years and we wish to maintain that tradition by hosting a new generation to work on important and interesting new projects at Camazotz Cohaven.

Get involved with dozens of projects to help restore the richness of the land, preserve culture, and create an inviting location for future visitors. The only problem is, you might not want to leave. 

1st Prize: Carpentry & Masonry

We have come to realize that our abundance of rocks and trees on the property are a wealth that we need to make good use of. 

There are probably dozens of projects that deserve the skillful attention of savvy carpenters and masons. 

We're aiming to build structures and decoration for various buildings including a green house and an open space kitchen area. Units, surfaces, shelving, window frames, bed frames, and so on. 

Oh, and wooden ornaments and statues, perhaps a large wooden chess set, using Mayan inspired designs. 

Tables... chairs... large open-door platforms, and any more ideas that get voted on by our community. 

If you are skillful with either carpentry or masonry, enjoy a tough challenge, and willing to guide us and other volunteers to build things from scratch using rocks and trees on site, we'd love to hear from you. 

General Help

We have dozens of projects in progress and new ideas. Experience isn't necessary, but if you do have experience in particular areas it will be very much welcomed. 

General Help Projects could include any from those found below, along with clearing paths,  gathering fire wood, cooking and cleaning, watering plants — all the basics of living in a jungle off-grid. 

Programs & Events Service

If you've seen our Events page you know we have some amazing event weeks and need help to streamline the experience for everyone in attendance.

If you are willing and able to provide service to guests, you could attend the entire program at a big discount or free. 

Write to us for current details. 

Multi-Media

If you have any design or media production talents, we probably need them! 

How do we produce and distributed nicely branded content that will help spread the word about Camazotz? Help!  

Outdoor Kitchen

We aim to build up our kitchen space to be used by many guests, as well as sufficient to prepare quality food for large groups. 

Heres's what we have so far as of December. Basic but functional for cooking on gas and washing dishes.

We need to fill the blue 50 liter water tank once a day on average by wheelbarrowing bottles of water from the main water tank over to the kitchen.

Near-term, we plan to add a separate water tank at the kitchen, and upgrade the wood frames with cupboards etc etc.

Lots of ideas for what to build towards such as:

Super Adobe Dome Homes

Filling long sacks with earth materials to build the walls of circular 'tiny homes', plastering the walls, including windows, and decorations. A very popular method of hand crafted accommodation. 

Agriculture

Planting fruit trees, growing vegetable crops, nurturing our animals (chickens mostly), composting, and generally helping to develop a tropical food forest that can feed our guests. 

We have began applying permaculture principles to enrich the soil and build raised beds. 

So much opportunity to expand the gardens with abundance for the future and begin harvesting what we've started so far. 

Landscaping

We need to decide on land areas for new structures, clear paths, excavate more of the bat cave, and so on. 

Clear new spaces in glamping tents areas for day beds, trampoline hammocks, fire pits and washrooms. 

Maya Cabanas

We have just 1 Mayan cabaña and are planning towards future bio construction for similar or different style cabins. 

Search for Mayan Archaeological Sites

The local Mayan people advise us that there may be ancient ancestral archaeological ruins deep into the property and we need help to explore the 45 hectares of land to discover what's there. 

Bio Swimming Pool

We don't want to use chlorine but we do want a refreshing clear water swimming pool! 


It's a big project with a lot of excavation to be done, but we'll move towards it slowly. 

Volunteer experience:

Our intention at Camazotz is to make this expanded volunteer program a memorable and meaningful experience for every volunteer based on each individuals personal journey. 

Gavriel
Founder, Camazotz Cohaven
Accommodation

If we have private accommodation with no guest bookings, volunteers are welcome to experience any and all types of accommodation we have on site.


If we are heavily booked, then volunteers share one of the glamping tents. 

food and facilities

There is a 10-unit toilet/shower building along with a public kitchen area, and water well to draw from.


We also have StarLink Internet WiFi (limited off-grid solar power supply at the moment, so we generally have a limit of a few hours Internet per day).  


We are able to make basic meal ingredients available for volunteers (for breakfast, lunch, dinner). Please confirm with us about dietary expectations.


The goal is to live as much as possible from the food we're able to cultivate at the property as soon as possible. We are just beginning that process. 


Volunteers are generally expected to contribute to food preparation and cleaning. 


