• Guatemala
    • Xela
2 weeks

Program Details

Age Min.
Short Term Spring Break Summer Winter Year Round
Small Group (1-15) Medium Group (16-30)
Travel Type
Family Older Travelers Solo Women


Starting Price
Price Details
Two-Week, All-Inclusive Volunteering Package:
Two-Week Experience, Sunday-Sunday – $1,939* per person
Additional weeks (discounted) - $855 each
*100% of your contribution fuels our Empowerment Programs

Your two-week experience includes:
** Volunteer immersion Monday-Friday, including expertly curated cultural experiences.
** “Discovery Saturday” explorations of nearby communities
** Room and board at our brand-new Eco Guest House (including three meals per day) -- each of our 12 rooms has a
private, modern bathroom and comfy beds
** Pick up and delivery back to Quetzaltenango -- at the airport or in town

What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Meals Wifi
What's Not Included
Some Activities Airfare Domestic Airfare SIM cards Travel Insurance Visa
Jun 20, 2024
Jul 10, 2024
1 traveler is looking at this program

About Program

We empower families and communities to be healthy, educated and self-reliant. You can help.

Local Hope Guatemala has been hosting organized group service trips to the western highlands of Guatemala for more than 30 years, and is now offering full experience stays for individuals, families or small groups to volunteer at their convenience.

Known in Guatemala as Xela AID (Agency for Integrated Development, pronounced “Shay-la”), Local Hope is a not-for-profit organization that provides a range of important services to largely indigenous populations in poverty belts in Guatemala. We team locally and with worldwide organizations to enable those who are critically under-served become healthy, educated and self-reliant so they can beat poverty and thrive.

Since 2002, Local Hope has helped to deliver in excess of $8 million in Education, Health, Small Business Development/Micro-Finance, Clean Environment Initiatives and Emergency Relief.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Our two-week programs begin every Sunday year-round and can be extended with additional weeks.
  • Each Saturday of your stay you get to choose one of our included out-of-town adventures.
  • We customize your volunteer experience by matching your skils/interests with our villagers' needs
  • 100% of your Program Fee (covering room, board and activities) fuels our Empowerment Programs.
  • As a 501(c)3 non-profit, costs for your volunteer experience may be fully tax-deductible. Please check with your tax preparer.

Program Impact

Volunteering with Local Hope Guatemala is more than service, it's also a profoundly enriching experience involving cultural immersion and exchange as you visit homes and learn about the lives of our Mam-Maya friends, explore local open-air markets to buy food and work side-by-side with our local staff and the Xela AID kids, adults and seniors in our programs.

Local Hope Guatemala is top-rated by GreatNonprofits.org and has earned Guidestar’s Platinum Seal of Transparency.
100% of your program fee directly benefits the people in the area.

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Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 17 reviews
  • 5 rating 100%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Impact 5
  • Support 5
  • Fun 5
  • Value 5
  • Safety 5
Showing 1 - 8 of 17 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Great volunteer and cultural experience!

The volunteer trips are incredible, often life-changing experiences for people of all ages…and I’ve had participants from 8 years old to over 80.

I’ve been volunteering with XelaAid/Local Hope since 2007, and have been on and led a number of volunteer trips. It has been a truly rewarding experience, and the progress has been wonderful. I could say a lot more, but to illustrate how credible this organization is, I’ll just describe its relationship with Rotary International (RI). XelaAid/Local Hope has received major back to back grants from RI for sanitation, water, and educational projects in Guatemala, and anyone who has ever been through the process of getting such a grant knows it’s one of the most challenging, thoroughly researched, validated, and audited applications that exist...and if you make it through the process, it shows the world that your organization is highly credible. Getting a second, third and fourth grant just doesn’t happen unless your outcomes from each one are highly successful...it’s truly one of the greatest marks of credibility any nonprofit can hope to achieve.

I prefer giving my time and my philanthropic dollars to organizations who do what they say they will, are highly successful at doing so, and have real impact on making the world a better place. That’s why I am still supporting XelaAid/Local Hope 17 years after my first experience with them.

What was your funniest moment?
Funniest moment? I can’t say I have one, but the smiles and laughter were abundant and contagious throughout the trip. The Mayan villagers and your fellow volunteers make the experience both fulfilling and enjoyable…a great combination.
  • Cultural experiences
  • Bonding with villagers and fellow volunteers
  • Comfortable accommodations and great food.
  • None come to mind.
1 person found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Local Hope Guatemala Service Trip 2024

