Guatemala is the new ‘happening’ destination in Central America. With a foot in both the Caribbean and Pacific Oceans, a string of majestic volcanoes running through its core, highlands, rainforests, glorious sandy beaches and the breath-taking creator lake of Atitlan, we can see why…and perfect for the traveller looking for an ‘off beat’ destination.
This unique program offers the chance to mix conservation and community projects, interwoven with adventure inland and in neighbouring country of El Salvador.
A sample itinerary would include:
Your Base: Monterrico – A Hip Beach Side Town
You’ll start your journey on the Pacific coast at the stunning, hip coastal town of Monterrico, with its sandy beaches and powerful surf, sitting in the heart of the Biotopo Monterrico–Hawaii, a nature reserve that embraces a 20km-long beach, home to turtle-nesting grounds, and wildlife rich wetlands.
Volunteer Projects include:
Turtle Conservation on Hawaii Beach
Hawaii beach is a famous turtle breeding ground on the Pacific coast. Here you will help ARCAS – a wildlife rescue and conservation association who are protecting the Olive Ridley, Green and Leatherback sea turtles.
You will work at one of the three ‘hatcheries’, which can contain up to 200 nests each. Last year 80,000 eggs were incubated of which 80% hatched. Lots of work to be done which will include hatchery maintenance, nest identification and incubation.
Community Beach Clean-up
Help the community with their “clean beach campaign” – motivating kids to pick up the plastic rubbish swept onto the shores and harming the turtle breeding sites.
The mangrove forest surrounding Monterrico is constantly battling against polution from the sugar cane industry. Here you will help support this delicate eco-system by replanting damaged mangroves.
School Development and Swimming Lessons
Help refurbish classrooms and give swimming lessons to the students.
Adventure phases include:
Pacaya Volcano and Lago Atitclan
A little treat to head inland for a week to explore the city of Antigua, before heading up to summit the Pacaya Volcano. Exhausted you will then have time to put your feet up at the famous Lago Atitclan to learn about Mayan culture.
El Salvador, El Imposible National Park
Look south of Guatemala and you’ll find the exotic country of El Salvador, a hidden gem offering world-class surfing on empty, dark-sand beaches; coffee plantations clinging to the sides of volcanoes; colourful Spanish colonial towns; and sublime national parks.
You will nip over the boarder to seek out its pride and joy – the El Imposible National Park, found high up in Ahuachapán overlooking the Pacific ocean. It is one of the country’s most important tropical eco-systems, home to diverse flora and fauna and popular for hiking due to the outstanding panoramic views from the volcanic mountain ranges all the way down to the Pacific. Stunning.
Here you will hike to the viewpoints whilst exploring this natural ecosystem, spending the night with local coffee farmers to learn about their way of life before heading down to beach hop along El Salvador’s magical coast line.
We have limited spaces, per departure, so head over to The Leap to read more about it, download more detail and start planning….