Hi! We are a family-run hotel in beautiful and magical Lake Atitlán, Guatemala. We are growing, with lots of effort and team work - currently we have 22 rooms, a full-on restaurant and around 30 staff members. We would like to try our first experience with WorkAway. We are looking to host two committed and enthousiastic volunteers who would like to spend at least three months getting to know the job and the indigenous community that we are part of.
Cooking / shopping
Helping with Tourists
Help with Computers / internet
Although there's always lots to do, the working environment is very friendly. Our staff is cheerful, hard-working, and enthusiastic! They have taken in previous volunteers (who have come through recommendation, as we are just trying out Workaway) as family and good-byes have been emotional, to say the least.
You will learn about Mayan culture, as we are in the heart of the Maya Kakchiquel kingdom. Despite being on the shore of stunning Lake Atitlan, San Lucas Tolimán is not a touristy town. You will not find a street with cafes and bars, or a backpacker's vibe. You will delve (if you wish) into regular village life and, of course, learn about the trials, tribulations and joys of managing a small business in Guatemala not just to stay afloat, but to flourish!
The hotel is mainly managed by my mother with my occasional but passionate help. She's a 69-year old Guatemalan woman with never-ending energy, a huge heart and a long-standing commitment to social justice. She/the hotel is involved in dozens of local projects and initiatives. If you would like to volunteer in a community group in your free time, she's got the hook-ups and experience! It has to be on your free time, though. We really need the help with running the hotel to be the priority.
We try to be as eco-friendly as possible and appreciate all the help we can get moving in that direction. We have a stunning organic garden based on permaculture principles where you can help out if you'd like and learn from our skillful gardeners. You are also welcome to harvest as much fresh, organic produce as you wish for your own use.
We also have kayaks, a canoe, running and hiking trails nearby, three volcanoes and smaller hills to climb, amazing birdlife, swimming spots and a natural bird reserve a few km away. On the more touristy towns on the other side of the lake, you'll find paragliding, nightlife, zen and healing arts, etc...
We are an equal opportunity host and we honor and enjoy this world's magnificent diversity.
This host offers accommodation and payment.
We are looking for people who will get excited about the exchange and want to give it their all. We require a willingness to commit for at least 3 months, as learning the ropes can take a while and we want to be respectful with the time it will take the staff to teach you. At the same time, we feel it's important to evaluate after a few weeks if you are a good fit for us and vice-versa, to make sure we are all happy.
All of our staff is local... mostly bilingual (Maya Indigenous Kakchiquel and Spanish) or monolingual (Spanish), so we need help with hosting English-speaking guests, planning in advance for groups who come to stay, photos and designs to maintain our social media presence, . This is the minimum we expect, but if you want to get more involved and learn other aspects of hospitality work/social entrepreneurship/family-run small businesses, we are happy to open the floodgates and have you help in other areas.
These are other things we need help with, and if you have the interest/skills, it would be a plus:
- Photography (and video) for publicity
- Innovating on our menu with dishes using local ingredients and our organic garden's produce and teach the kitchen staff how to prepare them
- Improve communication between permaculture garden and kitchen to make the best use of the earth's gifts
- Developing activities/tours in town and around the region that visitors would enjoy, as in cultural and nature tours. This involves seeking local people and training them to be guides, etc.
- Teaching English to our staff
- Marketing to appeal to the yoga/meditation retreats niche
- Yoga teaching (to provide occasional classes for guests)
- Flexibility to do other tasks occasionally as needed :) - nothing grueling and nothing that goes against your principles or capacities, of course
- In your free time, you can get your hands dirty and learn about permaculture in our wonderful garden!
The hours are flexible and depend on how busy things are at the hotel, as well as how we organize our commitments/time so that there's an English-speaker at the hotel most of the time. We expect a minimum of 25 hours a week of work (some days will be longer than 5 hours and some shorter... it all depends on the ebb and flow of customers). We want you to enjoy your time in Lake Atitlán and Guatemala, and to take part in the depth of experiences this magical place can offer, but we want to see your commitment to helping us as well. If your idea of Workaway is a vacation with a bit of work here and there, this will not be a good fit. And if that turns out to be the case, we will be honest and have to either change course or terminate the Workaway period.
We need people who are fluent English speakers and who have working knowledge of Spanish. You will surely improve your Spanish here, but it is essential you come with an ability to communicate with our staff. If you're interested, you may also learn a bit of K'akchiquel as well :)
Your work at the hotel will contribute to our reason for being: social justice. We run a social enterprise that supports/contributes to dozens of community efforts and has strong ties with the community.
Furthermore, our staff earns a living wage, health care including maternity leave, and flexibility to take care of their families and continue studying. Our staff is 60% women; all of them are or will be able to send their kids to college, and are improving their living conditions, capacities and sense of self-worth.
Spanish, English and a bit of French
You will live in a two-bedroom house with bathroom, open kitchen, dining & living room space, garden, lake view (the garden is at the shore of the lake), wi-fi, etc. Sometimes you will be by yourself and sometimes another volunteer or family friends will join you in the other room. We occasionally lend or rent out the house, and you would have to spend some nights at the hotel. Either way, you will always be guaranteed a private room. If anything changes (we never know what will happen and we like flexible people), we will always make sure that you are safe and comfortable. When sharing a living space, we expect respect, honesty, consideration of others' needs/hours of rest, and for the common areas to be kept clean and organized.
We will provide you with one meal from our kitchen per day and ingredients for you to cook your other meals at home, including as much organic vegetables as you can eat! Consuming of alcoholic drinks on the premises is not allowed.
Contact us if you're interested about nearby sights, or if you have any other questions.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week