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Guatemala Volunteer Group


  • Volunteer Construction
  • Tikal Ruins

Below is a sample itinerary of a past Goway Group. It is provided to give you an idea of what we have already done & what you might also consider doing.

However, because of timing, your own group's special interests and budget, we expect to custom make a program just for you. Contact your favorite travel agent click on "Inquire about this Trip" to fill out request for a group quotation.

Day 1

Guatemala City Arrival to Antigua

Welcome to Guatemala City. You will be met at the airport by our representatives and transferred to nearby Antigua.

Welcome Dinner & Constru Casa Introduction
Dinner will be at a local restaurant where you will be given an introduction to the Constru Casa project and the work that you will be doing over the next 10 days.

About Antigua:
Founded by Spanish conquistadors in 1543, Antigua Guatemala retains many historic edifices that qualify it as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the oldest and best-preserved Latin American cities, church ruins and immaculate New Baroque-style Spanish architecture characterize this popular Guatemalan tourist stop. Most famous for hosting the Western Hemisphere's largest Lent and Easter celebrations, Antigua travel during Holy Week rewards visitors with the chance to witness the elaborate processions that make their way through the streets during this all important Guatemalan festival and Antigua holiday. Upon its founding, Antigua Guatemala served as the military governor's seat of the Spanish colony of Guatemala. Being prone as it is to earthquakes, floods and fires, it lost its capital status in 1776, mainly due to a series of 1773 earthquakes that laid much of the town in ruins. In the safer nearby Valley of the Shrine, Guatemala City rose to become the area's new capital, and Antigua would change its name to La Antigua Guatemala, meaning "The Old Guatemala". Today, Antigua travel retains a flare for the historic, and quite often upon arriving, visitors get the sense that they have stepped back in history. Strolling Antigua's cobblestone streets reveals picturesque gems majestically set against a backdrop of stunning natural beauty. Dating from the mid-1500"s, the Cathedral of Santiago, the Church and Convent de Nuestra Señora de la Merced and the Church and Convent of Santo Domingo represent some of downtown Antigua's most historic city center icons. You'll find colonial-era artifacts, including portraits and statues at the Museum of Santiago (at City Hall) and you can round out your cultural adventure at the Museum of Colonial Art. Surrounded by City Hall, the Captain's Palace and the Metropolitan Cathedral, downtown Antigua's Central Park, or Plaza Mayor, is among the finest plazas in all the country.

Accommodation: Homestay With Local Families 

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Duration12 Nights
Day 2-6

Antigua

Private round trip transfers to and from Constru Casa Project.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 7

Coffee Tour & Santiago Zamora Tour

As Green as it Gets (GAIG) is a charity working to support small independent coffee producers and promoting environmentally responsible agriculture in Guatemala. This tour takes guests to visit some of the families supported by this organisation where they can work side-by-side with small coffee farmers in their daily coffee processing, pick, pulp, ferment, wash, dry, trilla, sort, and grade the coffee (depending on the season), roast coffee over an open fire and grind by hand on a grindstone before sampling their handiwork. Coffee Season is Nov to Mar. This tour includes a donation to GAIG and the Viaventure Foundation www.viaventure.org also supports this organisation on an annual basis. After the coffee tour guests continue onto the village of Santiago Zamora to visit a community tourism program. Santiago Zamora is an association where women work together to produce and sell traditional weavings and other products and to distribute the benefits equally in order to improve their living condition. Since the association was founded, the women have been working hard to promote education and to support children from poor families with school fees and materials. At the same time, they raise the women’s social status in a male-dominated society and encourage others to participate in social development activities.

* Note: Constru Casa do not build houses on Sundays, therefore clients will have a community tour included.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 8-11

Antigua

Private round trip transfers to and from Constru Casa Project.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 12

Antigua to Flores

Early morning transfer to Guatemala City airport for your domestic flight to Flores in the north of the country. On arrival you will be met for transfer to your hotel prior to your afternoon tour.

Yaxha Sunset Tour
You will be transferred by private driver and guide to Yaxha National Park where they will enjoy a private guided tour of this lesser visited, atmospheric site. You will enjoy the sights and sounds of the howler and spider monkeys as well as many colorful tropical birds and other mammals in this area which is rich with wildlife. Sunset drinks are then enjoyed at the end of the tour on top of the main temple with views over the surrounding rainforest and nearby Lake Yaxha. You will then trek back through the jungle with torches as it starts to turn dark - perhaps spotting some nocturnal wildlife along the way - and return to your hotel.

Suggested Accommodation: Maya Iinternational Hotel or similar 

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration1 Night
Day 13

Tikal Tour

Hotel pickup for transfer to Tikal National Park and a private guided tour of this fabulous site with huge temples rising up through the jungle canopy and a variety of tropical animals and birds on show. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the howler and spider monkeys as well as many colorful tropical birds and other mammals. Tour includes a private archaeological guide, entrances, snacks and a luxury picnic.

