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Learn Spanish, Volunteer and Adventure - Guatemala and El Salvador

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Monterrico
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Monterrico

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Learn Spanish, Volunteer and Adventure - Guatemala and El Salvador

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Learn Spanish, Volunteer and Adventure - Guatemala and El Salvador

Starts in:

Monterrico

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Monterrico

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Accommodation

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Price per person {{totalPrice}} EUR
Flight tickets are not included. Our travel advisors will gladly help you find the cheapest flights. The price above is based on 2 adults traveling together.
What's included?
Learn Spanish & Adventure and enjoy the ¡Buena Onda! of Monterrico - a hammock-swinging coastal village with Guatemala's best ocean beach!
The setting of Monterrico is one of the finest on the Pacific coast, with the scenery reduced to its basic elements: a strip of dead-straight sand, a line of powerful surf, a huge empty ocean and an enormous curving horizon. The village is a friendly and relaxed place fringed by the waters of the Canal de Chiquimulilla, which weaves through a fantastic network of mangrove forests. The atmosphere changes a little on weekends when party-geared visitors from the capital fill up the hotels.

During weeks 1 & 3, in addition to Spanish lessons, we have about 3 hours volunteering each day Monday to Friday. During the weekends we also have one ½ day volunteering activity, keeping the local kids (and ourselves) busy with some fun activities!

During weeks 2 & 4 we enjoy exciting road trips to explore inland El Salvador and Guatemala.
Price per person 705 EUR
Flight tickets are not included. Our travel advisors will gladly help you find the cheapest flights. The price above is based on 2 adults traveling together.
What's included?
Itinerary

Learn Spanish, Volunteer and Adventure - Guatemala and El Salvador

Spanish Lessons

Every day while in Monterrico, Monday to Friday, there will be 3 x 45 minute Spanish lessons. These will usually be in the mornings from 09:00 - 11:45, after breakfast, but occasionally will be scheduled for the afternoon to facilitate access to schools where a lot of our volunteer activities will be focused. These lessons will be tailored to suit all levels, from beginner to intermediate, and are designed to help you interact with the local community.

Volunteering & Adventure

During weeks 1 & 3, in addition to Spanish lessons, we have about 3 hours volunteering each day Monday to Friday. During the weekends we also have one ½ day volunteering activity, keeping the local kids (and ourselves) busy with some fun activities!

Volunteering Projects
Our volunteering activities are structured to engage with the local community through 6 local junior schools (reaching 400+ kids in total). An ‘umbrella’ project has been developed whereby kids accumulate stamps for 6 different ‘activity types’ during the year. As a reward, at the end of the year up to 30 of the most enthusiastic junior volunteers will enjoy a trip to Pacaya volcano and Antigua! Our job is to motivate them by effective communication in the schools and timetabling activities - with fun stuff tagged on! Our main objectives are:

Mangrove/Native Reforestation
Monterrico is actually an island enveloped in a mangrove forest whose sweet waters nurture much vegetation and wildlife. There are two types of Mangrove and these are being degraded by caustic runoff from the sugar cane industry and some commercial harvesting for construction purposes. To ensure the Mangrove remains healthy and continues to support a vibrant and diverse eco system we maintain a forest nursery - planting trees, collecting saplings and helping to dispose of rubbish.

Beach Conservation & Coastal Cleanup
Plastic inputs are highest in rapidly developing countries - which also have some of the lowest waste collection rates in the world. Without effective waste collection an avalanche of plastic debris is entering our oceans causing harm to people and wildlife. We organise fun games and events on the beach with local kids and take this opportunity to have cleanup events where everyone gets involved. But, like all good things, it’s an on-going battle and volunteers are needed to keep up the good work with weekly beach clean-ups.

School Premises Upgrades (Light Construction)
We are committed to improve local school facilities. It may be as simple as painting a classroom or upgrading a basketball or soccer pitch, or it could be to upgrade bathroom units.

Eco Blocks
We will oversee separation of waste so that plastic bottles can be filled to create eco blocks that can be used in construction and upgrading of school facilities.

Teaching Kids to Swim
As is typical of many coastal communities around the world, many kids here do not have formal swimming lessons. We will schedule times when kids can learn to swim in a pool based environment.

