Guatemala

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Temporary Programme Suspension

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has required all of us to adapt and rethink how we conduct business. We have decided to consolidate programming for 2020/21 and reduce our offerings to the destination countries where Lattitude is able to send a greater number of volunteers. This will allow us to work efficiently with reduced staffing while maintaining the high level of support to our volunteers that we pride ourselves in. For this reason, we are temporarily suspending our programmes in Argentina, Ecuador, Guatemala, Japan, USA and Vietnam. We do hope and expect that we will be able to offer these wonderful programmes again in the future. Thank you for your patience and understanding.


 

Volunteer in Guatemala and experience first-hand the unique and ancient culture of the Maya while improving, or gaining, Spanish language skills.

Our Guatemala placements are nestled along the shores of Lake Atitlan, a 12 mile diameter lake created by a dormant collapsed volcano. These small, unique and charming lakeside villages are geographically connected and volunteers are able to meet regularly via boat, creating an intertwined community of placements in a truly magical location.

This program offers a range of volunteer experiences from using games to teach pre-schoolers, to working in a café or assisting on organic farms.

Roles available:

Language Coach

Assist students from pre-school through grade 6 in learning English at a local school in a Mayan village. Volunteers are responsible for planning lessons and games for a broad age range. You are likely to be the only adult in the class, so there is lots of room for creativity and self-direction. Basic knowledge of Spanish is needed for this placement.

Community Volunteer

Volunteer roles vary from location to location but all offer opportunities to work on community-driven projects addressing the needs of local Guatemalans. Below is an overview of the opportunities available.

Volunteer in our Inclusive Education program where volunteers work primarily in a café that gives employment to people with various disabilities. This encourages life and work skills for people with disabilities living in the villages. Volunteers are also involved in outreach projects. Applicants to this program should be able to communicate in at least intermediate Spanish.

In our Economic Empowerment program, volunteers help ensure the smooth function of a café that uses its profits to support the empowerment of Indigenous women. Volunteers also promote nutrition and economic independence in the local Mayan community as well as prepare food for children.

Food Sovereignty and Permaculture offers volunteers the opportunity to work with local farmers, who often integrate ancient Mayan agriculture practices, to develop education models of and outreach for organic permaculture practices. Through school and community gardens, you will help to promote nutrition and food sovereignty.

Volunteers in our Organic Farming program work alongside local farmers to develop, promote, and sustain nutrition through organic farming practices. The vegetables harvested in the fields provide the food for the social enterprise cafe in our Inclusive Education program.

Lastly, we have a Coffee Farming program where volunteers pick, process, and help distribute coffee from a local cooperative of farmers. Coffee is one of Guatemala’s most important exports. Your assistance directly supports local economic development and sustainability.

Placement Locations:

Placements are located in the Lake Atitlan region and are linked to each other via boat! This creates a community of placements where volunteers can visit each other easily through regular boat launches. Having the flexibility to move around the lake provides you with many opportunities to learn about different volunteer projects, and have different experiences without feeling isolated.

Accommodation and Food:

It is important to note that Guatemala is a bit of an exception within our Lattitude programmes, in that the cost of accommodation and food are not included in your programme fee.

Depending on your chosen project, you can live with a local, indigenous host family or you can choose from a variety of other accommodation options, including volunteer houses, hostels and hotels. Accommodation is arranged by the Country Manager according to your budget and requests.

If you choose to stay with a host family, you’ll enjoy the opportunity to integrate into family life and culture, and is the ultimate way to improve your Spanish skills! If other accommodations are selected, Guatemalan communities are wonderfully helpful and generous and you will find lots of help in securing necessities.

Guatemala is a rich agricultural country with many fresh fruits and vegetables, and vegetarians and those with dietary restrictions are always able to eat well.

Travel:

All volunteers arrive in Guatemala City and are met by our Country Manager. After orientation in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Antigua, about an hour from Guatemala City, volunteers travel to their placements via transportation arranged by our Country Manager.

During your weekends, holidays and time off, there are plenty of opportunities for you to explore the region around your placement as well as other parts of Guatemala! You can experience the rich cultural history and tradition of the Maya, climb to the crater of one of Guatemala’s many volcanoes, relax on the black sand beaches of the Pacific coast, find ancient pyramids and temples hidden in the jungle, hang out in picturesque, cosmopolitan Spanish colonial towns, hike through the many microclimates of the highlands, and share in local festivals full of color, sound, and excitement. There is truly something for everyone in Guatemala!

Additionally, if you would like to explore more of Central America, you can easily get to many unique locations in Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Costa Rica.

Costs:

Lattitude Application Fee – £50

The application fee covers the cost of processing applications and conducting interviews.
All applicants are guaranteed an interview. This fee is non-refundable.

Lattitude Placement Fee:

UK/EU nationals  £2,450

Other nationals US$3450

 

What’s included?

• In depth matching process to align your skills and interests with a placement that really suits you
• Assigned Volunteer Coordinator to help with all your pre-departure advice and guidance
• Links with returned volunteers
• Advice on obtaining police checks
• Advice on obtaining a Visa
• Pre-departure briefing seminar
• Airport pickup on arrival
• Day to day support from your placement host and a member of staff as your mentor
• 24/7 support from Lattitude, including in-country support from local reps and the Lattitude Country Manager
• Focus on your personal volunteer learning and development
• Returned Volunteer follow up and Debrief Event
• Opportunity to join the Lattitude Alumni Association
• Certificate of completion and references (on request)

What’s not included:

It is important to note that, unlike most Lattitude destinations, food and accommodation is not included in your Lattitude Fee for your trip to Guatemala.
However, you will find that the cost of living in Guatemala is significantly cheaper than home. We will be releasing price estimates for food and accommodation per week shortly for you to consider when budgeting for your trip.

In addition to the Lattitude fees above, volunteers will be required to pay for their own international flights, travel insurance and any visa costs. Lattitude staff will assist you in making these arrangements.

• International Flights
• Travel Insurance
• Visa

• GP medical clearance
• Travel doctor consultation (recommended)
• Vaccinations (if applicable)
• Onward travel to placement (if applicable)
• Pocket Money for weekends/ holidays/post-placement travel
• Accommodation and food during holiday periods

Fundraising

As a charity we always recommend our volunteers to fundraise to help meet the costs involved in volunteering overseas. In many ways it is part of the whole experience. For more information and fundraising ideas please click here