San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala 2018

San Jan La Laguna, Guatemala

Guatemala offers the quintessential Central American experience! Exciting and delighting travelers with dramatic geography, Guatemala features a beautiful landscape of volcanoes, vast blue crater lakes, terraced hills of lush agriculture, and ancient Mayan ruins. You’ll also experience vibrant towns brimming with the colorful tapestry of historic architecture, bustling marketplaces, and friendly local people.

But amid the beauty, Guatemala is a predominantly poor country with great need. With more than 65% of people living in poverty, rampant malnutrition, massive inequality, and high illiteracy, the people of Guatemala benefit the most from locally rooted community development efforts that take collective action to equip and empower them to discover long-term, sustainable solutions for self-sufficient economic development and resilience.

On this Lifetree Adventure, you’ll not only explore the beauty and sights of Guatemala…through our partnership with several indigenous coop efforts, you’ll experience Guatemalan culture at a deeply personal level as we engage with local people one-on-one, helping to empower them and their community to achieve control over their quality of life.

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Date Age Availability Register
May 05 2018 to May 12 2018 All Ages Open

Community development is perhaps one of the most in-demand and diverse volunteer opportunities available on a global scale today.

At Lifetree Adventures, we’ve partnered with local community development efforts that include several indigenous coops that support long-term sustainability in local communities by empowering, educating, and equipping local people with needed skills to become a strong, self-sufficient community.

You’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture and engage with people one-on-one as we partner alongside them in several exciting local coop efforts, including:

  • Supporting a local Christian school helping students learn English, as well as assisting in students’ efforts to construct an onsite, small scale tilapia farm to provide ongoing economic support for the school and teach students how to set up tilapia farms to support their families.
  • Working with a local women’s cooperative, Casa Flor Ixcaco, where you’ll learn about their artisan fabric weaving initiative and participate in agricultural sustainability projects for the coop such as building chicken coops, planting avocado trees, and developing a clean water project.
  • Environmental conservation projects in San Juan la Laguna planting trees for soil stabilization and hydration.
  • Visit a small-scale coffee plantation where you’ll help harvest and roast coffee beans, a hands-on experience to understand a local farmer’s craft of producing some of the world’s finest coffee from bean to bag.

Day 1: Welcome to Guatemala!

You’ll arrive in Guatemala City (La Aurora International Airport) where your English-speaking tour guide will greet you and transfer you to Antigua for dinner with other Lifetree Adventure travelers in your group and an evening of relaxing in the tropical paradise of a quaint local boutique hotel.

Day 2: Church and Antigua Excursions

After breakfast provided at the hotel (including locally roasted coffee) you’ll attend morning church service or mass at St. John’s Cathedral. Sunday afternoon offers time for you to explore cultural activities such as:

  • Walking tour of Antigua (guided cultural and historic interpretation); 2 hours, $12.00 per person
  • Hike in the Pacaya National Volcano Reserve (2-9 pm; additional cost per person)
  • Santa Teresita Hot Springs and Spa ($50.00 per person)
  • Zip line tour ($55.00 per person for group of 8 or more)

Your group will then meet for dinner provided at a local favorite restaurant and enjoy an evening stroll in old Antigua.

Day 3: Antigua/Panajachel

After breakfast provided at the hotel, you’ll board an air conditioned bus and head to Panajachel, stopping along the way for a tour of a local farmer’s small coffee plantation to experience world-class coffee production from bean harvesting, to roasting, to bagging. You’ll then enjoy lunch at the famous Le Suisse Restaurant and check into your comfortable hotel in Panajachel, and head out for a walking tour of the quaint area and a lovely lakeside dinner.

Day 4: Panajachel/San Juan la Laguna

After breakfast provided at the hotel, you’ll board a boat for a gorgeous trip across Lake Atitlan to the historic town of San Juan la Laguna. You’ll tour Flor Ixcaco, a local women’s cooperative that weaves Artisan Fabrics, and after lunch at the coop you’ll participate alongside the women of Casa Flor Ixcaco in sustainability projects such as building chicken coops, planting avocado trees, community gardens, and developing clean water projects. You’ll then have an early dinner at Rey restaurant in San Juan la Laguna and board the boat back to Panajachel for a restful night at your hotel.

