Tortuga Escondida

Tortuga Escondida

The residency center Tortuga Escondida was created in 2015 by Jennifer Smith in the Yucatan’s Mayan jungle, close to the small town of Akumal, meaning « place of the turtles » in Mayan.

Tortuga Escondida promotes the development of art and culture in the area but also emphasizes its programs on science and ecology. With almost a hundred partnerships with universities, the center welcomes scientific workshops to study the biodiversity of the jungle and the coasts of the Riviera Maya. Many artists have stopped by the residency, and since 2018, the Akumal Arts Festival organized by the center invites as many as one hundred artists in residence to paint over the town and organize workshops with the local community, which totally changed the face of Akumal over the years.

« We have in Akumal a long history of having artists’ residencies, and the community really loves art. {…} we always get very greatly sponsored by our community when we have the vernissages, meeting greets, open studios, so this iteration artist’s residency in the jungle, people really love it. It’s a way to get out of the more touristic areas and have an experience that is really like going to another world » explains Marti Johnston, director of the residency.

Tortuga Escondida offers a large variety of programs for writers and artists and is open to all disciplines without restrictions. Artists can apply to a straight residency which will be in a collective format and for an established period of time varying from 4 to 5 weeks. Artists can also opt for a self-directed residency and establish the period’s length of stay in adequacy with their project. In both cases, they’ll receive accommodation, food, and transportation, as well as spaces to work and time to present their research to the public.

« We also have the residency of the Festival where there’s a lot more going on with like a said, almost a hundred artists, a lot of murals, and different styles of art. So, there’s a little bit of everything, whether you want to be by yourself in self-directed or being in another environment with the creative process of another artist, or in the whole festival atmosphere » indicates Jennifer Smith, founder of Tortuga Escondida.

Artists will find in Tortuga Escondida a place to share, to explore, to experiment but also to reflect on their work in a natural environment that gives all the inspiration needed to the creation of new artworks.

« It’s a really great opportunity, in my opinion, this is a great place to come and paint, have a studio, it’s really peaceful out here in the jungle. {…} I saw my artwork change, adding much more nature, animals but with a real graffiti take on it, {…} It’s more than just an artist residency, it’s a whole experience » confides Jake Klone, artist in residence.

Foundation year



Jennifer Smith




Visited by AIRTV
Video produced by AIRTV

World region

Latin America



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