El Pilar

El Pilar is an ancient Maya city that has been transformed into a Living Museum and Laboratory to create a Conservation Model for our Future.

El Pilar straddles the borders of Belize and Guatemala in the Maya Forest. For many centuries, dense jungle has been the guardian of El Pilar. The beautiful monuments are alive with the biodiversity forest canopy. Imagine being able to step back in time and experience life in the jungle as the ancient Maya did. Enter their homes. Stroll their gardens. Encounter the native wildlife. This is what you experience at El Pilar – where archaeologist Anabel Ford is restoring not just another stone monument, but an entire living environment. An environment that creates a new kind of eco-tourism that is based on the traditional and sustainable practice of Maya forest gardening.

In a region where a civilization once flourished, our growth threatens environmental integrity. Local cultural traditions speak to an intimate knowledge of the forest while the ecology of the forest speaks to a systematic cultivation by humans. The native Maya reveal a keen awareness of ecological complexities of animal, plants, and people clearly favor forest growth. The Maya sustainable practices demonstrate the mutual benefits of culture and nature and are unknown to the world. Collaborative research on the culture and nature of the Maya forest promises to open new paths to knowledge and understanding creating a conservation model at El Pilar, for the future of the earth.

The programs at El Pilar promote cultural heritage stewardship, nature conservation, and community development. Relying on collaboration of local villagers, nations of the region, and international scholars these program are bringing the vision to fruition.