IRHS Trip – Guatemala
March 11 – 18, 2023
This trip is intended for IRHS students. Participants will spend seven days volunteering in the mountainous villages of Vuelta Grande and El Hato, where they will support the school sites and experience what daily life is like in rural Guatemala. Their free time and evenings will be spent in the colonial tourist town of Antigua. Volunteer work on this trip will include classroom and library construction at the local school in El Hato as well as tutoring and helping in the classroom, and reforestation work on several plantations near Vuelta Grande.
The cost of the trip covers airfare and virtually all in-country experiences, including:
- Housing and meals
- Excursions and cultural activities
- Service project materials and coordination
- Daily transportation
- Airport pickup and drop-off
- Dedicated group leader and experienced local guides
- 24-hour emergency contact
The fee does not cover airfare, travel insurance, visa expenses or immunizations (if necessary). With the exception of meals during your free time on the arrival and departure days and any shopping you do, all trip costs are covered from the minute you arrive until the minute you return.
Housing & Meals
At the guest house, volunteers will be served Guatemalan and international cuisine. The cooks are accustomed to cooking for Western stomachs. There are vegetarian dishes available in every meal, but meat or eggs are also included at least once per day. Packing trail mix and/or energy bars is recommended for people accustomed to a protein-rich diet. Volunteers will have access to purified drinking water, as it’s always available at the guest house. You can fill your own water bottles using the water dispensers.
Guatemala Service Trip Sample Itinerary
|Day 1||Arrive in Guatemala City. Shuttle to Antigua.||Orientation and Walking Tour.|
|Day 2||Service Projects||Salsa Dance Lessons|
|Day 3||Service Projects||Mayan Cultural Ceremony|
|Day 4||Service Projects||Tour of Antigua Local Market|
|Day 5||Trip to Lago Atitlan||Trip to Lago Atitlan|
|Day 6||Service Projects||Vuelta Grande Home Visits|
|Day 7||Free Time||Airport Departure|
Preparing to Travel to Guatemala
We are here to help you every step of the way.
Booking Your Flight
In the rainy season (from June to October), heavy afternoon rainfall is typical. We recommend raingear and boots. Average temperatures are in the 70s(F) but it can be windy and cooler in the villages. We recommend layers.
- Up-to-date boosters for routine vaccinations
(measles, mumps, chicken pox, etc.)
- Hepatitis A & B
- Yellow Fever*
Zika has been reported in Guatemala and the CDC recommends travelers to Costa Rica exercise rigorous prevention against mosquito bites. The mosquitoes that spread Zika are not prevalent in the highlands areas where most of our service projects are located and travelers to these regions are generally at less risk of getting Zika from a mosquito.
Many of these vaccinations should be started four to eight weeks in advance so please check with your healthcare provider or Travel Medicine clinic. Please refer to the CDC website or your doctor for more information on necessary vaccinations and insect repellents.
*There is no risk of yellow fever in Guatemala. The government of Guatemala requires proof of yellow fever vaccination only if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever (not the US).
What to Bring
- Casual & Light (Layers)
- Short sleeve shirts, jeans, raincoat
- Old clothes that can/will get stained/dirty
- Layers for temperature changes
- Sneakers / Rain boots / Work boots
- Extra socks (to avoid blisters)
- Sandals for free time
- Swimsuit and towel
- Bug repellent
- Work gloves
- Umbrella / poncho
- Water bottle
- Spanish/English Dictionary
- Sunglasses / hat
- OTC Medicine
- Journal and pen
- Ear plugs if you are a light sleeper
- Spending Money ($100-$150)
Donations & Gifts
Participants often ask what they can bring with them to support the communities they are serving.
Here are some ideas about how you can contribute.
- The villages we visit are not wealthy. The community is in constant need of donations of new children’s clothing, shoes, jackets, and school supplies. We would love for you to make an effort to collect these items and bring them with you if you have the space in your suitcase.
- Monetary donations are most helpful. If each of us could raise at least $100, we would be able to send 2-3 teens to school for an entire year, as well as improve the physical structure of the local elementary school.
Due to the humanitarian nature of this trip, you may find creative ways to ask friends, relatives, colleagues, teachers, store owners, etc. for monetary and in–kind donations. We can provide you with two documents, which may aid you in your efforts:
1. In-Kind & Monetary Donations Letter for Store Managers/Owners
2. In-Kind & Monetary Donations Letter for Friends, Relatives, Teachers
All tax-deductible checks can be made payable to our 501(c)(3)non-profit, Young Dreamer Network, and mailed to our headquarters: Dream Volunteers, 2221 Broadway Street, Redwood City, CA 94063