Local Hope - Xela AID Partnerships for Self Reliance logo

Volunteer in Guatemala!

Welcome to the Guatemalan highlands and a cultural immersion that will change your life. During your stay of two weeks or more, we’ll help you put your talents and interests to work as you serve beside our Mayan friends!

Who Are We?
Local Hope is a not-for-profit human development organization founded with more than 32 years experience in creating profoundly enriching experiences for volunteers. It is top-rated by GreatNonprofits.org, and earned Guidestar’s Platinum seal. 100% of your contributions fuel our Empowerment Programs.

How Can I Be of Service?
You are invited to lend a hand in any one or more of our Empowerment Programs. Your service will be a gift to a child, young adult, adult or senior as they benefit from your skills, personal care and attention. We’ll welcome you in, train you, and turn you loose to share the skills and caring you have to offer. Serve for 2 weeks or more!

What Programs Can I Join?
Become a member of our team in one or more of our programs empowering self-reliance! Choose from • Montessori Preschool • Study Center • Computer Lab • Special Needs • Medical, Dental or Optometry Clinic • Leadership Training • Adult Literacy • Senior Services • ESL or English Practice with Students/Staff • Sports!

2-Week Volunteering Package Highlights
(Extended stay options)

> Private transportation to our village from Queztaltenango
> Luxury accommodations at our five-star Eco-Guest House
> Delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner daily made fresh from local ingredients

> A Welcome to the Village and tour of each program
> Learn fascinating facts during a tour of our village
> Volunteer Immersion Monday-Friday, including expertly curated cultural experiences
> Visit a home and learn about the lives of our Mam-Maya friends
> Explore a local open-air market to buy food and learn a Mayan recipe
> Help prepare and serve hot, nutritious meals to hungry children
> Prepare and distribute water filters
> “Discovery Saturday” explorations of nearby communities

• Two-Week Volunteer Adventure (Sunday-Sunday) – $1939
• Add Additional Weeks (discounted) - $855 ea.

100% of your contribution fuels our Empowerment Programs! Read on to learn more or register for your custom Volunteer experience with Local Hope.

Pre-Trip - Already speak Spanish, but want to brush up? Consider a few lessons with one of our Practice Partners!


Sunday, Week 1
Arrive in the afternoon at Local Hope’s Xela AID complex and the five-star Eco-Guest House@San Marín in the misty Guatemalan highlands. You’ll meet our Volunteer Coordinator who will be your main contact during your stay, as well as staff who will be making sure your adventure in service exceeds expectations. A delicious, three-course dinner will be served each night at 6 PM leaving time after dinner for fellowship, and games, if you like, in the Hearth Room near reception at our Eco-Guest House.


Monday, Week 1 (enjoy a similar schedule each weekday)
7 AM – Wake up with our village on this walking tour that introduces you to the homes, livelihoods, foods, local plants, politics, and hopes and dreams of the people of this rural Mam-Maya highlands community! Here’s a peek at the rest of your day:
8 AM - Enjoy a delicious breakfast
9 AM – Meet kids and staff as you peruse our Empowerment Programs
10 AM – Visit the home of one of our treasured Master Weavers and learn about her daily life (she’ll even teach you a new skill that might come in handy…)
NOON – Enjoy a delicious lunch prepared fresh for you
12:30  – The leader of our fair-trade weaving cooperative will present an informative presentation on the colors and symbols found in Mam-Maya designs, accompanied by a demonstration of the ancient art of backstrap weaving.
2-5 PM - Start your service work for a program you’ve pre-selected (we’re also very flexible if you want to try something else!) You’ll work side by side with our local staff and the Xela AID kids, adults and seniors in our programs.
6 PM – A delicious dinner is served nightly, and you’ll enjoy “Feel the Magic,” our video that will introduce you to the range of Empowerment Programs you’ll be able to participate in.

Cultural Experiences, Week 1
Open-Air Marketplace – Explore a market chock full of fresh foods, flowers and surprises as you shop for food you’ll cook.
Learn a Mayan Recipe – This authentic recipe is yours to take home, and also, to enjoy for lunch or dinner!
Serve Hungry Kids – Some kids come to school hungry, making it hard to learn. Join our cooks to prepare and serve hot nutritional drinks and meals!

Cultural Experiences - Week 2
• Deliver Pure Drinking Water – Prepare and deliver a water filter that will provide 10 years of healthful water to a family in need.
• Fight Food Insecurity – While our focus is on programs that teach long-term skills, malnutrition is rampant in our region post-Covid so here’s how we help save lives. Pack life-saving food bags and distribute them to local seniors and others without enough food to eat!


Each Saturday of your stay you get to choose an out-of-town adventure! For your two-week stay, pick any two, all-inclusive!

Sacred Lake Chicabál – Love to hike? Then you’ll be thrilled with this half-day experience climbing to the rim of an ancient volcanic caldera and descending 600 steps into its its placid crater lake! Shrines to the “naguals” dot the shoreline along with colorful flowers placed in reverence. Surrounded by lush, green forests, you’ll breath in fresh, crisp air. Many visitors report feeling a profound connection to nature and ancient traditions.

Hot Baths at Las Georginas – More of a soaker than a hiker? Grab your bathing suit! Las Georginas offers a rejuvenating escape for our volunteers set amid lush forests. For the adventurous, hike with your guide down to less-visited pools to soak in the depth of a forest. Our volunteers report that they enjoy both the breathtaking views of the highlands getting to Las Goerginas, and the relaxing experience of the baths.

Colonial Quetzaltenango – If a semi-urban experience and architecture is more your thing, don’t miss this town, known locally as “Xela” (Sháy-la). You’ll visit Central Park, a vibrant hub of activity where locals stroll amid gardens, children play, and artisans showcase their crafts. The Park boasts the stunning Cathedral del Espíritu Santo, built in the 1600s. We’ll also visit the local cemetery with its colorful tombs, and visit the graves of several notables.


Substitute the following day-trip for your included options or add it on. Be prepared to head out after an early breakfast for a long day of fun!

Magnificent Lake Atitlán and Panajachel (+$299) – A guide will accompany you on this journey to see the twin volcanoes and breathtaking landscapes of Lake Atitlán, one of the most beautiful locations on earth. This excursion includes a trip by local launch to the colorful and photogenic village of San Juan, the last stronghold of natural dying of weaving materials. You’ll see demonstrations of this process, as well as chocolate making. After your adventure on the lake, stroll through the streets of Panajachel, Guatemala’s colorful marketplace, and grab a bite to eat locally. Included: Transportation, Guide, Lake Tour, Box Lunch (if desired)

Gather this Sunday morning with new friends who will meet you to say their goodbyes at your farewell breakfast. After breakfast, we will deliver you back to Quetzaltenango airport or a pick-up point for transportation you'll arrange back to Guatemala City or other destinations.

You'll leave with memories to last a lifetime, and a standing invitation to come back soon to visit—and bring family and friends!


Should you plan to spend the night in Guatemala City before your departure, we always recommend the Barcelo. They will provide you with a free shuttle, even for very early morning departures.

Quetzaltenango Pickup – Your package includes a pick-up at the Quetzaltenango airport or anywhere in town. If you’re flying into La Aurora Airport in Guatemala, bus transportation to Quetzaltenango is available by several services. The website Rome2Rio offers suggestions and comparisons.

Questions? Give us a call - (951) 733-2588
We look forward to welcoming you to Volunteer in Guatemala!