As a volunteer in Guatemala you’ll be warmly welcomed into the safe and culturally-rich Maya Highlands town of Tecpán. From the colorful dress of Maya woman walking down a cobble-stoned street, to the volcanoes that seem to rise straight out of the ground, to the freshly-made tortillas, Guatemala is a country for the senses. Guatemala has one of the largest populations of indigenous citizens in Latin America and many of our volunteers tell us that Guatemala, with its many traditions, is a place unlike any they’ve ever visited. Tecpán is ideally located 60 miles northeast of Guatemala City and just 30 miles from Antigua and Lake Atitlan. Once the former capital of Guatemala, Tecpán is nestled in a vast and lush volcanic valley. Here you will be welcomed by the hospitality of the Guatemalan people who are usually mestizo, a mix of Spanish and Maya ancestry, or they are direct descendants of the Maya. You’ll experience the vibrant culture of Guatemala, a land where the ancient and modern converge.
Nestled in the Maya Highlands, the Home-Base in Guatemala immerses you in a rich Maya farming community. Just a 10-minute walk down scenic rural roads, you’ll find yourself in the bustling city of Tecpan, the heart of the surrounding villages, with access to cafes, shops, and restaurants.
Rest and relax in comfortable rooms, each with a private bathroom, and reflect in the incredible scenery while soaking in the traditional life, colorful fabrics, and unique cultural systems through your new Maya neighbors. Every moment in your home in Guatemala will be a relaxing retreat from your impactful volunteer work.
In the large dining area, share traditional Guatemalan cuisine with your fellow volunteers, including some old favorites like homemade guacamole and corn tortillas, and some new dishes that are sure to please, like hearty stews, fresh tropical fruits, and frijoles volteados, a popular local dish.
Squads Abroad in Guatemala is led by Juan Carlos Buonafina a veteran coordinating international exchange programs for volunteers. Juan Carlos is an educator, an intercultural exchange professional, and an expert at guiding international volunteer experiences. After receiving his degree, Juan Carlos started his career with our partner organization, Cross-Cultural Solutions, specifically leading the teen program in the Maya Highlands of Tecpan. He manages a small permanent team of local staff that design and runs each program; the staff will make you feel at home acting like a second family during your stay and helping you better understand the culture and maximize community impact.
Cultural Immersion Activities
On weekday afternoons, our expert staff will guide your group on local Cultural & Learning activities including Spanish & Kaqchikel lessons, traditional pottery demonstrations, a guided walking tour of Tecpan and a visit to a local family farm, a tour of the nearby Iximché archeological ruins, and a one-of-a-kind opportunity to participate in a Mayan Shaman Ceremony!
Volunteers will also hear special guests speak about the Education System in Maya Schools, the Healthcare System in Rural Guatemala, and the Beliefs of Indigenous Communities.
Weekend Enrichment Opportunities
(OPTIONAL ADD-ON PACKAGES)
On the weekends your group may choose to explore other areas of the country through our guided overnight packages. Spend one or two nights exploring Lake Atitlan, Antigua, or take an internal flight to Tikal and the Peten National Park.