I arrived at Residencia Gorila in Tulum, by following a pin on a map a friend had sent me with the message “You will find people like you there.”
They were right, I instantly felt right at home.
I arrived just in time for acoustic guitar and brunch and was greeted with a piece of vegan chocolate birthday cake. Karen, one of the Gorila’s residents is managing the vegan cafe and is apparently a wiz with coconut oil and bananas. As a cake connoisseur myself, I was impressed.
I then met Alfonso Garrido, or “Poncho,” the coordinator and director of all things Gorila. What started as a film studio, has evolved into a community and living space for musicians, artists, film makers, photographers, creatives and activists. The motto of the Residencia Gorila is crecer, crear, compartir, (create grow and share) and they follow this ethos in their art, their activism and their daily lives.
“While you are creating, you are healing yourself and growing. Both in a spiritual and personal way. The growth also happens when you share knowledge and ideas. Sharing is key. “ -Alfonso Garrido
Alfonso showed me videos of the recent projects they completed in the last year, including a mural series by local street artists of nature, marine life, as well as Mayan culture. Their art also addresses social issues, like endangered species, environmental sustainability and the threat non-native species, like lion fish, are creating for the Caribbean.
I love the way they leveraged the tourism and the local businesses, as well as art and video, to create awareness and solutions to the lion fish issue. By educating the local dive tours and shops, they are promoting the sport of hunting lion fish and collaborating with local chefs and restaurants to create culinary experiences with the delicious white fish. This is helping to reduce the rapidly growing population and restore balance to the delicate eco system of the Caribbean.
Its a wonderful example of using creativity and community to create positive change.
The coolest campaign to come out of Gorila in my opinion, is the Finding Infinity project.
With the collaboration of Ross Harding, Gorila hosted “Solar Parties” around the world, raising funds to provide renewable energy for under developed communities in Mexico.
Like Residencia Gorila, I was powered by sunshine, feeling energized from the sea breeze and integrated with the nature all around me. We rode bikes around Tulum, swam in cenotes and lakes and the warm, turquoise Caribbean water.
After just a few days at Residencia Gorila, I felt more inspired and excited about my own projects with Givebackpackers and all the possibilities for creating an impact through art, culture, travel and experiences.
That is what Residencia Gorila is: an experience. From the food, the music, the conversations, the art and the expression of ideas, in the middle of paradise, Gorila provides the setting to connect with nature, experience culture and collaborate with creatives.
I personally see a lot of opportunity to grow our projects for Givebackpackers but also see Gorila as a place for all creatives to find new inspiration, expand your heart and mind and receive the support from the global community, while collaborating with other “people like you.”
If you are interested in staying or bringing projects to Residencia Gorila, they are currently accepting inquiries and are happy to discuss options for lodging and offer a variety of creative services and promotion for your project. I know I cant wait to get back soon for my own creative retreat. Who’s coming with me?