• Guatemala
    • Xela
1 - 2 weeks
Need-based funding, General grants/scholarships, Payment plans
Health & Safety

Program Details

Program Type
Direct Enrollment
Age Min.
Age Max


Starting Price
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Meals Transportation
What's Not Included
Oct 25, 2023
Dec 18, 2023
3 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Guatemala promises adventure - and the opportunity to make a positive impact on local communities. From cool mountain lakes to misty cobblestone alleyways to brightly colored textiles, there is beauty at every turn. Get to know the ancient culture that is still very much a party of daily life here through cultural workshops and exploration. Tour ancient ruins, taste traditional dishes and practice your Spanish with friendly locals in your host community.

GLA offers two 14-day programs in Guatemala, each with different learning objectives and service projects.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Visit the largest indigenous craft market in the hemisphere and shop for handmade goods
  • Wonder at Iximche's ancient ruins
  • Stroll the cobblestone streets of Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • See the Guatemalan jungle from above on a series of ziplines through the canopy
  • Engage in meaningful community service projects related to your field of interest

Popular Programs

Working at a Guatemalan public school

Spend your days at the local primary school and surrounding community as you create lesson plans, engage with students at recess and throw yourself into refurbishment projects designed to improve the learning environment for Guatemala's youngest residents. Learn more about the issues that face rural communities and why access to education can be a challenge here.

Assist on public health campaigns in rural Guatemala

Calling all aspiring medical professionals--this one's for you! Work alongside local doctors to provide much-needed care to those in rural communities with little access to health services. Explore concepts of public health and discuss the challenges faced by rural communities worldwide. As a bonus, you'll also get certified in CPR and First Aid, the first step in becoming a helping hand in the medical field.

Program Reviews

4.92 Rating
based on 25 reviews
  • 5 rating 92%
  • 4 rating 8%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 4.75
  • Support 4.9
  • Fun 4.8
  • Housing 4.65
  • Safety 4.95
  • Program Selection 5
  • Pre-departure Help 5
  • In-program Support 5
  • Impact on Student 5
  • Value 5
Showing 1 - 8 of 25 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Experience for our Teen!

GLA was an amazing experience for my daughter. It was her first time away from home and she was a bit nervous to go to another country. Once she arrived, she immediately made friends and was immersed in the experience. When we heard from her on the trip, she sounded confident, excited and busy! In addition to improving her Spanish and learning about the culture of Guatemala, she matured and grew as a person. This year, she is very focused in school, articulate with her teachers, and very involved in the family. I would recommend GLA to every teenager, as it has made a world of difference in our child.

  • Meeting new people.
  • Going outside your comfort zone.
  • Learning about other cultures.
33 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Life-changing Experience!

I had an incredible experience serving at a local school, bonding with my fellow participants, taking the opportunity to practice my Spanish, as well as learning about the history and culture of Guatemala. This program has helped to shape the person I am. It was the perfect balance between service, cultural activities, and forming what have become lasting friendships with my peers and mentors. I would highly recommend entering the program with an open mind. It may seem overwhelming at first but that will quickly grow into excitement. GLA does an amazing job of reminding you to take a breath then giving you nudge outside of your comfort level to the place where you will grow, learn, and enjoy yourself the most.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Keep a journal! You will definetly want to be able to look back on your trip once you return home and it’s a great way to reflect on your experience as you go.
76 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


I could say endlessly good things about this program! As a first time GLA traveler, I did not know what to expect when I first signed up for the program, but I can honestly say that my global perspective has been changed completely. The staff were incredible and I met some of the most genuine and kind individuals, all with the same sense of adventure. Being able to interact with a completely different culture along with participating in a variety of other activities was so exciting and truly made me value every experience that I had. Each day, from zip-lining to hot springs to the volunteer work at the primary school, left us with new lessons and leadership abilities that I still apply to daily life back home. Because I loved my experience on this GLA trip so much, I even signed up to attend another trip next summer!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve-wracking moment for me was during our first day of volunteering. We completely stepped out of our comfort zones and taught classes of 15-20 kids, all who spoke another language. It was really daunting to walk into the classroom and immediately have 20 pairs of eyes directly on you. I remember having to build up the confidence to step into the classroom and introduce myself in Spanish. However, after seeing the enthusiasm that the kids had whenever we introduced a new lesson completely made my anxiety go away. Being surrounded by the other students and staff members also calmed my nerves. Teaching ended up being extremely rewarding despite the nerves I had and I value the experience tremendously.
66 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Guatemala experience for my daughter.

