Guatemala House Building Volunteers
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From $1,299, 2 weeks, Guatemala Trip code: GUHB

  • Adventure 3 out of 5
  • Relaxation 1 out of 5
  • Culture 4 out of 5
Guatamala Building VolunteersGuatamala Building VolunteersGuatamala Building Volunteers

Trip Highlights

  • Build houses for some of Guatemala's poorest families and change thier lives in just 5 days
  • Work with an international group of volunteers, and a fantastic group of  local master builders
  • Live with a local Guatemalan family in the stunning town of Antigua
  • See a side of Guatemala that few travellers get to see
  • Make a real difference to the people you are working alongside
  • Explore the best that Guatemala has to offer at weekends

Trip Summary

See full itinerary

This is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding projects! Not only will you make a huge difference to the people you are working with, but you will see first hand in a short space of time how you have made a difference.

 

Over the course of just 5 days you will not only help to build houses for some of Guatemala's poorest families, but you will change their lives forever, block by block, house by house. The houses you will help to build will replace the existing houses that families live in, typically made of cornstalk and cardboard. Over the course of 5 days you will help with with all aspects of the build from digging the foundations and mixing cement to laying the blocks and painting the house. At the end of the build you will have the opportunity as a group to hand over the keys to the family, knowing that you have contributed to changing their lives forever.

 

This is a physical project and you should expect to get dirty, but the reward and satisfaction at the end of the build is something that will remain with you for a lifetime. No experience is necessary as you will be building alongside a fantasitc team of builders who will show you the ropes.

 

It's not all hard work though, most evenings everyone will head straight for the bars in Antigua to sample the local nightlife, and weekends are free to explore Guatemala's stunning scenary, climb volcanoes and visit Myan temples.

 

This really is a trip of a lifetime and a that makes a world of difference to the families of rural Guatemala. If this sounds like the ideal project for you then download the trip notes or give us a call!


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What will I be doing?

  • The Project (2 to 6 Weeks)

  • A typical itinerary (2 to 6 Weeks)

  • Volunteer options (2 to 6 Weeks)

The Project: 2 to 6 Weeks

Next Leg

Destination info

The most populous country in central America, Guatemala is a diverse and culturally rich place – a mix of colourful Mayan and colonial Spanish makes for a spectacular and lively nation.

 

Guatemala’s capital is Guatemala City, but for the tourist it is the colonial capital Antigua that holds sway over them. You’ll be in Antigua, only 40 minutes from the capital Guatemala City – a UNESCO World Heritage site surrounded by three huge volcanoes. One of them – Volcan de Fuego – is constantly active at a low level and can be seen to be smoking daily. Which is very bad for its health.

 

If you’re interested in varied natural habitats, you’ll love volunteering in Guatemala. The country boasts two major mountain ranges, lots of volcanoes and lowlands covered in lush rainforests, dotted with Mayan remains – including the famous Tikal, with its 60 metre high temples. The rainforest around Tikal is a protected area (Maya Biosphere Reserve) and is full of wildlife including jaguars, howler monkeys, toucans and ocelots and has been designated. Where Guatemala meets the Pacific, there are vast black sand beaches home to three different species of turtle.

  • Location: Antigua, near Guatemala City

Many Guatemalan families live in poor quality makeshift homes, built of nothing more than cardboard or sugar cane walls with dirt floors. The combination of makeshift building materials and poor construction leaves families extremely vulnerable to the ramifications of harsh weather conditions during the stormy season. Poor quality, dilapidated housing fuels health problems and destroys family unity and hope. Working with this project gives you the opportunity to help directly with some of the world’s poorest families to build or rebuild houses making them strong, safe, culturally appropriate and affordable to maintain. These homes become the foundation for a community building process.

 

While home building is the project’s main focus, there is also a drive to provide communities better access to healthcare and education by subsidising healthcare costs and school registration fees. While they can't combat this problem in its entirety, they try to assist the most vulnerable families in the highlands.

