INSPIRE: A Teen Service Adventure


The Teen Service Adventure is a nine day experience designed for curious teens who want to explore this amazing region of Guatemala through volunteering, hiking, and cross-cultural understanding. Participants will deepen their sense of connection to themselves and others by working with and learning from Guatemalans involved with local community initiatives.  All of our projects will be based on the needs of the community. We might build a chicken coop, work on a house, mix cement for floors, organize library books, pick IMG_4251and process coffee beans, build compost bins, or sew costumes for a school play.

Our week will be full, but balanced with just the right amount of work, play and relaxation. In addition to volunteering, we will eat delicious food, go on a sunrise hike, swim in the lake, visit open-air markets, practice yoga, and explore local artistic and cultural traditions.



Total Cost: $1695.00/pp.  Includes round trip airfare from Boston’s Logan Airport.  For those departing from cities other than Boston, please inquire for pricing.

Dates: February 25-March 5, 2017

What is covered: Round trip airfare, all in-country transportation, breakfast, lunch and dinner each of the days we are in Guatemala, bottled water, daily snacks, hotel fees, gratuities, cultural activities/classes, 24-hour emergency phone access, materials for service projects, limited laundry service once during the trip, pre-departure logistical support, airport departure taxes, limited evacuation insurance, and donations to each of the organizations where we will be volunteering.

What is not covered: Spending money for treats and souvenirs. Transportation to/from Logan Airport. Meals while in transit (dinner on the day of our departure, and lunch and dinner on our last day when we are traveling back to the US).

Who should go: Open-hearted, adaptable, and adventuresome 8th -12th grade students who have a willingness to stretch themselves, a good sense of humor, and a curiosity about themselves and their world.  Parents are welcome on this trip; however, please keep in mind that this is an experience designed for teens and there are limited adult spaces available. Participants do not need to know Spanish, but should have a desire to converse with Guatemalans, even in simple ways.  IMG_4367

Lodging: Our lodging will be basic, but comfortable.  Boys and girls will sleep in different rooms.  Families will have a private room, if desired. Bathrooms will be shared and will have a western style toilet and a shower that might, if one is very lucky, have warm water.

Food:  We will eat most of our meals in restaurants that cater to travelers and use the highest health standards possible.  We will enjoy a wide range of food that might include burritos, pizza, eggs and toast, oatmeal, yogurt, rice and beans, sandwiches, pasta, smoothies and stews. During our service days, our community hosts will prepare meals for us. Most of our meals will be vegetarian, and we ask that students bring an open mind and a spirit of curiosity to each meal.

Health and Safety: All hostels, restaurants, work sites, cultural experiences, outdoor activities, group programs, drivers and guides have been carefully selected to provide students with an experience that is as safe as possible.  Students and families 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 both the participant and the participant’s family (including the zero tolerance drug and alcohol policy and other guidelines outlined separately in our Community Understandings.)

Reservations: Start the enrollment process by completing a short form that tells us why you are interested in this trip.  We’ll be in touch to answer any questions you might have about the program, and we’ll send you links to additional materials so that you can complete your reservation.  We hope to be able to offer this experience to all those who are interested, yet because spaces are limited, we encourage you to begin the enrollment process as soon as possible.  To reserve your spot, please submit all the required forms and a non-refundable deposit of $750 by November 18, 2016.  The full balance must be paid by January 12, 2017. Parents should be familiar with Worlds of Light’s Terms and Conditions which outlines important information including our cancellation and refund policies.



Day 1: Welcome to Guatemala!
We’ll be picked up at the Guatemala City airport and taken to our hostel where we will rest after our long day of travel.

Day 2: A Day in the Life of a Coffee Farmer
We’ll start our day with a beautiful hike up Volcán de Agua to the coffee fields. The morning will be spent picking coffee or tending to the land side-by-side with farmers from the community while learning about the agricultural aspects of growing coffee. Then we’ll go back to the farmer’s home for a well-deserved lunch and learn how to process the coffee fruit we just picked.  In the late afternoon we’ll drive through the Guatemalan highlands to a town on the shores of Lake Atitlán.

Day 3: Service Projects in San Lucas
We will work in small groups with local masons, builders, and families on various projects in the town and in the surrounding villages.  We might be constructing a house, building a stoves, repairing walls, or making cement floors. Though we won’t know what we will be doing until we arrive, it is likely that mixing concrete will be involved!img_4345

Day 4: Construction & Market Day
We’ll continue working on the construction projects we started the day before, and then will have a chance to experience market day.  We’ll take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the town’s large outdoor market, and we will also visit a small handcraft market down by the docks.  Dinner will be at a restaurant overlooking Lake Atitlán, and in the evening we will learn about the Mayan calendar and draw on its wisdom as we contemplate our paths in the world.

Day 5:  Lake Atitlan and the Nature Reserve
After our last morning of construction, we will take a private lancha (boat) across the lake to San Marcos La Laguna.  After checking into our hostel, we will hike up to a Mayan ceremonial site and then spend the rest of the afternoon swimming at a nature reserve on the shores in Lake Atitlán.  Optional: Head down to the town’s fútbol field before dinner and play soccer.

Day 6:  Escuela Caracol
The co-founder of Escuela Caracol, an intercultural primary school, will give us a tour of the school and our teams of volunteers will work on various projects. We will also meet with community leaders who are working to improve nutrition and food security, and the ladies from the project will prepare lunch for us.  Optional: Take an afternoon salsa dancing class.

Day 7:  Volunteering & Yoga
We will continue volunteering at Caracol, and then will hike through the valley to a permaculture center located high above the village. We will participate in an all-levels yoga class in a studio perched on the side of a mountain.

Day 8:  Sunrise Hike & Antigua
We will rise before dawn and take a private shuttle to Santa Clara where we will begin a trek up La Nariz de Indio.  We will summit while it is still dark and then watch the sun rise over the lake.  After breakfast at our hostel, we’ll have time for a quick swim or paddle before we travel to the colonial city of Antigua.  We’ll explore this beautiful World UNESCO heritage site and browse through the many market stalls that feature handcrafts and textiles.IMG_4531

Day 9: Adiós
Our shuttle driver will take us to the airport for our early morning departure back to the United States. Our flight arrives at Logan at 5:38 p.m. and pick up is at the airport.

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.


Highlights from the 2016 trip