Environmental and Conservation in Guatemala

This country of big contrasts could perfectly be a fairy-tale land!

The highlands, inhabited mostly by the descendants of the original Mayas still treasure the ancient ruins of that enigmatic civilization. This family oriented aboriginal people, though sometimes timid, are very warm and friendly.

The exuberant rainforests, pinewoods, the rivers and lakes; are the home of a wide variety of wildlife species. The thirty-three volcanoes (of which three are active) scattered along the Andes mountain range of Central America add a gloomy and mysterious atmosphere to this enchanted lands.

On the coastal areas you will find many colonial cities and villages along with modern urban centers. The Pacific coast is also blessed with the beauty characteristic of the Caribe and marine and coastal flora and fauna ma leave you breathless with astonishment.

CW community programs offer our volunteers a unique opportunity to share the daily life of Guatemalans and to improve their Spanish language skills, while partaking in a variety of activities that better the living conditions of this hospitable people and help preserve their beautiful natural landscapes and wildlife.

Volunteer programs in Guatemala begin with an intensive Spanish course either in the colonial capital, Antigua or in a small town nearby.

CW Programs in Guatemala are:

 

-Child daycare program.

-Women empowerment programs.

-Teaching programs.

-Micro finances programs.

-Health programs.

-Preservation programs.

-Agriculture program.

What’s included in our fair-cost policy?

 

All our programs include a fixed price Registration Fee of US$249 and a Program Fee that varies according to the duration of the program and the services included.

 

The Registration Fee covers the costs of all that Connecting Worlds has to do in order to organise the experience in an efficient manner and offer each participant a quality program. These costs include marketing, staff salaries, travel costs of staff who visit and inspect each of the programs on offer and Connecting Worlds’ solidarity fund among others. We need this fee just to sustain the organization.

 

The Program Fee is the total cost of everything related to the services that the volunteer will be able to take advantage of upon arrival to the destination of their choice. For example, accommodation, meals, transfers, the donation made to the volunteer project, welcome orientation and constant 24/7 support. The payment for this fee goes directly to the country in which the volunteer will be stationed, directly benefiting the local community. It’s a fee which helps organisations that work in the country associated with the program at hand to move forwards with their projects and generate work opportunities for the local community.

 

Thanks to our fair-cost policy, the volunteer benefits from not having to pay high fees and our local partners benefit from being able to invest in their projects and keep things moving forwards. Connecting Worlds also benefits from keeping the costs of its programs as low as possible because we get the opportunity to support local communities and make a difference in our own small but important way.

 

Conservation program

Sea turtle conservation: Sea turtles are essential to keep the balance of the marine and coastal eco-system and Guatemala’s Pacific coast is one of the nesting areas for a variety of sea turtles that are endangered due to contamination, egg poaching, habitat destruction and excessive fishing practices.

Together with local organizations, CW works to prevent these magnificent reptiles from being extinct.

Volunteers joining our preservation program will do field and research work at the local hatching and in the coastal villages.

Tasks include collecting turtle eggs, promoting environment preservation, designing and implementing educational campaigns in the surrounding communities, etc.

This program offers volunteers a unique opportunity to enjoy the paradisiac Guatemalan Pacific coastal areas and improve their Spanish skills while interacting with local people and helping ensure the survival of sea turtles.

 

 

Agriculture program

Sustainable agriculture: Addressing the challenge of finding a reasonable balance between the needs of rural communities depending on farming activities and preserving the natural environment is at the core of CW’s sustainable agriculture programs. For this we collaborate with local groups that teach responsible practices and sustainability.

Depending on their background and skills, volunteers for this project can either help in large educational centers or work with small eco-communities.

We are aware that the well-being of rural communities lies on their agricultural activities and that they are as important as the preservation of the ecosystem. So while the educational programs focus on teaching local farmers the most appropriate techniques to produce and sell their agricultural goods in a profitable and sustainable way, they also have an emphasis on improving the personal lives of farmers and their communities.

Volunteers can help with educational programs providing basic hygiene, healthy habits and literacy skills.

For this program volunteers must have an intermediate level of Spanish language skills.

 

Requirements

All our volunteers must be at least eighteen years old on their starting date of any program, unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. They must have full travel insurance and an intermediate level of Spanish language skills. Volunteers with just a basic level of this language can participate in certain projects but taking Spanish lessons

Those volunteers participating in the Medical internships must have an intermediate to advanced level of Spanish language skills and some previous medical experience.

Volunteers with some expertise or previous experience on the field of their chosen project is highly valued, but what we value most in our volunteers is a sincere willingness to help those who are in need and to be responsible, proactive, positive and compassionate.

Our Guatemala programs minimum duration is two weeks and there is no maximum duration limit.

Since our orientation sessions begin on Friday mornings, we prefer that volunteers arrive to the country on a Thursday.

Location and duration

Our Guatemala programs minimum duration is two weeks and there is no maximum duration limit.

Since our orientation sessions begin on Friday mornings, we prefer that volunteers arrive to the country on a Thursday.

Most programs are located in Antigua and the surrounding areas, but there are placements in many other places around the country.

