FAQ~ Frequently Asked Questions
What are your COVID-19 protocols?
The health and well-being of volunteers, staff and the children are our priority. We follow the restrictions and guidelines of the Guatemalan Health Ministry, which have shifted greatly over the past three years. Our programming for the children has moved to outdoor classrooms. COVID vaccinations are recommended for everyone’s protection. For the current situation, please ask when you are applying.
Is it safe to travel to Guatemala?
Some visitors have concerns about travelling to Guatemala. After twelve years of receiving guests and volunteers, we have not had a single incident. The Project Somos Team does everything in its power to ensure that the experience is safe and rewarding for all. Volunteer Logistics Coordinator, Claudia Ordoñez is meticulous with details and looking out for all visitors. Somos works with certified travel companies, only books safe and clean hotels and never allows travel in the dark. The Project is located in a small Mayan community and is situated within an enclosed and locked property.
What is required of me to be a volunteer?
We require that our volunteers be in good mental and physical health, with an open heart and a positive attitude to help where most needed. A criminal record check is required for anyone over the age of 18 years of age wanting to volunteer at the Project.
What kinds of hours/duties can I be expected to do during my stay?
Volunteers are expected to work 6-7 hours per day. The work varies day to day and can include light physical labour, kitchen duties and activities with the children. Most activities happen outdoors and it is suggested you have a sun hat, comfortable shoes (no open toes) and long sleeves to protect yourself from the sun and insects.
What are the accommodations like?
The accommodations are simple, yet very comfortable. We have bunk beds, single beds and rooms with queen/double beds. We provide cozy bedding for the cooler nights we have here in the Highlands. Being a sustainable project, all the buildings are built using earthbag or eco-bricks and have solar electric and solar hot water. Ear plugs are always a great idea when you might be sharing a room with someone else and especially during the rainy season when the rain is pounding the tin roofs. Have a look at this album which gives you a better idea about what the facilities look like. SMUGMUG link
Are meals provided for the volunteers?
Project Somos will provide all your meals when you come to the Project with an organized group. Much of the food we serve to volunteers is harvested from our onsite organic farm. Our cook has mastered delicious meal preparation using the local ingredients. The food served is primarily vegetarian and we are able to adjust for most special diets. The above does not apply to long-term volunteers.
Do I need a visa to travel to Guatemala?
Canadians and USA citizens do not require a special visa prior to entering Guatemala. Upon entry, you automatically receive a stamp in your passport which allows you to stay for 90 days. Citizens of other countries should check travel requirements prior to travel. You should also check if there are any current COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Are vaccines required to travel to Guatemala?
Please check with your local travel clinic to verify what you may need or consider having before coming to the Project.
How much does it cost?
Please contact gregkemp[at]projectsomos.org for up to date pricing information about donation, room/board costs, transportation, leadership, etc.
At 7000 feet, is altitude a problem?
Some people have suffered from altitude sickness over the years (headaches, insomnia, etc.) but it has been very few people. If you are prone to altitude sickness or are worried, please enquire with a doctor prior to travelling here. There are natural remedies to prepare your body for altitude.
How much money should I bring?
This is always a difficult one for us to answer because we all spend differently. The ATMs do accept foreign bank cards so when you are in a bigger town (nowhere near the Project) you can withdraw the local currency (quetzales). Your transportation and costs at the Project will be paid up front. We do ask that you tip our hospitality staff at the end of your stay but this is a maximum of $25. We will have handicrafts for sale on the final days and you might like to have some cash on hand for this.
What kind of weather can I expect?
Guatemala is known as the “land of eternal spring”, the temperatures are cool at night and warm in the daytime. We have a rainy season from May to November and the dry season is November through April.
Where is Project Somos located?
The Project Somos Learning Village is located in the Central Highlands of Guatemala, between Antigua and Lake Atitlan. The Project is in a small community, 8 km (5 miles) from the town of Tecpan, Chimaltenango. You can search for Project Somos on Google Earth. With a view of forested canyons and eight volcanoes in the distance, the site is breathtaking and includes seven guest rooms in two guest houses, a community hall for the volunteers’ meals and gatherings, the learning campus, staff quarters, an organic farm, three playgrounds, a soccer field and a clinic/neighbourhood house.
If you have any questions that aren’t answered here contact Greg Kemp.
You can also explore the website to learn about The Project or our Facebook page, where you will find many daily stories and wonderful photos.