How much does a volunteer vacation cost?
We have several economic options. The prices will range, depending on your specific, desired itinerary. The base price for a week’s stay runs about $550 per person. This includes accommodations, airport transportation, room and board, interpreter, one excursion and more. This does not include items like airfare, additional excursions, etc. Please contact Erin Sanofsky, our Volunteer Coordinator for all the details and to plan your customized trip.
How do I sign up for a volunteer vacation?
Please contact Erin Sanofsky, our Volunteer Coordinator. You can use the Contact Form on the right-hand side of this page, email her at email@example.com or call 801-372-2425.
Do I need to be able to speak Spanish to volunteer?
No! We have interpreters included in the volunteer vacation package for those who need them. But this will be a wonderful opportunity to try out tu espanol!
Can I go on a volunteer vacation with a group I organized?
Yes. You can bring your own group and even plan your own projects in conjunction with Casa de Sion.
How long can I volunteer for?
You can volunteer for any amount of time, from one day to one year. We recommend one to two weeks for most people.
How is the money spent for my volunteer vacation?
The money we receive goes directly to sponsoring programs and projects, such as feeding children and mothers, building projects around the property, and medical/dental needs. All of the money stays within the Casa de Sion programs.
Why do I have to pay if I volunteering my time?
We love our volunteers and could not survive without the help and donations they give us. Unfortunately, we do not have the financial ability to provide for free accommodations and amenities for our volunteers. However, please know that after those expenses are covered, all the money left over goes directly into the programs that we run.
What and how much should I pack?
Pack for the number of days you will be there, laundry use is only for emergencies. We recommend bringing clothes that you can work comfortably in, this includes closed toed shoes. The rainy season is from May to October. We recommend bringing a rain jacket as the weather cools down a bit during this time. The Mayans are very modest people. We suggest conservative clothing to be worn during volunteer work.
How much money should I bring? Do I need to switch currencies before I arrive?
We recommend having extra cash for unforseen expenses as well as for shopping and eating out. There are many small towns and markets to visit and having a little extra money goes a long way. You do not need to switch currencies before you arrive. There are currency exchanges in the airport and ATMs located in Panajachel.
Do I need vaccinations before/after the trip?
Please see the following link for vaccine recommendations. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/guatemala#vaccines-and-medicines
Can I bring donations with me?
Yes, every volunteer is required to bring a large suitcase of donations. Case de Sion relies on each every donated item they receive. When registering for the vacation, we will send the most current list of needs we have. For those who are traveling ahead before their arrive at Casa de Sion they may donate $50 in lieu of a suitcase. The great thing about emptying your suitcase of donations? You can fill it up with Mayan arts & crafts and coffee for the trip home!
Do I need a passport before I can apply?
No, but you need it to leave the country. You can apply before you have your passport, but keep in mind that passports take anywhere from three weeks to two months to receive.
Do I need a Visa?
Which airport will I fly into?
When should I schedule my flight to arrive?
You will want to arrive by 3 pm to make it to Casa de Sion by the evening. If you arrive after this time, we can help you book a hotel in either Guatemala City or Antigua and head to Los Robles in the morning.
How will I get from the airport to Casa De Sion?
A shuttle will pick you at the airport and drop you off at Casa de Sion. There will be someone waiting for you when you after you go through customs.
Is it safe to travel in Guatemala?
Yes it is safe. However, with all third world countries, being cautious and conservative is the best route for a safe and enjoyable trip.
Should I travel with valuables, such as an expensive camera or wedding ring?
This is a personal choice. We recommend dressing for the work you will be doing in order to be comfortable as well as to avoid drawing unwanted attention.
What are the living situations?
Please see our About Your Trip page.
What amenities are available?
Electricity, running hot/cold water, washer, filtered water, and internet in town. There is no dryer but you can line dry your clothing.
Are there any activities that are not allowed on the orphanage premises/residence?
There are. Upon registration for the volunteer vacation, we will provide a list of common sense rules.
Will I be able to see some of the beautiful sights in Guatemala as well as work?
Of course! After all, it wouldn’t be a volunteer vacation without the vacation part. We offer many options to combine your service with sightseeing.
What kind of food will I be eating?
We have a fantastic cook that will make you some traditional Guatemalan food. Plan on eating tortillas, beans, and eggs as this is a basic part of their diet. Fresh roasted coffee is brewed, and freshly harvested fruits and vegetables are served.
How will I get around?
Most work is done on site in Los Robles. A shuttle will be provided for travelling anywhere else included in the volunteer vacation package. If you would like to travel outside of what the package provides, there is public transportation available that is cheap.
Where are you located?
Casa de Sion is located in the small village of Los Robles, Sololá, Guatemala. It is two and one half hours west of Guatemala City, near Lake Atitlán and Panjachel. Google Maps
Can I get a signed letter of recommendation or academic credit for my trip?
Yes. You can submit those request to Erin Sanofsky, our Volunteer Coordinator. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please contact us if you have any other questions. We are happy to provide answers and eager to set up your volunteer vacation with Casa de Sion!