What is the typical daily schedule?
Each day will begin with a nourishing breakfast at the hostel and then we will head out on a morning excursion. Most planned activities will take place between 8:30 and 4, and each evening we will have dinner together. Every activity is included in the trip, yet each one is optional so that you can craft a schedule that is perfect for you.
What is the weather like?
The weather is beautiful and we will enjoy sunny, 75-85 degrees days and cool and comfortable nights. It is possible that we might also experience a light rain and some windy afternoons, but this will not prevent us from being outside. Lake Atitlán is about a mile above sea level.
How fit do I need to be to participate in this trip?
The beauty of this trip is that you can do as little or as much as you want and still have an amazing experience. Those who wish to participate fully in each activity should be able to walk 2-4 miles on a day on uneven ground, be comfortable getting in and out of a docked boat, and be able to carry about 30 pounds (i.e. a bucket of wet cement). If you feel called to go on this trip and are concerned about your fitness, please get in touch and we can talk about your specific situation.
How will we dress throughout the trip?
Your regular spring/summer clothes will be perfect for this getaway. If you would like to participate in the volunteer projects, plan to dress slightly more conservatively and wear sturdy sneakers or hiking books.
Will I be able to do laundry?
Laundry services are available for about $8/kilo.
What water will we be drinking?
The water in Guatemala is non-potable, so we will be drinking bottled water throughout the entire trip. It will hot and we will be at elevation, so everyone is encouraged to stay hydrated. Unlimited bottled water will be available each day.
How much spending money should I bring?
For most people, $100 can go a long way toward buying plenty of souvenir-type bracelets, t-shirts and handcrafts. However, artisan-quality weavings, paintings, textiles, ceramics, etc. cost more.
What is the Guatemalan currency and how can I get it?
The Guatemalan Quetzal (Q) is the national currency. The easiest way to get Quetzales is to bring crisp, flat, new U.S. dollars and exchange them at the airport. If you want a better exchange rate, you can use an ATM; be sure to bring two different debit cards in case one is not accepted. Please note that ATMs are not always dependable, and there is no ATM in the town where we will be staying.
Are any immunizations required for travel to Guatemala?
Please consult with a travel doctor or your family physician for recommendations regarding immunizations and other medical situations. When discussing your travel plans with your doctor, it is important to know that we will only be in Lake Atitlán and Antigua.
Can the program accommodate specific diets?
We are able to offer a vegetarian option at every meal.
Where is the nearest health center?
There is a naturopathic clinic in the town where we will be staying, and the closest hospital is in Sololá, about an hour and a half away. If a situation arises beyond what can be treated locally, participants will be evacuated for medical treatment. While international emergency medical insurance for each participant is included in the cost of this trip, you are ultimately responsible for all related costs of medical treatment including co-pays and/or any balances that insurance does not cover.
Is there anything that I might be surprised by?
You can not flush toilet paper in Guatemala. Instead there will be trash baskets by every toilet.
Where will we be swimming?
We will be swimming in Lake Atitlán at the Cerro Tzankujil Nature Reserve in San Marcos La Laguna.
What types of transportation will we use?
We will hire private vans and buses for long drives, and we will use both private and public boats to get around Lake Atitlán. We will also hire small, three-wheeled vehicles called tuk-tuks for short trips around town. Most of the time we will be on foot!
Do I need to bring a voltage adapter for my electronics?
Guatemala has the same electric current as the US, so no voltage adapters are needed. You can plug your phone/camera charger directly in the wall as the sockets have two, straight-prong openings. However, if you are bringing something with a three-prong plug, you will need a two-prong adapter.
How often will I have access to the internet?
Our hostel will have wifi, and so you will typically have internet access in the mornings and evenings. Please note that the wifi is not always dependable.
What about traveler’s diarrhea?
We eat at restaurants that cater to travelers and offer the highest health standards possible. However, given the environment, it is best to expect to experience mild stomach cramps sometime during the trip while hoping, of course, that you are like most people and don’t have any symptoms.
Can I bring gifts or donations?
Thank you for your generosity! We won’t be giving gifts directly to individuals; instead, a few weeks before our departure, we will ask our local partners what their greatest needs are and then we will share these “wish lists” with you. If you would like to contribute items from an organization’s wish list, it would be certainly be appreciated. Also, by participating in this trip you will be supporting several community initiatives since your program fee includes a donation to each of the organizations we work with.
I would love to go, but these dates don’t work for me. Do you offer custom tours?
Yes! We can design a custom tour for your group. We can also arrange accommodations, transportation, and activities for the independent traveler. Use the button below to get in touch, and let us know what you have in mind.
I have more questions. What should I do?
Get in touch! We would love to hear from you. You can submit your questions using the button below.
I want to sign up for this getaway. What should I do?
Use the button below to learn about the enrollment process, and then go ahead and apply. We can’t wait to travel with you!