Our home town
Chacchoben, the place we call home
Very little is know about how Chacchoben started, but the roots of this town reach back a couple of thousand years. It's very likely that it was once a vibrant community in the Maya days but then it was abandoned and reoccupied a few times.
Memories of present day's occupation at Chacchoben started in the early 19th century at a the time when the region supplied the world demand for chewing gum (Chicle), and Chacchoben became a permanent base for the men entering the rain forest to harvest the sap of the zapotilla trees to later transform it into chewing gum. Storytelling is still a means of entertainment and it's how tradition and legends of Chacchoben's early days have been preserved through generations.
With the operation of the Costa Maya Port tourism gained popularity in the area, specially since Chacchoben Ruins is one of the most popular excursions. Tourism brings many economic benefits but these benefits aren't reaching the people of Chacchoben who have very little participation in this new activity simply because of the language barrier and the limited education.
Today Chacchoben is striving to enter a modern era but it's still a sustainable self-sufficient farming community, other economic activities include the controlled extraction of precious and tropical woods, and in recent years the production of textiles and crafts to sell at the ruins.
Our role in our community
The Native Choice is the first and only company offering services for tourists in Costa Maya based and owned by locals from Chacchoben. We're committed in supporting our community and for every person who reserves our Mayan Experience Tour, Chacchoben Ruins Tour or Chacchoben Extreme Tour, The Native Choice makes a contribution of $3.00USD to the community, these funds are administrated by a committee elected by the locals and are used in programs to support elders, people in need of specialized medical attention or similar programs.
Programs like the Mayan Experience Tour also create opportunities and extend the economic benefit of tourism for the participating local families.
You can help too!
We continue accepting school supplies and used clothes for the children from our village, anything that can be used at school would be highly appreciated. A pencil or a glue stick would make a difference for our children and for sure they'll give it a good use.
The best part of helping our children is actually giving the supplies directly to them, there's nothing like a big smile of gratitude on the face of a happy child who receives a present. If you let us know ahead of time and as long as time allows and the rest of the group agrees, we can plan on going to the village at the end of the tour so you can deliver the supplies directly to the children.
We can also accept donations and deliver them on your behalf, just be sure you provide us an email so we can send you pictures of the children who received your donation.
Chacchoben in numbers
Population of Chacchoben according to the last census in 2010 was 655 people (320 Men, 335 Women) living in a total of 150 homes most of them built with wood with thatch roofs. Most people are of Maya origin and speak Mayan as their mother tongue and Spanish as a second language.
187 of the men are farmers and the rest are children or attending school.
Chacchoben now has a Kinder Garden (Ages 3-6), a Primary School (Ages 6-12) and a Secondary School (Ages 12-15). However, there are 297 people over 15 years old that don't know how to read and write.
Chacchoben has a clinic with a nurse and a doctor available Monday through Friday from 7:00AM to 3:00PM. There's running water available for a couple of hours in the afternoon and homes have access to electricity, but no phones or mail service.