Hello Katina, Don, Chris, and Amina!
We are excited for your upcoming adventure in Guatemala. During the planning stage of a trip there is a focus on logistics which organically shifts once you arrive (phew!) when you step into the experience of Guatemala.
To best support the logistics stage, I wanted to include the packing list here for your reference in the event that it got buried in your email inbox.
This “Yak” board is a great place to post questions that Liz and Juancho will be able to respond to directly. Please also post an introduction – a little note about who you are, where you come from, and what you are looking forward to during your time in Guatemala – and don’t hesitate to be in touch with me directly with questions or requests that feel too personal to post publicly.
Guatemala: Land & Spirit Packing List
Travel Light…Below is a preferred packing list for Guatemala. We recommend that you bring what’s listed here, and not much more. You should be able to fit all of your belongings into one bag (and a day pack) and feel comfortable carrying it for short distances. If you have any questions please post them here on the Yak board.
❏ LUGGAGE We recommend bringing whatever is the most comfortable and easy for you. This could be a backpack, a wheely bag, or a small duffle bag. Whatever you choose, be sure that you can move it around on your own.
❏ DAYPACK: Small, light backpack or hip bag. This is what you’ll take with you on day excursions. It should be small and yet big enough to hold a water bottle, headlamp or flashlight, some food, and a book or journal.
❏ WALKING SHOES: You’ll need to bring a good pair of solid shoes. We recommend comfortable sneakers.
CLOTHING Even though the official rainy season has come to an end, rain showers can still be frequent, so make sure you’re prepared for wet weather. Normal jeans, t-shirts, and items you’d wear back home work fine in Guatemala, as do quick dry, lightweight travel clothing. Although we will be walking a lot, this journey is not in the backcountry.
❏ RAINCOAT: Best if lightweight and breathable. Gore-tex is great, but there are other materials that are more economical. A plastic poncho will work fine for Guatemala and could be purchased in-country. You can also bring a travel/compact umbrella, which can be great in a downpour. This is an extremely important piece of equipment so don’t think style as much as practicality.
❏ JACKET and FLEECE/WARM SWEATER: We will spend time at around 5000 to 7000 ft. so It could get chilly at night. Fleece is great because it is light, doesn’t hold odors, dries fast and keeps you warm even if it’s wet. This coat is an essential element of the layering system, and a wool sweater can serve the same purpose. Cotton sweaters and sweatshirts are NOT OK as they are heavy, take a long time to dry and will only make you colder if they get wet.
❏ SHIRTS: May be cotton or synthetic, long sleeve and short – a combination of the two is recommended. Please DO NOT bring thin-shoulder tank tops or other shirts that reveal skin as these are culturally inappropriate. You may want to consider one nicer shirt for a special event.
❏ LONG PANTS, SHORTS, SKIRTS: Some participants like to travel in lightweight trekking pants, while others prefer cotton pants or skirts. Do not bring wide-leg pants that might drag on the ground (these get dirty easily), pants that are tight fitting, or shorts that fall above the knee.
❏ SLEEP WEAR: You will want something comfortable to sleep in. Lightweight long pants and a loose fitting t-shirt are ideal.
❏ SWIM SUIT: Something modest
❏ WARM HAT & SUN HAT
❏ SOCKS & UNDERWEAR
❏ WATER BOTTLE: 1-quart, plastic or metal water bottle. Nalgene makes great, durable plastic water bottles, and Sigg, Brunton and Kleen Kanteen make great metal bottles.
❏ SUNGLASSES: Bring one pair that offers good protection.
❏ TOILETRIES: It’s best to bring a supply of everything you need to last the course-length. If you forget anything, all toiletries are available in Guatemala.
❏ SECURITY WALLET/BELT: You’ll want to keep your passport, ATM card, and other valuables in a secure wallet or belt that’s well attached to your body.
❏ JOURNAL/NOTEBOOK: Bring something that you can write in and a pen.
❏ HEADLAMP or FLASHLIGHT: We recommend a headlamp as it’s hands-free.
❏ SUNSCREEN: Important in the Himalayas! We recommend SPF 30+, water/sweatproof.
❏ LIP BALM: Make sure that your lip balm has SPF 15 or higher.
❏ PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS: Any personal prescription medications that you regularly take (and printed information on side effects and contraindications).
❏ GLASSES / CONTACTS AND CONTACT SOLUTION: Please bring an extra pair of glasses in case you lose them. Contact lens wearers should consider bringing extra pairs and enough saline solution to last the length of the course. We recommend that contact lens wearers also bring a pair of glasses in the event that your contacts are aggravating.
❏ TRAVEL ALARM CLOCK or WATCH WITH BUILT-IN ALARM
❏ QUICK DRY TOWEL
❏ INSECT REPELLANT
The items listed above are essentials. The following options are optional. If you have any questions regarding the necessity of a particular item, please contact us.
❏ SLEEPING BAG: Although guest houses and homestays will provide blankets, if you tend to sleep cold, we would recommend that you bring your own bag.
❏ CAMERA: Please consider using a camera instead of your phone.
❏ SANDALS: Tevas or Chacos recommended. A sturdy sandal with heel straps.
❏ STUFF SACKS or ZIPLOCK BAGS : Lightweight and compact, either can be very useful for separating clothes, food, toiletries, and everything else so that you may bring order to your pack and make your life simpler.
❏ SMALL BACKPACK PADLOCK: This can be purchased in Guatemala, but it is a good idea to have some way to lock-secure your bags.
❏ GIFTS: A few simple things to present to people who help make our course special. These shouldn’t be expensive. Picture books of home, T-shirts from schools or hometowns or local sports teams, pictures of yourself and/or your family, name cards with your address and email are good examples. You can also buy gifts in Guatemala.
❏ HAND-SANITIZING GEL: A small bottle or anti-bacterial hand wipes.
❏ STERI-PEN: Very handy for sterilizing water anywhere, though we will also provide safe drinking water.
❏ BANDANA: Bandanas are versatile and can be very useful.
❏ GOOD BOOK
❏ MUSICAL INSTRUMENT: A great way to make friends and share culture.
❏ PLAYING CARDS / DICE / TRAVEL GAMES: As long as they’re small and light.
❏ EARPLUGS: Especially for light sleepers
❏ OVER THE COUNTER MEDICATIONS: A small supply of needed medications, along with vitamins and Emergen-C. We stock our med-kit with just about everything, but if you are especially prone to motion sickness, headaches, or menstrual cramps, it’s still a good idea to bring some of your own. Instructors will collect and review all medications at the start of the course.
❏ PROBIOTICS: Probiotics are essential for digestive health. Consider bringing a supply for daily use on the trip.
THINGS YOU CAN BUY IN-COUNTRY: Clothing, footwear, books in Spanish and English, toiletries (non-natural), notebooks and writing utensils and souvenirs, among many other things are available in Guatemala. Feminine hygiene products (pads/tampons) are also available if needed. It’s pretty easy to cover your basic needs in-country, but it can be difficult to find technical items and quick-dry clothing.