Day 1 – Guatemala City and Antigua
Today you will start your Guatemala adventure to make unforgettable memories with your group. Upon arrival, you will receive a warm welcome at the airport from your Tour Manager and then head straight to your guesthouse lodging in Antigua. Tonight, you will have your first Guatemalan meal and discuss the exciting days ahead.
Day 2 – Antigua
In the morning, you will have an orientation with your Program Leader where you will discuss your community service project as well as life and culture in Guatemala. After your orientation, you will go on a walking tour through the cobblestone streets of colonial Antigua. You will visit historic ruins, taste the local cuisine, and observe how history and Guatemalan culture have shaped modern-day Antigua.
After the walking tour, you will drive to meet your host community and enjoy lunch with your host families. Introductory Spanish lessons in the afternoon will help you feel more comfortable during your time in the community working with local leaders and playing with local youth. In the late afternoon, you may have some time for a walking tour of your host community. You will have dinner with your host families and rest up for the exciting days ahead.
Day 3 – Host Community and Service Project
The homestay experience and service project are the heart of your program—an excellent way to bond with your host community and peers through service. Today you will meet in the morning at the work site to be briefed on the community project and talk with the local leaders who will be working with you.*
Today, and for several subsequent mornings, you will work together on your community service project. In the afternoons, you will continue your project or explore the surrounding region.
Your community service project is based on local needs and may include painting or equipping classrooms in a school or pre-school center that serves disadvantaged youth. Some dream projects of local communities that you could be involved with if you are able to raise additional funds include the construction of classrooms, a water collection tank to provide clean water, building modern bathrooms, installing water filters, building a basketball court or playground, or equipping a computer center.
In the afternoon, you will visit the La Azotea museums. You will start with the coffee museum, located in an old coffee mill, which illustrates the history of Guatemalan coffee production from processing and brewing to marketing coffee. You will also have the opportunity to explore the Mayan music museum, which is home to a collection of Mayan musical instruments from pre-Columbian times to the present. In addition, you will visit Rincon de Sacatepequez, a museum with dioramas showing customs and costumes of villages around Antigua. After an afternoon of museums, you will have a chance to take part in a local style of dance with a Latin salsa dancing class!
*The host community may be different from the service project community.
Note: Please ask your Program Manager for more details on these dream projects and how you can help.
Day 4 – Host Community and Service Project
You will spend the morning working on your community service project. In the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to appreciate the customs and traditions of Mayan culture, including experiencing a presentation of a Mayan wedding ceremony and enjoying a special meal in town.
Day 5 – Host Community and Service Project
This morning, you'll spend time working on your community service project. In the afternoon, you will visit a rural community and have a cultural exchange with the community kids. Before dinner you will have a second Latin salsa dance class.
Day 6 – Host Community and Service Project
On your final day in the community, you'll start finishing up your service project and celebrating a job well done. In the afternoon, you will experience the Real Guatemala tour, set high in the mountains just outside the city of Antigua. The Real Guatemala provides an educational hike and reveals the elements of the local culture while creating financial support for the developing community.
In the evening, you will have a special farewell dinner with your host families and new friends from the host community.
Day 7 – Panajachel and Lake Atitlan
Today you will take a day trip to Panajachel, a town located in the southwestern portion of Guatemala and set between pristine lakes, steep mountains and the San Pedro and Toliman volcanoes. This lively town is located on the shores of the awe-inspiring Lake Atitlan, which has an unparalleled hue of crystal blue, silver and green depending on where the sun hits the water. There are also a number of very traditional Mayan villages surrounding the lake. This afternoon you will explore the town of Panajachel and walk along the beach of the lake, admiring the enchanting waters.
Day 8 – Chichicastenango
You'll set off for Chichicastenango, the most spirited and colorful market in Central America. Chichi, as it’s known by the locals, hosts a market on Thursdays and Sundays attracting vendors from all over Guatemala. The market is located in the central plaza and spills into the side streets as vendors begin setting up the night before. In the morning, small firecrackers are set off announcing the opening of the market. You will walk amidst the vendors selling handicrafts, food, flowers, textiles, masks, and woodcarvings. In the afternoon you will return to Antigua and stay overnight at local guesthouse lodging in Antigua.
Note: This activity will be moved within the itinerary based on the days of the week during your program dates. The market only takes place on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Day 9 – Pacaya Volcano
In the morning, you will have breakfast at your hotel before heading off to the Pacaya Volcano. You will have an exciting morning hike up the most active volcano in Guatemala. In the evening, you will enjoy dinner in a local restaurant in Antigua where you will gather for a farewell celebration and to reflect on your time in Guatemala. Tonight you will stay at local guesthouse lodging in Antigua.
Day 10 – Depart
Today your Guatemala adventure will come to an end as you and your group start your journey back home.
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