 

Each home costs approximately $1,500 to build for materials and transportation. In addition to building houses, funds are put toward building bunk beds, healthcare needs and school supplies (books and markers).

 

Once the house is completed, the family can move their belongings into their new home and are handed the keys. This is always a very emotional time for both families and volunteers alike; an extremely rewarding moment that you’ll never forget!

A typical itinerary: 2 to 6 Weeks

Next Leg

Destination info

The most populous country in central America, Guatemala is a diverse and culturally rich place – a mix of colourful Mayan and colonial Spanish makes for a spectacular and lively nation.

 

Guatemala’s capital is Guatemala City, but for the tourist it is the colonial capital Antigua that holds sway over them. You’ll be in Antigua, only 40 minutes from the capital Guatemala City – a UNESCO World Heritage site surrounded by three huge volcanoes. One of them – Volcan de Fuego – is constantly active at a low level and can be seen to be smoking daily.

 

If you’re interested in varied natural habitats, you’ll love volunteering in Guatemala. The country boasts two major mountain ranges, lots of volcanoes and lowlands covered in lush rainforests, dotted with Mayan remains – including the famous Tikal, with its 60 metre high temples. The rainforest around Tikal is a protected area (Maya Biosphere Reserve) and is full of wildlife including jaguars, howler monkeys, toucans and ocelots and has been designated. Where Guatemala meets the Pacific, there are vast black sand beaches home to three different species of turtle.

  • Location: Antigua, near Guatemala City

On your first day you will have a full briefing from staff in Antigua, here you will have a brief overview of the project aims and objectives and a chance to meet the group you will be working alongside. You will also meet the master builders who be there to oversee the build, a brilliant team with a great sense of humour!

 

Each day we meet in the morning at the base in Antigua before piling into a truck and and driving to the village where you’re building, up to 40 minutes outside of Antigua town. The first day is spent digging and laying the foundations of the house in preparation for the building. The following 3 days you will be building the house block by block. Each house are made of concrete blocks, with cement floor, corrugated metal roof, with skylight, a metal door with lock, and a metal-framed window with glass. Once the house is built the next day is spent decorating. The family choose the colour of the house and each house is furnished with a bunkbed. At the end of the final day you will gather around and present the keys to the new family, a truely unforgettable experience!

 

Your working day finishes late afternoon, typically around 4pm or 5pm and the evenings are yours to explore Antigua’s night life. Weekends are also free to explore the surrounding area. Throughout your stay on the project you will live with a friendly local Guatemalan family not far from the centre of Antigua and close to the project base.
 

Volunteer options: 2 to 6 Weeks

Destination info

The most populous country in central America, Guatemala is a diverse and culturally rich place – a mix of colourful Mayan and colonial Spanish makes for a spectacular and lively nation.

 

Guatemala’s capital is Guatemala City, but for the tourist it is the colonial capital Antigua that holds sway over them. You’ll be in Antigua, only 40 minutes from the capital Guatemala City – a UNESCO World Heritage site surrounded by three huge volcanoes. One of them – Volcan de Fuego – is constantly active at a low level and can be seen to be smoking daily.

 

If you’re interested in varied natural habitats, you’ll love volunteering in Guatemala. The country boasts two major mountain ranges, lots of volcanoes and lowlands covered in lush rainforests, dotted with Mayan remains – including the famous Tikal, with its 60 metre high temples. The rainforest around Tikal is a protected area (Maya Biosphere Reserve) and is full of wildlife including jaguars, howler monkeys, toucans and ocelots and has been designated. Where Guatemala meets the Pacific, there are vast black sand beaches home to three different species of turtle.

  • Location: Antigua, near Guatemala City

Volunteering in Guatemala and changing lives house by house – this trip gives you a superb opportunity to give some of the world's poorest families direct help. You’ll be building – or rebuilding – houses, making them strong, safe and affordable. Each house takes around five days from start to finish and that means you’ll see lots of projects through from start to finish. Don’t underestimate the power of the moment when you see a family take the keys of their new home.

