Guatemala: Children of the Maya

Guatemala promises colorful adventure - and the opportunity to make an important mark on education.

Highlights

  • Volunteer at a Maya school
  • Journey across sacred Lake Atitlan
  • Attend a ceremony with a Maya shaman
  • Visit a chocolate workshop
  • Explore ancient archaeological ruins
  • Shop at the largest indigenous craft market in the hemisphere

Overview

Known for its diverse indigenous culture, colorful Maya heritage and mountainous landscape, Guatemala promises adventure for any traveler. You’ll find incredibly warm local residents who are open to tourism yet are proud to share their ancient traditions as well as some of the world’s most beautiful natural and historic sites. This program is based in Xela (pronounced “shay-lah”)—a local nickname for the vibrant town of Quetzaltenango—which is a hub for volunteer opportunities in education and children’s issues. With very little English spoken throughout the city, residents of Xela welcome expatriate volunteers to take leadership roles in their classrooms, both through teaching and constructing school facilities. You’ll become close with the Xelaju people as you plant important seeds for the community’s future in education.

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Community Service

You’ll spend your days in Xela becoming fully plugged into the local primary school and surrounding community, volunteering as an English teacher to the Maya children or helping construct a library, classrooms and other school facilities. You’ll have the opportunity to creatively develop and deliver lesson plans, play with the children during recess, and work with locals on beautifying facilities that are critical to the community needs. As you spend time volunteering, you'll also learn about immigration issues that the Maya youth face today.

Hands-On Learning

Living and volunteering daily in rural Guatemala will begin to shed light on major learning themes unique to this country, such as education, children’s issues and preserving indigenous culture. We’ll also meet with grassroots leaders to hear directly about the challenges the Maya community faces to preserve their heritage in the face of globalization. To truly immerse ourselves in Maya culture, we’ll meet a local shaman who will teach us about cosmology, learn firsthand about traditional arts from master artisans, and visit a chocolate workshop and coffee plantation—complete with samples!

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Adventure

Xela is located near many of Guatemala’s cultural and natural treasures. You’ll explore the famous archaeological ruins at Iximche, hike to Laguna Chicabal at the base of a volcano, and also zipline against the region’s lush, mountainous landscape. To get a taste of city life, you’ll venture to Antigua, a colonial masterpiece that boasts gorgeous architecture, pastel alleys and cobblestone streets. For a weekend excursion, you’ll spend a night at the sacred Lake Atitlán and visit the bustling Chichicastenango market, the largest Maya craft market in the world.

Lodging

The GLA Home Base is a lodge on the outskirts of Xela offering students a peaceful escape. Students live in gender-segregated rooms with 2-4 bunk beds per room, depending on the size of the rooms. Bathrooms are shared and showers have hot water. The Home Base is quaint and provides groups with a strong sense of community.

Dates & Tuition

Children of the Maya Flagship
Duration: 8 Days
Tuition: $1,950
Student/Staff Ratio: -
Max Capacity: 30 (Minimum Group Size: 12)
Community Service Hours: 20
Language Hours: -
Additional Notes
See What’s Included
Tuition includes all in-country expenses including:
  • All educational materials
  • Lodging
  • 3 meals per day
  • All in-country transportation
  • Airport pick-up/drop-off
  • Professional full-time staff and experts from the USA/Europe
  • 24/7 Parent Support Hotline during the program
  • Secondary medical and travel insurance
  • All cultural activities, lectures and weekend excursions
  • Pre-departure materials and support
More Information
Fundraising

Tips to raise funds for your trip

Interested in Family-Friendly trips? Check out Discover Corps, our volunteer vacations for adults and families, in collaboration with the National Peace Corps Association.