High School, university, church, and community groups, and individuals often come to visit the San Lucas Mission to volunteer, learn about the efforts in San Lucas, and participate in the cross-cultural experience the Mission offers. Visitors may spend most of their time working at sites, but the focus of a short-term trip to the Mission is to learn, understand and appreciate the local culture.
Through working alongside Guatemalans, hearing talks from community members, and observing the goings-on of the area, visitors can learn about the richness of Maya culture, the work of the Mission, and life in Guatemala. Although a week or two may only offer a glimpse into a different world, there is much to be learned about the turbulent and complex history of Guatemala, the Maya people, and the community development efforts of the mission.
Individual visitors may occasionally want to spend more than 1-2 weeks at the Mission, but not make a commitment to be a Long-term Volunteer. These individuals should fill out an individual application form, but the details of their visit would have to be worked out directly with the Director of the Visitors Program.
Visitors, after receiving an orientation and a tour of the programs, usually participate in projects associated with construction, gardening, coffee processing & picking, and similar tasks. Groups and individuals will be assigned to worksites and given instructions by local project leaders.
During the months of December, January, and February, visitors may take part in the coffee harvest and pick coffee beans. Talks from community members are arranged so that the experience of the short-term visitor is complete and educational. Other cultural opportunities are provided like the “day in the life” class at the Women’s Center, which teaches people how to make tortillas, carry firewood, and hand-wash clothing.
Room & Board
Visitors stay in one of the many hotels in the San Lucas area. We arrange reservations upon your arrival, and all placements are made according to availability. Meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) are eaten at the mission. All visitors, volunteers and staff members share meals. WiFi is readily available.
It is highly recommended that groups bring interpreters. Visitors are not required to speak Spanish, although being able to converse with Guatemalans – even in simple ways – will greatly enhance the experience, especially at work sites.
Groups and individuals are asked to contribute a minimum donation of $40/day per person, which covers room and board at the Mission and transportation to and from the airport in Guatemala City. Money can be exchanged in the mission office, checks are preferred.
Cultural sensitivity and openness to the local culture is paramount in ensuring that a cross-cultural experience is as fruitful and as mutually dignifying as possible. In facilitating the pre-arrival preparation, it is heavily recommended that visitors download the package of preparation materials for visiting groups.
Visitors should come ready to explore San Lucas and the culture of the area and be willing to leave behind pre-conceptions. To be humble and open to learning will ensure a meaningful stay in San Lucas Tolimán.
Travel Information: Up-to-date information about traveling to and from Guatemala can be found at the Department of State’s Guatemalan Travel Information Page.