Guatemala gives freshly brewed coffee a new name, when you try its home grown. Visit these aromatic coffee-fields, take a trek through the jungle, explore the volcanoes and a must see is the temples, pyramids and palaces that mark the ruins of one of the most powerful Mayan Kindgoms: Tikal, which dates back to the 4th century BC.Then, heading on a “off-the-beaten-path” trek to turquoise pools and limestone caves: some only accessible through underwater swimming, made for the most adventurous travelers!
Truly experience the Mayan people as Guatemala is the the birthplace of the ancient Mayan people, yet still home to authentic villages today: people maintain their true religious rituals, language and traditional dress. Live a day as a Mayan as you learn about the colorful history of these people. From the cobblestone streets, dramatic horizons and crumbling ruins, the natural beauty of this country and its people make it a compelling travel destination for many.
Guatemala suffers from a level of inequality and widespread poverty that is extreme even within Latin America. Two thirds of children live in poverty due to the high fertility rate and malnutrition in children is one of the highest in the world.
Guatemala has the second lowest literary rate in the Western Hemisphere. Only 35% of Guatemalan youth attend middle school and even fewer high school. It is particularly hard for children living in rural areas to attend school. Most drop out due to the lack of access and largely inadequate facilities.
Guatemala no longer allows international adoption and as a result the orphanages are overflowing. Workers and other resources are all stretched. Your accommodation is on the grounds of an orphanage that has over 100 children in its care. One day will be spent helping the house mothers, painting, preparing food and anything else that is needed.
The remaining 3 days will be spent in a local barrio (slum) building a home. The home will consist of two windows a door and aluminum walls. Saving The Hungry will also ensure that the home owner has a wooden stove and water purifier. The joy of watching a family step into their ‘fully equipped’ house will be the highlight of your trip!
Those that do not wish to build the home can stay on the orphanage grounds as there is always work that needs to be done.
Construction – Hiking – Walking – boating
Dates: July 9th – 23rd 2019
Trip Length: 14 days – 13 nights
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Age appropriateness: 10 to 80
Location: View map
Welcome to Guatemala City where we will meet you and transfer you to Antigua here you can visit the churches, ruins and museums. This is a city with great history, cobble stone streets and colorful craft markets.
Day #2,3,4 and 5
Today you are picked up by our partners and driven to the local barrio where you will be building homes for families in desperate need.
The homes we build are simple structures that can be erected in one day. They have a door, two windows with a concrete floor to keep families out of the mud in rainy season. While building the homes we will meet the community, hear their stories and learn about the development work that our partners are doing in Guatemala.
Once the homes are completed, we will equip them with a wood burning stove and a water purification system so that they don’t have to drink the contaminated water.
After breakfast you will be met at your hotel by your guide for your transfer to Lake Atitlan. We will take you to the heart of the Guatemalan highlands. On the way we will stop at the Chichicastenango market, where the scent of incense and the local mysticism promises a unique atmosphere of traditions and culture. After an afternoon of rambling through this colorful town you will be transferred to Panajachel on Lake Atitlan. Your evening offers craft stands, tuk-tuks and fun restaurants and bars.
Time to explore Lake Atitlan by boat where we will take you to the village San Juan La Laguna where you can visit the women’s textile cooperative to see hand weaving and the natural dye process. Meander through the studios and homes of celebrated naïf painters, before we continue to the village of Santiago. After lunch we will stop at the village visiting the Maya God Maximon and learn about the textiles, spiritualism and beliefs of the T’zutujil Maya.
After breakfast you will be meet by your driver for your transfer back to Antigua. On route you will visit Iximche in Tecpán, Iximché a Mayan city founded in 1463, less than a century before the arrival of the Spaniards. In gentle pine forests, you see the traces of this city. Even today, its four ceremonial plazas with their temples and ball court host worship ceremonies for the gods.
Get your hiking boots on – this morning you being your climb up the the Pacaya volcano one of the three active volcanoes in Guatemala. Located one hour from Antigua, It is one of the most recommended volcano hikes due to its easy ascent and spectacular views of the volcanic chain. The hike will take 1.5 hours where we will enjoy a bagged lunch as you enjoy excellent views all the way to El Salvador.
