Work Trip FAQ
1. What is included in the per-person trip price?
2. What is NOT included in the per-person trip price?
3. What is the difference between “tourist-class” and “basic” lodging?
Both are safe environments with electricity, hot water, flush toilets, and reliable food. Here are the main differences:
Tourist class lodging:
4. How do single- and double-occupancy work?
Published trip cost is based on double occupancy. Team members requesting single occupancy will incur additional cost for the trip, beginning at $125 and higher depending on the hotels in question. We will do our best to combine team members who are traveling solo but desire double occupancy. If we are unable to do so, the single occupancy surcharge will apply.
5. What should I do if I have food allergies or restrictions?
The cooks at our hotels can usually accommodate basic food allergies. Be sure to note your allerigies in your trip application. If you have unusually restrictive allergies, you may want to bring supplemental snacks. Most places can provide a simple meal of black beans and corn tortillas, which is naturally vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free.
6. What vaccinations are required?
There are no required vaccinations for travel to Guatemala, but see the CDC webpage for recommended vaccinations.
7. What about malaria and Zika?
Our groups work mainly in Lemoa, Guatemala, which is over 6,500 feet in elevation. This greatly reduces the risk of malaria and Zika.
8. Is Guatemala a safe place to visit?
Guatemala is a developing country, and there are always risks associated with that. However, Pura Vida has not had any safety issues since it started taking groups in 2002. That's with five to seven teams traveling every year to work in the Quiché area of western Guatemala.
The U.S. State Department has issued travel advisories for Guatemala in the past, but those haven't included the areas where we work. As of January, 2019, Guatemala has a Level 2 Travel Advisory.
It is interesting to note that other countries with that designation include Spain, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Denmark, among others.
Pura Vida has always mitigated potential safety issues in several ways:
9. Can our team bring things to give away in Guatemala?
As a rule, no. Our focus in Guatemala is on serving and relationship building. We have seen harm come from give-aways:
We want relationships to be built through working side by side with the local community. As a frequent team member once said, “I don’t want my relationship with a child to be a box of crayons.” Your presence and service is the best gift you can give.
Finally, there can be tax issues at the Guatemala City airport if lots of gifts are packed. This can cause delays of hours for the whole team.
10. Can I leave my used clothes in Guatemala?
We highly discourage it. If an item of clothing isn’t nice enough for you to keep, a Guatemalan probably isn’t going to want it either. And leaving your clothes at the hotel at the end of the trip can make our culture seem incredibly wasteful. Pack it in, pack it out.
11. Can Pura Vida handle arrangements for tourist extensions?
We can usually change your flights to accommodate a trip extension. The earlier we know your dates, the cheaper it generally is. We aren't equipped to handle other arrangements related to trip extensions, however. We just don't have the expertise or staff.
For tour arrangements, we recommend Clark Tours, Guatemala's longest-established tour operator.
12. What is the trip cancellation policy?
Cancelling team members can generally use their airline ticket within a year of the original departure date. Re-booking is subject to a change fee with the airline. We must be advised of cancellations before the team departs, otherwise the ticket loses all value.
We can generally apply a portion of a team member's original trip payments to another trip with us in the same or following calendar year. The amount to be applied would be reduced by the trip deposit ($250), and the cost of airline tickets, insurance, and any prepaid hotel stays.