Guatemala

/Guatemala
Guatemala2019-07-17T16:49:50-06:00

Project Description

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.

Community Development

Our Tours are designed to offer our clients an opportunity to Volunteer, Build & Tour.

The Build for this project is at a total cost of $5000.00 CND. Individual fundraise of $800.00 CND ( * this building project is based upon a 6 member team to Build One Home in the community plus Stove and Filtration Bucket. Includes the accommodation and meals (B,D) for 4 day build. And transportation to the site daily. )

The Tour for the 12 days is $2100.00 CND.

The Home Build Project is a 4 Day Build and this is a fundraise that is required by ALL PARTICIPANTS to help raise the funds for this Project.

Everyone who signs up for this project is responsible towards the fundraise of achieving this goal in order to complete the build.

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.

OUR PROJECT

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: March & August Annually

Trip Length: Tour 12 Days. Project 4 days

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Age appropriateness: 10 to 80

Location: View map

Guatemala 12 Day/11 Night Tour

Day 1

The travel program starts in your hotel in Antigua. A private van picks you up and drives you in about 2,5 hours to Panajachel, the main village on Lake Atitlan. Here you spend 2 nights in a comfortable hotel in the main street of Panajachel, where you can rest from the construction work. You sleep in double rooms with bathroom, breakfast is included. The hotel has a swimming pool and restaurant. The afternoon is free to relax and explore Panajachel´s main street.

Day 2

Today is a Sunday, so we will make a trip to the famous market of Chichicastenango. After pickup at the hotel, you will drive in a private van to the
market in about 1 hour. There, you have some free time to explore the market, famous for its size, the handicrafts that´s sold, and all of this in the setting of an
indigenous town full of culture. When you are ready, the driver will bring you back to the hotel in Panajachel.

Day 3

For this day and the next day we have a special program for you. From the hotel, you go to the dock in Panajachel, where you take a private boat to San Juan la
Laguna. In San Juan, the coordinator of our partner project waits for you at the dock, and you will start a very interesting cultural day. This day consists of a
complete program; you start with participating in one of the workshops that are described below. This is a fun way to get to know more about the culture. When finished, lunch is included, at the house of a local family. In the afternoon you receive a tour through the village, where you can admire the many murals with a spiritual significance in the Mayan culture. Then you will actually spend the night in a local homestay in San Juan. We will find 2 or 3 homestays for multiple participants so nobody is alone. They are all very nice people who are glad to show you their house, their family, and let you try their local food! The next morning we will have a final short activity, for example with the children from the local pre-school, and then we will return in boat to Panajachel, where we take a private van to Antigua. Here you spend 3 nights in a small hotel in colonial style, in double rooms with bathroom, and breakfast included. The hotel is located on only a 5-minute walk from the central square of Antigua.

Day 4

Either in the morning or in the afternoon (you can choose), you make an educational excursion. This tour is organized by one of our partner projects in
education. It´s a half-day trip, and there are different options to choose from. All options last about 3,5 hours, and include transportation and a
bilingual guide. With this tour the group supports the educational project.

Day 5

After breakfast you depart for a volcano hike to the active volcano Pacaya. It takes a 1-hour drive in private bus, and then a hike of about 2,5 hours to the
surroundings of the crater, through the forest. As this volcano is still active, you can´t get to the crater, but you will have a good view on it. You walk on the lava
fields, and you´ll see and feel that there is still hot lava under the surface! There will be marshmallows to roast. The hike includes an English-speaking guide and entrance fees. You return to Antigua around 3pm, to have lunch and do some souvenir shopping if you like.

Day 6

After breakfast you depart from Antigua in a private vehicle to Rio Dulce, a 6/7- hour ride. In Rio Dulce you stay at an ecolodge on the riverside, in the mangrove forests. You stay here for 2 nights in typical cabañas, which are 4 double rooms with bathroom and A/C, and breakfast included. The hotel has a restaurant and swimming pool. A unique location!

Day 7

Rio Dulce is known for its wildlife and canyons, so after arrival you take a boat ride along the Rio Dulce, until reaching Livingston on the Caribbean coast. Your
private boat picks you up at the hotel dock. During the tour you see a bird island, the San Felipe Castle, hot springs, local fishermen and many birds such as
pelicans. In Livingston, there is a quick stop. Then you continue to Playa Blanca, the only white-sand beach of Guatemala, where you can swim, relax and have
lunch with fresh fish! On the return you can also visit Siete Altares, which is a natural area of beautiful small waterfalls that you can wade through, to find a big
waterfall at the end to jump off! After this, the boat returns you to the hotel in Rio Dulce.

Day 8

The morning is free in Rio Dulce, and after lunch we will head to the National Park Tikal, about 4 hours driving. In Tikal, you are going to stay at a jungle lodge right in the park, in 4 double rooms with bathroom. The lodge is ecological, so there is limited electrity and wifi, there is no A/C but ventilators, very rustic! The hotel has a restaurant.

Day 9

Early morning for a unique experience and adventure. From the hotel, the guide walks you from the hotel in the dark to temple IV, from where you see an
impressive sunrise on top of the temple. After that, you return to the hotel for breakfast.  In the afternoon, around 4:30pm, the private vehicle drives you to the
peninsula of Flores in 1 hour, where you spend a night in a nice hotel on the boulevard, in double rooms with bathroom and A/C and breakfast included. The
hotel has a restaurant, and a nice roof terrace to enjoy the view on the lake of Peten Itza.

Day 10

We left the day open in Flores to enjoy the last day. You can do souvenir shopping, just enjoy the nice little streets with the shops, nice little bars and restaurants, or you can make a boat tour on the lake. In the late afternoon, the vehicle drives you to the airport, where you take a domestic 45-minute flight at 6:30pm to Guatemala City. There you spend the last night in a nice big hotel in the business district, in double rooms with bathroom and breakfast included. The hotel has two restaurants and a swimming pool, to enjoy the last evening.

Day 11

The hotel will arrange transfers to the International airport to catch your flights back home.

Deposit

An initial 30% deposit is required to secure your seat for the tour.

 Included:

  • Transportation in and around the country
  • Accommodation
  • 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
  • Laundry
  • Other food not mentioned above
  • Alcohol
  • Water and snacks
  • Food you wish to buy for the local children (optional)
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Souvenirs
  • Restaurant and driver tips
  • Items not mentioned above

Q – How long before we leave should I book?

– 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?

– 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?

– Final payment is required 60 days before you leave.

– 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?

AResort 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

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