 

Much of the housing in the area is extremely poor quality – often nothing more than cardboard or sugar cane walls with dirt floors. Simple equation – poor quality housing = health problems, family tension, lack of hope. Volunteering gives you the chance to help solve all these problems.

 

If you have any experience with building trades – great. But don’t worry if you haven’t – you’ll be working alongside people who know and you’ll be surprised how quickly you pick up the essentials.

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To get a detailed PDF of information for this trip including full itinerary, country guides and travel advice on visas, money, insurance and the local weather, download our trip notes. By doing so you’ll also be kept updated on all the latest news, offers and stories on this particular trip. Happy reading!

What's included?

  • Host family accommodation
  • Two meals a day
  • Airport transfers
  • Orientation upon arrival
  • 24-hour support number

What's not included?

  • All flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunches
  • Visas

Additional Information & FAQs

Minimum age

Minimum 18 years, maximum dependent upon individual participant’s health.

 

Minimum numbers required on this trip

There are no minimum numbers on the trip.

Please note: you may be the only volunteer at your chosen project at any one time. If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact us

 

Accommodation

During your programme you will be living with a typical Guatemalan family. Our staff personally knows all the families and all of their homes meet an excellent standard set by our on-site staff. All families are close friends of the on-site staff and will speak Spanish most of the time (to help you get the most from your time in Guatemala) although there will typically be at least one person who can speak English.

 

The families are all very warm, sociable people and are very keen to accommodate international students. You will instantly be made to feel at home and will be included in all day-to-day social activities (shopping, parties, barbecues etc) throughout your stay - a fantastic insight into life in this unique and diverse country.

 

Families belong to Guatemala's middle class, although students should take note that living standards in Guatemala are generally lower than Western Europe or North America. Family homes are located in neighbourhoods usually no more than seven blocks from the centre of the town.

 

You will be given a key to the house and will be able to come and go as you please. All families have warm water and flushing western style toilets and showers. You will have you own private room and generally share a bathroom with other volunteers.There is also a laundry service once a week with some families though this is not guaranteed.

 

Meals

Your family will provide you with two meals a day (breakfast and dinner), throughout your stay providing a great opportunity to chat and get to know your host family in an informal setting. All families are more than happy to cook any dishes that you'd like (within reason!) and many families can accommodate special dietary requirements for vegetarians and vegans.

 

Is this trip for you?

You may be the only volunteer at your chosen project at any one time. However, you will still have the full support of your in-country team and those at the project. If you are looking for a group volunteering experience we have plenty of options for you to consider.

 

Orientation

On arrival at the project you will have a brief orientation from the organisation leaders. This will include being shown around the project site, being introduced to the project co-ordinator and staff, a health and safety briefing and an introduction to your tasks while on the project.

 

Throughout your stay in Guatemala you will have the support and guidance of our co-ordinator and team. You will be provided with competent assistance and help with any questions or advice you may need during your stay. In addition you will have access to a 24 hour emergency contact number so you can contact one of our staff at any time should you need to.
 

Advice & Safety

Throughout your programmes you will have the support and guidance of the programme co-ordinator and team. You will be provided with competent assistance and help with any questions or advice you may need during your stay.

 

You will be assigned a personal travel advisor who will co-ordinate your programme with you. Feel free to contact them at any time before you go, or when you are on your travels.

 

In addition, you will have access to a 24 hour emergency contact number so you can contact one of our UK staff at any time should you need to.

 

FAQ

1. Do you need to understand Spanish?

We advise that you pick up the basics before you arrive however if you don't speak Spanish then don't worry. If you would like to learn Spanish before you start the building project then check out our language school.

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2. What level of fitness is needed and do you require experience in building?

A resonable fittness level is required and no you don’t require any previous experience in building.