You are also encouraged to bring your own food supplies so you can binge on your own favorites whenever you want. 

costs and donations

There are 3 ways to be involved at Camazotz HQ as a community volunteer or co-living community member: 


[$] Come as a volunteer, contribute a little to our food costs, and work your socks off to help us improve both online and offline: make content, do gardening, build things (cabins, tree houses, pizza oven, shelves and cupboards), do general maintenance (fix things, attach things, operate things like the gas generator to fill the water tanks, etc).


[$$] Come as a Digital Nomad (take the time you need for online work, contribute a little to daily expenses including food bill, general items such as bedding, solar lights, kitchen appliances, etc) and contribute some time at your discretion to all of the above mentioned areas).


[$$$] Come as a Co-Living Member by donating a monthly amount of cash (as you can afford) to help us build up our online presence, on-site tooling and community infrastructure, plus support whatever project areas shown above that you are keen on. 

LOCATION AND TRANSPORTATION

Our Mayan neighbors are 5 minutes walk down the property access road. They are very friendly and they are contracted to do various types of work for the property. We can visit them and they visit us.


Besides that, the nearest little village (X-uch) is 10 minutes drive (1 hour walking), and the nearest town Temozon is 20 minutes, so 'civilization' isn't very accessible without transport. There is no public transport.


We drive to Valladolid a couple times per week so volunteers can catch a lift into town as desired. 

GUIDE AND BYLAWS

See below for our current volunteering guidelines so you are informed of expectations ahead of time. 

Benefits of the Volunteer Program

You'll have a chance to learn new skills, and hopefully practice skills you already have, from the practicalities of the projects at hand, to other community experiences such as therapies, creative media, art, and more. 

1. Build

Learn how to build off-grid structures and permaculture food forests. Maya houses, geo domes, super adobe and more. Irrigation, composting, planting, and food cultivation. If you already have any of those skills — we need you! 

2. Binge-joy

Our volunteers help create the positive joyful experience of life at Camazotz Cohaven. Binge on that as much as you can. We are here to build AND celebrate the good life!

3. Become

Perhaps you have ambitions for your future that will benefit in large part from the experiences gained as Camazotz Cohaven volunteer. 

What better way to enjoy nature, live free, and develop new skills than to join the volunteer program at Camazotz Cohaven?!

Volunteer Guide

This guide is about the current practical day-to-day of volunteering at Camazotz Cohaven. 

Setting Expectations

Setting Expectations

Understand the vision and mission of Camazotz Finca on our sister site at https://camazotzcollective.com.

If you decide to come to Camazotz Finca for co-living or as a short-term volunteer we expect the vision and mission of Camazotz Collective will match your own general world view.

Be sure to ask any clarification questions for things that are important to your volunteering and community experience so we can avoid the risk of disappointments.

The property was a camp site until recently, now we are at the very beginning stages of developing it for glamping, then event hosting, then a permanent village.

We began work on the property 19 September 2022. The goal is to gradually build a comfortable jungle experience for all future volunteers, friends, paying guests, event participants, and future community members. 

The purpose of the volunteer program is to improve the quality of life at Camazotz Finca for everybody both now and future.

What We Have / Don't Have

What We Have

Structures

  • 1 big glamping tent (5M diameter) with 4 individual size sleeping cots and bedding, shared with other volunteers.
  • A 4 person tent, a 3 person tent, and a 2 person tent. These are available to volunteers who do not want to be in the shared glamping tent.
  • Building with 10 toilet units including 6 with showers.
  • Big Palapa with some furnishing and lighting.

Equipment

  • Starlink Internet — it works well!
  • Solar power for recharging devices
  • Gardening equipment (wheelbarrow, hoe, big and small shovel, machete, sheers, garden fork, hoses, etc)
  • Woodworking power tools (reciprocating saw, jigsaw, drill, etc)
  • Hammock

Kitchen

Cooking equipment available to date: 

  • Gas stove, Instant Pot pressure cooker, Ninja Blender, Toaster, Food Processor
  • Bowls, glasses, knives, spoons and forks
  • General utensils like stainless steel pot, health-grade frying pan, can opener, sieve, chopping knives, etc. 
  • Glass containers, and BPA-free plastic food bags

What We Don’t Have 

  • Clothes washing machine — we wash by hand in big buckets and hang on clothes lines (sorry, not sorry). 
  • Currently not enough solar power to run appliances all day especially the big fridge, and we have to ration electricity use day-by-day depending on how sunny it is (more panels coming.... soon). 
  • Filtered water — system coming soon, until then we have bottled mountain spring water from the store or fresh well water when we pump it up. 
  • Air conditioning — night time can often become COLD, unlike the Yucatan cities which retain heat from concrete. Generally speaking, apart from a couple hours during mid-day, aircon really doesn't feel needed. Pinky promise. 

