DESTINATION:

Guatemala

Guatemala is distinguished by steep volcanoes, vast rainforests and ancient Mayan sites; its people are enjoying better health when they receive eco-stoves and community programs via DWC

Guatemala

Official Language(s)
Spanish
Population
15.5 million
% of Population Below Poverty
54% (8.4 million people)
GDP per CAPITA (PPP US$) (?)
$5,300 (Canada = $43,100)
UN's Human Development Index (?)
Guatemala
Canada
Zika virus

The recent outbreak of the Zika virus in parts of Latin and South America might be causing some concern for potential volunteers.

The Centres for Disease Control note that Zika mosquitoes do not live at elevations above 6,500 feet. San Miguel Duenas is at 5,000 feet, so there is some risk although DWC’s partner organization there has not reported any known cases of Zika.

We want everyone to have a safe DWC experience so we take this outbreak seriously and we are monitoring it. So far, we feel confident that travel to Latin and South America is safe for our volunteer teams unless they are pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the near future. Please consult the CDC site to review precautions you should take: CDC link

We will keep travellers advised if there are any changes to travel advice for Guatemala.

Please contact our office if you have any questions or concerns about volunteering in Guatemala.

Why volunteer in Guatemala?

Literacy rates in Guatemala are among the lowest in Latin America. The government runs public schools that are free to attend but the cost of uniforms, books, supplies and transportation makes them less accessible to the poorer segments of society.

Our volunteer projects are based in and around the town of San Miguel Dueñas, a traditional Guatemalan community surrounded by rural countryside. It is an agricultural town of 9,000 people, many of whom are subsistence farm labourers. Although Dueñas is situated just 15 kilometres from the tourist centre of Antigua, it has a substantially lower standard of living. Many homes do not have running water or electricity. In 2012, tropical storm Agatha destroyed homes and crops. Many homes are still in disrepair.

Volunteer projects

Volunteers help with various community driven projects from our in-country partner, the Open Windows Foundation, an organization that works to provide free education to disadvantaged members of the community. Volunteers with some knowledge of Spanish can assist younger children with their reading skills. Other volunteers may be asked to help small groups of children with computer skills, numbers and crafts. Volunteers will also assist in the construction of needed infrastructure projects, such as the construction of homes for families in need. Developing World Connections has a long-term commitment to help improve community members’ lives and increase their self-sufficiency. No special skills are required.

Choose your trip

HIGH SCHOOL, ADULT AND FAMILY, CUSTOM OR CORPORATE TRIPS: These are typically two weeks in length and include in-country food, ground transportation and accommodation, program costs and a substantial direct donation to the Open Windows Foundation. It does not include airfare. However, the entire cost paid through DWC is 100% tax deductible, including airfare.

YOUTH AND UNIVERSITY TRIPS: A two- to four-week Youth and University trip varies in price and is often based on the number of participants and location. You can fundraise for your trip and DWC will issue charitable receipts to your donors.

Trips may be cancelled if not enough people are registered so please sign up early to avoid disappointment. A $500 deposit is required to hold your spot on the trip; the remaining balance is due 60 days before departure.

When can I go?

2017 TRIPS

PROJECT DATES COMMUNITY IN-COUNTRY PARTNER DETAILS
October 7 - October 21, 2017
Oct 7 - Oct 21, 2017
San Miguel Dueñas, Sacatepequez Open Windows Foundation Explore Trip #GMA1017 »
April 15 - April 29, 2017
Apr 15 - Apr 29, 2017
San Miguel Dueñas, Sacatepequez Open Windows Foundation Explore Trip #GMA0417 »

Note: Please note this trip schedule is updated regularly and will change depending on the availability of flights and other factors that can affect travel.

How much does it cost?

Adult and Family, Custom or Corporate Trips
A two-week volunteer trip to Guatemala costs approximately $2,100, with final costs to be determined before departure. This includes the cost of in-country food,  ground transportation and accommodation, program costs and a substantial direct donation to the project. Airfare is not included; however, the entire cost paid through DWC is 100% tax deductible, including flight costs.
High School or Youth and University Trips

A two-week high school trip will vary depending on the number of participants. A four-week Youth and University trip varies in price from $2,200 to $2,600 (flights not included) depending on the number of participants. You can fundraise for your trip and DWC will issue charitable receipts to your donors.

We invite people who cannot give the gift of time to donate to Guatemalan projects and programs through Developing World Connections.

Cultural activities

After you’re done volunteering, we suggest you explore the center of Mayan civilization, including its ancient archaeology, rich culture and diverse landscapes. While the natural landscape of lush jungles, rainforests and highlands has earned Guatemala the title Land of Eternal Spring, its indigenous villages and markets capture the blend of ancient Mayan culture with the aristocratic architecture of its colonial past. In Antigua, visit museums and art galleries including the famous Casa Santo Domingo, learn about Mayan chocolate making or take a guided tour of the Finca Filadelfia coffee plantation. Spend the morning or afternoon hiking up Pacayo Volcano, one of Guatemala’s 33 active volcanoes.

For adventures outside of Antigua, you can spend time shopping at traditional Mayan markets in the various communities around Lake Atitlan. Or visit Lake Izabal and the 400-year-old Spanish fortress, Castillo de San Felipe. Travel by boat down the Rio Dulce, meandering past coastal fishing villages and through mangrove forests inhabited by manatee and crocodiles. Visit the 2,000-year-old Mayan ruins in the Tikal National Park and take a guided tour through a coffee plantation.

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