We are very excited for our friends at ARCAS in Guatemala now featured on the PBS NATURE series. We are honored to work with them every summer and are thrilled with the incredible animal opportunities they create for our students!
June 27 - July 17, 2017 // 21 Days
Call For Availability 773-342-5200
July 20 - August 9, 2017 // 21 Days
Call For Availability 773-342-5200
Join us in Guatemala for 21 days on our teen community service program focusing on wildlife rescue and rehabilitation near Flores, a tiny island jewel on Lake Petén Itzá.
At the Rescue Center, which is situated on the banks of Lake Petén in the middle of a tropical rainforest, we'll have the rare hands-on opportunity to work with scarlet macaws, parrots, kinkajous, spider and howler monkeys, peccaries, coatimundis, fresh-water turtles, juvenile crocodiles, and other species that desperately need our help.
Assist the Center by caring for and feeding the animals in rehabilitation, maintaining paths and buildings, constructing cages, making enclosure improvements, and adding toys, perches, and other stimuli to help the animals in their growth. This is the ONLY program RLT offers that affords each student (depending on age) the opportunity to earn an INDIVIDUAL PVSA AWARD. Click the link to learn more about this prestigious community service achievement.
We’ll head into the jungle to explore Tikal National Park. One of the major sites of Mayan civilization, this ceremonial center contains superb temple, palaces, and public squares. Our free time has us exploring local markets, zip-lining through the jungle, paddling Lake Petén Itzá, and exploring the Island of Flores.
Learn more about this exciting teen animal rescue and rehabilitation community service program in Guatemala! Click on the Description tab below.
Work for survival and conservation of endangered species and their habitat and assist in the rational management of natural resources. The sanctuary is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries for meeting the highest standard in humane animal care.
Rich in culture with 21 different indigenous Mayan populations, Guatemala has a complex and multi-faceted national culture with Spanish and European populations and influence. The language, rites, and rituals have carved out a unique and colorful national culture.
Beneath the majestic kapok trees of the Maya forest is a diverse ecosystem. The largest uninterrupted tropical forest north of the Amazon is home for jaguars, scarlet macaws, howler monkeys, and leaf-cutter ants, just to name a few. The Maya Biosphere Reserve protects Guatemala’s precious forest and astounding diversity of plant and animal life and its hundreds of Mayan ruins for future generations.
Hot, humid, laid back, and surrounded by water, the tiny island in Lake Petén Itzá lays in the trunk of the Yucatán Peninsula. A walk around the island takes about 10-15 minutes. And with an unobstructed 360-degree view of Lake Petén Itzá, it’s very, very hard to get lost.
Markets are a great place to explore among colonial architecture and artistic ruins. With vibrant storefront art, flavors, and smells, this is the place to see how local people live, shop, eat, and travel.
Photogenic “chicken buses” travel to various destinations where the ayudante, or conductor, calls out the destination for the benefit of passengers who cannot read. The buses transport people and their goods (sometimes chickens!) between communities.
Swing through the forest from tree to tree like Tarzan! Experience what it feels like to jump and hear the wildlife of the jungle with monkeys hollering around you.
Guatemala’s second-largest lake is surrounded by rainforests and is home to at least 27 archeological sites. Paddlers can stop on the shore and walk on the malecón or jump in for a swim.
Mayan ruins are a highlight and the best way to understand the ancestry of the people. Monumental temples and palaces are set in a tropical forest alive with spider monkeys, chattering parakeets, exquisitely carved stelae and altars, and towering hieroglyphic stairways.
Red hot molten lava pours down the summits while dust and lava fields create an impressive landscape. Volcanoes can be hiked and explored in an afternoon, with coffee plantations, flower farms, and locals along the trail.
Environmental service projects, native species rehabilitation, care and protection.
A Certificate of Community Service indicating the total number of hours worked and a Presidential Volunteer Service Award will be issued upon successful completion of the program.
There is also an opportunity to earn an honorable Individual PVSA Award.
Explore: Island of Flores; Santa Elena Market
Zip Line: Canopy Tour
Explore: Tikal National Park; Mayan ruins
Paddle: Lake Peten Itza
We sleep in bunkbeds in lodge style housing. Showers are available; however, we shower every three to four days to conserve resources and support sustainability. Toilets will vary between latrines and flush toilets.
A leader-escorted, round trip flight will be offered to participants out of Miami.
Additional in-country group flight is required and is not included in the tuition. Please contact the office with questions.
Join in on the fun! Check out #AplaRLT for a behind-the-scenes look at photos from past participants and leaders.
