In Longo Mai
How to get there
Something unique about the Longo Mai project tourism is that we de not restrain your fantasy. Your own fantasy is your limit. You decide if and how you want to make a positive impact on the community. The goal of all projects is to achieve a higher standard of living for the inhabitants of Longo Mai – you can contribute by creating a healthier environment, a better academic qualification, or a wider range of cultural activities.

In the beginning, many project tourists have to get used to working in an organizational structure that is characterized by self-dependency, absence of orders, and the non-existence of controls. These attributes make the work in Longo Mai very different from what westerners are accustomed to.

The success of a project depends on many factors, including the duration of your stay, your level of Spanish, the project status (if the project is already started), on your capability to coordinate with the people, and on your capability to integrate the population in the project.

By means of some examples (which are not totally fictional, but happily mixed together), we want to show you what the everyday life of a project tourist/volunteer in Longo Mai can be like after an initial phase of acclimatization:

Guest A has posted a note in the pulperías that he plans on creating an English class. He now teaches English three times a week. Once a week he also gives classes in the prison. He has noticed that many people in Longo Mai have never had the chance to learn something about computers, so he decides to offer computer and internet courses. Guest A helps with agriculture, organizes the annual culture festival (together with a social servant) and spends his weekends getting to know the surroundings of Longo Mai.

Volunteer B is very interested in the Costa Rican flora and has created her own little garden in agreement with her host family. She frequently works on various editions of the village newspaper and the village newsletter, which enables her to get into contact with many members of the community. Also, she is helping with construction work and supports the women's group and their projects.

Guest C likes to read and uses his time to get to know Cristóbal's library (best place to be for world changers!). He learns about the traditional cuisine, gives flute classes, and writes news articles for the Longo Mai website.

Visitor D researches the crimes that are committed on the surrounding pineapple plantations and writes for publications in her home country (buy organic, support local business!). Also, she updates the Longo Mai information booklet.

After leaving Longo Mai, you can still help, for example by collecting donations (e.g. for the scholarship program, see

Another possibility to do something for Longo Mai is to sell goods made by villagers (crafts...) in your home country.

You can write about your impressions and send a copy to Cristóbal (zsuzsacr[at] This helps us to improve our tourism concept. If you have enjoyed your stay in the community, please recommend Longo Mai!

Equally important: You can become an ambassador for the people in the South, for their worries and problems – talk to friends and relatives about the interference of the North (“Free-trade agreements” etc.)

Nobody can take your experiences away, they will be useful for years to come!

Listing of some possible projects

# Newspaper/Newsletter
The village newspapers “Lora Mai” and “Lorita Mai” are published whenever there is a editing team. The newspaper might be produced together with interested students and juveniles, examples can be seen at Cristóbal's. A village newspaper promotes communication and activities, readers have access to literature and selected information.

The newsletter is supposed to keep people that are interested in Longo Mai updated. Should there not be any money for an interesting project, it is possible to ask for donations by means of the newsletter.

# Teaching in Longo Mai
There is a need for teachers in the village school, for (children's) groups in the saloon, as well as for private classes. English and math are especially important, but also German and other subjects. Also in the neighboring villages (like Cristo Rey) and in the surrounding village schools there is a demand for voluntary teachers. Among the adult population of Longo Mai there are still illiterates, who in El Salvador never had the chance to attend school.

English class for children in the saloon

# Teaching in the prison
Some longtime volunteers (at least three months) have found teaching in the prison of Palmares (close to San Isidro) to be very enriching. English and maths classes are popular, as well as all kinds of courses and workshops (sports, theater, crafts...). In order to be admitted, a passport is mandatory.

# Creative afternoons
As of early 2010, a creative afternoon was being held every Wednesday in the salón de costura. The children discover their creative potential by means of playing, painting and sports competitions.

# Construction of cabinas, improvement of guest rooms
The hosting of tourists is one of very few income sources for the inhabitants of Longo Mai. Especially for single mothers the construction of guest rooms is a great help. This includes the acquisition of donations, the estimation of costs, the buying of materials, and the finding of persons willing to help. As of 2010, with respect to the current number of tourists, there are enough cabins and guest rooms in Longo Mai. The (help with) improvement of existing guest rooms is in some cases very welcome.

# Reforestation
Mixed cultures are envisaged; preferred places for reforesting include waysides, heavily eroded surfaces, and very inclined ones.

# Planning of the next culture festival
Once a year, in January, a culture festival takes place in Longo Mai. Therefore we invite individuals and groups (e.g. the circus group of Diego Gene of Granada, Nicaragua). The content of the festival needs to be planned (organization of workshops and lectures, music and theater nights and so on), also the fare and the accomodation needs to be organized and a financial and a marketing concept need to be drawn up.

The singer Guadalupe Urbina at a culture festival in Longo Mai

# Transition to organic agriculture
Many campesinos would like to switch to organic farming, but are hindered by the fear of losses. The creation of regional distribution channels may help the conversion process to speed up.

# Sale of crafts (artesanía) and CDs
Think about selling at local markets or about building up cooperations with relevant businesses in Costa Rica or in your home country. The objective should be to create a continuous source of income for the artist(s).

# Updating of the Longo Mai website
Our website needs to offer current information. Write about village events and mail the news to the Austrian webmaster at

# Computer and internet courses for the village population
Text processing, spreadsheets, creation of an email account, research on the internet, typing with ten fingers...

# Environmental education at schools (UNAPROA)
In order to raise environmental awareness, you can go to surrounding villages to teach environmental classes with two members of UNAPROA.

# Possibilities for studies, research projects
       * Pre-Colombian archaeology (petroglyphs)
       * Sustainable usage of the rain forest
       * Determination of animals and plants
       * Biology (rain forest)
       * Water quality
       * Ground conservation
       * Agricultural market gaps
       * Production, processing, marketing
       * Mixed cultivation
       * Eco tourism
       * (Organic) agriculture
       and others

A collection of studies that have already been realized as well as suggestions for new studies can be found at Cristóbal's.

You set your own limits. Everyone has strengths and ideas and can employ them for the good of the village. Think about agricultural and cultural projects, educational projects, and all kinds of other projects!

Construction of the phone box