About Guatemala

The Global Volunteer Network currently has opportunities to work on a range of projects in Guatemala. Volunteers can become involved in healthcare, childcare, teaching, construction and animal care / animal rights projects.

Guatemala is one of the most bio-diverse and historically significant countries in Central America, and the country's abundance of biologically unique ecosystems makes the entire region a biodiverse hotspot. Guatemala is bordered by Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras, and has coastlines along the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. It is one of the poorer Latin American countries, yet considered one of the most beautiful to visit. Guatemala has a predominantly mountainous landscape, with narrow coastal plains and limestone plateaus.

For more information, please visit the Guatemala webpage on the Global Volunteer Network website.

Recent Guatemala Journals:

Getting Ready for Departure February 14th!

 Posted by Ann Beane at 3:10 am  Guatemala  Comments Off on Getting Ready for Departure February 14th!
Feb 122016

I’m two days and counting til I depart for Guatemala and a month long adventure. The excitement and jitters are growing, all expected and part of the stretching!  Today, finishing packing, getting this journal up and running and perhaps a little Valentine’s Day something with John before we say our “goodbyes”.  Next chapter, here I come!

My apologies…

 Posted by Michelle Slattery at 5:15 am  Guatemala  Comments Off on My apologies…
Aug 022015


I was never any good at journaling! I’m so sorry that haven’t posted. I’m alive and well and having a great time. I’m trying to come up with a way to get back here in January. I’ve been really busy with the internship and I had to give an hour long presentation about my internship to a panel of people. The really liked it and gave me a lot of positive feedback. I was sick for a few days with a sinus infection but the doctor *house calls* gave me a few scripts and I was on the mend in short order. He was concerned that my blood pressure was too high so I had to take it easy for a few days. It’s back to normal now so there’s no problem to continue on with my adventures. I’m sightseeing this coming week so I’ll make sure to post!

A few of us went to the macadamia nut farm just outside of Antigua called Valhalla. It was a beautiful place that’s famous for their macadamia nut pancakes. We took a tour with owners and ate lunch. The owners are great people and very entertaining. We rode the chicken bus back to town, that was entertaining as well. I also signed up for a cooking class at a restaurant. We made chiles rellenos, torillas, guacamole, chilaquilas de guisquil -squash w/cheese fried in batter, fijoles voltedos, rellenitos de plantains, and bunelos rapidos. The last two dishes were desserts. We made the guacamole with fresh spearmint instead of cilantro and I have to say it was very good this way!

I took a salsa lesson…that’s all I’m going to say here. Except, thank goodness no one was taping it!

Over the weekend I went to an awesome restaurant with my friend Geraldine. The Cafe No Se is about as big as a minute, you could take six big steps and be at the other wall of the restaurant.  There was a very steep ladder to climb into a loft where they had six of the smallest tables and stools. I think they built the tables to just fit two plates and two drinks. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to get down, luckily that had ropes to hang onto. Both the atmosphere and food were great.

I’m leaving in a few minutes to catch a shuttle to the Earth Lodge in El Hato just outside of Antigua. This is an avocado farm on a hillside. There is a BBQ this afternoon and then a family style dinner tonight. It’s all vegetarian food but I’ll manage. I’m excited because I’ve rented a tree house for the night. The views are supposed to be spectacular.

On the agenda this week is visiting a coffee plantation, climbing a volcano, and zip-lining.

I promise to keep you posted!







Finishing my internship

 Posted by May Wright at 12:10 pm  Guatemala, Uncategorized  Comments Off on Finishing my internship
Jul 162015

I can’t believe four weeks have passed so quickly! I am finishing my last week of working at Yellowhouse. Today, I gave my presentation to the Maximo Staff about my experience as was required for my program. They commended my presentation (phew!), and I feel like everything is coming to a close. My week of travelling is coming up though and I’m excited to finally go to Lago Atitlan!

This week, several experiences worth remembering…

On Monday night, I got to meet Julissa, a friend of Nery, and her family. They took me out to dinner at Comedor San Jose (I think was the name…) and I tried a chuchito – kind of like a tamale but filled with meat and tomato sauce, topped with avocado. I really liked it – even better than a tamale! They were curious about my impressions of Guatemala. Julissa asked, “What is the Guatemalan culture like to you?” which I struggled with a little. I’ve been here a while, but it’s hard to describe a culture. I said that it didn’t seem like there was much national pride which they agreed with. Guatemala has certainly had its struggles.

