Serve to Travel

non-profit + travel

Category: Guatemala

Lake Atitlan Villages

When I first began to research Lake Atitlan villages almost two years ago, there wasn’t a lot of diverse information. Lake Atitlan is a massive lake with 15 small villages surrounding it. What I could find online basically said every village was  gringo town with a little variety here and there. Now, I’ve been back and forth to the lake probably 10 times. Here is what I wish I knew about the Lake Atitlan Villages when I first went.

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A Self-Fulfilling Cycle


When I first came to Guatemala I was overwhelmed. As I spent more time here, I was able to sort through things. I work with a nonprofit aiming to better the lives of those living in the red zones. That’s a staggering task, but we are targeting the youth and pairing them with mentors to invest in their lives. And, it works. The next generation of youth are less likely to become involved in gangs, fall into abusive cycles and are more poised than their parents to break cycles of their communities.

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A Guatemalan Christmas

A Guatemalan Christmas always includes fireworks

This year, I marked my first true Guatemalan Christmas. I’ve been in the country leading up to Christmas, but never spent the big day here. There is no Thanksgiving in Guatemala. So, the natural US divide between ‘Christmas time’ and the rest of the year is gone. I’ve always grown up with a more traditional Southern Christmas. Maybe a little black Friday shopping after Thanksgiving. But Christmas doesn’t get into full swing until a week or two before. We would decorate the house and then Christmas Eve and Christmas Day the family would get together for dinner. Sometimes we hit the movie theaters Christmas Day. Not in Guatemala.

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Off the Grid…for a Good Cause

Went off the grid to work on a Nonprofit project

So, I’ve been a bit MIA lately. I haven’t posted anything in a while. Aside from the unexpected publishing of my collaboration article – and sharing that – I’ve been off the grid lately. I didn’t mean to, but I got a bit distracted with another project. As all of you know, I am based out of Guatemala where I work alongside a nonprofit working with at-risk youth. I’m a jack of many trades with them: administrator, ‘mother’ to the kids, disciplinary, strategist, etc. One of the many hats I wear is in their development area. And, with the end of the year almost here, I found myself behind schedule with organizing their fundraising strategies. Continue reading

Guatemala Independence Day as a Foreigner

The Guatemalan flag on Guatemala Independence Day

September 15, a normal day for us foreigners. But, a day of pride and joy for Guatemalans. It celebrates their independence as a colony of Spain. This year, marked the 195th anniversary of independence for Guatemala. If in town, make sure not to miss out on this exciting day. Guatemala Independence Day is a true local holiday. To really enjoy the celebrations, you need to get off the tourist circuit and get local. Read on to see how I enjoyed Guatemala Independence Day as a foreigner.

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Loss of the Chichicastenango Market

Chichicastenango Market bags

The Chichicastenango Market

The Chichicastenango market is one the largest and most well known markets in Guatemala. The town is nestled in the Mayan highlands in the department (or state) of Quiché. It is usually on every traveler’s list of places to visit when in Guatemala. Shuttles and guides provide weekly visits to the Mayan community to see the market. On market days (Thursday and Sunday) vendors line the main square to sell their goods.

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Celebrating Mentoring in Guatemala


Growing up, I never really realized the impact that mentoring makes in the lives of kids. It wasn’t until I came to Guatemala that first time that I saw how important positive role models are. The country is filled with a great beauty but also great need. Currently less than 50% of the population is above the age of 18 and violence is common.

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What to do in Guatemala City – A Local’s Guide


Guatemala is usually on most people’s travel list, one way or another. The country has beautiful views and places to visit, whether you decide to travel on a budget or high-end.  Yet, once most people land in Guatemala City, they take the first mode of transportation out. Either coming as volunteers or tourists, few people actually spend time exploring the treasures of Guatemala City. But, why? There is so much to do in Guatemala City.

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