Orientation

On their first day in Guatemala our volunteers will be taken on a tour in and around the city, receive all the basic information about the local customs and traditions, their host families and the programs rules and regulations. This will allow them to have an insight of the cultural and historical highlights of the country. They will be taken to their projects placements and introduced to the local staff they will be working with.


The local coordinator in charge of this orientation will also fill them in with basic safety tips and provide them with some travel advice.


This is the ideal moment for volunteers to clear out any remaining doubts and also a good opportunity to exchange money, buy sim phone cards, get acquainted among themselves and exchange contact details for future outings together.

Accommodation and meals

Accommodation in Guatemala is provided by local host families carefully chosen by our local team and with plenty of experience in hosting international guests. These homestays are located in a very nice and safe neighborhood just a few minutes away from the projects placements.

Our programs include daily breakfast and dinner at the volunteer’s homestay. Guatemalan food is well renowned for its delicious flavour combinations and the typical meals usually include some beans, corn and chillies. An example of a traditional dish is Tamale: a starchy corn-based dough wrapped in a leaf and steamed. Volunteers must also treat themselves with the famous Guatemalan sweets, based on condensed milk and filled with nuts, fruit and honey, considered to be a delicacy.

Living with a local family is always the best way to get a deep insight of the local culture and lifestyle, and Guatemalans are known to be very hospitable, warm and friendly.

 

Working Schedule

Volunteers tasks and schedules will vary from project to project, but a working week will usually start on Monday and end or Friday; leaving the weekends free for relaxing, socializing, sightseeing and travelling.

We try to be as flexible as possible and allow volunteers to take a long weekend now and then, on special request and with notice given well in advanced. Yet volunteers must be aware that most of our projects depend greatly on their assistance and that they have a responsibility towards the people involved in their program.

A typical weekday may look something like this:

Between 7:00 and 8:30 AM you’ll have breakfast at your homestay.

Depending on the project you’re volunteering at, work can take place either in the morning or the afternoon, or for those Teaching English or involved in extracurricular activities some working hours in the evenings can also be required. So you may work four to five hours either in the morning or afternoon, or up to six hour throughout the day.

Evenings are free and you can take Spanish lessons, go out with friends, have dinner at home with your host family or go to a restaurant.

Weekends are free and they are the ideal time to go sightseeing and exploring the many tourists’ attractions with your new friends.

Weekends are the occasion to explore the capital city and its cafes and restaurants, or to just stay home and relax. Of course we recommend you to go to La antigua or to climb a volcano. An occasional long weekend can sometimes be arranged and it is worth going on a short trip to the Mayan ruins of Tikal or to visit the Chichicastenango.

 

Basic Facts

• Spanish is the official language of Guatemala. For 60% of the population, it’s their first language. 40% of the population also communicate using Amerindian languages (21 Mayan dialects to be exact), including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca.
• Approximately 15,531,208 people live in Guatemala
• The official currency used in Guatemala is the Quetzal
• Guatemala is a relatively small country, covering a total surface of 108,890 kilometres squared. This is divided between 108,430 kilometres squared of land and 460 kilometres squared of water.
• Guatemala’s main industries are sugar, textiles and clothing, petroleum, rubber and tourism.
• Its capital city is Guatemala City and has a metropolitan population of 2.5 million people.
• It has coastlines along the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, but it also shares land borders with El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras and Belize.
• Guatemala’s first inhabitants are thought to have been around since 18,000 B.C.
• It was the centre of the Mayan civilization.
• Even though it is a relatively small country, it is home to 33 volcanoes.
• Guatemala’s civil war lasted for 36 years, from 1960 to 1996.
• Half of Guatemala’s population are direct descendants of the Maya.

 

For more information, visit the following link:http://www.cwabroad.org/guatemala-p-11.html

Program Fees:

 

Volunteer duration Program Fee USD*/Homestay with 2 meals
2 weeks 562
3 weeks 692
4 weeks 888
5 weeks 1012
6 weeks 1136
7 weeks 1260
8 weeks 1384
Wildlife/Construction/Extra p/week 55

 

Please note: All Volunteer programs in Guatemala attract a refundable*Registration Fee of USD 249 on top of the program Fee.  If you want another type of volunteer program without the accommodation and the meals included for example, please contact us directly. We will be happy to personalize your program.  You can calculate the value of your currency in US dollar using this currency convertor.

 

*Please read our refund policy.

What do my fees pay for?

 

Registration Fee:  Support and guidance from CW staff, program marketing costs, pre-departure assistance, CW Solidarity Fund, administration costs, staff salary, travel costs to inspect programs and communication costs with volunteers.

 

Program Fee:  Accommodation and 2 meals per day during volunteer program period, airport pick-up, orientation, transportation to language school and volunteer project site, program supervision, in-country 24/7 volunteer support and in-country administration costs.

 

What’s no included:  Air tickets,International Insurance against sickness, accident and 3er party liability. In addition to providing health insurance, the plan must cover medical evacuation and repatriation, Vaccinations, transfer back to the airport at conclusion of program, Certificate of Good conduct, Visa, Local travels and Personal expenses. Our participants in Guatemala generally find USD 70 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses.