Volunteer Program

This is the family of four with one of the volunteers posing in front of what will be their new home. Right now they live in small make shift house with a dirt floor and only a piece of plastic to protect them from the rainy season.

This is the family of four with one of the volunteers posing in front of what will be their new home. Right now they live in small make shift house with a dirt floor and only a piece of plastic to protect them from the rainy season.

Welcome to A Place to Stay’s Premier Volunteer Program!  

Our goal is to provide a unique opportunity to young adults who want to be of service while experiencing a different culture and exploring some of the top sites of Guatemala. Once a year we will be offering a chaperone trip meant for 15-18 year old students. The trip will be in the summer led by Kerry & Raul Cruz who will accompany these students on their journey abroad. The group will be leaving from Boston, MA.

We have chosen to partner with Constru Casa, a non profit organization that aims to improve the quality of life among Guatemalans living in extreme poverty through the provision of basic housing, support programs and community development projects related to health and education.  For more information please visit their website click here

One of the main things we liked about Constru Casa is they way they work with the families they are helping. Each family is required to part of the process of constructing the house whether it be just helping move the supplies, or mix cement or just being at the site for support. In addition, the beneficiary family is expected to contribute one-third of the construction costs through a series of monthly payments over a four year period. These acts of engagement create a sense of ownership and by contributing both through physical work and financial responsibility  they feel empowered to continue improving their lives after the construction is completed.  

What to expect:

The type of work is pretty basic, the houses are all constructed using concrete blocks and cement so there is no hammering or nails to contend with. There will be lots of dirt and dust and lifting of the blocks so participants should be in good health.  The worksites are in local villages surrounding Antigua accessible by the local buses; the first few days a representative from A Place to Stay will accompany volunteers to and from the work location. Each construction site will have 2 local masons working on the house along with at least one member of the beneficiary family and a group of up to five or six volunteers.  A one room house can be constructed within one week and a three room house takes about eight days.  

The volunteers will be expected to fund raise $500 per person which will go directly to the house they are assigned to build. The cost of a one room house is approximately $2000 and a three room house about $5,000.  

Two local masons and volunteers working together on building a three room house. 

Two local masons and volunteers working together on building a three room house. 

Program Dates & Cost

The program is designed for a two-week stay.

Individuals or Groups less than five can choose from one of the established dates below:

This is Alotenango, a small village outside Antigua where Constru Casa is building houses for families in need.

This is Alotenango, a small village outside Antigua where Constru Casa is building houses for families in need.

***SPECIAL CHAPERONE GROUP FROM BOSTON***

  • State Date: July 2, 2019 (date leaving the USA).

  • End Date: July 16, 2019 (date returning to the USA)

***Groups of five or more (maximum is twenty) can decide on the dates themselves and let us know, we will work to accommodate your preferred dates***

The cost for the two weeks is $600-$800 USD per person which includes room and board, airport transfers, and two full day excursions. 

The cost for the Chaperone group is $1,500 including airfare, room and board, airport transfers and two excursions. A non- refundable deposit of $750 is required by March 20, 2019 to secure your spot.

Volunteer Schedule:

Arrival Day

Arrival: personally greeted at the airport by Raul & Kerry Cruz

 Day 1

  • Breakfast: Traditional Chapin

  • Group Orientation

  • Health & Safety

  • Basic directions and trip to Bodega and Mercado, bank

  • Ice breaking group activity

  • Trip to look out point of the city Cerro de La Cruz

  • Spanish overview: helpful vocabulary and conversational tips

  • Traditional Guatemalan Lunch: Chicken Pepian

  • Free time to explore Antigua

Day 2- 6

A three room house being built for a family of seven in Alotenango

A three room house being built for a family of seven in Alotenango

7:00am Breakfast

7:30 Leave for worksite

8:30 Arrive at worksite

12:30-1:30 Lunch

4:30 Leave for Antigua

5:30 Arrive in Antigua

7:00 Dinner

Day 7

Acatenango Volcano Trip-9:00am departure

CHAPERONE GROUP

Pacaya Volcano Trip- 2:00pm departure, 8:00pm return

Day 8

12:00pm return from Acatenango trip

CHAPERONE GROUP

1:00pm departure for Coffee Tour, 3:30pm return

Day 9& 10

Repeat work schedule

Day 11

Day trip to Lago Atitlan (sightseeing & shopping)

5:30am- Pick up at A Place to Stay- 

8:30am- Arrive in Panajachel

8:30-9:00am Time to get breakfast before boat tour 

9:00-3:30pm Private boat tour of 3 villages on lake: San Juan, San Pedro, and Santiago.

4:00pm: Departure Panajachel on Shuttle

7:00pm: Arrive back in Antigua

Day 12 & 13

Repeat work schedule

Day 14

  • Trip to the Mercado for Market day!

