Hello there Dragones!
Here is a tentative itinerary that the I-team, Juancho, Este, and Raquel, have put together aftersome great conversations and nice brainstorming sessions. We are excited to share it with you all now so you can start getting familiarized with some of these locations, maybe look for them on a map, start asking questions, and preparing yourselves to embark on this wonderful adventure!
We have intentionally designed this course to take you on a journey around this beautiful country where we will find and meet amazing people, discover incredible places and learn and become part of many inspiring stories. It is important to mention that as Dragons we believe and embrace flexibility, and even though we will try to stick to the plan that we have described below, there is always room for change and small tweaks.
On June 28th, once we are all in Guatemala and walk out of the airport, we will immediately become aware of the temperature, the sounds, the colors and smells of a new country. We will take a bus and head out to the beautiful Colonial town of Antigua where we will spend the first night and have our first Guatemalan meal.
June 29 – July 1st
Early morning departure to Tecpan, about an hour and a half from Antigua, where we will arrive at our Orientation site, a beautiful farm surrounded by Pinabete trees called finca Chichavac. Here we will spend the next three days getting to know each other, preparing to explore the highlands and the Maya communities that will host and welcome us with open arms. Orientation is also a time and place where instructors will deliver the essential tools and information that will help us be part of a fun, safe and dynamic program.
July 1st – 5th
We will arrive in San Lucas Toliman on the shores of Lake Atitlán and spend the next 4 days learning about permaculture at IMAP (Instituto Mesoamericano de Permacultura) and talking about sustainable agriculture. We will also visit the community of Quichayá and learn about aquaculture. This is also a great opportunity to start talking about Guatemalan history, political reality and food sovereignty.
July 6th – 10th
Our journey will take us to the highlands and the beautiful town of Pachaj, where we will meet Armando and the reforestation project Chico Mendes. Pachaj is also our first home-stay experience and where we will get our first Spanish lessons. This wonderful place is only 20 minutes from Quetzaltenango or Xela, the second biggest city in Guatemala. In other words, we will also be able to explore a more urban setting and observe the beauty of this eclectic and unique part of the country.
July 10th – 13th
After exploring Xela and saying “hasta luego” to our friends in Pachaj, we will go further north to the Cuchumatanes mountains, in Huehuetenango, where we will enjoy the amazing views as we walk the trails that will take us on a 3-day trekking adventure to the heart of the Ixil area.
July 14th – 16th
The towns of Nebaj and San Juan Cotzal will be waiting for us with their bright red textiles, Boxbol (you’ll learn what this is soon!), and its amazing history. We will do a short but inspiring stop here where Ixil families will open their arms and homes and welcome us for our most rural home-stay.
July 17th – 22nd
A different part of Lake Atitlán is our next destination, where the town of San Juan la Laguna will welcome us with the sounds of ocarinas and marimbas. We will be here for 6 days, studying more Spanish, working on our ISPs (Independent Student Projects) and preparing for Expedition Phase. It is also our final home-stay experience and a great place to go for a swim and enjoy the scenery.
July 22nd – 25th
X-phase, in Dragon’s lingo, is when you all will have the opportunity to take more ownership of your experience. At this point there is no specific destination planned as this is something that you will decide and organize as a group, while the instructors take a step back and delegate many of the responsibilities to the student group. It is a great opportunity to practice and apply what you have learned during the first 3 weeks of your program as you make great use of your newly-gained skills and knowledge.
July 25th – July 27th
Transference is the last portion of our wonderful journey around Guatemala, and Earthlodge, near Antigua, is our final destination. It is here where we will wrap up and provide you with tools that will help you take your experience back home. Transference is an opportunity to process and appreciate the wonderful time spent together traveling and learning, to then fly home on July 28th with a backpack full of memories and wonderful stories.
Let us know of you have any questions y hasta pronto!
Juancho, Este y Raquel