Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Permaculture Design Certificate

What is the Permaculture Design Certificate?

Who will certify the course?

Where will it be held?

Who teaches the course?

The Permaculture Design Certificate, often referred to as the PDC, was developed by Bill Mollison as a tool for teaching the principles and foundations of permaculture design. All PDC courses offered throughout the world must follow the same format in order to insure that the integrity of the certification process is respected. The Certificate will allow you the right to use the word “permaculture” in a professional setting, and it indicates that you have successfully completed the course. It is also a pre-requisite for further training in permaculture. Participants who attend this course and complete the final design project will receive a Permaculture Design Certificate.

The Instituto Mesoamericano de Permaculture (IMAP) meets all requirements for certification, and is the principal certifying body for permaculture certification in Mesoamerica. Since its inception in 2000, IMAP has been promoting permaculture techniques, ecological construction, organic vegetable production, as well as native seed production at both national and international levels. IMAP has delivered hundreds of courses and workshops in the area of sustainable agriculture, seed saving, traditional knowledge and permaculture systems. The Institute has also implemented sustainable systems to enable people in a number of communities to produce their own food, to manage water resources, and to maintain and conserve soil fertility.

The course will be offered on Lake Atitlan, one of Mesoamerica’s most beautiful areas. Participants will get the unique opportunity to be immersed in Mayan culture and to work with local communities. The Lake Atitlan region offers a number of eco-tourism opportunities, including kayaking, ziplines, canoeing, hiking volcanoes and shopping in thriving local markets. The first half of the course will be held at IMAP, located in San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala. The second half of the course will be offered at Atitlan Organics, a permaculture farm in Tzununa which is just a short boat ride away across Lake Atitlan.

The course is taught by Ronaldo (Rony) Lec of the Mesoamerican Permaculture Institute and Shad Qudsi of Atitlan Organics. Rony is a permaculture teacher certified by Geoff Lawton, with a diploma issued by Bill Mollison, and has been teaching permaculture for the last 20 years. Certified in Permaculture Design, Shad has over 13 years experience in organic and commercial gardening and farming.
Local experts from the region will also be invited to teach specific parts of the course pertaining to their specialty. For more details on our 2 instructors, see

When is it offered?

How much does it cost?

How will I get there?

What will be covered in the course?

The next offering of the course will be from December 02-16, 2018.

The course costs $995 for Guatemalans and $1,495 for everyone else. This includes facilitation, the PDC certificate, all food and lodging, transportation and in-the-field activities. To secure your spot, we require a non-refundable deposit of $300 via Paypal. Note: A 5% Paypal fee will be applied to the balance (not the deposit). You can be pay via wire transfer to avoid the Paypal fee – email us at [email protected] for details.

IMAP is located in the community of Pachitulul, on the south edge of Lake Atitlán between San Lucas Tolimán and Santiago Atitlán.

You can get here by going to Panajachel and then taking a boat to Santiago and a pickup to IMAP. Alternatively, we’d also be happy to book you a taxi that can bring you directly here from Guatemala city or Antigua for $100.

How to get here on your own:

Take a shuttle from the airport to Panajachel (3 hours, $25). Atitrans has 3 daily shuttles, but there are other companies out there. Just make sure to leave before noon in order to secure a spot and get here in good time.
From Panajachel you’ll take a public boat (“lancha”) to Santiago (40 minutes, Q25 – have exact change ready). There is no direct boat to San Lucas Tolimán. The last boat for Santiago leaves from Panajachel between 4.00pm and 5.00pm.
When you arrive in Santiago, walk up the hill and when you see a restaurant called El Pescador on the corner, go left to the end of the street. Here you can catch a pickup to IMAP / Pachitulul (20 minutes, Q5).
You will see a sign on your left-hand side after you pass the small town of Cerro de Oro that says IMAP / Pachitulul. Get off here. Walk 1 km down the path by the sign. IMAP will be on your left-hand side, across from the lakeshore.
If you have a lot of luggage, stay on the pickup and get off at San Lucas Tolimán (10 minutes from IMAP), and catch a tuc tuc to IMAP / Pachitulul (Q10).

The course offers the internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certificate curriculum through participatory learning, based in traditional Indigenous knowledge. It covers a broad range of themes to provide a holistic overview of permaculture practices, biodiversity and sustainable living. Topics include:

Introduction to permaculture: history, ethics & principles
Mayan culture and biodiversity
Reading and understanding the landscape
Natural principles and Permaculture design
Natural and cultivated ecosystems
Developing productive systems with permaculture
Social permaculture and community self sufficiency
Drawing techniques and hands-on design projects

Who can attend?

More questions?

The course is open to everyone and has been constructed in such a way that offers a level playing field to people of various backgrounds and experience. There are no pre-requisites for this course.

We’re happy to help! Email us at [email protected] or give us a call at (502) 4681-4697 / 4549-0578.

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