Imagine a gorgeous aqua lake surrounded by three stunning cone volcanoes, with tiny villages perched on the mountainside -- welcome to Lake Atitlán! Navigate the waters of Lake Atitlán (don’t forget your swimsuit!) and then stop along the way to explore colorful Maya communities.
Create Pottery in Santa Apolonia
Maya pottery tells the story of a civilization, marking important events, telling the history of cooking traditions, and sharing stories of cultural exchange. In the town of Santa Apolonia, the traditions of creating pottery continues. Join a woman in her home to learn about her craft as you create your own Maya artifact.
Maya Market Day
At a Mayan market, you’ll be able to purchase many of those bright traditional textiles that you will see on the Maya community throughout Guatemala. Our volunteers love to practice their bargaining skills at the market. With the smells of street food cooking and great people-watching, a visit to a Mayan market is an explosion of color and tradition.
Visit a Local Dairy Farm
If you're an animal lover, here's your chance to visit the dairy cows who are a key in the whole economy of Tecpan! Visit the baby calves, the maternity ward, learn how milking is really done, as you also visit the factories of production. Make new animal friends along the way.
Practice Your Spanish
In Guatemala, CCS Spanish lessons are divided into levels based on your ability, and tailored to your needs. The first lesson is held in a typical classroom style, but then you'll have a chance to put your knowledge to the test. Your teacher will take you out into the community and challenge you to bargain for fruits, vegetables, and clothing in Spanish at a nearby market. Just another awesome adventure to add to your list!
Discover Your Inner Archaeologist
Fleeing problems with a neighboring tribe, the Maya Kaqchikels created Iximche as a safe haven and as a new city for daily life, including Maya ceremonies, rituals, and activities. As you explore these little-known ruins, where excavations continue to this day, you can feel the power of the Maya rituals that took place here in the late 1400s. Learn about the history of the Maya people, and the significance of the world-known Maya calendar, and engage in a traditional Maya fire ceremony.
Cook Guatemalan Cuisine
Spend some time with Esperanza in the kitchen learning to make one of our Guatemalan favorites - anything from pounding your own tortillas to making your own Pepian (the national dish of Guatemala) or wrapping the Saturday tamales in banana leaves - you never know what delicious item is on the menu!
Visit a Coffee Plantation
When you journey to Guatemala with CCS, you aren’t signing up for corporate tourism. When you visit a coffee plantation, you will have the opportunity to learn about agriculture in the Maya Highlands. Beyond simply a demonstration, you'll have the opportunity to further explore Maya history and important artifacts that marks this culture.
Practice Traditional Backstrap Weaving
Guatemala is a land of beautiful colors and textiles - spend time at the Home Base, in your students' homes, or in another Maya community learning the 'ropes' - or 'strings' - of traditional weaving practices in Guatemala, and why these techniques are so treasured today - you could even weave your own scarf!
Become a Strawberry Farmer
Tecpán is spotted with rolling fields of corn, cabbage, beans, any number of produce you'll see sold during the bustling action of market day - including strawberries (and not just the ones outside of the Home Base!). Visit a local farmer, just like the fathers of many of your students, who has dedicated himself to the growth of strawberries, as he not only teaches you the ins and outs of how to prepare the land and plant the crowns, but also talks about the hardships of farmers in the area.
Let Your Artistic Side Show on the Marimba
Guatemalans value the Marimba, an instrument which is considered a national symbol of their cultural identity. Come into contact with this beautiful instrument that harmonizes and graces important celebrations in Guatemalan society - which you'll hear in any restaurant across the land! Learn how to not only play the wooden instrument, but dance along in traditional style!