Mysterious and diverse, Guatemalan landscapes and experiences have been captivating travelers for centuries. From crumbling Mayan ruins to the stately cathedrals and markets left behind by Spanish colonialists in Antigua, there is plenty to see in Guatemala. Throw in some of the most beautiful lakes, coastlines, and rainforests in the world, and there are countless photo opportunities.
Guatemalan citizens have become more and more concerned as their precious natural heritage – including wildlife – has continued to disappear. “Guatemala: Amor Por Los Animales” allows us to lend a hand to the efforts to preserve Guatemala’s natural world. We experience what it takes to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife in one of the most gorgeous and enticing countries on the planet.
We arrive in the city of Flores, a Lake Petén Itzá island jewel connected to the mainland by a causeway. Flores is famous for being the last independent Mayan state to hold out against the Spanish conquistadors and hosts at least 27 Mayan ruin sites around the lake. We transfer from Flores to The Rescue Center, where we work closely with endangered species in their natural habitat for the next two and a-half weeks. At the center, we live in a two-story wooden cabin situated in a tropical forest – complete with its own floating dock for late afternoon swims.
We live on the animals’ schedules, following their internal clocks and rhythms each day. Scarlet macaws, spider and howler monkeys, peccaries, coatimundis, and jaguars are just some of the familiar faces at The Rescue Center. We play an integral part in the day-to-day operations as we care for the animals. We help maintain the facility, construct enclosures, repair outbuilding, and make “enrichments” to the animals’ habitats. These enrichments might include toys, perches, or other stimuli to improve their quality of life. Breeding season brings its own set of responsibilities, and RLT students may get the chance to be involved with a wildlife release, which happens four times per year.
Then we travel to Tikal National Park, also known as the “Place of Voices,” and one of the major ancient sites of Mayan civilization. Towering pyramids poke above the jungle’s green canopy to catch the sun. Howler monkeys swing noisily through the branches of ancient trees as brightly colored parrots and toucans dart from perch to perch in a cacophony of squawks. When the complex warbling of these mysterious jungle birds tapers off, the buzz of tree frogs fills the background. Tikal is indeed hallowed ground.
For the adventurous, we zip-line through the verdant canopy, paddle the clear waters of Lake Petén Itzá, and explore the markets of Flores. Whether looking into the eyes of a creature in need, exploring the mysterious remains of a once-great civilization, tasting the local flavors, or drinking in the stunning natural beauty of Guatemala, every aspect of this trip will live in memories for years to come!
Arrive in Guatemala City. Board the group flight to Flores. Arrive at The Rescue Center on Lake Petén. Move into a two-story building with bunk beds, running water, showers, toilets and electricity.
Clean and feed animals in rehabilitation, maintain paths and buildings, construct cages, make improvement to cages/enclosures with toys, perches, and other stimuli.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tikal National Park is one of the most important Mayan ruins in Central America. The site reflects the cultural evolution of Mayan society from hunter-gathering to farming, with an elaborate religious, artistic, and scientific culture.
Continue our service work at The Rescue Center.
Explore the area rainforest via zip line, visit Santa Elena Market, and the Island of Flores, boat Lake Petén Itzá.
Responsibilities include training incoming volunteers at The Rescue Center.
Celebrate time spent together with other center volunteers.
Board group flight to Guatemala City, then connect to flights back home.
The Road Less Traveled does not require any vaccinations or immunizations to travel with us, other than an up-to-date tetanus shot or booster (within the last nine years).
Please visit the CDC’s website to read more about recommended vaccinations for travel to Guatemala. The decision to get some, none, or all of the recommended vaccinations is a personal one, and should be discussed with your family doctor.
Please click below to view your program’s equipment and packing list!
Guatemala: Amor Por Los Animales Packing List - Coming soon!
To receive an emailed copy of this program’s day-to-day calendar, please call our office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST at 773-342-5200, and we’ll happily send you one!
It is imperative that no one make any travel arrangements until RLT provides instructions for specific arrival and departure time windows. Those details are typically released in mid-spring.
Families are individually responsible for booking their own airfare to get their student from home to the starting destination on the first day of the trip, and from the ending destination back home on the last day of the trip.
This program offers an optional leader-escorted flight for those families who are interested.
If you wish to have your participant fly directly into the starting location, please call the office for details.
The “Guatemala: Amor Por Los Animales” program offers a leader escorted flight for all participants. All interested students will meet a leader at the Miami International Airport (MIA) on the first day of the trip. Students not interested in the escorted flight should plan to meet a leader in Guatemala City during certain time parameters provided by the RLT Office. All students and leaders should be on the same additional incountry flight from Guatemala City to Flores and back on the first and last day of the program.