El Pilar is more than an archaeological site and eco-archaeological destination; it is a community. As you explore the trails of El Pilar, you become part of that community. The resources of El Pilar are part of an enchanting cultural legacy left by the ancient Maya, shared by the Maya Forest community, and now conserved for posterity by the development of benefits and responsibilities for contemporary neighbors of El Pilar. The community-based organization of Amigos de El Pilar in Belize and Guatemala has teamed up to create an association that is investing in the future of El Pilar.
To accomplish the important goal of improving living standards and the self-sufficiency of the region's villages and towns, the long term-agenda of resource conservation and sustainability must include the immediate and short-term needs of local families.
Be Pukte Cultural Center Sign
No reserve exists within a vacuum and for the El Pilar Program model to be fully achieved, the local population needs to maintain an active voice in the process. Local communities are the ultimate custodians of their history and environment. Our task is to prove they also are the ultimate beneficiaries.
The goal in the formation of the cooperative association, Amigos de El Pilar, is to develop community enterprises in tourism and agriculture, exemplified by the Be Pukte Café and Cultural Center and the Masewal Forest-Garden Trail in the village of Bullet Tree Falls. These local craft enterprises increase cultural links and economic stakes in the reserve while incorporating the makers' wisdom into the vision for El Pilar.
Through education and participation in program activities, the links between the community and the reserve strengthen investments in conservation and administrative responsibility. Their accumulated accomplishments promote conservation efforts both locally and regionally. The leadership role the community is assuming and the self determination they are gaining in the process is the foundation upon which the future success of the El Pilar model depends.
Amigos de El Pilar
Cafe Be Pukte
Be Pukte is Mayan for Bullet Tree Road. The Be Pukte Café and Cutural Center is conveniently located on the Bullet Tree Road south of the bridge on the way to El Pilar. They welcome your patronage and will cheerfully tell you about their participation in the El Pilar Archaeological Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna.