You will be immersed in the bustling markets of Guatemala’s big cities, as well as the smallholder farms of the western highlands. You will follow a coffee bean from seed to
February 16, 2019 – February 24, 2019
*Note: this experience can accommodate up to 14 participants (including team leaders), assuming airline seats are available; however, this may mean additional participants pay an increased fee (based on new flight prices).
At the end of the Alternative Spring Break 2018 program, students participating in this experience will be able to:
This experience does involve hiking and some physical activity. Your team will be exposed to a true local Guatemalan experience. The ideal participant is open-minded, flexible, and prepared to challenge their thinking. Participants with a business background, and an interest in linking business with social
Total cost (subject to change) – $3,200 CAD
Total Costs include:
Note: ASB participants will be responsible for any luggage costs assigned by individual airlines, airport tax, souvenirs, or additional food/snacks during the trip.
Day 1-3 (Orientation & Coffee 101) – Guatemala City, Antigua and San Miguel
You will be picked up at La Aurora Int’l Airport in Guatemala City, where you’ll quickly take our orientation to the country’s former capital, Antigua. Here, amongst the cobblestone streets and colonial arcades, the team can acclimatize to the sights, sounds, smells, and flavours of the region. Then, after a little team bonding, you’ll kick-start our exploration of the coffee chain by going seed to
DAY 3-5 (The Guatemalan Dream) – Xela, Quetzal, Quetzal Tenango
Head north to the Indigenous metropolis of Xela where you’ll join revolutionary-turned-reformer Willie at Café La Red Kat for a delicious meal, and an insightful chat about the challenges facing small-scale farmers, and their struggle to integrate into the new socio-economic order. You’ll also connect with Fair Trade outfit Y’abal and explore the colourful markets in what is considered to be Guatemala’s premier vegetable growing region. No visit to Quetzaltenango would be complete without a trek to one of the country’s iconic peaks! Get an early start and make your way to Volcán Santa Maria to begin a hike to El Mirador where, if we’re lucky, we might see one of Central America’s volcanos erupt! Then, it’s over to the Fuentes Georginas, for a rewarding soak in natural hot springs.
DAY 5-7 (Coffee Revolutions) – Santa Anita, Quetzaltenango
After a brief journey to the north-west, your team will arrive in the community of Santa Anita and home of a unique coffee cooperative that was founded by combatants from Guatemala’s
You will also temporarily join the ranks as coffee farmers and take to the fields for a day harvesting ripe, red coffee fruit. If you are lucky, you will get to collaborate on the construction of the community’s new mill where the coffee is washed, de-pulped, fermented, dried, and sorted – all in preparation for the international market.
DAY 7-9 (Disorientation and Departures) - San Juan La Laguna, Solola
Conclude your adventure at Operation Groundswell’s Guatemala Hub, located on the shores of beautiful Lago Atitlan. Here, you’ll learn from our local partners in San Juan and explore traditional fishing practices, medicinal plants, permaculture and natural dyes. You’ll also get to kick back, relax and reflect on our incredible journey. You’ll discuss lessons learned, assess our impact, and prepare for the journey home. Finally, with our heads and hearts full, you’ll return to Guatemala City where you’ll say a fond farewell!
*PLEASE NOTE – Itinerary is draft, and subject to change at any time.
Operation Groundswell coordinates appropriate accommodations that reflect the atmosphere of the region. They do this by working closely with guesthouses, hotels, and homestays to ensure that they are adequately safe and hygienic.
All group meals on the program are included, and participants will be responsible for any personal snacks. Some information about food is available in the preliminary itinerary above.