Copyright ©  2018 Chico Mendes Reforestation Project. Website created by Rebecca Strull. Photos contributed by many dedicated volunteers. 

All photos and content are copyright protected. Please contact us for written permission before using.

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GROUP TRIPS

Bring a group to Guatemala! Explore the greater purpose of community-led reforestation work while developing a deep understanding of the social and environmental injustices present in Guatemalan indigenous communities. Through volunteering side by side in el vivero and at reforestation sites, visitors form strong partnerships with local students. Living with Pachaj homestay families provides a unique opportunity for full language immersion and cultural exchange. 

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Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.34.25
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.35.11
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.39.27
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.37.50
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.41.35
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.35.34
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.34.25
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.35.11
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.39.27
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.37.50
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.41.35
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.35.34
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.35.21
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.40.16
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.41.14
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.37.14
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.36.08
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.37.38
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.35.21
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.40.16
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.41.14
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.37.14
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.36.08
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.37.38
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.35.51
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.39.39
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.39.58
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.38.38
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.34.47
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.36.37
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.35.51
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.39.39
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.39.58
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.38.38
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.34.47
Captura de pantalla 2017-08-07 a la(s) 20.36.37

Activities include...

  • Volunteering in el vivero (tree nursery) and at reforestation sites with Pachaj students

  • One-on-one Spanish and/or Q'iche' lessons with local teachers

  • Backpacking trip from Xela to Lago Atitlán, or any of our other treks

  • Interactive Mayan ceremony in a nearby forest

  • Traditional Guatemalan cooking classes

  • Hike up Pachaj's local mountain to explore Mayan ruins and altars

  • Exploration of Salcajá markets and tour of the first church constructed in Latin America

  • Discussion-based lectures with founder/director Armando and guest speakers on topics such as the Guatemalan Civil War, plant-based medicines, Mayan cosmovision, history of Cantel, water privitization, Monsanto GMO seeds in indigenous communities, and destructive mining operations in Guatemala

  • Trash recycling activity with local students

  • Game of fútbol with homestay families

Groups from around the world visit Chico Mendes to volunteer, learn, and engage with the local community. Where There Be Dragons and OG student travel groups, middle schoolers from Quebec, university students from Denmark, church congregants from Iowa, high schoolers from Australia, and other groups of intrepid travelers have visited Chico Mendes.

Our group trips typically last 8 days/7 nights, but the length of stay is negotiable, depending on your timing and interests. Armando will help you plan a trip that both fulfills your group's interests and meets the project's current needs.

The total cost of the trip will depend on the activities selected and length of stay. All trips include:

  • Transportation to/from Chico Mendes in our microbus

  • Homestays with local Pachaj families (includes private bedroom)

  • All activities selected

  • Project materials and transportation to/from reforestation sites

  • All meals and snacks

In addition to the total trip cost, we request that groups include a donation to support our community reforestation efforts.

Sample Itinerary

Contact us to design your trip!

Day 1:
6:00 am: Airport pickup and drive to Chico Mendes
10:00 am: Welcome to Chico Mendes
History of Chico Mendes, introduction to our work, and tour of vivero and reforestation site
12:00 pm: Group lunch at Armando's house and free time
2:00 pm: Meet homestay families
Discuss community norms and expectations for students and families
3:00 pm: Settle into homestay families
Group leader and Chico Mendes team member visit each student and their family to check in
7:30 pm: Dinner with homestay families
Day 2:
7:30 am: Breakfast with homestay families

8:30 am: Group meets back at Chico Mendes and begins volunteer project work
Reforest in mountains of Cantel (May-Aug)
Fill soil bags and transplant seedlings in el vivero (Sept-Dec)
Collect seeds in mountains of Cantel (Jan-Feb)
Prepare reforestation sites for planting and collect natural compost (Mar-Apr)

12:00 pm: Lunch with homestay families and free time
2:00 pm: Spanish or K'iche' classes
6:00 pm: Share in homestay family activities
Learn how to make tortillas, go to church sevice, play fútbol with homestay siblings, etc
7:30 pm: Dinner with homestay families
Day 3:
7:30 am: Breakfast with homestay families
8:30 am: Group meets back at Chico Mendes then leaves for Salcajá with language teachers
Break into small groups, learn how to shop in street markets, buy produce for lunch
Tour La Hermita (first church built by the Spanish in Central America)

11:00 am: Each small group prepares traditional Guatemalan dish at Armando's house
12:00 pm: Group lunch at Armando's house and presentation of food
2:00 pm: Trash recycling activity with group of local students
6:00 pm: Early dinner with homestay families
7:00 pm: Mayan ceremony in forest on Pachaj's local mountain, Kyaq
Armando explains significance of ceremony/materials, Mayan priest conducts ceremony
Day 4:
7:30 am: Breakfast with homestay families
8:30 am: Group meets back at Chico Mendes, talks with Armando and/or special guests about some combination of topics

Topics: Guatemalan Civil War, plant-based medicines, Mayan Cosmovision, history of Cantel, water privitization, Monsanto GMO seeds in indigenous communities, destructive mining operations in Guatemala
11:00 am: Free time
12:00 pm: Lunch with homestay families and free time
2:00 pm: Spanish or K'iche' classes
6:00 pm: Share in homestay family activities
Learn how to make tortillas, go to church sevice, play fútbol with homestay siblings, etc
7:30 pm: Dinner with homestay families
Day 5:
7:30 am: Breakfast with homestay families
8:30 am: Group meets back at Chico Mendes and begins volunteer project work
Reforest in mountains of Cantel (May-Aug)
Fill soil bags and transplant seedlings in el vivero (Sept-Dec)
Collect seeds in mountains of Cantel (Jan-Feb)
Prepare reforestation sites for planting and collect natural compost (Mar-Apr)

12:00 pm: Lunch with homestay families and free time
2:00 pm: Spanish or K'iche' classes
6:00 pm: Share in homestay family activities
Learn how to make tortillas, go to church sevice, play fútbol with homestay siblings, etc
7:00 pm: Language school graduation ceremony and closing activity
Every group member comes in traditional clothing borrowed from language teachers
8:30 pm: Dinner with homestay families
Day 6:
6:00 am: Breakfast with homestay families
7:00 am: Group meets back at Chico Mendes to leave for
trek from Xela to Lago Atitlán

Day 7:

Trek from Xela to Lago Atitlán

Day 8:

Trek from Xela to Lago Atitlán

1:30 pm: Trek ends in San Pedro La Laguna: transportation in microbus to next destination

Interested in organizing a group trip? Questions?

Ready to make it happen? Contact us.