TRAVEL TO MAYA HIGHLANDS
It takes a lot of planning and preparation to travel to a new destination, and we’re here to help you every step of the way! Whether you’re purchasing your plane ticket, applying for a visa, or getting ready to pack, this guide (along with your expert Program Specialist) is your ultimate resource for a successful experience. So read on to learn more. And remember that we’re always available to answer any questions that you may have, and to share our personal expertise.
Your fellow volunteers will be from all over the world, and some of you may even end up on the same flight. Regardless of the flight that you choose, your arrival airport for Guatemala is the La Aurora International Airport (GUA).
Flight to Guatemala: Arrive at GUA between 7:00 am and 3:00 pm on your program start date.
Departure Flight: Depart GUA between 10:00 am and 10:00 pm on your program end date
While volunteers do fly to Guatemala independently, we recommend the following CCS-recommended flights for volunteers flying from the US and Canada so you can fly with other volunteers on this popular flight. Please check in with your Program Specialist if you plan on taking a different flight option:
Book now on Student Universe
There are many online resources available to purchase your flight, but here are a few recommended by our team of volunteer travel experts:
Call Key Travel
Call STA Travel
Once you arrive at the airport, you’ll be greeted by a friendly CCS driver or staff member, like Walter.
We’ll be waiting for you right outside of the arrival gate, so keep an eye out for a smiling face with a “Cross-Cultural Solutions” sign! It’s a 2 hour drive (depending on traffic) from the airport to our Home-Base, so you’ll be able to take in some of the sights of Guatemala as you relax after your journey.
CCS Driver, Walter
We want to make sure you're healthy during your CCS experience, so take a moment to review the recommended vaccinations for your destination at the Centers for Disease Control, or by visiting a travel doctor.
As long as you're traveling in Guatemala for less than 90 days, you don't need to obtain a visa if you hold a passport issued from the United States, Canada, or United Kingdom.
Is your passport issued from a country other than those listed above? Find out if a visa is required for your travel!
As a CCS volunteer, you’ll automatically be covered by our comprehensive Travel Medical & Emergency Evacuation Insurance while you’re participating in our program. If you’re traveling before or after your program, you may choose to extend your insurance so that you’re covered every step of the way.
Need to upgrade your insurance? There are alternate plans available to you, which can increase your medical expense limits to $500,000 and your trip cancellation insurance up to $5,000. Just log on to the Core Travel website to print your card, extend your insurance, or upgrade!
What to Pack
Guatemala is known as the land of the eternal spring, but in the mountainous area of Tecpan, it can be cooler with some rain, so bring a sweater with you for cool days and evenings. Temperatures typically vary from 56 degrees to 81 °F year-round, averages in the 70s °F in June- August. It can get a bit cool in the evenings, especially since the Home-Base doesn’t have heating (it’s not usually needed in the land of the eternal spring!), so layering is key! With the rain in the mountains, bring some shoes that can get a bit muddy
Guatemala's currency is the quetzal – you can exchange your currency into quetzales when you arrive at the Guatemala City airport, or withdraw quetzales at an ATM within a few blocks of the CCS Home-Base. Remember to contact your bank and credit card companies before travel to let them know that you’ll be out of the country!
While everyone’s spending habits are different, you might want to budget for around $25 to $50 USD per week for keepsakes.
Emergency Contact Information
It’s helpful to inform family and friends of your travel plans so they know how to reach you. Just input your flight information and you have a handy Travel Contact Sheet to email or print for your family and friends.
Remind friends and family that if they’d like to make an international call to reach you at the CCS Home-Base, US and Canadian residents should dial “011” before the number, and UK residents or residents of other countries should dial “00” before the number.
Citizen Services Abroad
Your safety is our top priority, and to make sure you comprehensive support, we request that all volunteers register with their government for access to emergency support and safety information. Please select the appropriate link below to follow some simple steps (it only takes a minute) to register your travel information:
US Citizens: Safe Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) through the State Department
UK Citizens: Foreign Commonwealth (FCO)
Canadian Citizens: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT)
Australian Citizens: Smart Traveler Program through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)