Guatemala

Travel Dates

June 6-15, 2024

Dates subject to change one or two days until flights are confirmed.

Volunteer Fee

$2,000

Covers all costs for lodging, transportation, most food, activities, service projects, donations, etc. However this does not include AIRFARE, A FEW MEALS, or SOUVENIRS.

Airfare Costs

$700

This is an estimated cost for all airfare and visa costs departing from SLC to Guatemala City.


9 of 12 spots remaining

Guatemala Yuda Venture

Guatemala offers a rich cultural experience, blending indigenous and Spanish influences. The country’s stunning natural beauty includes lush rainforests, volcanoes, and beautiful lakes. We will hike volcanoes, go zip-lining, cliff jumping, and climb ancient pyramids. Additionally, we will complete a service project and leadership training with Yuda Bands sponsored students in the small mountain town where Yuda Bands began in 2007.

On the Itinerary

Activities my change from year to year. Full itinerary will be provided about one month before the trip begins.

Tikal

Explore Tikal, the largest excavated site in the Americas and capital of a powerful ancient Maya kingdom. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, dating back to the 1st century AD, is nestled in the jungle. Your trip includes an early morning flight and a day exploring the national park with a local Mayan guide, offering insights into Mayan traditions as you climb pyramids and explore the ruins.

Food and Clothing

Before you leave, you’ll choose a family to support by providing them with food and clothes. About a month before your trip, you’ll collect clothing sizes. Once in Guatemala, you’ll deliver the clothes and a month’s supply of food to the family, purchased by your tour guide. Visiting their humble home will give you a glimpse of true Guatemalan culture and a chance to connect with those you serve.

Lake Atitlan

Atitlán is a vast lake within a volcanic crater in Guatemala’s southwest highlands. You’ll explore the town of Santiago de Atitlán by boat, offering great deals on traditional souvenirs. Experience local culture with activities like cotton spinning, chocolate making, and learning about local herbs used for medicine. Afterward, enjoy a boat ride to a local hidden gem, “the trampoline,” a safe platform for cliff jumping. Remember to bring your swimsuit!

Leadership Training

Each trip participant will prepare a 15-20 minute presentation on an assigned topic to deliver to a group of 25-30 Guatemalan students. With the assistance of Spanish translators, you’ll not only enhance your own teaching skills but also help local students acquire skills that will improve their job prospects after high school graduation. Learn more about LEAD >

Antigua

Antigua, a charming city surrounded by volcanoes in southern Guatemala, is famous for its Spanish colonial buildings and local artisan souvenirs. Explore the tradition of crafting jewelry from Guatemalan Jade with a local artisan and visit the historic Hotel Casa Santo Domingo, once an ancient monastery dating back to 1538.

Making Yuda Bands

Yuda Band bracelets are the center of the Yuda Bands organizations fundraising model. The sale of these bracelets funds our scholarships and pays for service projects, local directors, and leadership trainings. Our Yuda Band makers ear a fair-trade wage as they express themselves through these unique leather and coconut bands. You’ll get a chance to see the whole process and even design and make your own Yuda Bands.

Canopy Zip-line

You’ll take an exhilarating zip-line ride through the rainforest of Tikal. The tour consists of a series of nine platforms built into the trees for wildlife observation, linked by horizontal double zip-lines from one tree to another. Yuda Bands and local guides have been fully trained to provide assistance as you fly through the trees with monkeys (yes, monkeys swing from the zip-lines through the trees)!

Cultural Event

You’ll attend a welcoming cultural event shortly after arriving in Guatemala. You’ll see traditional dances, hear traditional songs and other unique customs of Guatemala. The local people will be very excited to show off their traditional entertainment and welcome you to their country.

Volcano Pacaya

Pacaya is an active volcano, which rises over 8,300 feet. An expert guide will join our group and lead us to hot spots to roast marshmallows from the heat rising through the earth’s curst. With a bit of luck you’ll even be able to see actual lava flowing. Those who don’t want to hike all the way to the top can make the trek by horse back. After summiting we’ll run down the back side of the volcano which is made up of small pebble like sand.

Work Project

We will be serving side by side Yuda Bands students in a large scale community service project in San Martin, Jilotepeque. Community service projects provide an opportunity for the Guatemalan students to give service in their community each quarter (learn more about this here) something changes inside as they realize they literally have the power to impact their community and change their future.

