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Community-based tourism for nature and bird lovers

By Emma Gómez

Sibinal is a mountain destination, that offers spaces for bird watching and hiking through its forests and mountains, as well as ascents to the Tacana and Tajumulco volcanoes, so it is recognized as one of the main tourist destinations in the highlands of San Marcos Guatemala. An unforgettable experience for nature lovers.  

This area is home to the Asociación de Desarrollo Agroforestal Integral Sostenible (ADAFIS), an institution that promotes the protection and conservation of natural resources in the municipality of Sibinal. Since its founding, ADAFIS has promoted different forest restoration projects, forestry incentives, native species nurseries, and conservation of species at risk in different communities, mainly in communal forest areas with a focus on tourism, including: Vega del Volcán, La Haciendita, Toniná, and the community of Unión Reforma. 

Since its creation, ADAFIS has strongly supported the community of Unión Reforma in the development of tourism. Upon arriving at the community you can observe its mixed and humid forest, which has a main trail for bird watching and contemplating the landscape and two viewpoints. The first viewpoint is located 200 meters from the entrance, where you can see the Tacaná volcano, the second viewpoint is located approximately 100 meters up, offering a splendid view of the Tajumulco Volcano and some communities, mainly the community of Union Reforma.

Currently, the community of Unión Reforma is one of the tourist destinations for bird watching activities in this municipality. This activity was boosted in 2015 when the first studies were conducted in the area to monitor birds. Through these studies it was possible to identify 273 species of birds in the municipality of Sibinal, 11 of them of special importance.

In the community of Unión Reforma, it is possible to observe with great certainty the Horned Turkey (Oreophasis derbianus), and the Pink-breasted Warbler (Ergaticus versicolor). In 2018 ADAFIS began offering different tours, including the Tacaná Volcano ascent tour and the bird watching tour in the communities of Unión Reforma and Aldea Vega del Volcán. As a complement to the tourist attractions offered by the community, in the future we would like to complement the visitor’s experience with community tours of the flower greenhouses, apiaries and tours within the community itself.

The community of Unión Reforma is located 5 kilometers from the municipal center of Sibinal and 65 kilometers from the departmental capital of San Marcos. 

For more information contact number is 33281397 and e-mail