Guatemala: Children of the Maya

With its stunning landscape and ancient Maya culture, Guatemala promises adventure and the opportunity to make a mark on education.

Highlights

  • Teach English at a Maya school
  • Journey across sacred Lake Atitlan
  • Attend a ceremony with a Maya shaman
  • Explore ancient archaeological ruins
  • Shop at the largest indigenous craft market in the hemisphere
  • Zipline through the mountains of Guatemala

Overview

Known for its diverse indigenous culture, colorful Maya heritage and mountainous landscape, Guatemala promises adventure for any traveler. You’ll find warm local residents who are open to tourism yet are proud to share their ancient traditions.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 volunteers to take leadership roles in their classrooms, both through teaching and school facility beautification. 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

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 refurbish a library, classrooms and other school facilities. You’ll have the opportunity to creatively develop and deliver lesson plans, play games with the children during recess, and work with organizations committed to improving school grounds and beautifying community facilities. As you spend time volunteering, you'll also learn about social issues that affect Maya youth today.

Hands-On Learning

Living and volunteering daily in rural Guatemala will begin to shed light on key issues unique to this country, such as access to quality education and the challenge of preserving indigenous culture in the modern world. You'll hear from a guerilla fighter and an army officer who fought in the Civil War, who will give you different perspectives of Guatemala's rich history. To truly immerse yourself in the culture here, meet a local shaman who will teach you about cosmology. Learn from master artisans about traditional arts such as weaving, and visit a chocolate museum and organic coffee plantation—complete with samples!

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Adventure

Xela is 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 in the heart of 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
Duration:
Tuition: $0
Student/Staff Ratio: -
Max Capacity: Please Inquire (Minimum Group Size: 12)
Community Service Hours:
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.