San Juan la Laguna

Natural Dye Workshop +  Backstrap Weaving Class

Hiptipico Tz'utujil artisan partners in San Juan la Laguna use only plants native to the area to dye their cotton prior to weaving. This artisanal knowledge has been preserved over time and has been passed down from generation to generation. Using these ancestral techniques, they extract colors from tree bark, vegetables, coconut shells and leaves, to give organic color to the items they weave. Dyeing the cotton is only one of the steps in the entire process. Our artisan partner, Rosa will show you how to harvest the correct plants, separate the thread prior to weaving and all the ins and outs of designing a woven scarf. 

After seeing the natural dye process, you will be assigned a private weaving instructor. You will get a chance to see how the backstrap weaving loom works and then get a chance to try it out for yourself. The traditional back-strap loom uses the weavers body to establish the tension needed to create the woven fabric. As a result, this process is far more physically engaging than it looks. Using their bodies back and forth to tighten and loosen the tension, the weaver's body is practically part of the loom and fabric. Once you experience how hard it is to weave, you will gain a further appreciation for the handmade goods Rosa and the women make. And you get to keep the scarf you made!


$75 - $125 per person | 8am - 3pm * available in English or Spanish


8:00am: Private Boat Ride Across Lake Atitlan

Meet in Panajachel to hop on the boats to San Juan la Laguna.

9:00am: San Juan La Laguna

Arrive in San Juan and enjoy a quick tour of the quaint Maya village.

10am - 12pm: Rosa's Natural Dye Oasis

Enter Rosa's unique outdoor workshop and meet your private weaving instructor! You will see step by step how the natural dye process takes place, then take some time to weave your very own scarf. You will be assigned a private instructor to show you how to weave on a traditional back-strap loom. Try it for yourself and you get to keep the scarf you weave!

12:00pm: Shop + Explore

We'll stroll to Rosa's storefront where you can see all the products that are created using natural dyes. From table runners to hammocks, you'll get a chance to see her whole collection. There is no pressure to shop, it is a way for you to see more final products after having seen the entire process. 

1:00pm: Art Gallery Tour

On our way back down to the dock, we will stop in some of the local art galleries. In San Juan artists are known for interpreting their ancestral traditions through painting. You will experience the local art culture first-hand and learn about the Maya calendar and historical references through art. 

2:00pm: Return to Panajachel