During weeks 2 & 4 we enjoy exciting road trips to explore inland Guatemala and El Salvador.
If you book our 4 week program you will enjoy both trips, whereas if you book our 2 week program you will enjoy one trip – the destination will depend what date you book so that if you book the first half of the month we go to El Salvador, and if you book the second half of the month we go to inland Guatemela and hike an active volcano and explore Antigua and Lake Atitlan.

Program Description

This program is quite busy but there is still free time to enjoy a great social life and participate in the many other activities you can enjoy here.

Weeks 1 & 3

Monday-Friday
07:00-08:30 Breakfast
09:00-11:45 Spanish lessons*
12:00-13:00 Lunch
14:00-17:00 Volunteer

* Occasionally Spanish lessons will switch to the afternoon to facilitate school visits to talk about our volunteer project and organise activities in school.

Saturday-Sunday
09:00-11:00 Brunch
12:00-13:00 Free time
14:00-17:00 Volunteer (optional, Saturday only)

Weeks 2 & 4

Join us on an adventure to discover Guatemala and El Salvador; to enjoy the bio diversity and natural wonders of central America including the Mayan legacy.
If you book the 4 week program you will enjoy both trips, whereas if you book the 2 week program you will enjoy one trip - the destination will depend what date you book so that if you book the first half of the month we go to El Salvador, and if you book the second half of the month we go to inland Guatemela and hike an active volcano and explore Antigua and Lake Atitlan.

El Salvador Adventure
Monday-Saturday
Road trip to El Salvador (2nd week each month)

Monday to Wednesday: 05:30 ferry followed by bus to ‘Frontera Las Chinamas’ for a coffee and a browse before taking another bus via Sonsonate to the pretty town of Juayúa which will be our base for exploring ‘Rutas de las Flores’.
While here we enjoy hiking ‘Rutas de Las Flores’ including through pine forest and dense jungle, learning about edible native plants, and cooling off in magnificent waterfalls.
We will also hike Santa Ana Volcano – at almost 2,400m in height, this is El Salvador’s highest and most active volcano offering beautiful panoramic views of neighbouring towns and scenic landscapes. But the highlight is undoubtedly the stunning turquoise lake that sits in the centre of the crater.
Overnight Juayúa.

Thursday & Friday: After breakfast we take the bus approximately 2 hours to Playa El Tunco – one of the most popular beach towns in El Salvador and the best surf spot in the country.
Overnight El Tunco.

Saturday: Mid morning bus back to Sonsonate, Frontera and Monterrico late afternoon OR 40 minute transfer to San Salvador International Airport (SAL)

OR

Guatemala Adventure
Monday-Saturday
Road trip in Guatemala (4th week each month) - hiking active volcanoes, multi logistic exploration of Lago Atitlan to learn about Mayan culture and walking tours & free time in Antigua.

Monday: Early morning departure for Antigua, arriving mid morning. Walking tour around Antigua including Mercado Artesanal, ruins of the old city, and up to nearby viewing point ‘Mirador’ with spectacular views across the city and magnificent volcanoes.
There there are many internet and banking facilities in Antigua as well as great restaurants and bars; the ‘tourism’ capital of Guatemala and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Overnight Antigua.

Tuesday: Early morning we take a combination of road transport and boats to explore the Mayan villages along the shores of Lago Atitlan – the heart of Mayan culture. There will be a traditional Mayan ceremony to give thanks and promote our good health and well being. Here we are close to the essence of the Highlands and what the Guatemalan soul is!
Lake Atitlan is a place of natural beauty that is hard to encounter anywhere. It is surrounded with three big volcanoes, capturing the imagination of many generations of visitors.
Overnight Atitlan.

Wednesday: Continue our exploration of Lago Atitlan and return to Antigua early evening. Pre-trip briefing for our next adventure – an overnight hiking expedition to Acatenango volcano – including what to pack and what to expect, as well as answer any last-minute questions you might have.
Overnight Antigua.

Thursday: At 08:00 we depart Antigua for a comfortable one-hour drive to the Mayan village of Soledad and the Acatenango trailhead. Climbing Antigua’s remarkable Acatenango volcano, which towers above the landscape at nearly 4,000 meters, is undoubtedly at the top of the bucket list for most adventure travelers in Guatemala.
Aside from providing panoramic views of the entire region, Acatenango gives hikers a birds-eye-view of nearby (and very active!) Fuego volcano which has been erupting on a near constant basis since colonial times.
We hike through four micro climates stopping for lunch en route, and arrive at a campsite looking directly over Fuego volcano where we overnight spending time gasping at volcanic activity and staring into a mesmerizing sky full of stars.
Overnight Acatenango Volcano.

