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Guatemala

Introduction

Welcome to Guatemala!

Guatemala is seen as an off-the-beaten-path destination in Central America. It’s a country that seamlessly blends Guatemalan culture, archaeology, Spanish Colonial heritage, and lush jungles.

The Guatemalan people add a friendly and hospitable touch to their country. For all of these reasons, you will surely enjoy your adventure to Guatemala with Under30Experiences.

What's Included

  • 5 days & 4 nights shared accommodations in boutique hotel rooms
  • 4 breakfasts, 1 lunch, & 3 dinners
  • Colonial Antigua Walking Tour
  • Coffee Plantation Experience 
  • Pacaya Volcano Hike
  • Tikal National Park Tour with a Certified Guatemalan Guide
  • Domestic round-trip flight from Guatemala City to Flores
  • Private airport pick-up upon arrival
  • Private airport pick-up upon departure
  • Under30Experiences Trip Leader
  • Personal recommendations for optional activities
  • The chance to meet some kick-ass people
  • Access to the Under30Experiences community
  • Taxes always included, never hidden fees, & NO blackout dates

Travelers are responsible for international airfare to and from Guatemala.
Public transportation and optional activities are not included.

Highlights

  • Hike the most active volcano in Guatemala
  • Visit the ancient Mayan citadel at Tikal
  • Explore the colonial city of Antigua
  • Tour a Guatemalan coffee plantation
  • Relax next to Lake Peten Itza

Is this Trip for You?

If you are interested in Maya history, indigenous cultures, and exploring nature, then this trip is for you!

Experience Guatemala authenticity. From stunning volcanoes to lush coffee plantations and one of the largest archaeological sites in Central America.

We’ve included activities that are active and adventurous, while also giving you plenty of free time to explore the colonial city of Antigua and the colorful island of Flores.

Under30Experiences will take you on a hike of the active Pacaya Volcano, teach you about coffee plantations and guide you through the Maya ruins of Tikal.

-Age requirement: 21+
-Group size: 16 max, average 15
-Physical rating: Moderate. Some activities include physical activity like hiking.

Travel Community

Travel connects us. Community keeps us connected.

Before your trip you'll have the opportunity to join a custom Facebook Group and connect with others members of your group. Many travelers meet in the airport, or for pre-trip drinks if they are from the same city. Others coordinate plans to stay in a country after their trip.

During your adventure, our Trip Leaders do their best to foster an open, supportive environment, where people feel safe to truly be themselves.

After your trip, you'll be an official U30X Alumni, and part of our larger online Travel Community where you'll have access to our network of thousands of past travelers. We are constantly hosting meetups that range from simple happy hours, to hikes, to outdoor movie nights.

More than 70% of our travelers come solo, but they all leave with friends.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Travel can be unpredictable. Our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience.

While it is our intention to adhere to the itinerary, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into it and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Meals

Eat like a local with delicious Guatemalan dishes such as Pepián, which is a traditional meaty, spicy stew that often contains chicken, beef, or pork. Jocón is another popular dish with the Maya population. The chicken is simmered in a tasty sauce tinted a beautiful green by tomatillos and cilantro, thickened with ground sesame and pumpkin seeds, and served on corn tortillas.

Sample Breakfast Menu

  • Black beans, fried plantain, eggs, tortillas or bread, and coffee.  

Sample Dinner Menu

  • Pepián, Jocón, rice, beans, corn tortillas.

Transport

You will be traveling by private ground transportation and a domestic flight throughout your trip. 

  • Private ground transportation to and from the airport (Included)
  • Domestic roundtrip flight from Guatemala City to Flores (Included)

Some optional activities do not include transportation.

Accommodation

You will be staying in shared boutique hotel rooms for the duration of your trip.

Laundry is available at the hotel for an additional fee. Ask your Trip Leader for details.

Accommodations may vary but will be the same quality.
Solo travelers are paired with someone of the same gender.
Private room options are available upon request subject to hotel availability for an extra charge.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is mandatory in order to participate in any of our trips.

