FAQ Sheet for Guatemala 2011
How do I get there?
We generally fly to Guatemala City and spend the night at one of the hotels there, please see the contacts list for information about the hotels. The Howard Johnson and some of the other major hotels offer a shuttle from the airport to the hotel; just let them know that you need this service when you make your reservation. Otherwise, plan to take a taxi to your destination.
From Guatemala City to Poptun, Peten, Guatemala you have several options available:
1. You can choose to fly from Guatemala City to Flores/Santa Elena (FRS) airport and then travel via taxi or bus to Poptun which is about a 2 hour drive. This is the most expensive option and only saves 5 hours on the travel day. The bus ride will cost approximately $34.00 US Dollars round trip. The taxi service is approximately $60.00 from the airport to Poptun and an additional $60.00 to return from Poptun to the airport. The airline ticket is approximately $250.00 US Dollars round trip. The airline that serves that area is TACA and the bus line that we recommend is Linea Dorada (see the contact list).
2. You can take the bus from Guatemala City to Poptun for approximately $34.00 US Dollars round trip per person. The best seats are 3 or 4 rows back from the front.
3. You can hire a Minivan to take you from Guatemala City to Poptun. This option may be good if you have a group of 2 or more people since the cost is approximately $300-400.00 US Dollars.
Your final destination is ICAP (Instituto de Capacitation Adventista del Peten) Las Lajas, Poptun, Peten, Guatemala. It is a Seventh-day Adventist vocational school campus and it is where we have our headquarters and living accommodations. We are guests there and from Friday evening sundown to Saturday evening sundown we are not involved in work. We are generally very thankful for the day of rest.
What do I need to bring?
Clothing The weather can vary from cool mid 50’s to the high 90’s but it is generally around the mid 80’s during the day if you are there in January and February so bring clothing that can be layered. It may also rain so a light rain jacket is a good idea. You will want to bring two pair of shoes in case on gets wet. A pair of flip flop style sandals for use around the apartments and in the showers is another helpful item. We do have a washer and dryer/clothes line available so that you can do laundry. The laundry detergent is supplied. Out of respect for the school and their dress code we ask that you do not wear shorts or sleeveless shirts on the ICAP campus. For the ladies, Capri’s are acceptable.
Personal items Obviously you will need to bring your personal toiletries and medications. You can use hair dryers and electric razors and the voltage is the same as in the USA, so you will not need any adaptors at ICAP. You will want to bring along your favorite bug repellant and anti-itch remedy for bug bites. Some years the bugs are worse than others but generally it is a mild problem. You will also want to include your favorite cold remedy and something for an upset stomach/diarrhea in case you need them.
Take toilet paper with you at all times. Most restroom facilities have no paper. Do not flush paper down the toilet; please use the receptacle provided.
Food Vegetarian meals will be provided at the cafeteria for a small suggested donation. If you need coffee please bring your own since it will not be served (instant/bags). It can be a good idea to bring a few of your favorite snacks along, such as granola bars.
Money You will need to bring some small bills for tips as you travel. Each person will need to pay $6.00 per day to ICAP which covers the cost of our electricity and food. Most of the larger hotels and bus stations will accept major credit cards. If you wish to exchange dollars for Quetzals you should bring only new looking bills without rips or tears or they may not exchange them for you. The exchange rate varies but it is usually close to 7-8 Quetzals per US dollar.
What do we provide?
We provide beds, sheets, pillows, toilet paper, laundry detergent, towels and hand soap. Three vegetarian meals are served in the school cafeteria each day. For our drillers a daily lunch is supplied.
Where our shop is located and where we lodge is on the campus of a Seventh-day Adventist vocational school (ICAP), we are guests there and from Friday evening sundown to Saturday evening sundown we are not involved in work. We are generally very thankful for the day of rest.
How can I communicate with family and friends at home?
To phone the U.S. by cell phone is very simple and costs $0.24/minute. You can purchase a prepaid style cell phone in country for about $30.00 plus phone cards to charge your phone. E-mail is available if you wish to bring a laptop and purchase an air card for approximately——–. Our project hosts will have cell phones and internet access so if you plan to make infrequent contact you may also use theirs and pay toward the purchase of their cards.
Do I need to have any special immunizations or malaria medication?
We recommend that you check with your personal physician to find out what is best for you but there are no required immunizations or medications for people traveling to Guatemala.
Will I be able to buy necessities if I forget something?
Our headquarters are based approximately 11 km from the nearest store so while it is possible to purchase certain needed items such as toiletries or phones there are no regularly scheduled visits to town and you would need to arrange for special transportation with our hosts.
What about nearby attractions like Tikal?
We encourage all of our volunteers to visit other places in the country of Guatemala and to see its numerous attractions. The Mayan ruins at Tikal are approximately a 2 ½ hour drive from ICAP and can make a long but rewarding day trip. Antiqua, the National Market in Guatemala City and Chichicastenango are other popular destinations with tourists in Guatemala.
What if I have additional questions?
Please feel free to contact us with any further questions; we are happy to assist you in any way that we can.
Are any of my expenses tax deductable?
If you wish to receive a tax deductable receipt for you plane fare contact the treasurer of WFL.