Day 5: Panajachel

After breakfast provided at the hotel, you’ll depart for a full day tour of Reserva Natural (near Panajachel) where you can choose from activities such as a nature hike, zip line tour, visit to the butterfly pavilion and much more.

Day 6: Panajachel/San Juan la Laguna

After breakfast provided at the hotel you’ll board a boat for another gorgeous trip across Lake Atitlan to San Juan la Laguna, where you’ll engage with another community development/environmental conservation project called San Juan Activate. After a brief orientation, you’ll serve with local people helping to plant trees for soil hydration and stabilization.

After lunch with San Juan Activate, you’ll explore yet another community development project at a local Christian school, helping students learn English, as well as assisting in students’ efforts to construct an onsite, small-scale tilapia farm to provide ongoing economic support for the school and teach students how to set up tilapia farms to support their families.

Later that evening you’ll enjoy a sunset dinner cruise as you head back across Lake Atiltan for your hotel.

Day 7: Panajachel/Antigua

After breakfast provided at the hotel, you’ll pack up and board an air conditioned bus and head off to explore the ancient Mayan Ruins with a half-day tour of Ihimche. After lunch at Chichoy, a famous road stop with traditional Guatemalan food in Chimaltenango, you’ll arrive back in Antigua for dinner and a farewell gathering.

Day 8: Antigua/Guatemala City for departure

Price: $1599 per person
Deposit: $30 per person

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You can book your Lifetree Adventure online under the Dates tab for each location. Or, please call Robin Alm, our expert Lifetree Adventure Trip Advisor at 800-747-9118.

Almost everyone! Solo/single travelers, couples, families, students, seniors, and groups! Certain destinations may be more geared toward a particular traveler type, but our international trips accommodate all generations and are family-friendly. In most cases kids as young as 8 can serve along with adults. We’ve also had senior travelers age 80+! Student groups age 13-18 are welcome, but must have one adult (21 or older) for every five students. Contact Robin at 800-747-9118 for more location-specific age requirements.

We believe in authentic relationships, and our Lifetree Adventure trips are designed with small group size in mind. Depending on the location, the size of the group can be as small as 6, or as large as 30. The typical size of a group is usually around 10 people, plus a highly experienced multi lingual trip leader who will be with your group for the entire trip.

Prices include: Lodging, most meals, all activities as shown on itinerary (with the exception of optional excursion choices), planned arrival and departure airport transfers, transportation to all itinerary destinations, and an English-speaking trip leader who will accompany your group from the time of arrival through departure. Prices do not include airfare from North America.

Please see the Pricing tab for full details on what your trip includes, as certain trips require an additional fee for project materials and/or flights within the destination country.

Many of our Lifetree Adventure trips offer optional excursions that we’ve pre-arranged in order to provide an array of cultural experiences that meet the unique needs of our travelers’ desires and budgets. Some of these options will be offered within the trip itinerary, and some might be “add-on” days at the end of the trip. Please see the details of your destination location for more information.

To reserve space on a trip, a nonrefundable $100 per person is due when you register. Final payment is due 60 days before departure. Please [click here] for complete details of our cancellation policy.

Breakfasts, most lunches, and some dinners are covered as part of your registration. Please see the detailed itinerary of your international trip for more details.

You will get a taste of local food on all of our trips, and some locations will include American food as well. Most meals are provided by our ministry partners, who have been carefully trained to prepare safe and nutritious meals for our teams. Other meals will be enjoyed at our favorite local restaurants.

