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.
Say "I Do" to Maya Traditions
Maya weddings are full of tradition and superstition, from the gifts of wooden hair barrettes and a sleeveless dress to an elaborate choreography of steps to seal the bonds of marriage. Try your hand in traditional Maya clothing. You just might fall in love with the Maya people!
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.
Become a Cattle Rancher
If you've dreamed of being a cowboy, here's your chance on the cattle ranches of Guatemala. Explore a local cattle farm by horseback, and visit the baby calves and maternity section as you master the ropes of becoming a ranch hand. Then, learn about the production of milk and cheese for the residents of the Maya Highlands as you say "Ri K'a" (goodbye in Maya) to the farming life.
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.
Roast Marshmallows on a Volcano
Spent an afternoon hiking up Pacaya, a volcano just outside Antigua. At the top, grab some sticks and a bag of marshmallows and start roasting up an afternoon treat over bubbling lava.