House Building in Guatemala

Trip Length:  9 days
Next Trip:  July 20-28, 2024
Group Size:  5-15
Min. Age:  14
Spanish Required?  No
Program Fee:  $1,795 + airfare

Guatemala House Building Group

Serve as a volunteer in Guatemala helping to build a new home for a deserving family. The program is based in the city of Antigua, about 30 minutes from Guatemala City.

We partner with the Guatemalan nonprofit “Constru Casa” for the program. They use at least $500 of your program fee for the house’s construction. We started working with them in 2011.

At the construction site, you will work under the direction of local masons. At least one member of the beneficiary family volunteers also. You do not need any construction experience but the tasks are strenuous like digging foundations, mixing cement, and carrying cinderblocks. The work sites are typically in the mountains surrounding Antigua.

The two excursions on the trip are daytrips to Lake Atitlán and hiking up the side of Pacaya Volcano.

You will be immersed in Guatemalan culture every day, with the opportunity to improve your Spanish. Bring your classmates, church group, family or sports team on the trip.

 

Trip Highlights

  • Orientation & walking tour of Antigua
  • House building volunteering M-F
  • Lake Atitlán Daytrip (Sat)
  • Pacaya Volcano Hike (Sun)
  • Homestay with Guatemalan family
  • Salsa class
  • Chocolate making class
  • Practicing Spanish with locals
  • Homecooked local cuisine

Itinerary

Day 1: Departure Flight (Sat)
Our US Tour Director will fly with your group from your home airport to Guatemala into La Aurora International Airport (airport code: GUA). For individual volunteers flying solo, we will meet you at the airport in Guatemala. Ground transfer to Antigua then drop-off at host family. Orientation and city walking tour.

Day 2: Pacaya Volcano (Sun)
Half-day excursion to Pacaya Volcano with a 3-hour hike to the top of the volcano. At 8,000 feet above sea level, Pacaya is Guatemala’s most active volcano. Enjoy incredible panoramic views of nearby Agua, Fuego and Acatenango volcanoes. The hike can be challenging for a novice trekker. You can hop on one of the guided horses on the way up (for about $20).

Days 3-7: Antigua (Mon-Fri)
Volunteering 8AM-5PM each day at the house construction project. Dinner with host family then some rest time. Evenings are a mix of free time and activities organized by trip leaders: salsa dancing classes, chocolate making classes, and visits to markets, cafes and historical sites.

Day 8: Lake Atitlán (Sat)
Full-day excursion to Lake Atitlán, one of Guatemala’s most visited tourist attractions and considered to be the most beautiful lake in the world. Includes a sightseeing boat tour with stops at the towns of Panjachel and Santiago de Atitlán along the shores of the lake. After returning to Antigua: program wrap-up in the evening, with a group dinner and reflections on the trip.

Day 9: Antigua
Ground transport from Antigua to Guatemala City then the departure flight home.

Included in Program Fee

  • Bilingual trip leaders on call 24-hours
  • All meals (except Sundays)
  • Accommodations (host families or hostels)
  • House Building Volunteering M-F
  • Adventure excursions
  • All activities like salsa classes
  • Airport transfer & all ground transport
  • Trip Director from the US
  • Travel & Medical Insurance
  • EWE Tours t-shirt or water bottle

(Not Included: flights, vaccinations)

FAQ

Entry Requirements for Guatemala

  • Passport valid for duration of stay
  • Copy of your return flight
  • You do NOT need a visa or proof of any vaccinations
  • Check with your airline to see if the $29 USD exit tax is included in the cost of your ticket.

Emergencies
Our trip leaders are available 24/7 on-site in Guatemala for any emergencies including illnesses, injuries, natural disasters etc. If a child is involved in an emergency, we notify parents immediately by phone. Parents will also have our 24/7 emergency number. There are hospitals / clinics in all of our program areas and excursion locations.

Flights
Our US Tour Director will fly with your group from your home airport to Guatemala’s La Aurora International Airport (code GUA). We can help book your group flights. For individual volunteers traveling solo from home, we will meet you at the airport in Guatemala. 

Ground Transport
We provide all ground transport: airport transfer, excursions, and daily to the construction site. We use private vehicles organized by trip leaders.

Accommodations
Most volunteers stay with Guatemalan host families in the town of Antigua. Families can accommodate 2-3 students of the same gender per room. They provide bedding, pillows, and towel. We can also arrange a hostel or hotel in Antigua.

Meals
Your host family will provide all of your meals Monday through Saturday. A typical breakfast includes tortillas, eggs, beans, and fried plantains. Lunch and dinner typically feature corn, beans, rice, pork, beef, chicken, cheese, and tortillas. Meat stews (caldos) and soups (sopas) are popular. For Sundays there are plenty of options in Antigua including McDonald’s, Wendy’s and the local chicken favorite Pollo Campero. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets can be accommodated.

Water
Tap water in Guatemala is not safe to drink. We provide bottled and filtered water.

Dress Code
We ask that you please be respectful and follow Guatemalan customs on dress: neat, clean, and modest. 

WIFI & Cell Phones
All accommodations including host families have WIFI. Cell phone coverage is good in Guatemala City and Antigua but spotty in rural areas like the construction sites. Ask your cell phone carrier about roaming charges/plans. We do encourage students to (mostly) disconnect in order to fully immerse themselves and get the most out of the trip. 

Weather
The weather in Antigua is pleasant year round. Temperatures range from 74-80 F° during the day to 55-60 F° at night. The rainy season is from May to October. It is best to always have a light waterproof jacket and small umbrella with you, especially in late afternoon/evening.

Altitude
Antigua has an elevation of 5,000 feet above sea level. This leads some people to experience shortness of breath, nausea and/or headaches. Be mindful of this when working at the construction site and if you are going to workout during your stay.

Laundry
Antigua has several laundromats around town. Drop your clothes off in the morning then pick them up later in the day, fresh and folded. The cost is based on weight, approx. $5-$8 per load.

Spanish Language
Our trip leaders are bilingual in Spanish and English. You do not need to be able to speak Spanish for this program. However we certainly encourage you to practice with locals as much as you can.

Contact US

We are available for any questions you may have, whether you are a student, coach, parent, or school admin. Email or Text / Call.

How To Sign-up

When you are ready to sign-up for the trip, we will send you a customized link to our 3rd party booking engine “We Travel” to pay the $250 deposit required to reserve your spot. We Travel will show your invoice and payment(s).

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