About Tikal:
Within Tikal National Park rests the impressive Mayan ruins of Tikal. Tikal is the largest excavated site among all the ruined Mayan cities and arguably Guatemala's most prized cultural gem. Both magical and spiritual, Tikal encourages the imagination to wander and incites the desire to explore. Towering above the jungle canopy, the great Mayan temples of Tikal are among the tallest examples, the loftiest reaching nearly 230 feet. While some of the earliest Mayan ruins at Tikal date as far back as the 4th century BC, the city didn't reach its zenith until some 500 years later during the Mayan Classic Era (2nd century AD-10th century AD). Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Tikal Mayan ruins attract curious investigators of all sorts, who come to marvel at their existence. The history of Tikal reveals that at its height, the city was a dominating economic and political Mesoamerican power. There are different theories as to Tikal's name, though it is generally considered to mean, "At the Reservoir", reflecting the finding of water basins among the ruins. While splendid as the Mayan ruins of Tikal are, only a small percentage of what actually lies within the city's realm have been excavated. Abandoned by the Mayans in the 10th century, and overgrown by the encroaching rainforest, it wasn't until the 17th century that printed accounts of its existence began to draw global attention. In the early 19th century, an American explorer, diplomat and writer by the name of John Lloyd Stephens mentioned Tikal among the Mesoamerican ruins he came across during his travels. Remote as Tikal is, it would not be until 1848 that the first scientific expedition would arrive there. Further scientific expeditions followed in the 19th and 20th centuries, and from 1956 to 1970, major archaeological excavations by the University of Pennsylvania uncovered nearly 10 square miles of ruins. In 1979, the Guatemalan government resumed excavations, which continue today.

Flores to Guatemala City
Following your Tikal tour you will transfer to Flores airport for your domestic flight to Guatemala City. You will be met and transferred to your hotel.

About Guatemala City:
Perhaps a bit hectic for some, Guatemala City, or Guate as it is often called, constitutes the largest urban sprawl in Central America. While not exactly pretty, Guatemala City offers a vibrant Latin charm that integrates itself among both the city's historical and modern trappings. Between its active year round cultural scene, antique churches and the thriving Guatemala City nightlife, Guatemala's capital has something to offer visitors willing to put up with its sometimes overwhelming atmosphere. Modern and cosmopolitan, while maintaining its traditional heritage, the city began its reign as the country's capital when Spanish colonists began looking for a replacement for the earthquake-damaged former capital of Antigua. Founded in 1776 on what the Spaniards fancied as more forgiving lands, Guatemala City rests atop three tectonic plates in a valley where the Agua Volcano looms omnipotent. The majority of Guatemala's most notable museums are found here and over 30 galleries located around the city display the varied mediums of native artists. The National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology houses the largest collection of Mayan artifacts in the country, and the Archaeological Park at Kaminaljuyú offers up remnants of one of the Mayan region's first great cities. Comprising 21 different zones, there really is no need to stray from the city's four central zones, which ultimately makes the city more manageable. The Old City's Zone 1 features the national and presidential palaces, the main plaza and the cathedral, while Zone 10 in the New City is where you will find the majority of high-class restaurants, bars, hotels and shopping options.

Suggested Accommodation: Biltmore Express Hotel or similar 

Duration1 Night
Day 14

Guatemala City Departure

You will be picked up at your hotel for transfer to Guatemala City airport for your outbound international flight.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Constru Casa Project

Guatemala is among the poorest countries of the Americas with more than half of its population living in poverty. Particularly acute is the problem of inadequate housing: a typical house is made of cornstalk walls, a dirt floor and a scrap material roof. Facilities for basic hygiene like clean water and bathrooms are most often non-existent.

Constru Casa is a non-profit organization offering basic housing to families living in extreme poverty, and is financed through donations from individual donors and foundations. Constru Casa always works in collaboration with local partner organizations to identify and select families of exceptional need. Beneficiary families participate in the construction of their home and also pay back one fourth of the total cost of their house over four years. Constru Casa collaborates with its partner organizations also in other construction projects and community service programs.

Constru Casa co-operates with a number of social organizations in Guatemala. These organizations work in the areas of education, health-care and community development, and are day care centers, schools, clinics or community committees. Constru Casa always selects beneficiary families in co-operation with these local partner organizations. For these organizations, housing and construction work is not part of their main objectives. Constru Casa complements their mission by offering simple houses to affiliated people who live under dreadful conditions.

This co-operation is what makes Constru Casa unique and is the most important mark of our initiative. The missions of Constru Casa and its partner organizations complement each other and lead to mutually reinforcing positive outcomes for the families. The idea is that the impact of a new house is significantly enhanced if a family is already part of another social organization helping to improve their lives. Constru Casa’s goal is that the new house and the health-care, educational or social work provided reinforce each other and give the decisive impulse to lift a family out of poverty and onto the path to a better future.

In addition to working with partner organizations, we strongly believe that beneficiary families need to contribute to their house. They should not receive the house as a mere gift, but be conscious of the fact that they need to contribute themselves. Constru Casa achieves this first through the participation of at least one family member in the construction. Second, the families pay a contribution of 25% of the total cost of the construction of their house (around US$ 875). The amount of the contribution depends on the financial situation of the individual family and the type of house, and is determined in consultation with the social worker of the social partner organization. The families pay their contribution monthly during a period of four years. Most families pay about US$ 20 per month for the basic 3-room house. After the construction, they also participate in special programs organized in cooperation with the social partner organizations (follow-up meetings, accompaniment).


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