- Get your hands dirty learning about coffee alongside local farmers on the side of an active volcano.
- Deconstruct the myths and discover the realities of today’s global food system at origin.
- Immerse yourself in modern Guatemalan culture and hear about its history from the descendants of the Maya.
- Get an intimate look at Guatemala’s history speaking with former guerrillas who have traded their guns for farming tools.
- Brush up on your Spanish in Xela with one-on-one language lessons with the certified school and social enterprise Escuela La Paz.
Backpacking with a Purpose: Apply for 2018 programs today!
Nestled in Central America, Guatemala has one of the most interesting, yet tragic histories. Home to the Mayan civilization, invaded by the Spanish, and eventually ruled by successive dictatorships propped up by the United Fruit Company, Guatemala has had its fair share of political strife. A 30-year civil war helped create “liberation theology” but left many scars that remain to this day.
To travel to Guatemala is to challenge yourself physically and mentally – by climbing mountains and volcanoes, and by meeting farmers who see the coffee and mining industries as the cause of their poverty. It is shocking, empowering, exciting, and challenging all in one beautiful country.
At Operation Groundswell, we explore all the far corners of this strangely-shaped country and immerse ourselves deeply in all its culture has to offer. We dive deep into the hard issues of indigenous rights, environmental sustainability, fair trade, and food justice in our various program offerings.
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The program fee does not include flights, insurance, or personal expenses such as souvenirs. We also ask team members for a community contribution that goes directly to support our local in-country partners.
As a registered non-profit, we're committed to financial accessibility. Our Financial Needs Grant can cover 15-25% of your five- or six-week program fee and is available for anyone experiencing financial strain, including individuals from low-income households, students, and recent graduates.