This was my second trip with Local Hope Guatemala. There were 6 years between the trips and the changes in the facilities and local leadership is amazing. The Eco Lodge was barely started in 2018 on my first trip. Now in 2024, the accommodations are not only first class, but also self sustaining.
The staff has grown up within the leadership program and now lead the organization. Their stories about their efforts to keep people from starving during Covid were heartwarming and heroic.
The daily activities were educational, physically challenging, inspirational, emotional and FUN! The people of Guatemala are so warm and gracious...and their gratitude is overwhelming.
I would highly recommend doing one of the service trips with Local Hope Guatemala. You will leave fulfilled, grateful and humbled.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Go and learn about the people of Guatemala. Experience their culture, their food and their gratitude.
  • Food
  • Activities
  • People
  • Allot to fit in
  • Altitude
2 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Go- you will never be the same

If making an individual impact in the lives of children, young people and hard-working adults while contributing to a sustainable development approach, all while enjoying beautiful views, authentic food and adventure, then this is the place to travel and serve. From making tortillas with Mam women, to learning to weave, tutoring or doing art projects or building a chicken coop, all of these experiences are opportunities to spend quality time with others who have a whole different perspective on life. The exchange is rich and warm in an environment of understanding and respect. Don´t miss the opportunity to visit this awesome area of Guatemala, you will have great stories to tell for a lifetime and experiences to augment your daily life back home.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I heard staff members share how they participated in the program and why they continue to work with the program, despite being able to be hired elsewhere. They were benefitted and were paying it forward with the next generation of students from their community. One of the female staff members was the 1st to graduate from University in her community. The confidence that the local staff had, their commitment to service and the joyful and respectful way that foreign volunteers and leadership interacted with local staff impacted me deeply.
  • the people
  • the views and facilities
  • the food
  • it was hard to leave
4 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful Organization

This is a wonderful organization that is doing a great amount of good. It is run by an extraordinary group of folks strongly committed to the charity's mission of increasing self-reliance and improving the lives of the local folks. My volunteer trip with Xela was truly a life-changing experience for me. I was able to meet many of the local people and see first-hand the issues and problems to be confronted but also to learn about how Xela is working to remedy them. On the trip I participated in a number of activities which provided direct benefits and it was very rewarding. And as a fringe benefit I got to explore the country a bit, and it is an incredibly beautiful place.

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

Outstanding!! Gold Standard for Non Profits!!

Local Hope is an outstanding of how a nonprofit SHOULD work and grow. I have witnessed several projects they have implemented in their community and have seen the always growing support they recieve from the community as well as an increased international support to fund their projects due to their success. One of the best aspects of this non profit is how they have involved former benficiaries of their projects into the organization at all levels, making them every day more and more self sustaining and better focused and when and how they can best help the community.

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

As a Board Member of Xela Aid, I encourage you to consider volunteering with us!

I have been involved with Xela Aid since 1995 and have participated in many trips to Guatemala (I have co-directed two trips). These experiences have been amongst the most meaningful in my life and in addition to making friends with people from Guatemala, have gotten to know many new people from the USA and beyond. As a gay man in the Los Angeles area I have been fully embraced by everyone and truly treasure each relationship I have made through Xela Aid.

What sets Xela Aid apart from other programs is that we have decades of experience working in the highlands of Guatemala. In addition, Xela Aid has a comfortable lodge to house individuals with good food and drink to boot!.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be ready for a meaningful experience. Whether you come down to volunteer in one of our educational, medical, or other programs, please know you will get a lot out of the program in return. If you are interested in seeing a beautiful country while you are giving back this is the program for you.
  • Clean, safe accomodations.
  • The opportunity to interact with interesting and intellectually curious people from both the States and Guatemala.
  • Opportunities to improve your Spanish.
4 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

The Informed Heart in Action

I am a retired judge and lay psychoanalyst with years of experience with problems of children and youth in trouble. I volunteered years ago to liaison with the on staff psychologist to help in the development of psychological counseling to children and adults.
It is amazing how the program is able to bring therapeutic interventions to practical daily needs of the local population: whether group counseling to empower the women of the weaving cooperative or establishing a Montessori school for close to 100 Mayan children and preparing them to fully participate in a modern society, Similarly, the program is most creative in addressing core community needs such as providing clean water, education, and
job training in a creative self sustainable model.

What was your funniest moment?
When as a result of strengthening women's autonomy a delegation of local men
sent a message demanding that the psychologist be fired because the women were
becoming too independent.
  • An opportunity to meet local people otherwise not available
  • Extremely warm people
  • An opportunity to be of use
  • Hard mattresses at local hotel; this has been taken care of by providing excellent local lodging
11 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
María Julia
Yes, I recommend this program

Local Hope - Xela AID a magical experience

Your experience with Local Hope in the highlands of Guatemala will be authentic and unique! The planning and logistics will make you feel safe at all times and you will be in the hands of experts who will take care of you and ensure that you have a good experience. You will have cultural exchanges and you will fall in love with the time you spend with local people. You will love the food and the view of the place from your room. If you are an adventurer, want something different, feel the call to do new things and help people, trips with Local Hope is the opportunity you are looking for!

7 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers