Monday, July 19, 2010

Social Entrepreneur Corps



www.socialentrepreneurcorps.com/guatemala.html

Overview
Why Social Entrepreneur Corps Key Program Components Summary of Dates & Costs Eight Week Summer Internship Four Week Summer Internship Year Round Flex Volunteering Social Innovator Program Winter Break Program Alternative Spring Break
Overview Guatemala Ecuador Nicaragua Additional Locations
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Unique Destinations: Guatemala

Overview
Headquarters: Antigua - "Colonial Capital"
Satellite Site: Nebaj - "Mountain Hideaway"
Satellite Site: Lake Atitlan - "Nature's Gift"
Satellite Site: Xela - "The Highlands"
Satellite Site: Coban - "Outdoor Paradise"
Map

Overview
It is difficult to imagine that any other country in the world can offer such diversity of wonders as Guatemala. Despite its relatively small size, (roughly that of Tennessee) Guatemala boasts landscapes ranging from tropical beaches to highland sierras, jungles to dry lowlands. Sharing this land are dozens of ethnic groups, all with unique cultures and customs, and speaking over 20 different languages. The wonderful strength and vibrancy of Mayan culture has allowed it to survive remarkably durability, and its richness and colorfulness will delight any visitor. Between its dramatic landscapes and warm inhabitants, Guatemala will be a country you will never forget.

The majority of the population lives in the highlands of the western part of the country. The highlands offer the traveler incredible mountain ranges, interspersed with towering volcanoes, upon which fall atmospheric clouds and mists. Here is your opportunity to truly live 'above the clouds. The average altitude here is over 1500 meters above sea level, producing a climate ideal for the cultivation of all sorts of crops, especially maize, the sacred corn of the Mayans. This altitude also ensures a delightful climate of warm, sunny days and cool evenings, earning Guatemala the name "Land of Eternal Spring". Travelers could spend years exploring the highlands and still not tire of its scenery and cultural richness. But Guatemala still has much more to offer, especially in the northern jungle region of Peten , with its incredible wildlife and spectacular Mayan temples.

Guatemala is truly a special place. With our unmatched experience here, we believe we can offer you the best of Guatemala.

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Headquarters: Antigua -"Colonial Capital"
Antigua is an exquisitely pretty colonial town situated in a spectacular setting, nestling below the three imposing volcanoes of Agua, Fuego and Acatenango. It is one the finest surviving examples in Latin America of colonial town planning, laid out on a grid pattern emanating from the central park, whilst the many fine examples of Spanish colonial architecture have earned it the position of UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's pretty cobbled streets are filled with old churches, theatres and houses built around courtyards, all painted in delightful pastel colors. As well as being full of fascinating historical sites, Antigua is now also a lively and international town, where you'll never tire of exploring the restaurants and bars filled with food from around the world. If all this weren't enough, we should add that Antigua also boasts a wonderful climate of warm, sunny days and cool evenings.

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Satellite Site: Nebaj - "Mountain Hideaway"
Nebaj is the home of the Ixil group, one of the most distinct Mayan cultures. The Ixils are world famous for their stunning, intricately women traditional clothing, and it is a wonderful experience for a traveler to visit a place where the local culture feels at the same time so traditional and so vibrant. Nebaj is far from the cosmopolitan sophistication of Antigua, but it is also a bustling, lively town.


The people are warm, and travelers can take part in traditional customs, like the local sauna, a tamascal , or make the traditional food, boxboles. Nebaj is a heavenly place to visit for those who enjoy hiking, sitting as it does in a beautiful valley surrounded by verdant mountains. Exploring the villages around Nebaj will take the intrepid visitor to some of the most remote places in the Americas. The combination of spectacular landscapes and local culture makes Nebaj the favorite spot in Guatemala for many visitors.

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Satellite Site: Lake Atitlan - "Nature's Gift"
For many, there is no more spectacular site in the world that the sun setting over the Lake Atitlan as the evening mist descends. English novelist Aldous Huxley described the lake as like " Lake Como with the added embellishment of several immense volcanoes" and decided it was the most beautiful lake in the world. Once the traveler gets their breath back after the first look at the incredible view of the lake, they can begin to explore the trails and nature parks that surround it- the hardy can even attempt to ascend one of the volcanoes. The lake itself is beautiful for swimming, and there are even places to go scuba diving. Dotted around the shore of the lake are dozens of towns, from busy Panajachel, with its international scene and restaurants, to sleepy indigenous towns such as San Juan La Laguna. Whether for a short visit or a longer stay, the beauty of the Lake will stay with you forever.

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Satellite Site: Xela - "The Highlands"
Quetzaltenango, or Xela as it is more usually known, is fast becoming of the most popular places in Latin America to learn Spanish and do volunteer work, and it's not hard to understand why. Offering the advantages of a city, with cinemas, good restaurants, bars and entertainment, Xela has much more the feel of a large town- easy to navigate and get to know. It's a friendly place, with the typical bustle of highland Guatemala very much present, and the beauty of the surrounding mountains is always visible. What's more, within easy reach are many beautiful trips, such as to the hot springs of Fuentes Georginas, or even try to climb Central America 's largest volcano, Tajumulco.

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Satellite Site: Coban - "Outdoor Paradise"
Coban is situated at the heart of the unique, highland tropical region of Alta and Baja Verapaz. It is therefore the ideal spot for nature enthusiasts, with such an incredible wealth of natural wonders to explore. From the cloud forests of Baja Verapaz to the tropical heat of northern Alta Verapaz, the region is home to spectacular wildlife and incredible landscapes. Highlights include Semuc Champey, a series of idyllic lagoons, the mysterious crater-lake of Lachua, the vast caves of Candelaria and of the course the majestic bird the quetzal, the national symbol of Guatemala. There are countless opportunities for activities such as rafting, climbing and hiking.

Coban itself is a pleasant, sleepy town where the Kekchi Mayan group are dominant. There are many fine restaurants, and also of course the famous Coban coffee, perhaps the finest in the world!


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Map

map of guatemala

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Social Entrepreneur Corps is a initiative of New Development Experience LLC. Email: info@socialentrepreneurcorps.com

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Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
View of Lake Atitlan and volcano from my apartment balcony in Panajachel. Taken by Catherine Todd June 2008.