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Packing List: Remember to pack light!

¡Hola Dragones!

Esperamos que están esperando con ansias nuestro viaje a Guatemala. Una de las cosas más esenciales de cualquier viajero es lo que traerá consigo y lo que dejará en casa. Pueden siempre usar como referencia su Course Preparation Manual (CPM) pero nosotros tenemos algunos consejos de nuestra propia experiencia:  muchos de nosotros somos eternos viajeros así que pueden aprender tanto de nuestros logros como nuestros errores. Pensamos que las siguientes cosas les servirán mucho en hacer su aventura la más cómoda posible. A la vez, muchos viajeros y locales viven sin ninguna de las cosas en ésta lista. No será la cantidad de cosas que haga que tu viaje sea exitosa así que vean por sí mismos lo que quieren empacar. Antes de todo, empaquen lo más ligero posible ya que nos movemos mucho. Cuando tienen cualquiera duda pueden preguntar aquí en el Yak Board.

We hope that you are anxiously anticipating our trip to Guatemala. One of the essential things of any traveler is what s/he will pack and what s/he will leave behind. You can always refer to your Course Preparation Manual when in doubt but we have some tips for you from our own experience as frequent travelers. In this way you can learn from our successes as well as our failures. We think that the following items will help to make your adventure the most comfortable it can be. At the same time, many travelers and locals alike live without any of the items on this list. It won’t be the amount of stuff that you bring that will make your trip successful so see for yourselves what you would like to pack. Above all else, pack light because we move around quite a bit. Whenever you have a question feel free to reach out or post it right here on the Yak Board!

Abajo hemos reiterado cosas importantes a la hora de empacar aunque el CPM tendrá la lista sugerida completa.

Below we are reiterating some of the most important things to have in mind although the CPM will have your full suggested packing list.


BRING NORMAL CLOTHES! We can’t emphasize enough how nice it will be to have some normal jeans, t shirts and stuff you would wear back home. Although we will be doing some trekking, the majority of this journey is not an outback safari — not everything needs to be quick dry.

Be sure to bring COMFORTABLE PANTS AND/OR A COMFORTABLE DRESS (that covers the shoulders and goes down to the knees). This is useful for when we are living in one community for an extended time. You will want some clothing that helps you to feel relaxed.

Your large BACKPACK to carry all your belongings (50-65 liters). It will also be helpful to have a small day backpack that you can use on trek or for small outings. Have a rain protector for both as the rainy season has already begun.

Speaking of rain you should also bring rain gear. A lightweight PONCHO is a good option or a raincoat.

PROBIOTICS: Traveling abroad almost always brings stomach issues. Bring a bottle of probiotic pills with you to try and stay healthy. In fact, it is helpful to start taking probiotics now (and eating yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, etc regularly) to build up good gut flora and help protect from bacterial infections.

GIFTS: You may want something for individuals who make your course special, such as ISP mentors and homestay families. We have multiple home stays during our course, so it’s probably best to bring at least 5 separate gifts. There’s no need to bring anything elaborate. Think about a couple of small gifts that anyone would appreciate. Some ideas are:  postcards or pictures from home with a message on the back, games that you enjoy, small tokens of where you’re from (magnets, a local treat, etc.). There is no expectation that you bring gifts, so simplicity is best for this!

CAMERA: You will not be able to rely on your cell phone to take photos. We will keep your cell phones with us for the duration of the course.

A WATCH so you can wake yourself up in the mornings when we have homestays.

USB STICK for saving photos, documents for independent study projects, yaks, etc.

TOWEL that covers all the necessary parts (tiny towels can make walking to and from your homestays and hostels awkward and cold).

FLIP FLOPS are great for hostel showers and informal settings.

EARPLUGS as there will be all sorts of new noises (think roosters and car honks RIGHT outside your window).

A JOURNAL/NOTEBOOK and a PEN or your favorite writing utensil. We will be doing a lot of writing and reflecting and everyone will want to participate!

Something to do as a GROUP– you will have many moments together as a group, it is nice to have games (ideas are playing cards, Uno, Banana Grams) and no more than a couple of BOOKS that you can trade off (Instructors will give periodic reading assignments too so no need to bring your whole library).

Bring MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS (guitars, ukuleles, etc.) if you are musically inclined and wanting to share!

EXTRA DUFFEL BAG for forwarding your extra stuff to our final destination for our trek. We don’t carry everything we own on our backs while hiking, so having a safe place to store what you leave behind can be helpful.


You do not need a sleeping pad. We won’t need one on our treks because we’ll be spending the nights in the houses of families along the way. A mosquito net. If they are needed they will be provided. Anything you don’t want ruined or lost.

KINDLES and any other ELECTRONIC READING DEVICES are a risk for damage and theft, and not particularly culturally appropriate.

CELL PHONES (iPhones included) leave at home. If you do decide to bring a phone to coordinate your travel to and from Miami, please keep in mind that we will collect all phones for the duration of the course and are not responsible for loss or damage. We will address this topic in more detail soon, but please be prepared to disconnect from your phone for the duration of our time together. You will have intermittent access to internet and call centers to contact home during the program. There will be plenty of ways to stay in contact with home, and the Yak board will be our main source of communication as a group to loved ones following our journeys.

INAPPROPRIATE CLOTHING (thin leggings as pants, clothing that is skin tight, revealing, more than a few inches above the knee, blazoned with inappropriate words, excessively torn, etc.) should be left at home to be enjoyed after our trip. Students with clothing deemed culturally inappropriate will be asked to change by their instructors. We hope to travel as respectfully as possible through lands that aren’t ours and this sometimes means leaving some of our personal preferences at home.


Clothing (traditional, American, and souvenir), knock-off footwear, books in Spanish and English, toiletries (non-natural), notebooks and writing utensils, souvenirs, among many other things. Feminine hygiene products (pads/tampons) are available in-country if needed. It’s pretty easy to cover your basics in-country. Just remember to bring your staple items and technical gear from home.



Your Instructor Team: Este, Juancho, y Raquel