Day 01: Depart today from Miami
Depart from the designated gateway city and journey to Guatemala, a country otherwise known as the “Land of Trees”. After claiming your luggage and clearing customs in Guatemala City, you will be met by a representative and transferred to Antigua.
Antigua is a small city surrounded by volcanoes in southern Guatemala. It’s renowned for its Spanish colonial buildings, many of them restored following a 1773 earthquake.
Lunch will be provided at the hotel this afternoon.
The Good Hotel is a former private mansion and a small boutique hotel infused with minimalistic design and local touches. Chosen for its wonderful location and relaxed and friendly environment, but more importantly for the unique and important role it plays in giving back to the local community of Antigua. All profits from the hotel go directly to funding three local schools that have been established to educate over 500 children in under served communities in Guatemala.
Rooms feature traditional washing sinks, private patios and open-air showers. All rooms surround the inner garden and have a small writing desk, safe, coffee and tea amenities, luxurious towels, rain and hand-held shower, as well as organic bathroom amenities made locally.
After lunch and check-in, take part in an orientation and welcome briefing on Guatemala. This comprehensive briefing covers an introduction to your local staff, some historical background, and current information on Guatemala’s society and economy.
Late this afternoon the group will take a short walking tour of Antigua to get acclimated to the city around your hotel. Walk back through Antigua’s beautiful streets and visit the famous and important places in Antigua, including churches, ruins, monuments, the local market, the central park and more. Important highlights of the walking tour include the famous La Merced Church and the Arco de Santa Catalina.
Enjoy dinner at Welten Restaurant this evening. Their gourmet cuisine includes international and Guatemalan dishes, all made to order with the freshest local ingredients.
Overnight: The Good Hotel (or similar)
Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Day 02: Cultural Exploration - Antigua!
After breakfast, embark upon a glorious hike of the Pacaya Volcano. Pacaya is a complex stratovolcano located within the rim of the Amatitlan Caldera Lake. Its continuous activity in past years has made it one of the most notorious volcanoes amongs climbers. Pacaya rises to an elevation of 2,552 meters and first erupted approximately 23,000 years ago.
A fresh, warm packed lunch will be served atop the volcano. After returning from the hike, you’ll have some free time to rest and relax.
Dinner will be provided this evening followed by a salsa class to learn from a local dancer.
Overnight: Good Hotel (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 03: Professional Exchange and Cultural Immersion
This morning the group will depart for one of Niños de Guatemala’s schools. The organization provides education to 525 children who otherwise would not have access. Learn about the power of education and how impactful it is to the local community.
Niños de Guatemala’s Nuestro Futuro School serves nearly 200 children living below the poverty line. You will tour the school and explore how the school is focused on not only traditional education but also recycling, organic growing, and health/nutrition.
Break time starts at 9:30, so the entire group will have a chance to support the mothers in the kitchen to prepare snacks, drinks and hand deliver them to the kids.
Next meet a mother of four children in one of the NDG schools and learn about the art of making a Guatemalan worry doll. This industry is now the main income generation source for 80% of mothers in the San Lorenzo el Cubo community. Make your own traditional worry doll as a souvenir.
Note: A list of needed donations for the school will be provided prior to travel (i.e., recorders, books, cash, and other items like sports equipment).
Later, professionals will be joined by Julio Salazar to take part in a talk and workshop regarding education in Guatemala, the issue of the impact of bio-psycho-social health, and a presentation regarding the Guatemalan curriculum implemented by the Ministry of Education and the Skills for Success program implemented by Ninos de Guatemala & Meso Americano.
Lunch will be provided at the school today for the professionals.
Guest program: Guests will depart after the worry doll session to explore Kukul Tales, a sustainable tourism project that consists of a Guatemalan food tour guided by a Guatemalan chef who explains the origin of their cuisine. The goal is to help promote culinary and cultural heritage with the participation of artisans, cooks and weavers from the village communities in Antigua Guatemala who participate as tour providers, foster an inclusive society and thus help preserve Guatemalan traditions and customs. Kukul Tales also want to impact environmentally, eliminating the use of plastic and replace with the use of biodegradable and recyclable materials made by small Guatemalan merchants in an artisanal way. The cuisine of Guatemala is the third reason to visit Antigua Guatemala and needs to be known through A culinary tour is also a potential source of opportunities for Guatemalan youth and passionate communities in their country and custom. Return to the hotel for some free time this afternoon.
Dinner is by individual arrangement today.
Overnight: Good Hotel (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 04: Travel to Lake Atitlan
Check out of your hotel after an early breakfast and meet in the hotel lobby. Today you will journey to Lake Atitlán, once referred to as “the closest thing to Eden on earth” by Lonely Planet. Lake Atitlán, a crater lake formed around two million years ago, is nestled between three majestic volcanoes (Atitlán, Tolimán and San Pedro), mountains, and twelve different Mayan villages.
In route, explore some of the most revered and historically significant Mayan ruins in Iximche. You will be joined by a local expert to guide you around the ruins, Mayan culture and spirituality. Together you will experience the transformational wonders of the former and first capital of Guatemala in all its architectural and spiritual significance.
Lunch will be provided this afternoon at the Waybi Foundation promoting the integral well-being of Guatemalan families.
After lunch, the group will visit a local university to explore the campus and meet with a faculty member to discuss higher education and teacher training.
Check into your local hotel on arrival. Hotel y Café La Casa del Mundo. Located in El Jaibalito, they have free Wi-Fi, onsite dining and a private beach. The rooms feature hand-crafted Mayan décor and a private or shared bathroom with free toiletries and solar-heated water. The hotel has a garden, terrace and a bar.
Dinner is on your own this evening.
Overnight:La Casa Del Mundo (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 05: Community Immersion - Lake Atitlan
Spend the day with fellow travelers exploring several indigenous village communities around the lake. Immerse yourself in the culture by participating in educational and fun workshops.
After lunch, visit San Juan La Laguna which is considered one of the more traditional villages around the lake and is off the beaten path from most tourist destinations. You will first visit a local women weavers’ textile cooperative to learn about and participate in the process of ancestral weaving and see how different plants are used to dye the fabric with natural colors.
Enjoy a traditional local lunch and visit an art gallery, where you’ll see the beautiful artworks and learn about the techniques used to create them.
The final stop in San Juan is a community cooperative producing medicinal plants and herbal products. Here you will learn about traditional Mayan healing and how to make organic shampoo, creams, and tea.
Dinner is included back at your hotel this evening. At night, guests from all over the globe dine together and share the stories of their travels at the hotel’s famed family-style dinners.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: La Casa Del Mundo (or similar)
Day 06: Lake Exploration
Start the day with a native indigenous cooking class with the Mesoamerican Institute of Permaculture, (IMAP), an ecological education center to promote permaculture techniques, local biodiversity conservation, production of organic food, and a seed bank that strives to reconstruct the Mayan seed heritage. The cookery class is focused on native cookery, going back to the roots of indigenous Mayan cooking and sharing the rich and flavorsome culinary culture. Learn about how education regarding nutrition plays a key role in Guatemala in addition to learning about and preparing multiple dishes. Lunch is included in your class in addition to a beautiful location surrounded by nature and abundance.
This afternoon the group will have free time to relax and explore the hotel and all it has to offer. Perched on a secluded cliff, it has gorgeous gardens, swimming holes, and a hot tub overhanging the lake. Swim, relax, and read in a hammock, speak with other guests, or discover your favorite secluded rock balcony or adorning güipil.
Dinner is included at the hotel this evening.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: La Casa del Mundo (or similar)
Day 07: Transfer to Guatemala City
This morning the group will check out of the hotel.
Professionals will head out to visit Mayan Families. As an accredited 501(c)(3) non-governmental organization, Mayan Families' mission is to facilitate sustainable development programs in impoverished communities throughout the Lake Atitlán region of rural Guatemala. Their objective is to stimulate long-term progress through school sponsorships, health initiatives, vocational training and microfinance, while providing emergency aid to those in critical need. Sandra Chiroy, Director of the Education Program, will provide a presentation regarding education in the context of the lakeside communities.
Guest program: Guests will go on a walking tour of San Antonio de Catarina. Walk through San Antonio de Catarina’s beautiful streets and discuss the local attire, go to the local beauty spots and take in the spectacular view across the lake. Important highlights of the walking tour include the beautiful blue decoration, clothing and lakeside scenery. During the tour our leader will tell you much more about the rich history and culture of San Antonia de Catairna and its beautiful landscape as well as what life is like here for locals nowadays.
Lunch will be provided at a local restaurant in route.
Arrive at the nation's capital. Guatemala City, Ciudad de Guatemala, is the capital of Guatemala and the largest city in Central America. It is the political, social, cultural, and economic center of the country and lies in a valley of the central highlands at an elevation of 4,897 feet (1,493 meters) above sea level.
Check into your local hotel (Good Hotel Guatemala City) which at the time of this printing is still under construction with an open date set for spring of 2020.
Dinner will be served at Guatemalan restaurant 7 Caldos, famous for delicious Guatemalan dishes. With a beautiful garden and ambiance, it is an inviting place to have a wonderful meal.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Good Hotel Guatemala City (or similar)
Day 08: Professional Exchange
This morning the professional members of the group will meet with an educational assessor from the Ministry of Education. Discussions will focus on the field of education in Guatemala including the successes and challenges of education in the Guatemalan context and the specific role played by educational assessors in working with the Ministry to provide a public, inclusive education system. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss their cross-cultural perspective with regards to the application of education across continents and in the Guatemalan context.