When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all travelers must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of $200,000 USD for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Please ensure that all the activities you plan on participating in are covered by your travel insurance.

We recommend using either Wanderwell or World Nomads to purchase your policy. The Wanderwell “Preferred Plan” or the World Nomads “Explorer Plan” will cover all included activities on U30X trips. Wanderwell donates at least one percent of your insurance purchase to Explore Austin, a sustainable youth outdoor education program, via 1% for the Planet, thoughtfully selected by Under30Experiences.

If you have travel insurance with your credit card we require proof of purchase of the trip in the form of a receipt or credit card statement on a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage, and emergency contact telephone number.

Cancellation Policy

With the increased concern surrounding the spread of the coronavirus we've implemented a temporary cancellation policy that you can reference on our FAQs.

Very Flexible

Give us at least 30 days notice and you can switch your trip for free, or we'll hold your Experience Credits for future use.

If you have an emergency cancellation that is less than 30 days before your trip, please refer to your travel insurance company as they may cover you for some expenses. We are not able to transfer trips or hold experience credits within 30 days of the trip because we have already secured reservations on your behalf.

Trip Leader Expectations

All Under30Experiences trips are accompanied by experienced Trip Leaders.

The goal of the Trip Leader is to facilitate an awesome experience and help our travelers have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends.

You can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.

Packing List

Please be eco-friendly!
  • Bring a reusable water bottle to refill from the tap.
  • Use as little plastic as possible by declining straws and plastic bags at restaurants and when shopping.
  • Please avoid aerosol bug sprays as they negatively affect the environment.
  • Bring "reef safe" sunscreens that do not contain oxybenzone and octinoxate because they kill coral.

We recommend using a travel backpack for your convenience, or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person. You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage.

We highly recommend packing active gear as we'll be exploring hidden beaches, hiking to waterfalls, and staying active throughout the trip.

Below includes our staff picks of the best items on the market that we travel with!  All products selected are 3 ounces or less to comply with TSA carry-on size and organically inspired when possible.

Do not forget: water bottle, sunscreen, sandals, waterproof rain jacket, sunglasses and a hat!

Some links on this page are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you Under30Experiences will earn a small commission if you make a purchase.

Passport & Visas

Guidelines for U.S. Passport Holders:

Make sure you have an updated passport with you. Your passport must be valid for 60 days after your trip. Under30Experiences recommends that your passport be valid for at least 6 months after your trip.  Please consult the U.S. Department of State with any more questions.

Make sure there is no damage to your passport. Conditions that may constitute damage requiring you to replace your passport include water damage, a significant tear, unofficial markings on the data page, missing or torn out visa pages, a hole punch, or other injuries.

Health & Insurance

The tap water in Guatemala is NOT safe to drink. Please bring a reusable water bottle and join us in our efforts to be environmentally friendly and keep Guatemala beautiful.

Our suggested travel insurance vendor is World Nomads and has a minimum of $200,000 USD coverage.

Please consult with your doctor before traveling regarding physical activity and vaccinations.

No inoculations are required to enter Guatemala from the United States but the Center for Disease Control suggests vaccinating for routine vaccines.

Mosquito borne viruses exist in most of Latin America.  Please cover exposed skin and use mosquito repellent.

Money & Currency

We suggest bringing $150 USD in cash to be used at establishments that do not accept credit cards and in case of emergencies.

This is not a total cash amount that you should expect to spend on your trip. Please consider your own spending habits for additional expenses such as snacks, souvenirs, and optional activities.

The official currency of Guatemala is the Quetzal (GTQ)

Remember to call your bank and credit card company to let them know you will be traveling overseas.

For an up-to-date exchange rate, download the XE Currency Exchange App.

Please be advised that US Dollar notes that are slightly torn, heavily marked, or faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than $100.

Safety & Security

Always carry a copy of your travel insurance, health insurance and passport with you. A photo of these items on your phone is also a good backup.

Keep your passport and any valuables locked in the safe at the hotel.

Don’t leave valuables unattended.

Leave flashy jewelry at home.

US Citizens please consider registering with US State Department's “SMART Traveler Program” who can contact your family in case of emergency.

Uber works at the San Jose Airport and is the safest way to call a taxi.  If you miss the shuttle, please be in touch with your Trip Leader and use the free-wifi to call an Uber to meet the group.

Although Manuel Antonio & Quepos are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering around any town at night. We recommend staying in small groups when possible.

Make sure you have the address of your hotel in the event that you're separated from your Trip Leader.

Weather

There are two seasons in Guatemala. The dry season is from November to April. The green season is from May to October. 

The average high in Guatemala is 80°F and the average minimum is 50°F.

cultural information

Guatemala's culture is a combination of Maya and Spanish influences. The diversity of this country emerges from the mixture of these two worlds.

The Maya in the rural areas are trying to keep their traditions, language, and culture alive. You will also see more urbanized and wealthy mestizo population in the cities.

Key Phrases
  • Hello -- Hola
  • Excuse me -- Perdon
  • How are you? -- ¿Como esta?
  • Thank you -- Gracias
  • Please -- Por favor
  • A beer please -- Una cerveza por favor

Optional Activities

  • One Day Tour to Atitlán Lake
  • Antigua Guatemala Cooking Class
  • Salsa Lessons 
  • School Volunteer 
  • Visit to Chocolate Museum

While your Trip Leader will assist you with optional activities available, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of the Under30Experiences itinerary. We offer no guarantees on the safety or standard of the activity.

General Rules

Respect the people around you and the environment in which you’re traveling. This includes, but is not limited to fellow travelers, Trip Leaders, the local community, nature, wildlife, and yourself.

Do your best to keep yourself and fellow travelers out of harm’s way.

It’s important to obey local laws and customs while on our trips. This includes, but is not limited to wearing appropriate clothing while visiting certain communities, refraining from taking photos of people without asking, avoiding the use of illegal drugs, having weapons, and soliciting prostitution. If you’re not sure about something, take time to educate yourself, or ask.

Travel involves contact with new cultures. When confronted with a different way of living than you’re used to, do your best to understand that neither way is better or worse. They’re simply different ways of life.

Know your limits! This applies to physical ability, emotional space, social situations, and alcohol consumption. If you can’t participate in something, be upfront about it. If you need a break from people, take it. Stop drinking before you get too drunk.

Trip leaders are working in the travelers’ best interest. If they say something or ask you not to do something it’s not because they’re tyrants, but because they want you to have a good time!

Lying or withholding information about any physical or mental condition that might affect your ability to participate in any of the activities may be grounds for removal from your trip with no refund.

Staying longer or arriving early?

Come with us to Belize!

Recommended hotels in Guatemala City


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testimonials

MORE THAN 800 FIVE STAR REVIEWS

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U30X is such an amazing travel community. Once your trip is over, the experience is not. They keep in touch with their alumni & provide platforms for travel questions, personal development, & community connections in your own backyard! If you're a young person looking to travel I highly recommend U30X!

There are not enough ways for me to describe how amazing this company is. After my first trip I always told people, it wasn't about the location, but the experience that u30x gave me. I have some of the best experiences of my life with u30x, and now a passion for travel. Also, their alumni community and groups are awesome too!

Traveling with U30X has been life changing for me. I've made lifelong friends with both travelers and staff. I can't come up with enough good things to say about the company, the people, and the experiences I've had!

Just returned from my second trip with Under30Experiences. My first trip was to the Costa Rica rainforest. My most recent trip was to Iceland. Both trips were such an amazing experience. I loved learning about Iceland and its origins. I enjoy the small groups and I made some great new friends! Recommend them for anyone wanting to travel alone or with a couple of friends.

I was so scared to travel abroad alone and then I came across their website and they made international travel so easy! And the people I’ve met on the trips are some amazing individuals! I’ve done 6 of their trips and plan on continuing to do even more!!

My Hike the Inca Trail trip was beyond amazing, and I couldn't have asked for anything more from a trip. Our leaders made us all feel instantly comfortable, and the group was fantastic. The trip was well planned and the hike was unforgettable. Memories to last a lifetime.

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