Frequently Asked Questions
Can I visit?
Gaviotas wishes to welcome visitors. But there is concern in the area about hostage-taking of foreigners. Also, contact with foreigners could make Gaviotas a target for extortion.
To make it possible for interested people to visit safely, Friends of Gaviotas has been working with Gaviotas to organize trips since 2010. Prior trips have taken place in the dry season, for up to 20 people, and include:
If you travel independently and are more risk-tolerant, you could just show up and would not be turned away. But please don’t expect the Gaviotas Bogotá office to give you directions and help you get there, as they don’t want to play a part in putting you in danger.
Can I get blueprints of Gaviotas inventions?
The priority at Gaviotas is to survive and thrive in the arid eastern plains, not to spend their valuable time producing documents that can be provided upon request to folks in richer countries. Gaviotans don’t patent their products, but please do not blame them if they don’t go out of their way to transfer their knowledge from the South to the North. They have more urgent matters on their mind. That said, there are people in North America who have managed to obtain documentation. Some of them are regular contributors to the Gaviotas listserv at greenbuilder.com. Please sign up, read past posts, and ask your question there. Also, keep in mind that Gaviotas does not seek to be a model to be replicated, since every locale should generate its own best solutions. Above all, Gaviotas seeks to inspire.
Where can I buy Gaviotas products?
Gaviotas products were invented to solve local problems. They might, or might not, be appropriate for other places. Orders (minimum 20 units of any product) can be placed with the Bogota office (see following paragraph), but you have to pay in advance, in Colombian pesos, and pick them up yourself or arrange (and pay for) your own shipping. Price lists are available at their office. Generally, Gaviotas appears to be more interested in innovating than in building an international sales network.
How can I contact Paolo Lugari and/or Gaviotas?
Gaviotans are busy being self-sufficient and innovative in the middle of nowhere, so (understandably) they are not very good at responding to email, letters or phone calls. But in any case, here is their contact info (no email address available at this time):
Centro Las Gaviotas
Paseo Bolívar No.20-90
Bogotá – Colombia
Phone 282.5996 (Spanish only)
Your best bet is to establish a personal rapport first, such as by attending a Gaviotas event.
Can I offer my own ideas/inventions/time to Gaviotas?
Again, the best first step is to establish a personal rapport by attending a Gaviotas event and to share your ideas there. Consider signing up for a possible trip to Gaviotas, and see if the place resonates with you. All the while, consider the possibility that your ideas might be more valuable right in your own community than in a far-away place like Gaviotas.
Where/when is the next Gaviotas gathering?
Nothing is currently planned. Check the Events section of the website for updates.