Born in 1965, Lorena Castillo Castellanos’ background fusions different aspects. Both sides of her family have influenced her in many ways. On one hand, her paternal grandfather was born in Paris to a Guatemalan father and a French mother. Spending a lot of time with him, Lorena learnt about gourmet cuisine, wines, music, literature, theater, opera, painting… arts. Her maternal grandfather was a self-taught, self-made Guatemalan entrepreneur, who began his work in his own timber plantations and cattle farms, driving to the cloud forest in his Harley Davidson. Even though he died when Lorena was very young, she got to spend time with him in the forest, exploring the rivers and creeks which ignited her love and passion for adventure and the outdoors.
Nowadays aside of owning and managing Ni’tun Private Reserve and Punta Verde Private Reserve, Lorena is in the Board of APROBOSQUE, a local Petén association that has united the local private reserve owners in the area. She is also in the Board of ARNPG, a Guatemalan association that has grouped all of the Guatemalan private reserve owners and that watches that sustainability and environmental protection is enforced in the private lands to balance the lack of protection that the Government does in guarding the protected national parks. She is also learning about the coffee production and the high quality of gourmet coffee as her father owns a plantation in the cloud forest of Sierra de las MInas and this coffee is now in top best of the country.
Both worlds, the art-cuisine world and the adventure-outdoor worlds would be what sums up Lorena’s activities at the moment. Her cuisine has gained great reviews amongst her visitors and mentions in European and North American newspapers. She considers herself a self taught amateur chef. Her first book on poetry, thoughts and reflections to be published is already in process. Lorena scouts expeditions in the jungles of Petén and Chiapas to remote sites such as Mirador, Río Azul, Naachtun, Dos Lagunas, Lacanjá, Yaxchilán, Piedras Negras, amongst others, specially logistics for donors for environmental projects and for the national parks, archaeologists, scientists, etc. In her personal life, Lorena is also a worldwide savvy traveler who enjoys different cultures and an amateur photographer. Most of the time Lorena is busy managing the Reserve, both in the forest management and production of xate palm as also in the service to the guests at Ni’tun. Hosting and tailoring dinners for her guests is her nightly activity. She is also an open water swimmer that once every other year crosses Lake Petén Itzá with a group from Flores island to San José, a little bit more than 4 miles, to bring awareness to the fragility and protection of Lake Petén Itzá.
Lorena studied Animal Science and is also a US Certified Fitness Instructor. She also worked for CHILDHOPE, a non profit organization that deals with the struggles of street children in Guatemala City and she also worked for UNICEF. Ni’tun is basically a reflection of Lorena’s life and dreams and has become a holistic refuge for people from all over the globe who share similar ideals. Lorena moved from Guatemala City to Petén to began her life journey in 1993, when the designing and construction of Ni’tun officially began. Since then Lorena lives at Ni’tun’s premises usually accompanied by her rescued dogs, cat and geese.