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GUATEMALA

Join us for our newest destination: Guatemala! Rich in landscapes, cultures, ruins, food, textiles, history and so much more, Guatemala is a treasure trove of color and energy. We will spend time in Antigua, with its incredible buildings and markets, before heading off to Lake Atitlan where our NGO partner is based. Before heading home we will visit volcanoes, lagoons, vistas, more markets, sunsets and sunrises, and some ruins too.  All without tons of driving or changing hotels every night – this is an excellent region for seeing a lot in a small area.

Introducing our epic NGO partner: Unlocking Silent Histories. They work to introduce film-making to indigenous youths, whose voices are often unheard, drowned out, or not shared in the first place. USH works to train youths and local staff in the art of documentary film-making so they have the tools to tell their own stories, for themselves. We believe in this message strongly and are really excited about this partnership.

USH desires to bring photography into their skill set for the youths, how it can stand alone as a storytelling art and also how it can inform and inspire film-making too. No video experience is required to join this trip, however if it interests you it will also be available and discussed.

Another unique aspect is that we will spend two days training USH’s local staff, before spending 2 days working with their youths. This way the staff can offer ongoing tutorials long after we are gone. As with all our trips, you do not need to possess a strong skill set in photo (or video) but rather a big heart that believes photography can be impactful. Our leaders will pave the way with the local workshops and your role is to support, encourage, and have a blast.

Join us for a pretty amazing adventure through Guatemala!

Difficulty

This trip is physically moderate. There will be walking each day, some hiking, climbing to viewpoints, but at this time no major hikes or difficult climbs await us. Stairs, hills, and walking the streets will be common, and some effort to reach a viewpoint will be required.

The emotional demands of this trip are moderate. You will get to know the kids and get a glimpse into their real lives, and that will push you emotionally to face the fact that much of the world lives on very little. You may grapple with your own gratitude but also guilt meeting head-on. Some may feel a sense of helplessness but your leaders will assist in handling that and processing it. At the same time, you will be blown away by their attitudes, their strength, their curiosity, their willingness, and much more.

The standards of accommodation, quality of meals, and access to amenities of this trip are quite good. We will be staying in pleasant local accommodation, similar to a b+b, with twin rooms. We choose quaint, cultural accommodation with space for the team to spread out and also to gather and debrief. Food in Guatemala is very good, and access to amenities is excellent as well. It’s unlikely this trip will challenge you in any of these regards.

Level of safety in Guatemala is very good. During the day, you’ll find the atmosphere extremely pleasant and friendly.  In general, we do not advise going out after dark alone. Common sense with your camera gear is always required. Take precautions to stay in tourist zones if spending time in Guatemala City.

Trip Locations

Arrive in Guatemala City on July 20th and be transferred to our hotel in Antigua (approx 1-hour drive).

Markets, street photography, architecture, colors and much more, Antigua is a cultural gem. Well-preserved Spanish architecture mixes with traditional pre-colonial Guatemalan culture; it has a long history you feel that as you roam the streets. We will spend time here practising street photography, reviewing images, exploring, getting lost, and learning about Guatemala.

Lagos Atitlan is a lake in the Guatemalan Highlands, rimmed by volcanoes, lush rainforest, and dotted with towns. It’s often regarded as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world – and you’ll see why. We will explore it’s landscapes at sunrise and sunset, from up high and then down low on the shores, soaking in golden hour as much as we have the energy for. When not exploring it’s volcanoes, vistas, and viewpoints we will take delicious team dinners in town and enjoy the magical atmosphere here. The area draws yogis, artists, writers, retreats, backpackers, and more so you can expect to find great coffee, healthy food, and comfortable amenities.

Our NGO partner is based on Lake Atitlan so we don’t have to travel far to get involved. We will spend two days working with their leadership staff to first train them on some fundamental photography skills. Don’t worry you don’t have to teach – your leaders will conduct the lessons and the rest is about support, encouragement, suggestions (via a translator), and exploring with cameras.  Then, we will spend 2 more afternoons with the youths that the staff serve – teaching more simple lessons alongside the staff as to how photography can be used to tell stories, and even improve on the video work that they are already doing.  It will be a blast!

Chichicastenango is a town about 90 minutes inland from Lake Atitlan, home to some lovely buildings but also one of the largest markets in the region. We will head this way to explore the color and chaos of a massive Guatemalan market, not only photographing but tasting, drinking, and otherwise enjoying our way through it all.

We will have a final night in Antigua to wind down our adventure. Departures begin from Guatemala City (~1 hour away) on July 30th.

What is Included?

What is Not?

The NGO: Unlocking Silent Histories

Through an engaged critical and creative process, Unlocking Silent Histories inspires Indigenous youth to create documentary films that capture and illuminate their cultures, languages, and customs. The voices of the youth lead the process, deciding which traditions and heritages to preserve and which methods are best to apply. Our goal is to collaboratively foster a learning and leadership model for younger generations as well as create business ideas that support their communities.

Indigenous communities – in Guatemala and around the world – face extra discrimination, poverty, isolation, and barriers to things like education, work, and respect.  We envision a future where Indigenous youth leaders around the world inspire teams of young people to capture, revive, and reinvigorate their cultures, traditions, and languages through creating and discussing documentary films. We imagine these Indigenous youth leaders making social impacts, locally and globally by sharing their films across generational and geographical boundaries.

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