Lifetree Adventures is designed to be a balanced combination of enjoyable cultural excursions plus meaningful volunteer service on local projects. We select hotels that are comfortable, clean, and safe—with rooms that offer much more privacy and amenities for our travelers than the typical mission trip accommodations. For most trips rooms are based on double occupancy, with private bathrooms for each room. If you are traveling solo you will likely be paired with another solo traveler of the same gender, although you can upgrade your trip with a request for single room arrangements. If you have any specific accommodation needs, contact Robin at 800-747-9118. Please inform us of any accommodation requests before or when you book your trip.

Your international mission trip covers gratuities for meals in restaurants that are included for the week. Gratuities for porters or housekeeping staff are at your discretion. Airport porters who help with your bags will expect to be tipped $1-$2, and if you participate in a guided tour or fun activity on your free day, you may want to consider tipping your hired guide.

Airfare from the US to the destination country is not included in the cost. Trips requiring charter flights to or within the destination country will be reflected in the price break-out details. Please review the pricing section of the specific trips for more details.

Your safety is a top priority for us, as we’re sure it is for you. In all the areas we explore and serve, we take extra precautions to make sure you’re as safe as possible. Guided by our local, experienced ministry staff partners, we avoid situations that are inherently dangerous. We’re also proactive by choosing lodging facilities and transportation that is safe and reliable. Robin is glad to answer any further safety questions.

While some adventures are more physically strenuous than others, most trips will accommodate a broad range of physical ability. Please contact Robin to discuss any questions about limitations, etc.

All U.S. citizens need a valid passport to enter a foreign country and return to the United States. It must be valid six months beyond your intended stay and have 1-2 blank pages remaining. A passport is not required for trips to Alaska. Tourist visas are not required for most trips, with the exception of Cuba, which we will arrange for you. For full information, please ask at time of booking.

We strongly recommend that you visit the CDC Travel Health site for the most up-to-date details on what specific vaccines are advised per your destination as well as other important information to stay healthy while you travel internationally.

Four to six weeks before you travel, make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccinations and schedule an appointment with your health care provider or your local health department’s travel clinic to get the recommended vaccines for the countries you plan to visit. This gives the vaccines enough time to start working and time for any vaccines that might require more than one dose.

All participants need to have sufficient personal medical insurance, but as part of the registration fee for your trip, Lifetree Adventures purchases a group travel insurance policy through ACE’s Europ Assistance USA that acts secondary to your personal insurance policy. It will cover up to $25,000 toward medical assistance as a result of accident or sickness while traveling with Lifetree Adventures, and will provide up to a $10,000 hospital admission deposit advance. For a complete list of benefits, please refer to the Travel Insurance document.

If you do not have an existing personal health insurance policy, we HIGHLY recommend that you purchase Travel Medical Insurance for your trip, since Ace's Travel Insurance does not cover medical treatment costs, only costs that ensure you get to a facility where care can be provided.

Please consider the following in your travel and insurance planning:

All of your Lifetree Adventures’ trip fees are non-refundable once you are within 60 days of the trip, unless Lifetree Adventures cancels the trip. It is highly recommended that you purchase your own trip cancellation insurance. Your personal trip cancellation insurance would cover your expenses if you needed to cancel your trip at any time due to your own emergency or a family member’s emergency or any other unforeseen circumstance. If you do not purchase your own trip cancellation insurance, please note that Lifetree Adventures will not reimburse any of your trip fees.

There are many options for trip cancellation insurance. You may want to start with the website to compare several different plans at once. Remember, you do have international medical insurance with Lifetree Adventures, so you do not need to purchase additional coverage there.

If you’re looking for a trip specially designed for your group, we can probably accommodate you. We have several trips a year that we custom design for groups, at a date and location that fits their needs. Pricing and availability vary, but if you’re interested in a custom week, contact Robin at, or call 800-747-9118 for more information.

Yes! Lifetree Adventures is just one arm of Group Mission Trips! Group Mission Trips offers a variety of international and domestic service trip options that focus more time on the service project and more rustic accommodations, as well as week-long service projects for junior high and high school students! Check out other trip types here.

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