Daily Accountabilities, Process & Rotor

Activities

The volunteer program is meant to help us improve Camazotz for paying guests and event hosting. We are near the beginning of that journey. 

If you have specialist skills such as carpentry, masonry, metalwork, teaching for when we have events, etc etc. then we expect more of your time to go on those things… 

…while if you do not have those specialisms we therefore expect your primary contributions to be ‘general daily maintenance’ (cooking, cleaning, washing dishes, watering plants) while you also support and participate in all the other project areas happening with other volunteers (gardening, construction, etc).  

This also includes items for our team members who have online jobs, and personal or paying guests whenever we get them. 

We aim for primary and secondary accountabilities per person, so we don’t fall into the trap of ‘everybody’ being responsible for things as per this story: 

“There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.” 

We aim to be organized around processes, tasks and projects as per the sections that follow.

General Daily Process  

Volunteer Meetings

  • Daily catchup conversations, often around eating times
  • Review of Processes, who did what yesterday to then decide on rotation and share of items for the new day (what did we do yesterday? what are priorities for today? what challenges are there? who does what today?) 

Showers

  • Remove shoes when going inside 
  • Wipe the floor of muddy bits and excess water after shower (there's a squeegee mop for that)
  • If hand towels are obviously dirty, change them

Food / Kitchen

  • Use perishable food items in time so they do not go bad before use (fruits, veg, bread, opened cartons) 
  • After eating, cover leftovers or put them into containers  

Dwellings

  • Remove shoes to keep inside of dwellings clean
  • Wash bed clothes often enough to stay fresh (hang them in strong direct sunlight to dry without getting a humid musty smell) 
  • Use the pillowcase and sheets provided both below and on top so you are not sleeping directly on mattresses or pillows

Daily Rotor

Food prep and basic cleaning is not considered part of significant work contribution to Camazotz, as it's mostly stuff you would do on rotation if living in shared accommodation with friends (co-living).

Something like this: 

Project time is made up of Project Areas below. 

Core Project Areas

Project Areas

The point of the volunteer program is to be aligned with the values and mission of the project and therefore we are looking for people keen to help advance things with enthusiasm and joy.


GARDENING 

Purpose is to provide supremely healthy food in abundance for everyone at Camazotz with capacity for many dozens of people. 

  • Garden 1: large surface veggies (squash, pumpkin, watermelon, etc) and some fruit trees
  • Garden 2: corn, beans, and another accompanying crop
  • Garden 3: idea so far is organic seeds
  • Salad Garden: At Palapa for herbs and fast producing salads for easy kitchen access (pick and cook)
  • Fruit Tree Trail: plant a healthy number of the baby trees asap and give the rest away


INFRASTRUCTURE 

Purpose is to provide sufficient creature comforts as we scale from basics to luxury over 5 years. 

  • Flowers planted throughout the public walk areas of the property 
  • Furniture: tables, chairs, shelves, desks, bedside cabinets, washroom racks, 
  • Animal ecosystem: Bird feed table near palapa, chicken coop area ready for first chickens
  • Solar battery casing and panel supports for Palapa
  • Shower rooms — fittings and furnishings (clothes racks, cistern fixtures, shower curtains, mirrors, shelving for personal items)
  • 3 glamping spaces cleared 


FOOD PREP & FLOW 

Purpose is to give us all yummy and nutritious foods to be satisfied with daily life

  • Rotate fruit/veg so we use them all without any being forgotten and thus going bad
  • Maintaining shopping list 
  • Maintain rotor between people on site (along with menu options) for breakfast, lunch and dinner, including food prep and getting everyone to contribute to cleaning (some will do more some do less, as they have more of other project work).  


HOSPITALITY & EVENTS 

Purpose is to provide revenue to the treasury to cover costs of all infrastructure development and build the cooperative economy with shared profits.

