Brief history of La Casa De Don David

In 1974 after several visits to Guatemala, David Kuhn, an American from Florida, decided to move to the Petén area and build a small cabin on the lake, just 3 kms from the village of El Remate. Local people called him Don David, “el gringo perdido” (the lost gringo). David liked the lake, jungle, animals and friendly people, and soon decided this was the place to build bungalows and a camping area for tourists. On Dec 29, 1975, he opened Gringo Perdido, the first jungle accommodations on Lake Petén Itzá.

The first five years of business were good. Don David married Rosita, a local girl. Gringo Perdido grew quickly as it became well known. However, as the 1980’s dawned, Guatemala became engaged in an active civil war, and tourists felt it too dangerous to visit the country, especially the jungle areas. By 1984, after three years of almost no visitors, Don David and Rosita sold the lodge to a Guatemalan who still owns it today. After that, David briefly contemplated growing corn with Rosita’s brothers. But instead, he along with Rosita and Kelsey, their then 1-year old daughter, moved back to the US where he worked in construction. For the next 4 years, they traveled between their home in Florida and Guatemala staying 4 to 8 months at a time.

In 1989 political changes started to take place, the civil war subsided, and movements to save the rainforest began. Soon the Maya Biosphere Reserve was established, and tourism improved. Don David and family decided to try again and in 1990 opened their first bed and breakfast room in their partially finished home in El Remate. Adding a room or two each year, they officially opened “La Casa De Don David” in 1996, (Visite Tikal S.A) which today has 15 air-conditioned rooms centered around a botanical garden, made i the Mayan Calendar design and a restaurant overlooking the lake. In 2013 David and Rosita divorced. But they both work in the business. Kelsey now lives in New Zealand.