January 23, 2019
Here at Hiptipico we like to think of ourselves as more than just a business or group of empowered women, but as a family. And, like most families, we have a strong mother figure to guide us along. For us, this matriarch is Doña Virginia, who has been a part of the Hiptipico family almost since the beginning! Our relationship with her extends far past traditional work, and we are so grateful for her ongoing support.
Doña Virginia is one of seven children and has been working hard her entire life, whether it be at home or on the street selling delicious traditional food. She's been hosting students and travelers for over a decade now, and her authentic homestay option has become an integral part of our ethical travel opportunities! Her home is the perfect example of an oasis in Panajachel, filled with plants, hammocks, and friendly chatter. For many it is the ideal way to immerse themselves in the culture of Guatemala in the comfort of a friendly environment while getting to know a local family. Spending days, weeks, or months at her Airbnb is the perfect way to get a glimpse of what a traditional home and authentic Guatemalan experience is.
Having begun welcoming visitors into her home shortly after the passing of her husband, Doña Virginia and her two daughters, Marleny and Norma, are experts on hospitality and making even those who can’t speak Spanish feel welcome. The way to just about anyone’s heart is through their stomach, and Virginia’s home cooked authentic, meals are some of the best Panajachel has to offer. A huge part of culture is food, and after eating a few meals with the family, you will be feeling like a local.
In addition to being served Doña Virginia’s incredible breakfast, possibly the best part of staying at the house is the opportunity to cook alongside her. She wants you to feel like it’s not just a house, but a home! Her passion for food and hosting guests is best combined when cooking alongside visitors and sharing culture through food. She is more than willing to accommodate any dietary restrictions you may have (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free), and her cooking classes mean you can take the flavor of Guatemala home with you too. Their welcoming nature of the family extends far beyond food, as the they are always willing to go above and beyond to make your stay in Panajachel that much more memorable.
If you're looking for recommendations, they'll only offer you Guatemala's best. If you need directions they won't just tell you, but odds are they''ll walk you there themselves. No matter long you plan on staying they'll make you feel right at home, thanks to the help of their energetic and loving pup, Oso. After no time at all you'll start to feel like part of the family- leaving will definitely be harder than you think!
Whatever you’re looking to gain from your travel experience, Doña Virginia can point you in the right direction. She and her two 20-something daughters are the perfect example of blending tradition with modernity, and looking forward to sharing their customs with you. Welcome to the Hiptipico family!