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.
Community Partners AND PROJECTS
Aldea Xetzac is one of our communities we currently work with, located in central Guatemala. The typical house is made of adobe, cement blocks, and bricks. The children in the community have access to primary school. Currently, the community doesn’t have a water system, but the municipality and the community leaders are planning to build one in the near future. Most of the community members work in agriculture and skilled labor. The languages spoken in the community are Spanish and Kaqchikel. During initial communications with Global Brigades & Squads Abroad, community leaders expressed that their top three needs were Medical Brigades, access to education, and water system construction.
Accomodations and Food
Our lodging facility in the Maya Highlands provides an immersive experience in the vibrant Maya community of ULEU (Centro de Capacitacion y Formacion Maya Uleu) located in Tecpan, Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Our organization has utilized the ULEU facility since our first Medical Brigade in January 2020.
On average, the communities we visit are located 1 to 1.5 hours away. To enjoy a comfortable and relaxing stay, each bedroom at Home-Base ULEU is equipped with a private bathroom. With a capacity of 84 people, ULEU is divided into various areas including a dining area, outdoor patio, volleyball and soccer courts. Immerse yourself in the stunning scenery and experience the vibrant traditional life, colorful textiles, and unique cultural practices of the local Maya community. At your Guatemalan home, every moment will be a relaxing break from your impactful volunteer work.
In the spacious dining area, feast on traditional Guatemalan cuisine with your fellow volunteers. Indulge in old favorites, such as homemade guacamole and corn tortillas, and savor new dishes that are sure to please. Try flavorful stews, fresh tropical fruits, and frijoles volteados, a beloved local specialty. Sample local coffee, tea, and fresh fruits for a truly authentic experience.
The spacious dining area accommodates up to 120 guests and offers authentic Guatemalan cuisine, as well as locally sourced coffee, tea, bread, tortillas, and fresh fruit.
Squads Abroad in Guatemala is led by an in-country team including Country Director Oscar Fajardo. Permanent team of local staff including medical professionals, paramedics, drivers, cooks, and lodging managers that design and are present throughout 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.
On the afternoons, our expert staff will guide your group to engage in guided cultural activities, educational workshops and excursions in the area. Some activities include Spanish & Kaqchikel lessons, traditional pottery workshop, chocolate making, a visit to the local market, a tour of the nearby Iximché archeological ruins, and more!
(OPTIONAL ADD-ON PACKAGES)
Through our guided overnight packages, your group may have the opportunity to explore other areas of the country. You can spend one or two nights exploring the town of San Juan La Laguna on the shores of Lake Atitlan. Or you can explore the historic city of Antigua Guatemala, or a climbing experience to the Pacaya volcano.