< Friends of Calukmul- FAQs







Are donations tax deductible?
Yes. Friends of Calakmul is a non-profit organization, (501(c)3, registered with the United States Internal Revenue Service and incorporated in the State of Delaware. Thus, donations are tax deductible to persons paying taxes in the United States. You will automatically receive a tax-deductible receipt upon your donation.

Is my donation tax-deductible in the U.S. even if the donation is used to save land in Mexico?
Yes. While our mission is to conserve land in Mexico, Friends of Calakmul is a United States-based organization that uses the donations collected worldwide to conserve the rainforest. As is the case with other US-based charities with worldwide operations, Friends of Calakmul puts this nation's generosity to work to save a small part of the world for the benefit of all humanity.

dessole malia beach and Haridwar hotels and Topaz Hotel Malta


Is it secure to send my credit card information to Friends of Calakmul via Internet?
Your credit card information is more secure when used over the Internet than when used at a local restaurant or shop because no person working in the organization you are purchasing from/donating to has access to it. Your information goes directly from you to our credit card processing firm. Your credit card number is never stored by FOC. You may see at what point in the transaction your information is being captured on a secure page. Just look for an icon of a lock on the lower bottom right corner of your internet browser (Internet Explorer, Netscape, etc.). This lock is the universal sign for a secure site.

I am afraid of making a donation through the Internet. Can I just call you and give you my credit card information instead?
It is actually safer to make this transaction on the Internet. If you call us or mail us your credit card information we are going to open the Internet site (just as you would) and enter the information you give us over the phone. For your own safety, we prefer not to keep any record of your credit card information. Please e-mail us if you have any questions regarding payment. info@calakmul.org

Will you redistribute my e-mail and other information to third parties?
Absolutely not. We respect our members’ confidentiality and will not redistribute your information in any way, to any organization or person. You will receive e-mail correspondence from us on a quarterly basis to keep you posted on how your donation is working to save the jaguar and its habit. That’s it.



Can you provide lodging and other tourism-related information?
Although we cannot provide you with tourism information directly, here are a few recommendations:

Rent a car from Continental in Chetumal:
Ph: (52) (983) 83 - 224 - 11

Stay at the Chicanna EcoVillage in Chetumal
Ph: (52) (983) 871 - 60 - 74

 Its about 2 hours from the entrance to the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve. See photo (right).

For a more pampered experience, stay at the Explorean in Kohunlich
e-mail: contact@explorean.com 
Mexico City : 52.55.5201.8333
Mexico : dial toll free 01.800.366.6666
Canada and USA : 1.877.EXPLORA
Europe : +49 69 66419 640
Rest of the World : 52.55.5201.8333

End your trip with a visit to Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve further up the coast (about 2.5 hours north of Chetumal). You can stay in any of the hotels in Tulum or inside the reserve:
Ph: (52) (998) 884 - 9580

Can I visit the Calakmul rainforest?
Yes. Most of the Calakmul rainforest is federal land, which means anybody can visit it. Besides its variety of plant and animal species, the area’s main attraction is an impressive Mayan archaeological site. The Calakmul archaeological site is located in the center of the land that Friends of Calakmul has conserved under the land trust. While all archeological sites in Mexico belong to the Mexican Government, surrounding land is under the Friends of Calakmul land trust. We highly recommend you visit the area and climb the pyramids. Once up there, take in the breathtaking view: undisturbed rainforest canopy as far as your eyes can see, thanks in part to your contributions. For an inspiring reference on the Calakmul experience, we recommend you read a short essay in Barbara Kingsolver’s book Small Wonders.

Can I do birding in the Calakmul area?
Yes! There are hundreds of exotic species flying in Calakmul. It's probably one of the few places in North America where birds can be watched in an undisturbed habitat. Check books and catalogues related to bird watching to find out what you can see in Calakmul.



How exactly does Friends of Calakmul conserve land?
The Core Zone of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve is protected by the Mexican Government. The Core Zone is the nucleus or center of the Reserve and all human activities are forbidden. The Reserve has a Buffer Zone surrounding the Core Zone where activities such as sustainable logging may take place. The money from your donation is used to convert Buffer Zone land into de facto Core Zone as a way to increase long-term protection of the jaguars´ habitat.

It would be unrealistic to say that we can guarantee protection of any lands, which can be subject to illegal logging, hunting, or any natural disaster. However, our results-based strategy makes protection a realistic goal. Friends of Calakmul (FOC) provides an economic alternative to the extraction of plant and animal species and unsustainable farming practices. We have formed partnerships with the ejidatarios, the community owners of the land : FOC pays them a yearly fee for life in exchange for conserving their land . This mechanism provides them with a vested interest in protecting the rainforest. How can we prove that the land is being protected? We conduct yearly surveys to ensure compliance. Our partners are paid only after the survey proves no human disruption has taken place.

Also, the Calakmul Alliance (of which FOC is part of) engages in educational activities at the local level to teach and reinforce how important preservation of their habitat is to the local culture, economy, and general well being.

How do I know my donation will be used to purchase land?
Great Question! The issue of how Friends of Calakmul uses donations to conserve land is core to our mission. We work in partnership with local community landowners to provide them with an economic alternative to logging, ranching and other activities that deplete the natural wealth of their land. Friends of Calakmul does NOT purchase land. Instead, we pay local community land owners for conserving their land. These community land owners are paid annual “rents” in exchange for placing their land in the FOC land trust and thus become partners in conservation. The land is placed into the trust in the form of a conservation easement. With this mechanism, the trust “owns” all the flora and fauna, yet the community retains ownership and the title to the land itself. Community landowners are only paid if the flora and fauna is conserved. In case land owners violate the agreement, Friends of Calakmul is under no obligation to make its annual payment. Yet, the land continues to remain under the conservation easement mechanism.

What percentage of my donation is actually used to conserve land?
As a small organization, it would be costly for us to produce an annual report per se. However, if you would like to see how the organization spends its money, you can view our past federal returns on the California Attorney General's website. The address is http://caag.state.ca.us/charities. Once you are on that page click the link on the left menu bar to "Charities Search.” Once on the Charities Search page, under "Organization Name" enter Friends of Calakmul and click "Search" button. This will provide a search results page with information about Friends of Calakmul and include a link to "On-Line Financial Records Are Available". Click that link and it will list all the tax filings available for Friends of Calakmul.

I found your site by clicking on The Rainforest Site. Does their “Click to Save” program really work? Does Friends of Calakmul actually receive a percentage of their proceeds?
Yes! Friends of Calakmul is very proud of its partnership with The Rainforest Site. This organization plays an important role in attracting attention to our cause. Your clicks add up and we receive a generous compensation for your clicks every three months. So please continue to click on The Rainforest Site. It really works!



Can I make a donation in foreign currency?
Yes. Donations made over the Internet using a credit card are preferred. The credit card processing service automatically converts your donation from dollars to your local currency when it appears on your card. For example, if you donate $36 US Dollars, the equivalent amount in your local currency will appear on your credit card statement. If you do not have a credit card, you can most likely purchase a money order in your country’s currency and send it to our mailing address. Our bank will then convert your payment into dollars and deposit that amount. Please note that only payments made by US tax payers are deductible.

Can I donate an amount other than the ones specified on your site?
Yes, you donate any amount you want, from as low as $1.00. The sky is the limit. We have provided donation levels for your convenience. However, if you have a specific amount in mind that does not fit these levels, we welcome your donation at any amount. Just look for the space marked “Other” on the donation page where the preset amounts are listed and enter the amount you would like to donate. Make sure to type the amount in dollars and cents including the decimal point ($xx.xx).



What if I want my donation to be a GIFT in the name of a friend or relative and for a special occasion (birthday, wedding, graduation, etc.)?
Just click on the gift certificate icon at the bottom of the Donation Page or the following link: http://www.calakmul.org/html/giftcert.html

Specify the recipient’s name, the amount of the certificate and the recipient's e-mail address and we will send them an on-line gift certificate. We will also send you notice that the order has been received. Please allow 2 to 3 weeks for the order to be processed and the recipient to receive the certificate.

What do I receive in exchange for my donation?
Besides the enormous satisfaction of making a difference for this planet, you will receive the following depending on your donation level:

  • $1.00-$89.00 Thank you letters and a membership to receive our newsletters via e-mail
  • $90.00-$119.00 A package with beautiful cards by photographer Jenny Jonak (while supplies last)
  • $120.00-- An impressive photograph of a jaguar by photographer Jenny Jonak (while supplies last)



How can I volunteer for Friends of Calakmul?
Although we do not have a formal volunteer program in place, we would love to know how you can help. Please write to info@calakmul.org.

One Friend of Calakmul is volunteering with a very effective grass roots campaign. He sent us the following idea:

David Watson goes to local business establishments that are highly public such as hotels, restaurants, etc. and meets the owner, talks about saving the jaguar and his interest in this effort and then gets them to agree to add a card stand and/or posters about saving the jaguar either in their window, front desk or other prominently displayed area. Click the links below to view and print the posters David uses to promote Calakmul in his area - Think Globally, Act Locally!

Poster 1
Poster 2

Poster 5  

©2017 Friends of Calakmul -  FOC - 20 Melrose Ct. San Mateo, CA 94402 - TEL: (650) 430-4089 - FAX: (415) 723-7996 - info@calakmul.org