  • Get ingredients and make hot sauce/salsa for tamales

  • Debrief and feedback session:

  • Closing Fiesta: Tamales & rellanitos for dinner with jamaica juice and tipico dulces for dessert. A small traditional marimba band will play throughout dinner.

Departure Day

Depart for Airport

 

What is included in the fee?

  • Shared accommodation in our home/hostel for for 2 weeks (15 nights, 14 days). (Males and females will be separated into different rooms)

  • 3 meals a day.

  • Pick up and drop off to airport.

  • Orientation to the country: Health & Safety.

  • Conversational Spanish tips.

  • 24 hour security.

  • Onsite support for any problems with both a native English and a native Spanish speaker we have you covered

  • Transportation to and from the worksite by using local bus transportation. The first 2-3 days will be accompanied by a member of the staff.

  • 2 Excursions: Volcano overnight hiking trip and a one day boat tour of Lago Atitlan ($110 total retail value).

  • Intimate knowledge of the country, customs, and surrounding areas.

  • Facebook page with daily updates and pictures for parents and friends to share in the experience.

 

What is not included:

  • Roundtrip airfare (Chaperone Group price includes airfare).

  • Fund raising requirement for Constru Casa $500 goes directly to cost of building new home.

  • Park entrance fee for Acatenango Volcano Trip ($7).

  • Breakfast & Lunch on day of Lake Atitlan Tour

  • Laundry Services ($2 per two pound charge).

  • Snacks in between meals.

What to pack:

  • Toiletries (shampoo, soap, toothbrush/paste)
  •  Sturdy closed toed shoes
  •  Hat
  • Sunglasses (not just for sun but also protects from dust/dirt that is blown by wind) 
  • Sweatshirt and other layering clothing as the temperature may fluctuate from morning to evening by 10-15 degrees
  • Flip flops for around the house
  • Warm jacket & clothes for overnight hike (temperature average is 34-41 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Re-fillable water bottle, 
  • Phone chargers (we use US compatible plugs so adapters not necessary) 
  • Insect Repellant
  • Sunscreen
  • Spending money ($100 or $50 are easiest to convert to local money at the bank)
  • Pad lock for securing belongings in locker 
  • Lightweight rain/windbreaker jacket
  • Hand sanitizer for worksite (may not have access to soap and water for washing hands before eating lunch) 
  • Work gloves
  • Cotton bandana (sell at Walmart for $1) for helping to shield from sun and for cleaning at worksite
  • Ear plugs for sleeping (if you are sensitive to noise or a light sleeper)
  • Immonium medicine good to have for occasional traveler’s diarrhea
  • Bonine- good for motion sickness possible with shuttle ride to lake
  • Allergy medicine for those that need it (we have pet cats and there is a lot of dust blown by the nearby volcano)

What we provide:

  • Linens for bed 
  • Towel for shower
  • Purified water 
  • Access to private hospital that accepts travel insurance
  • Safe for securing passports 

Extra charges:

  • Laundry service
  • Snacks
  • Souvenirs
  • Breakfast & lunch for day of Lago Atitlan tour
  • Entrance fee to Acatenango Park for volcano hike  ($7)
  • Rental of warm clothes for Acatenango overnight hike (Cost is $5 for jacket and $2 each for hats and gloves and scarves)

Preparing for the trip:

  1. Application completion and pay $100 deposit to secure your spot.  Both application and deposit to be sent to A Place to Stay. 
  2. Book your roundtrip airfare
  3. If you would like travel medical insurance, we suggest checking out this link    
  4. Fund raise (can create crowd fund page, etc.) $500 ideally due 2 weeks prior to arrival.                                                                    This money goes directly to the project/house you will be working on.  
  5. Payment of outstanding balance due to A Place to Stay along with flight information 2 weeks prior to arrival.
  6. No visa requirements: US Citizens get a stamp in their passport good for 90 days upon arrival in the country. 

Our Behavior Expectations

  1. We offer a homestay experience which means that everyone should feel at home here.  Likewise we expect volunteers to contribute to helping keep the shared areas free from trash and clutter, wash their own dishes after each meal, and treat everyone with respect. 
  2. We are a smoke and drug free environment and have a zero tolerance policy.
  3. We have a curfew of midnight with no exceptions; those not back by midnight will not be allowed in until we re-open the door at 7:00am.
  4. Alcohol Consumption: here in Guatemala the legal drinking age is 18 years old. That being said we highly discourage the consuming of alcoholic drinks by groups who are here for the purpose of being of service and to experience the culture.  Alcoholism is a major problem among locals and has destroyed many families, therefore it is frowned upon in most communities especially among it’s youngest members. As part of respecting the culture we ask our volunteers to refrain from drinking  during their stay with us.  
  5. Meals are served at specific times and it is expected all the volunteers are here to eat with the group at the appointed time.

 

 

 

Contact Us

If you have any questions at all please let us know or if you are ready to sign up then message us so we can secure your spot today!

 

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