What to bring

Travel light

Packing too much may tempt you to set down your personal belongings while in public. Don’t bring anything you’d hate to lose, such as:

  • Irreplaceable family objects
  • All unnecessary credit cards
  • Social security card

Limit your valuables to those things you must have to accomplish what you’d like to on your trip. Examples: 1 or 2 Credit Cards, Passport, Camera, charger, memory sticks

Carry valuables in your carry-on suitcase or bag. It’s always good to pack a set of clothing in your carry-on in case of unexpected circumstances.

It is recommended to leave laptops at home, though you can leave them locked in your room at the hotel. Wi-fi internet access is available at the hotel in Antigua and at the hotel in San Martin, although it will be slower than what you are used to at home!

What to wear

Dress conservatively. Guatemalan culture generally has more conservative dress standards, particularly for women. While working on the bottle school, both men and women should wear jeans or work pants, not shorts or yoga pants. Women should avoid revealing tops, such as tank tops or tops with spaghetti straps, and stick to wearing T-shirts. It’s ok to wear shorts to dinner, but please dress conservatively when visiting the Mayan Ruins, as it is a sacred site. If in doubt, err on the side of caution and seek advice rather than risking causing offense. Antigua is a touristy town, and it’s acceptable to wear shorts and revealing tops there, but not in San Martin.

Dress protectively. You will be working on a construction site, where there may be rebar, nails and fragments of metal on the ground. We recommend that you wear sturdy work boots with thick soles that will protect your feet from possible metal debris. You may be working with sand and/or cement, and we recommend that you wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from cement, sand or other materials getting in them. At the Mayan Ruins there is a lot of walking involved and we recommend that you wear walking shoes or sneakers, not flip-flops or sandals.

Packing list

  • Reusable water bottle
    • It is very important that you bring a reusable water bottle for the trip. Guatemala does not have a waste management system and relying on plastic water bottles throughout the trip will just add waste in the communities. Purified water will be available at all times so you can refill your reusable water bottle and some options we suggest are Nalgene, Sigg, Mizu, Klean Kanteen, or Hydro Flask. This will also be a great habit to continue after the trip!
  • Sunglasses
  • Safety goggles
  • Work boots
  • Shoes that are comfortable, but can get dirty
  • Good thick socks
  • Earplugs (occasionally it can get a little noisy near the hotel in San Martin and some people find that earplugs help them to sleep)
  • Sunhat or baseball cap
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Packaged energy foods for snacking – granola bars, trail mix, raisins, candy bars
  • Camera (with enough memory cards!)
  • Your Travel Health Kit:
    • Prescriptions you normally take
      • Pack in your carry-on and bring extra in case of unanticipated travel delays
      • If your life depends on any of your medications please make your trip leader aware immediately after booking your trip
    • A daily probiotic to take while in Guatemala if you tend to have a sensitive stomach
  • Special prescriptions
    • Your doctor may have recommendations for preventative medicines to help you on your trip (e.g. anti-diarrheal)
    • Any over-the-counter medicines that you or your doctor feel you may need (e.g. allergy medications)
  • Other important items:
    • Insect repellant
    • Anti-itch aide (ointment, spray, pill, hydrocortisone cream) for insect bites
    • Sunscreen (SPF 15 or greater with both UVB and UVA protection)
    • Anti-bacterial wipes
    • Health insurance card
  • Bringing additional money
    • People on previous trips have found that $200 to $300 is a reasonable amount to bring. You will have the opportunity to buy lots of beautiful handicrafts which make great gifts! We will not be taking you to any “touristy” shops – all purchases will directly benefit indigenous communities in the areas where bottle schools are being built. Apart from gifts and souvenirs, the only other thing you will need money for are discretionary tips for our Guatemalan Staff (trip leader, assistant trip leader, bus driver, and private cook). Past guests have found that a total of $50-$60 is a reasonable amount to set aside to show their appreciation for the staff on the ground who take care of them throughout their trip.