AWAKEN: A Service & Yoga Retreat for Students

The Service & Yoga Retreat is designed for high school, home school, and gap year students who want to share their spirit!  This all-inclusive journey will include lakeside yoga classes, hikes through vibrant villages, cultural and artistic activities, and service projects that support children’s nutrition and education.

The Student Retreat centers around the shared belief that we each have a responsibility to contribute our creativity, curiosity and passion to the world in ways that matter most to us.  As part of the experience, participants will design a personal project that they will work on throughout their time in Guatemala. These self-directed projects will become a way for students to integrate their educational journeys, contemplate their next steps, and celebrate who they are in the world.


Program Fee: $1095.00 plus airfare.

Dates: January 6-14, 2017

What is included:

• 8 nights of accommodation
• All in-country transportation
• All meals in while in Guatemala
• Service projects
• Yoga classes
• Painting and weaving workshops with a local artisans
• Visit to open-air market
• Tortilla-making workshop
• Kayak rental
• Unlimited drinking water
• A donation to each of the organizations where we will be volunteering.

What is not included: Personal expenses such as the cost of renewing a passport, medical fees, health and travel insurance, extra baggage fees, phone calls, email, meals and activities not taken with the group.  The cost of international airfare is not included in the price of this trip.

Who should go: Open-hearted, flexible, and adventuresome 16-19 year-olds who have a willingness to stretch themselves, a good sense of humor, and a curiosity about themselves and the world.  No Spanish is necessary, but participants should have a desire to communicate and connect with Guatemalans in whatever ways they can.

Lodging: We will be staying in a family-run hostel. Our rooms will be doubles and triples and each person will have their own bed.  Each room has a shared bathroom, and will have a western style toilet and a

Food: We will eat most of our meals at restaurants that cater to travelers and use locally and organically grown food whenever possible.  During our service days, we will enjoy lunches at restaurants that have a social impact component to their work. Most of our meals will be vegetarian, and we ask that travelers bring an open mind and a spirit of curiosity to each meal.

Health and Safety: All hotels, restaurants, service sites, cultural experiences, outdoor activities, group programs, drivers and guides have been carefully selected to provide travelers with an experience that is as safe as possible. Participants are encouraged to consider the level of risk of any adventure before participating in this program, and we advise everyone to understand the personal responsibility accepted by the participant and their family.  Please review the Community Understandings for other information.

Escorted Travel Options: The Program Leader will be departing from Houston on United Airlines on January 6th and returning to Houston on January 14th. Suggestions for ticking your own international airfare will be included in your reservation materials.

Reservations: A $600 deposit is required to hold your space on the Student Service and Yoga Retreat. This deposit is due by December 1st, and the remaining balance is due December 18th, 2016.  Please review Worlds of Light’s Terms and Conditions for additional information regarding reservations and refunds.


GHA 3Day 1: Air Travel to Guatemala City
We’ll be picked up at the Guatemala City airport in a private shuttle and will relax at our family-run hostel after our long day of travel.

Day 2: Lake Atitlán
After a tipico breakfast at our hotel we will be transported on a three hour drive through the Guatemalan highlands to our hotel on the shores of Lake Atitlán. We will enjoy lunch at a restaurant with majestic views of the three volcanoes that surround the lake.  Our afternoon will be filled with swimming and kayaking, and then we will have dinner together at a local restaurant.

Day 3: Creativity in San Juan
We will welcome the morning with yoga in a open-air palapa studio overlooking the sacred waters of Lake Atitlán.  After breakfast, we will set off by boat to the vibrant artistic community of San Juan. A woman from the village will give us a tour of her town and then we will visit with a local weaver who creates beautiful textiles using backstrap weaving.  After lunch we will explore a small coffee farm and learn how to pick and process coffee. We’ll return to our hotel and will be able to swim, practice yoga, or relax in the garden. In the evening we will gather inspiration from the local artists and work on our personal projects.

Day 4:  Volunteering in San Marcos
After an invigorating yoga class and a hearty breakfast at the hotel, we’ll spend the day with an organization working to ensure that kids in town have access to nutritious meals.  We will tour their projects, have an opportunity to work in their gardens, and play with the children who receive meals at the center.  In the afternoon, we will learn how to make tortillas.Konojel

Day 5: Improving Housing in San Pablo
We will take tuk-tuks to a nearby village where we will volunteer for an organization dedicated to improving housing for the town’s poorest families. We will work in small groups with local masons and families to help lay cement floors in homes that currently have only dirt floors.  After our day of very hard work, we will return to our hotel to swim and relax.

Day 6: Market Day in Panajachel and Village Trek
Our morning will start with yoga and then we will take a boat ride to Panajachel where we will experience the sights, sounds and smells of market day.  After exploring the bustling market, we will check out the many market stalls that feature artisan crafts and textiles, beaded jewelry, t-shirts, hammocks, and other gifts. We will have lunch back at the hotel and then hike up to a waterfall and trek through several villages until we arrive by foot at our hotel for the evening.  It’s early to bed for us since we have to be up before dawn the next day.IMG_4507

Day 7: Sunrise Hike and Volunteering at a School
We will wake up very early will take a private shuttle to Santa Clara where we will meet our guide.  We’ll hike for an hour in the dark up La Nariz de Indio, one of the nearby volcanic peaks that surround the lake.  We will watch the sun rise over the Lake.  After returning to our hostel for breakfast and some rest, we will visit a school and learn how the education is bridging cultures.  We will have the opportunity to get the grounds, gardens and classrooms ready for the start of the school year.  (The Guatemalan school year begins in late January).IMG_4276

Day 8: Celebration of the Journey
We will mark the end of our time at the Lake with a special celebration and a showcase of our creative projects.  We will say farewell to the magical setting that has been our home for the week, and then travel to Antigua to explore this beautiful, colonial city.  We will have time for sightseeing and shopping, and then we will share a final dinner together.

Day 9: Homeward Bound
We will take a very early shuttle to the airport and then depart from Guatemala back to the US.

While our itinerary serves to guide the flow of the week’s activities, we will have the ability to adapt the schedule to meet the needs of the group, the needs of the local communities, the weather, and other changing conditions.