This panoramic view of a valley in Chiapas reveals the extent of deforestation. Note that the tall trees of the forest canopy only cover hilltops; trees on the hillsides and valley floor have been cut down for firewood or lumber and the land used for producing crops or grazing livestock. [To view a larger image, hover the mouse over the right edge of the photo.]
The group spent an afternoon at the beautiful Agua Azul falls, located about an hour's drive from the Pej Pem Center. They were able to cool off while swimming in one of the natural pools of water above the falls. This video gives an excellent overview of the series of cascades that make up Agua Azul.
Participants received a tour of Amextra's microfinance office in Palenque town. Amextra's approach to helping poor residents of Chiapas emphasizes savings, microcredit, and training.