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3. Do I get time off for extra acivities?

Yes, every evening and you will generally have weekends to yourself.

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4. How long does a house take to bulid?

Each house takes around five days to be built from start to finish which allows volunteers to see completion of a project and (most rewarding) the final results.

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DBS

This trip requires a Police Check to be carried out - please contact us for further information on how to do this. 

What will I see in Guatemala?

17 photos

What other travelers thought

I've done this trip

Write review
Overall rating: (9/10) (5 reviews)
Guatemala House Building Volunteers

Oskar Bretes - July 2014

How would you rate your overall experience?
(10/10)
Give us up to 10 words that sum up your experience: for example - "Great experience, made new friends, totally unforgettable!"

Fantastic month, met great people will DEFINITELY be back in Guatemala and on the project!

Please rate the service received from our team before departure
(10/10)
Please rate the accuracy of your pre-departure information
(10/10)
Please rate the service provided by the team in country
(10/10)
Please rate the accommodation during your stay
(10/10)
Please rate the worthwhileness of any volunteering in your trip if applicable.
(10/10)
Please rate your airport pickup (where applicable)
(7/10)
Please rate your in-country orientation
(10/10)
What were the highlights of your trip?

The whole experience was great, the month flew by faster than I could imagine. Guatemala is an incredible country, don't believe for a second all of the awful things you may hear about it.

Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?

Make your roommate(s) show you around and introduce you to people Visit the country Don't be paranoid!

Would you travel with our company again?

yes

Would you recommend us?

10

Guatemala House Building Volunteers2014-07-06

Hollie Yarranton - February 2012

How would you rate your overall experience?
(8/10)
Please rate the service received from our team before departure
(7/10)
Please rate the service provided by the team in country
(9/10)
Please rate the accommodation during your stay
(8/10)
Please rate the worthwhileness of any volunteering in your trip if applicable.
(10/10)
What were the highlights of your trip?

The project was amazing. To see the families face after the house is built was amazing! I loved the trip i went on to the volcano the sights were breathtaking!

Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?

To do the house building project, its great you will get the most of out of it!

Would you travel with our company again?

Yes

Would you recommend us?

Yes

Guatemala House Building Volunteers2012-02-24

Rohan Harrison - October 2011

How would you rate your overall experience?
(8/10)
Please rate the worthwhileness of any volunteering in your trip if applicable.
(10/10)
What were the highlights of your trip?

Seeing how happy the families were after the houses had been built.

Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?

Bring sunscreen. Learn some Spanish. Bring books/games/entertainment - evenings can get lonely sometimes.

Would you recommend us?

Yes

Guatemala House Building Volunteers2011-10-11

Alex Miell - July 2011

How would you rate your overall experience?
(9/10)
Please rate the service received from our team before departure
(8/10)
Please rate the service provided by the team in country
(8/10)
Please rate the accommodation during your stay
(10/10)
Please rate the worthwhileness of any volunteering in your trip if applicable.
(9/10)
What were the highlights of your trip?

Please see answers to language school questions for the whole of the trip. Thanks.

Would you recommend us?

Yes

Guatemala House Building Volunteers2011-07-04

Jonathan Arkell - July 2011

How would you rate your overall experience?
(10/10)
Give us up to 10 words that sum up your experience: for example - "Great experience, made new friends, totally unforgettable!"

Fantastic, loads of different people and new experiences. Unforgettable!

Please rate the service received from our team before departure
(8/10)
Please rate the service provided by the team in country
(9/10)
Please rate the accommodation during your stay
(9/10)
Please rate the worthwhileness of any volunteering in your trip if applicable.
(10/10)
What were the highlights of your trip?

The people I met and the local builders that I worked with

Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?

Make the most of your time there, it flys by! Prepare for sun, prepare for rain, anything could happen

Would you travel with our company again?

Yes

Would you recommend us?

Yes

Guatemala House Building Volunteers2011-07-04

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