Frequently Asked Questions
~Volunteering with GHA~
What town will I be staying in?
We suggest that volunteers stay in San Pedro, San Marcos, or San Juan. Your choice may depend on where we are working at the time, or the kind of environment and accommodations you prefer. If we work in other villages transportation will be arranged.
What airport will I be flying into and how far is it to the lake?
Guatemala, Guatemala - La Aurora (GUA). The shuttle ride from the airport to the lake is around three hours.
Are my living accommodations arranged for me?
GHA will happily recommend accommodations according to your particular needs and desires.
Do I need special immunizations before coming to Guatemala?
Consult your doctor if you have any kind special condition. Otherwise, no vaccinations are required.
What will I need to bring to work?
Boots, jeans, gloves, sun block, and a smile.
How much should I budget for a week’s stay at Lago de Atitlán, Guatemala?
This number largely depends on you. After you factor in the cost for accommodation, which run from around $7 per night, you could live off of as little as $15-$25 per day to eat exclusively at modest restaurants. But if you’re like most people your eye will catch the bright colors of Mayan fabrics, you might want to go horseback riding, or do various other fun activities all of which will affect budget.
Will I be provided with medical insurance while I’m in Guatemala?
No. You are responsible for your own medical insurance. Safety IS our number one priority and you must go through a workers safety orientation before you begin work. Of course, there will always be a first aid kit on hand where we will be working.
What’s the weather like?
The build site will be near Lake Atitlán, a large and picturesque lake in the central highlands of Guatemala. The days are usually temperate, but because of the lakes elevation of over 5,000 feet there is often a cool afternoon breeze off the water. A good mix of clothing is recommended. From late May to November is the rainy season so bring a rain jacket, but it’s not as bad as it sounds, the days usually start off with clear skies and when it rains it doesn’t stay for long.
What type of construction work will I be doing as a volunteer?
GHA welcomes volunteers to help with our builds in whatever capacity they are comfortable with. Volunteers are able to contribute in whatever way they feel physically able to, from stripping and attaching can~a or filling walls with adobe/pine needle mud, to troweling smooth the stucco or playing with the build family’s children.
What about transportation while I'm in Guatemala?
If desired, GHA will arrange for shuttle transport from Guatemala City Airport to Lake Atitlan, to be paid for by the volunteer. Often volunteers opt to spend some time in Antigua before or after the build. Antigua is a beautiful colonial town an hour from the airport. Shuttles depart several times daily between Antigua and Lake Atitlan. While at the lake, water taxis that ring the lake (for a small fee) are plentiful to transport you to the many towns, small and large. Shuttle van service is also available from nearby Panajachel to transport you to Chichicastenango, and other nearby cities.
Who will receive the homes we build?
The home will be built for a deserving indigenous Mayan family in the area. We partner with local community leaders and have our own social worker to determine and serve the most at risk families.
Is the water safe to drink?
It’s recommended that you do not drink the tap water. While there is little chance of catching an illness, we don’t want you to run that risk. Instead, drink aqua de botella (bottled water).