Guatemala Travel Info

COVID-19

  • Vaccine card required OR proof of negative PCR or Antigen test taken within 3 days prior to travel
  • No masks required

Requirements

  • Passport with at least one full blank page
  • 14+ years old unless accompanied by a family member

Travel Time

  • SLC to GUA (Guatemala City) ~ 10-15 hrs with layovers
  • GUA to Tikal ~ 1hr

Volunteer with Confidence

Gateway Airport

One of the biggest concerns that parents have is sending their child off to navigate immigration, customs, or other “unknowns” of landing in a foreign, non-English speaking country. Because of this we will all meet together at a US based gateway airport. This way our trip guide(s) will escort your child from the gateway airport to the final destination.

Parents Are Welcome

Our groups are primarily made up of youth but family members and teachers are invited to accompany us. Each year since 2007, a handful of mothers and fathers have added a wonderful variety and maturity to the group. Sometimes teachers and students that ran a Yuda Bands project together will travel together to meet their student they worked together to sponsor.

Easy to Get in Contact

International communication has become quite convenient. Most carriers extend service internationally for $9 per 24 hours. However we recommend communicating with home and posting on social media only at night at our hotels and lodges where Wifi will be available. Parents are given a 24/7 number to contact their child in case of emergency.

U.S. and Local Support

Both US guides and local Yuda Bands directors will help with language and culture. Local directors share valuable insight to culture and traditions while US guides fill a parental role and maintain a high standard of hygiene, safety and behavior in the group.

Safe & Clean Lodging

We stay in clean and simple accommodations on all of our trips. Security, location, and comfort are all taken into account when selecting lodging for our trips. A long history with owners and managers of these facilities helps us negotiate pricing, helping us keep our volunteer fees low.

Clean Meals & Water

Where we eat our meals varies by country and even location within each country. Volunteers and guides eat together during specified meal times (itinerary provided a week before departure) either in the homes of trusted locals or in established restaurants. Both take great care to properly clean and prepare the food to avoid any stomach issues. Purified water is provided throughout the trip.

Yuda Venture FAQ’s

If accompanied by a parent or older sibling we can talk about your specific situation, but if you’re traveling alone the age restrictions are as follows:

Guatemala and Nicaragua: 14+ Zimbabwe and Ecuador : 16+

Yes. Typically we go to Nicaragua every November over Thanksgiving break and we go to Guatemala and Zimbabwe/Botswana in the summer.

The volunteer fee covers your living expenses and costs to visit tourist sites and complete activities.

You will room with 1-3 others of your same gender and similar age.

It helps to understand some Spanish when traveling to Guatemala and Nicaragua but it is not necessary. Your guide and local support will help translate.
Because airfare prices are constantly changing. We don’t have control over the prices, so we don’t include them in the overall cost of the trip. We do however try to find the best prices and shortest flight times.
A liability release form as well as a media release form. This gives us permission to use photos and videos of you on our website and social media so we can update your family members back home.
We realize that while these trips are a great value, they are a lot of money. We recommend you checkout our fundraising page for ideas of how to raise enough money for your trip.
No you don’t. If you sold bands you will visit your student in their home. If you didn’t then you will be able to pick your own student that you will visit during your trip.
Yes. Many people have returned to the same location in following years and others have joined us on all three of our trips around the world.
Currently we do not offer any kind of financial aid. You can however checkout our fundraising page.
If there are enough available spots on a planned trip you are welcome to join us. For family/friend groups of 10 or more we can work with you to schedule your own private trip to one of our locations.
No, most volunteers do not know anyone before going on the trip.
You can see the estimated costs of flights on each country’s itinerary page. Once the group is full your trip guide will purchase the airfare for you, however you are responsible to pay for the ticket.

The trips are pretty much all inclusive. There might be a few meals you will be responsible to buy and you are also responsible for COVID-19 tests, visas (Zimbabwe) and souvenirs.

About Yuda Ventures

In 2007, Yuda Bands began sponsoring high school students in Guatemala. The following year, we embarked on our inaugural volunteer trip, connecting face-to-face with sponsored students and completing various service projects. Since then, our organization has grown, providing hundreds of years of education to students in 10 countries across four continents. Our commitment to fostering global awareness and bridging cultural divides remains unwavering. As we continue to expand our reach, we invite you to join us on this transformative journey. Your participation will not only make a difference but also contribute to a world where education and understanding thrive. Come be a part of this meaningful life-changing adventure to Ecuador!