After a hearty breakfast we will take you on a tour of Antigua and to a local women’s cooperative where you will learn how to form threats used in looms, you will also be shown how to make coffee from the se to the cup. Watch out because the local woman are going to want to dance with you and celebrate with you while you take pictures. Dinner tonight is on us as we introduce you to the local food Pepian” made with lots of spices and either pork, chicken or beef. The choice is yours! By the time you go to bed on day 10 you will have pictures of locals, ancient churches, cobblestone streets and daily life in Antigua.
Your driver will transfer you to Rio Dulce. On route you will visit the Archaeological Ruins of Quirigua carved between 426 AD and 810 AD. The Great Plaza which is located at the center of the site is the most significant public space in the entire Maya region. After the tour you will continue to Rio Dulce.
After breakfast we will take a tour to Garifuna village and then onto Río Dulce River visiting the island of the birds. Castillo de San Felipe de Lara, fortress was built by the Spaniards to protect the merchandise from pirates. After this we will go back to Río Dulce village and board our bus and head to Petén area (approx. 3.5 hrs.)
After breakfast transfer you Tikal National Park. You will enjoy a guided tour thorough the paths and main areas of the most important city of the Mayan World. Here you will find nature and archaeology wonderfully blended. Witnesses of the birth and splendor and collapse of one of the most important civilizations in the planet, all this is in our visit to Tikal, The City of the Voices.
Today your guide will transfer you to Yaxhá National Park. Yaxhá is in the banks of the Yaxhá Lake; here we will walk through the tropical forest, where howling monkeys howls to impress the females or to move away an intruding male in their flock. For those with extra energy climb the temples and enjoy wonderful views. After the tour you will be transferred back to Flores on time to take your local flight to Guatemala City.
After breakfast our driver will be waiting to transfer you from your hotel to Guatemala City International Airport on time to catch your flight back home.
An initial 30% deposit is required to secure your seat for the tour.
- Transportation in and around the country
- 3 meals per day while volunteering
- Lunch at Tikal and Yaxha National Park
- Breakfast while touring
- Local Guides
- Entrance Fees and Conservation Levy’s
- Conservation Levy’s
- Local flight ticket from Flores – Guatemala City (one way)
Additional Costs NOT included:
- International Flights
- Hotel taxes
- Personal travel insurance
- Other food not mentioned above
- Water and snacks
- Food you wish to buy for the local children (optional)
- Items of a personal nature
- Restaurant and driver tips
- Items not mentioned above
Q – How long before we leave should I book?
A – We have spots for up to a maximum of 13 people, so the sooner you book and pay a deposit, the sooner we can confirm your place on the team. ** Please note that the less people on the trip the greater the fundraising efforts.
Q – Do I have to book my accommodation while travelling through Saving the Hungry?
A – If you would like to keep your costs down we suggest you book your accommodation through us. Saving the Hungry has negotiated lower rates with the local hotels and tour providers.
Q – Do I need to stay with the team while volunteering?
A – Yes, this is not optional! Everyone needs to stay together to make it convenient for our partners to transport us.
Q – When is the final payment due?
A – Final payment is required 60 days before you leave.
Q – How much money should I budget on spending a day?
A – $50 Canadian Dollars per day would be a comfortable budget (additional sightseeing, liquor and souvenirs excluded)
Q – How much do I tip?
Y – Tour guides, cab drivers, waiters and porters generally expect a tip of 10-15% for a job well done.
Q – What kind of accommodation can I expect?
A – Lodging is clean but very simple and rustic. While volunteering the rooms have nothing more than a bunk bed, a ceiling fan and a shelf. Once we start to explore the country the accommodation will range between 3 stars (comparable to Canadian standards). We do not specialize in luxury trips!
Q – How will I get around?
A – From arrival to departure all your travel is taken care of.
Q – Do I pay hotel or resort fees?
A – Resort Fees, Taxes and Levies have been introduced in various destinations around the world. These fees are not included in your booking. Please be aware that these additional charges may occur and are payable directly to the hotels on either check in or check out. You will need a credit card when checking into hotels.
Q – What kind of clothing should I bring?
A –60 days prior to departure we will send you a list of recommended clothing.
Q – What vaccinations will I need?
A – Typhoid, rabies and Hep B and A are highly recommended. Please confirm with your Doctor or local Health Clinic
Q – How long does my passport need to be valid for?
All passports must be valid for at least six months from the date of return into Guatemala and must have two blank pages available for entry/exit stamps. Passengers travelling on foreign passports must contact the applicable consulate office for entry requirements and the Guatemalan authorities for re-entry requirements. Saving the Hungry cannot accept responsibility for incorrect documentation