Tuesday, I was sitting in the park after Spanish class and 2 young Guatemalan boys in their school uniforms approached me and asked if they could interview me. They recorded it to show at school. It was a very simple interview: Hi, how are you, what’s your name, do you like Antigua, etc. I didn’t get the feeling they understood my answers… After they finished, two older boys came by to do the same interview. One held the camera with a paper underneath it with the words on it while the other interviewed me. I teased them saying that the younger boys didn’t need the cheat sheet! Teenagers are funny…

Afterwards, I went on a Street Food Tour. Turns out the guide is from Texas! It was funny I had already tried most of what we ate, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. At least I know I’ve gotten a good taste of Guatemalan Food! So it started with another chuchito, then a sweet milky candy, Canillitas de Leche, followed by a pupusa de queso (masa filled with cheese topped with avocado and cabbage relish, fried on a griddle), then a bowl of pepian (the chicken stew I had in monterrico), and finally, a pineapple smoothie. The place where we ate pepian was an experience… you walk into this tiny tienda (store) and pass the counter to go to the back. It’s dimly lit with tiny windows over the kitchen counter which was visible from where we were. I could see dishes stacked up in the sink. To the left of the sink sat a parrot. He was quiet for a while, but made a few squaks over the course of our time there. On the other side of our table was a large wooden shelf storing various items. I only remember the bunches of garlic cloves…

Wednesday, it rained. I mean like really rained. It started suddenly and hard, falling at a slant because of the wind. Within 30 or so, the street was completely flooded. Stores put wooden planks in the doorways to stop waves of water from passing vehicles from coming into the buildings. I watched a dog shyly step through. I’m told that the drain system is not cleaned, and it doesn’t work very well. That’s obvious now. Luckily, I got to enjoy the excitement from within the office and by the time I returned home, the water had subsided, and I didn’t have to forge any rivers.

Thursday, today, was my presentation, and while it went well, the setup was a bit stressful. I showed up to download my powerpoint from Google Drive before heading to my Spanish class. I ended up running around between computers and Maximo locations (there are two offices) trying to find internet that was working and internet that was fast enough to download my powerpoint. The internet is SO unreliable here. All turned out well though :) What’s a presentation without a little stress?

(New pictures on facebook!)

Weekend 1

 Posted by Michelle Slattery at 8:12 am  Guatemala  Comments Off on Weekend 1
Jul 082015
Weekend 1

Hello, I had a wonderful weekend! I took a tour of the city on Saturday and then wandered around on my own for a few hours. I went into the roofless ruins of the Catedral de Santiago-wow! It was beautiful inside. while I was visiting there were several first communion classes being held in the ruins. I thought it was great that the space is still used. On Sunday I went to dinner with people from work. We went to San Cristobal de Alto and in a wonderful restaurant on the side of the mountain. It’s a farm to table restaurant and the gardens were just behind our table. The food was fresh and amazing! The view of Antigua great. My internship is going well. I’m working on a website and creating a brochure along with other marketing materials. Friday we’re going to build furniture for the garden from pallets…I’ll post pictures!  

Beach Trip

 Posted by May Wright at 4:56 am  Guatemala  Comments Off on Beach Trip
Jul 062015

Saturday morning, I left for Monterrico, Guatemala – a beach town. While the beach is not overly hyped up, I was curious about it and the nature reserve nearby. I also thought it would be cool to visit the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean in the same summer. (I’ll be on the coast of Maine later on). It turned out to be a great choice. The drive from Antigua to Monterrico is marvelous. You roll down the hills and mountains of higher altitude Antigua down what’s called the pacific slope. The scenery is constantly changing: from coffee plantations, sugarcane, to coconut trees, and yellow flowering hanging sponge plants (did you know those long tubular sponges were plants!?). With the windows open, you can definitely sense the change in air quality as well: hotter and more humid. I was excited by all there was to see along the road as we approached the coast: colorful plants and flowers, thatch roofed houses, dogs and chickens on the dirt yards, people outside doing laundry or cooking, piles burning, coca cola logos painted on shop exteriors … it’s a colorful exciting ride. Once we arrived in Monterrico, the driver dropped the others at their hotels and the driver and I made a few more stops to find a suitable room for me. Having heard that Monterrico was hot, I wanted a room with air conditioning. We found a suitable room at El Mangle and I haggled the price down to a more reasonable level and got them to throw in breakfast. Score! I hate haggling! I then set out to walk the beach before the sun became unbearable. The black sand was already pretty warm, but once you get to the wet part it’s not so bad. I thought I would walk through [click here to read more]

In the Groove

 Posted by May Wright at 4:33 am  Guatemala  Comments Off on In the Groove
Jul 032015