  • 3 glamping spaces, cleared, developed and maintained
  • Cabaña renovation - floor, furniture (bed, clothes rack, bedside table, small desk table, chair, decorations)
  • Airbnb / Booking.com / HostelWorld listings (including disclaimer)
  • Booking management (motopress payment integration) 
  • Retreats and other Events coordination 


MEDIA 

Purpose is to spread the word far and wide to build the Camazotz brand and achieve strong network effects that makes Camazotz an ever-present contribution of inspiration and best practice to other like-minded groups. 

  • Branded social media channels and conversations 
  • Content production 
  • Syndication and visibility

Costs 

Costs 

Programs are individually tailored depending on personal interests, skills, and financial contributions. 

Some volunteers come through special programs for which they pay to stay at Camazotz Finca. Others come through different programs with no charges. Expectations are different, so some volunteers will be doing certain things that others are not. 

If you can provide for yourself in terms of a tent, bedding and towels, and some food items, that helps us a lot with our capacity for hosting more people. 

Foooood 

Breakfasts

  • Egg on Toast
  • Fruit or avocado and banana smoothie
  • Oatmeal with fruit

Lunches

  • Jacket potato and beans
  • Pasta and veg 
  • Guacamole and tortillas / tortilla chips 
  • Beans and veggies with corn tortillas 
  • Lentil curry + veggies with salad 
  • Types of Soups (pumpkin, chickpeas, chili soup)
  • Bean or lentil burgers with salad or sautéed potatoes.
  • Fried rice with veggies - Asian style

Dinners

  • Fruit and tortilla chips 
  • Toast and peanut butter 
  • Grains and veg dishes

We aim to cook communally and we provide various food items for volunteers such as flour, pasta, bread, fruit, vegetables, eggs, etc. We don’t buy meat but you are welcome to buy meat for yourself. 

If you have particular dietary requirements, let us know before you agree to come to the Finca to see if we can accommodate. 

Self-sufficiency is our goal. Planting will be a part of the strategy, ensuring we always have fresh, healthy fruit and vegetables. 

If you want to bring your own personal stash of favorite foods, you are very welcome to do so, and keep them separate from the communal food. 

We also have the opportunity to enjoy authentic home-cooked mayan food from the neighbors, priced by them as follows: 

  • 60 pesos desayuno
  • 80 pesos almuerzo 
  • 60 pesos cena 

They need 1 day notice so they can buy and prepare ingredients.

Typical Food Inventory

  • Staples: Pasta, Rice, Bread, Maize Tortillas, Beans, lentils, chickpeas, Oats
  • Fruit n Veg: Potato, onion, carrot, etc including local veg such as chayote (we are racing to produce our own crops asap for health and abundance)
  • Condiments & Spices: Tabasco sauce, chili powder, Salt pepper, Mixed herbs, Indian spices


Health & Hazards

Health & Hazards

If you have any physical or mental health challenges such as allergies, diseases, diagnoses, it’s important to let us know before confirming your visit. 

These are all present within the jungle. Not a daily problem at the property, but you must be aware of the surroundings to avoid the potential dangers and take responsibility for your own health. 

  • Ants that bite
  • Brightly colored frogs and insects
  • Snakes- avoid all, especially yellow and red. If bitten, take snake and get medical help ASAP
  • Scorpions
  • Hornets
  • Ticks (check your body for them daily and twist them off)
  • Bad Spiders (violinist and black widow) — bites would need medical attention


Arriving & Leaving

Arriving & Leaving

Items to Bring

Personal Care

  • Bring personal care products that don't contain toxic chemicals (toothpaste, hygiene products, etc.). Everything goes back to the Earth where we grow food and collect water/materials. Largest cities tend to have health stores with products free of toxins. Better for your personal health and hygiene too. 

Clothing

  • It is a humid and warm environment at day, often cold at night, and many plants with thorns and insects — choose whether you want to wear long pants or shorts (bring both!). 

Shoes

  • Suggest to bring boots or ‘good shoes’ — or the local Mayans wear plastic slippers that are easy to wash out. 

Transport

There are no last minute pickups. We live in the jungle, not around the corner from Valladolid. Thus, arrange with us days in advance of your arrival. See the location page.

Leaving

  • It’s vital that you have the financial means to leave the property at any time via public transport. 
  • Advise us days ahead of time if you can — we might then be able to take you to Valladolid, or at least to Temozon where a taxi is just 30 pesos to Valladolid
  • On your day to leave, remove bed clothes and put them in the blue washing basket near the showers, sweep the tent floor, so it’s ready for the next volunteers to arrive after you. Double check that you have all your possessions, and nothing of anyone else's. 


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