You will be joined today by Diana Bonillam from FUNDAL. It is a private, non-profit institution dedicated to educational, social, recreational and cultural inclusion for children and young people with deaf blindness and multiple disabilities, through its Educational Centers based in the Capital City, Quetzaltenango and Huehuetenango, as well as through support programs for the interior of the Republic. Information will be shared with the group on the perspective of the population with disabilities regarding education, the expectations and plans for the future, and the impact that their organization has on this population.
Lunch will be provided this afternoon.
Guest program: Guests will explore discover the history and modern-day life of Guatemala City including a visit to “Mapa en Relieve”, the historic center, and multiple museums to focus on the country’s history, development and culture. The National Palace and Historic Center is one of the most important buildings in Guatemala. Constructed in the early 1940’s and once home to former President Jorge Ubico, El Mapa en Relieve is a giant relief map of Guatemala spanning approximately 1,800 square meters and was built in the early 1900’s. One of the various museums you will see includes Museo Ixchel, Guatemala’s Museum of Indigenous Textiles and Clothing. Visit the museum’s collection of ceramics, textiles, and jewelry and learn about their traditions of dress throughout the country. Enjoy a cheese and wine tasting and some time for shopping at Cayala this afternoon.
Enjoy a farewell dinner this evening.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Good Hotel Guatemala City(or similar)
Day 09: Time to say goodbye
Head to the La Aurora International Airport for check in for your flight home. Depending on the flight time, lunch is by individual arrangement.
Professional Participants - As this Nanda Journey is focused primarily on professional development, costs associated with your participation on the program may be tax deductible as an ordinary and necessary business expense. Consult with a tax professional to determine eligibility.
Please note: All itineraries are subject to change based on availability of hotels, flights and hosting organizations at the time of finalization of booking. Comparable meetings and activities will be arranged should an itinerary change be necessary. 30 days before departure, a finalized itinerary will be available and reflect final details.
Dr. Rebecca Palacios
Dr. Rebecca Palacios, a National Board Certified Teacher and 2014 inductee to the National Teachers Hall of Fame, has more than three decades of experience in early childhood education and dual language learning. She is co-founder and former vice-chairperson of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), an organization that has certified more than 100,000 teachers.
Palacios is Senior Curriculum Advisor at Age of Learning, Inc. and works on strategic curriculum planning, the design of age-appropriate learning activities, and the development of site content supporting English language learning.
She is a nationwide professional development presenter and has served on committees
for the National Science
Foundation, the Education
Development Center in Boston,
and Scholastic, Inc. Dr. Palacios
has published articles on teacher
professional development, early
childhood education, and dual
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Guatemala: Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala City | 10 days | October 3-11, 2020 | $4,499
You are invited to become part of a once-in-a-lifetime experience: a custom-designed introduction to education in Guatemala traveling October 2020. Join Rebecca Palacios and fellow colleagues and meet with educators, non-profit leaders, community members and association leaders to explore the current state of public and private education in Guatemala and the daily challenges faced to improve standards and access to quality education. Nanda Journeys has partnered with a progressive non-profit in Guatemala, Ninos de Guatemala, that seeks to contribute to a better future for the children of Guatemala and their families. Your participation in this journey will directly fund the education of one student for a year, help to economically support families and businesses in several indigenous communities and support the cultural heritage of Guatemala. Only 41% of Guatemalan children are educated to primary level, 19% to secondary level and 8% to higher education level. The need to partner, learn and support this community is great and your expertise and knowledge will be warmly welcomed. In addition to the professional activities, you'll be immersed in local life in Guatemala and participate in many hands-on activities including a Worry Doll workshop, ceramic workshop, school visit, village visits and most importantly volunteering in a local school to support teachers, students and parents in furthering the education of students in underserved communities.
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Social need in Guatemala:
✓ 59% of the Guatemalan population live below the national poverty line.
✓ 41% are educated to primary level.
✓ 19% are educated to secondary level.
✓ Only 8% are educated to higher education level.
How you will help:
✓ Your participation covers the direct expenses associated with the yearlong education of one student at a Ninos de Guatemala school.
✓ Each half-day of cultural experiences and activities that you participate in funds a nutritious and wholesome snack for 3 students at a Ninos de Guatemala school for one whole month.
✓ By supporting social cooperatives, you’re directly protecting the cultural heritage of indigenous communities.
✓ You will spend a full day giving back at one of Ninos de Guatemala’s schools. By sharing your passion and knowledge, you will be supporting teachers, students and families.