This week has been a normal week of Spanish lessons and work. I am getting into a routine and feeling more comfortable with my work. I have a new teacher for my Spanish lessons though – maybe temporarily. On Tuesday, Nery, my regular teacher did not show up. It turns out he had a family emergency, so on Wednesday, I got a new teacher, Gloria. We basically just chat the whole time which I enjoy for the time being, but I hope that Nery comes back next week. In my routine, I have some down time between my lesson and work. One day I went to buy a book in Spanish and read in the park. I didn’t get to read much that day because a man with a little boy came up to me and we chatted for a while. People seem to like to talk. I’ve had several nice chats with people around town. I’ve gotten to see the little kids of the family more over the past few days as Emanuel, the 4 year old that lives at the house, is on vacation and some other relatives are in town – mom plus 3 little boys! The house is definitely noisier! Emanuel is so stinkin cute, but still very shy with me. I try to talk to him some, but he usually directs his attention to the visiting baby, David. Emanuel is obsessed with that baby! Trying to touch him, play with his hands, and constantly talking to him, “Liiiindo David!” in his cute little voice. I got to have lunch one day with 3 siblings from the states that were traveling together at a place where they serve typical food from a counter covered in clay pots full of colorful delcious food. We had a nice [click here to read more]

First few days

 Posted by Michelle Slattery at 11:18 am  Guatemala  Comments Off on First few days
Jul 012015
First few days

Hi, I arrived late Sunday night and had the opportunity to see a little volcanic activity. El Fuego volcano is across the way from my host family´s house and there was a beautiful lava show. It´s been spitting and smoking for the last few nights. No one here is nervous, so I won´t worry about it either. I spent the first few days settling in and getting to know my host family. They are very helpful and friendly. My internship placement started yesterday and should be interesting. I´m working with a small hotel on their marketing. They don´t have an internet presence so we´ll be working on a website, Facebook page, etc. An interesting tidbit…with the income they generate, they rescue street dogs and cats. They gave me a laptop to use for the project and my office is the back garden…not too bad.


 Posted by May Wright at 4:23 am  Guatemala  Comments Off on Pictures!
Jun 302015

Here is a link to pictures: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153332178011023.1073741835.659676022&type=1&l=8d3f41abd1  

Day off

 Posted by May Wright at 4:18 am  Guatemala  Comments Off on Day off
Jun 302015

After a marvelous cup of Guatemalan coffee, I had my Spanish class this morning with Nery. Of course again the location was changed and we started a few minutes late because I was having trouble finding him. We mostly just conversed today. He told me about this holiday weekend – how today is “Banker’s Day” (which I found to be weird) and tomorrow is army day. He says that there’s a day for everyone – an excuse for everyone to rest for a day. Afterwards, I walked around the city, taking a look at some other parts that I hadn’t visited yet. I’m finally getting a feel for where I am in the city which is super important because street signs are almost non-existent. In the afternoon, I continued my walk through the city, passing through the cemetery. It’s an impressive one with huge stone sepulchers and a chapel. The first downpour of my stay came in around 2pm and I got to see how the streets become rivers. The day was pretty chill. I joined a pubcrawl for a little while to meet some more people. Lots of Australians! They must have a flexible work schedule In the evening, I had dinner at home, and before bed, I got to see Volcan de Fuego erupt at night. You can see the orange glow of the lava from miles away. Pretty awesome!  

Weekend Travels

 Posted by May Wright at 11:36 am  Guatemala  Comments Off on Weekend Travels
Jun 282015

Saturday Today was wonderful! First stop was dropping off laundry. Second stop was meeting Luisa at the bus station to make a day trip. Meeting Luisa was the first adventure. I had been directed to go to the bus station “behind the market,” and I assumed I could walk through the market to get there. Well… technically it’s possible but it’s quite a crowded maze. I was on a mission to get out, so I can’t tell you all that was there, but I can tell you it was crazy! The most notable thing I actually saw were baskets of live chickens. When I finally reached the bus station, I watched and waited for Luisa. The station is a sight to behold. First of all, it is full of “chicken busses” or school busses painted 100 different colors. Second of all, it is constant motion – busses moving, men running on and off of busses yelling out destinations and checking for people in the way, people walking around the lot (I can’t believe people don’t get run over all the time as busses back out!). We found a good seat near the front of the bus, bt as we moved through town it became extremely crowded. A woman with a baby joined us on our seat. Remember this is a school bus seat… We passed by so much Antigua excitement and hustle and bustle. Luisa and I observed how much of the city is behind walls. You can see the tops of trees and houses, but they’re blocked off from the street. So much of this city’s beauty is hidden I would venture to say – judging by how many times I’ve entered a building and found a beautiful garden behind the wall. We arrived at the Finca Macadamia Valhalla [click here to read more]

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