Friday: After an early morning breakfast, we begin a 45-minute ascent up to Acatenango’s summit, a steep but rewarding climb through dwarf pine trees and gravel scree that leads to the top of the world. Once on the summit, guests will find 360-degree views of Fuego volcano, the Antigua Valley and the distant Guatemalan highlands that stretch all the way to the border of Mexico.
We then begin a three-hour descent back down the volcano, arriving to La Soledad and our waiting transportation mid-day. We return to Antigua by early afternoon for a refreshing shower with plenty of time for a celebratory beer, cappuccino or siesta… well done!
Overnight Antigua.

Saturday: Breakfast and local markets for last minute souvenir shopping before taking Chicken Bus back to Monterrico.
Saturday-Sunday Monterrico
10:00-11:00 Brunch
Departure

Mandatory Volunteer Requirements

Minimun age 18 years
Police Clearance Certificate

What Makes a Good Volunteer?

Volunteers need to be flexible and keep an open mind concerning their placements as situations can arise beyond our control which could require you to be placed at a different project than the one you have initially chosen. We will of course always do our utmost to fulfill your initial wishes but do remember that where you are going is quite different from where you are coming and as such one should be prepared for things not always going according to plan.

Volunteering and intercultural travel share a common trait: the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. This program is designed for proactive individuals and groups that are prepared to adapt to the local environment and its current needs. Naturally, the scheduling and activities of our program are subject to change. Alterations in activities are mainly due to changes in local conditions, which we believe is part of what makes overseas programs the interesting adventure and incredible learning experience that they are.

How Long Should I Volunteer?

Our projects range from 1 week up to approx. 30 weeks. Projects have a specified minimum stay, then it’s up to you how long you can commit. In our experience the longer you stay the more you will gain, as your understanding of the project broadens and you take on more responsibilities.
Summary

What’s included?

Extra expenses at the destination
None

Accommodation

Your base in Monterrico is El Delfin Hotel - a cool backpacker hostel right on the beach with hammocks, swimming pool and lots of toys (including wifi!) to help you relax and unwind during your free time. Accommodation is shared single sex three bed rooms, with separate toilet and shower facilities. Breakfast and lunch included in the program are from a set menu. The hotel enjoys many amenities including a pool, pool table, table tennis, and of course, beach volleyball. The bar faces onto the beach and is a popular hangout as you might expect. Safe drinking water is provided at all locations during your time with us. El Defin provides a same day laundry service for USD 5 per ‘bag’.

Accommodation on the roadtrips will be at simple hostels and hotels.

Local transport

Arrival transfer is only included if you have purchased the package including it. Local transportation during the program is at own cost.

There is also ‘chicken bus’ option from around USD 10: You can take a taxi to bus terminal ‘Central Sur’ and then hop onto a ‘chicken bus’ heading to Monterrico. A direct service will take about 4 hours and an indirect service (more frequent but requiring a change at Puerto San Jose) around 5 hours. The service is super cheap and the bus conductor and fellow passengers will help you with directions.

Alternatively, you can take an airport taxi, around 2 ½ hours. The taxi service operates from 06:30-22:30, so there should be no reason for you to have to overnight in Guatemala city prior to joining us in Monterrico!

On departure, there is a ‘chicken bus’ that leaves Monterrico at 05:00 and gets you into Guatemala by 09:00 latest. We recommend this as the best way for your departure transfer - cost USD 5 plus taxi from bus terminal to airport USD 10.

Meals

Breakfast, lunch, and brunch on weekends are included. Safe drinking water, tea, coffee, natural soft drinks will be provided.
You’ll eat locally produced food, expect a lot of rice or beans with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, chicken or fish. Although menus will be local, they’ll be tempered to western tastes and vegetarians are easily accommodated. Salads, simple soups, tortillas, sweet plantains and local food made of tubers (similar to potatoes) are also popular.
You will need to help with cleaning dishes and keep your room and public areas tidy.