Several major airlines serve Guatemala City, the nation’s capital. These include United, Continental, American, and others. Several U.S. cities offer direct flights to Guatemala, including Miami, Dallas, Houston and Los Angeles. Consult your travel agent for the best flights and fares for your group. Air travel within the country is also available.
A valid U.S. Passport is required for all U.S. citizens to enter Guatemala and to depart Guatemala for return to the U.S. Certificates of Naturalization, birth certificates, drivers licenses, and photocopies are not acceptable alternative travel documents. While in Guatemala, VIM team members should carry their passports with them at all times.
An exit tax must be paid when departing Guatemala. The exit tax (currently U.S. $30) is generally included in an airline ticket price, but may be charged separately. There is an additional airport security fee (20 Quetzales, approximately U.S. $2.60) that all travelers must pay at the airport. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for a stay of 90 days or less.
Recommended vaccinations for working in Guatemala include Hepatitis A & B, Typhoid and booster doses of Tetanus-diptheria and measles if they are not up to date. None of our projects are located in malarial areas. For more information on vaccinations please consult the CDC website.
Food & Lodging in Guatemala City You will arrive and depart in Guatemala City, where there are several comfortable hotels with costs ranging from $23 – $60 per person per night. For meals the cost per person per day run between $20 – $30. We also frequently use the dormitories of theCentral American Theological Institute (SETECA) at a cost of $12 per person.
If the group has 10 members or less we can arrange for a 13-passenger van to transport the group for $100 per day. This includes the cost for renting the vehicle, the driver’s salary and fuel. A bus is available if the group has more than 10 members. The price for the bus is $200 per day. It includes the cost for hiring the bus, the driver’s salary and fuel. If the driver is not local to the community in which the team is working, food and lodging for the driver must be calculated into this cost. All of our drivers are selected by us for their reliability, experience, and the quality and condition of their vehicles.
If you don’t have your own interpreters, we can provide you with interpreters to work with your group at a cost of U.S.$20 per interpreter, per day, plus food and lodging if needed.
VIM Fee A VIM fee of U.S.$425 is charged to each group to help us to cover costs for fax, e-mail, telephone, and office expenses to insure that your group is well informed and prepared ahead of time. This program fee is also a major source of income for the VIM staff responsible for maintaining quality projects and professional relationships.
Construction & Medical Team Expenses In addition to the VIM fee, construction and medical teams must also cover the cost of construction materials and medical supplies that will be used by the team. Construction materials generally costs $2,000, which also includes the cost of an on-site local construction foreman to supervise the work. We recommend that construction costs be sent in advance by check made out to Iglesia Metodista VIM. This will allow us to purchase construction materials before arrival of the team. Medical teams should coordinate with Salud y Paz or Boca Costa Medical Mission to determine medical supplies that will be needed.
The currency in Guatemala is Quetzales. Most establishments prefer Quetzales, although many businesses will accept U.S. dollars and provide change back in Quetzales. Travelers Checks are not recommended since they are often not accepted in rural areas and are troublesome to cash even in banks. Most hotels and many businesses take credit cards (preferably VISA – most do not accept American Express) and you will get the most current exchange rate. ATM machines have become more common. Check with the Guatemala VIM Coordinator about the availability of ATM machines near the area where you will be working. ATM machines will provide only Quetzales.
Guatemala VIM can provide each mission teams with a cell phone while working in Guatemala. This will allow teams to keep in touch with the VIM office. For a small additional charge, arrangements can be made to add an international debit card to the cell phone to call the U.S. All of the cities and most small towns also have internet cafes.
Other Donations If you are interested in bringing a donation, used clothes, medicines, school supplies, etc. are needed in every village where our projects are located. At the VIM office we can also use basic office supplies such as paper, pens, folders, notebooks, etc.
We can arrange a tourist visit after finishing the work on the project to the Mayan Ruins at Tikal, Lake Atitlan, the colonial city of Antigua Guatemala, and many others.
Application Anyone planning an UMVIM project in Guatemala must submit an application to Guatemala UMVIM.