I can't say enough wonderful things about Global Leadership Adventures, the program, staff communication and service was very impressive. They were very informative about all aspects involved to send a child overseas to protect students safety and well being. I had never sent my child out of the country before and was very nervous , concerned and cautious with planning and the details. GLA staff was wonderful with provide information, documentation and answering questions in a timely manner. As a result my daughters trip was a huge success. She came back a changed girl with a different outlook on gratitude, appreciation and responsibilities. She loved the staff who made her feel at home and built wonderful friendships within the Guatemala country and with GLA students and staff. If you are considering a trip with GLA I would highly recommend the wonderful learning experience. It is an opportunity for teens to grow, learn and experience the unknown.

78 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Dana Christian
Yes, I recommend this program

Children of the Maya

My 16 year old daughter traveled to Guatemala with Global Leadership Adventures in the summer of 2017. The experience was life-changing. Being immersed in a Spanish speaking culture teaching children English offered the perfect balance of challenge and fun. Grace learned so much about herself, leadership and the challenges & blessings of education. She was able to compare & contrast Education system in the US with that of a small, impoverished town in Guatemala, seeing the beauty and brokenness in both systems. Grace came home more compassionate, inspired to create change in her own community and to be more courageous in her own life to help her grow. This personal growth will allow her to have more to offer those she serves & works side by side with on her next Global Leadership trip in summer 2019.

What would you improve about this program?
More learning circles, debrief, and question time at night with the in-country leaders and GLA leaders. Have leadership on the ground in the city explain more about their specific area of immersion- in this case it's the education system.
67 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Olivia's Teen trip to Guatemala

For anyone who is considering doing a TEEN Volunteer Program I would HIGHLY recommend Global Leadership Adventures Guatemala trip, My daughter expressed interest in going on this trip at the age of 14 and as a parent I was nervous. I did my due diligence and there was no reason to stop her from going. The safety, support and communication from the Global Leadership Adventures staff to the hosting and staff in the US and Guatemala were very comforting to parents and our teens. Had anxiety of sending my child to another country as an unaccompanied minor and it turns out, she loved it, was safe and had no problems with travel. Not to mention she enjoy this trip so much because of the wonderful staff at GLA, the outstanding service programs, and relationships she built with children in Guatemala. My daughter loved the program so much she's off to Thailand in June 2018. So if you are considering going on a Global Leadership Adventure Program join the facebook groups and ask questions to teens and parents that have sent their kids on the programs. It's like joining a big family. Everyone is so helpful and supportive. Get onto GLA webinars they help answer so many questions.

69 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Global Leadership Adventures 14-day Children of the Maya Program

The two week Children of the Maya program is truly outstanding! During the two weeks my group of twenty-nine other high schoolers and I traveled around the country of Guatemala to the vibrant cities of Antigua, Lake Atitklan, San Andres, Quetzaltenango, and Xela. The main community service component we completed was creating and delivering lesson plans to teach in a Guatemalan primary school. This experience working one-on-one with Guatemalan children from PreK-6th grade revealed our positive impact. I was called into a leadership role utilizing my strong Spanish speaking skills. This hectic, high energy, primary school environment in rural Quetzaltenango lacked structure and disciple. Initially the challenge was simply maintaining kids’ attention. However, we quickly discovered ways to successfully teach the lessons. We kept students engaged through a variety of games as well as interactive and verbal lessons. Understanding came slowly. Our leadership and teaching remained positive and hopeful and during recess on day four, I witnessed beauty! Some of my students were asking my peers their names and how they were- in English! The children were utilizing my lessons and our positive impact was evident. Our physical and mental capacities were tested through a series of epic adventures including zip-lining over mountainous tree tops, swimming in hot springs, visiting Mayan ruins, taking a boat ride across sacred Lake Atitlán, attending a ceremony with a Maya shaman, and shopping at the largest indigenous craft market in the hemisphere. With all these experiences, I am forever grateful for my trip to Guatemala and highly recommend this program & Global Leadership Adventures as a whole to any high school student wanting to "be the change."

66 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Had the best time in Guatemala!

I recently traveled to Guatemala through Global Leadership Adventures and had the most awesome experience! I met so many new friends that I am still in contact with while learning and helping out in a different country. From traveling to Guatemala there are so many different goals I have set for myself to reach corresponding to the service work we did there. The staff members are so welcoming and I felt safe all the time, so I would totally recommend GLA!

What would you improve about this program?
I personally can't think of a way the program could be improved it was such a great experience overall and I learned so much from it!
73 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers