Focus: Volunteer guides.
Quetzaltrekkers was founded in 1995 as a means of self-sustainable, grassroots fundraising for the functioning of Asociación Escuela de la Calle (EDELAC), with the overall aim of combating the unfortunate reality of children living and working on the streets of Quetzaltenango.
Our job is to see that tourism dollars directly benefit those Guatemalans that need them most: namely, street children and children at risk of becoming street children. We do this by running tourist-orientated, guided-treks through the beautiful Guatemalan highlands: hence the slogan, ’Hike and Help’.
We are the only all non-profit, all volunteer-run trekking and outdoors association in Guatemala. In fact, apart from our sister organization, Quetzaltrekkers Nicaragua and the recently founded Condortrekkers Bolivia, we might just be the only organization of our kind anywhere in the world.
For more information on EDELAC and volunteer opportunities within its programmes, please see the project descriptions of EDELAC and Hogar Abierto.
Costs & Benefits
At Quetzaltrekkers, we are all working as volunteer guides and we manage virtually all aspects of the organization. In our office you won’t find a boss or a supervisor but you will find a tight-knit team of dedicated volunteers committed to the organization and the cause.We can’t think of a place where you’d be given this much autonomy and responsibility working as a volunteer. Life here can be hectic and the days are long.
Ultimately, though, working as a Quetzaltrekker guide is an incredibly rewarding experience and, well, a lot of fun.
As a trekking guide, you will be guiding and leading groups of people on our treks. This entails more than just showing people the way up a volcano. You are there to make sure the trek runs smoothly and safely and your group is fed, watered and content. You will also develop an awareness of the people, culture, history and ecology of the areas through which we trek and will share this knowledge with your group of trekkers.
Guiding people is just part of the job. At least half of your week will be spent in the Quetzaltrekker office, doing behind-the-scenes tasks to keep the whole operation running. These tasks might include food and equipment prepping, cleaning equipment, promoting treks, signing people up for treks, putting in time with the kids, shopping for treks, cooking, washing dishes, doing finances, answering phones and emails and so on.
Although you will be expected to cover your own living expenses while you’re here, these costs are likely to be minimal.
Each guide pays only Q200 (or about $25) rent per month to live in the guide house and when you’re guiding treks, all of your expenses are covered.Guides generally eat communally, so food costs are low.
Quetzaltenango is a cheap place to live in general and we guestimate guides can get by comfortably on between $100 and $150/month.
This is the kind of place where just about anyone with any skill set can come in and make their mark. We like to think we attract energetic and motivated volunteers that arrive with an eagerness to learn, work hard and take initiative. There are, however, a few minimum requirements candidates must meet in order to work with us:
A 3 month absolute minimum time commitment (not including a 10-day trial/training period beforehand);
A first aid qualification;
Love of the outdoors, trekking, roughing it, (not sleeping) under the stars, getting wet, cold toes and lumpy oatmeal.;
Stellar people-skills, endless patience; and,
The ability to work and live as a member of a team.
Diagonal 12, 8-37, Zona 1,
Tel: 502 77655895
Location: Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.
Average cost per day: $5
Focus: Volunteer guides
Skills needed: Volunteers must be at least 18 years old, a 3 month minimum time commitment; beginner-intermediate Spanish language ability; See requirements.