with Hannah Muse & Ann Averbach

Get your hands dirty ~ Get your heart open.

July 2 – 7 (Karma Yoga) + optional July 7- 12 (Lake Atitlan extension)

Practice yoga & meditation every day.
Create global change.
Eat nourishing fresh food.
Visit ancient Mayan temples.
Swim in the beautiful sacred Lake Atitlan.
Explore Guatemalan villages and markets.
Make new friends – forever!
Awaken to Gratitude.
Relax your mind, Empower your body, Open your heart…

To reserve your spot!

Join us for our second KARMA YOGA RETREAT in GUATEMALA!   Last year we collaborated for the first time with Hug it Forward, a nonprofit working with rural communities to build “bottle schools” throughout Guatemala.  This unique experiment was one where we used our daily practice of YOGA to help us bring greater awareness and SERVICE to the world around us – and guess what – it was a huge success!   We all had a life-changing, bridge-building, JOYFUL good time and we are so thrilled to offer it this summer to YOU!
Here’s what some of last year’s attendees wrote to us:
“I would absolutely recommend this trip. I think the concept of the ‘Karma Yoga’ is something that should become mainstream in Yoga Retreats… It is brilliant. I am personally someone who feels SO much more whole after giving.”
“I really appreciated the organization of Hug It Forward. There was so much mutual curiosity and respect flowing in both directions from us to the community in which we worked and HIF created great pipework to facilitate this flow. The beautiful intention setting and yoga woven throughout by our group leaders was perfect.”
“The trip was a really grounding experience for me. I’m back home holding the space that was created amongst our wonderful group. It was really deep and meaningful to connect with other rad people in the group/community format and float this out into the universe.”
“This retreat was AMAZING!  I was later impressed when I had a better understanding of all the behind the scenes preparations that were made, not only for housing transportation and food, but the rich sharing of personal experiences with us (strangers) on the war and migration, and the guide for the Mayan ruins. The team was magical in the way we got to experience the culture safely and not just be a tourist. The interaction with the school children, workers and teachers was quite memorable and could not have happened with out all of their planning, dedication and commitment, of which I am truly appreciative.  And to have all of this alongside yoga, meditation, chanting at the Mayan ruins, restorative yoga – AMAZING!”

Karma Yoga Retreat July 2-7th ~ Brief Itinerary:
On July 2nd, you will be picked up at the GUA airport and we will all gather in beautiful Antigua for dinner and accomodations.
We will then travel on July 3rd to the community where we will stay for the rest of the Karma Yoga trip.  Here we will meet and play and work with the community, help to build a bottle school, visit Mayan Temples and practice yoga daily.

On July 7th, you will either be offered a ride back to the GUA airport to return home, or else travel with us along to the Mystical Lake Atitlan for our Yoga Extension Retreat.

Mystical Lake Atitlan Yoga Extension Retreat July 7-12 ~ Brief Itinerary:
On July 7th, we will travel to a beautiful retreat center alongside the beautiful Lake Atitlan for daily meditation & yoga, delicious fresh meals, lake swims, waterfall hikes, cacao ceremonies, yoga rituals, restorative yoga, chanting and much much more!  Our magical retreat will come to a close on July 12th.  (When booking your ticket home from GUA, please try and book after 11am on July 12th.)

Early bird rates (good until May 11) start at $1285 adults / $995 kids & include lodging and delicious meals. The Karma Yoga Retreat funds go not only toward your stay, but to the local communities & schools in Guatemala that we are serving.   Beginner yogis & families welcome!


Karma Yoga Retreat

$1285 adults/ $995 kids (6 days/5 nights) or

Mystic Lake Atitlan Extension (only)

$985 adults / $695 kids (6 days/5 nights) or

Karma Yoga Retreat + Mystic Lake Atitlan Extension

~best value – $2415 regular price – save $420 ~

$1995 adults/ $1495 kids

(11 days/10 nights)


REGULAR COST (after May 11th):

Karma Yoga Retreat

$1350 adults/ $1050 kids (6 days/5 nights) or

Mystic Lake Atitlan Extension (only)

$1065 adults / $745 kids (6 days/5 nights) or

Karma Yoga Retreat + Mystic Lake Atitlan Extension

~ best value – $2415 regular price– save $265 ~

$2150 adults/ $1595 kids

(11 days/10 nights)

The Karma Yoga Retreat funds go not only toward your stay, but to the local communities & schools in Guatemala that we are serving.   Beginner yogis & families welcome!

To reserve your spot, Reserve Now and pay your deposit of $500 for Karma Yoga Retreat, or $750 for full Karma Yoga+Lake Atitlan Retreat.   (Payment in full will be due by June 1st.)

Ann Averbach

Ann is deeply committed to helping others transform their lives through the yoga journey.  Founder of DiviniTree Yoga Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara,  Ann’s mission is to help build conscious community.  Her classes are uplifting, creative, inspiring, and full of wisdom. Developing her own style, Gypsy Yoga Flow, Ann’s classes are inspiring, transformational, and challenging. Known for her deeply spiritual and yet highly athletic classes, Gypsy Yoga Flow is meant to bring practitioners to an edge and is based on the belief that when we push ourselves out of our comfort zones and walk the edge we truly live.

hannahheadshot  Hannah Muse

Ever since yoga found her, Hannah’s heart has been bursting open and spilling over with love.  She feels so blessed to live the life of a yogini and is honored to share it with you.  Her classes are more than just a series of physical poses: although you will probably sweat, her teachings encompass pranayama, meditation, mudra, mantra, philosophy and her asana instruction combines therapeutic physical alignment with dynamic pranic flows that will nourish, strengthen and align both your physical body and your subtle energy body.

hug it forward logo

Hug It Forward is a a grass-roots organization that facilitates education and awareness by empowering communities to build “bottle schools.”

Bottle schools are schools built using “eco-bricks”: plastic bottles stuffed with inorganic trash. Entire communities come together to build more sustainable educational infrastructure for their future.

Hug It Forward also strives to raise awareness in developed countries about trash, consumption and the power of community. This mission is equally important to us as facilitating the construction of bottle schools in developing countries. hugitforward.org/


This trip includes food, housing, and transportation, including transportation to and from Guatemala City. Plane flight, travel insurance, tips (about $75 per person), and other expenses such as souvenirs are not included in these prices.

You will stay in clean, safe spaces. (Sharing a room will often be necessary. Feel free to give any roommate preferences). This is a trip about service and we will spend much time in an areas not showered with material luxuries. Bring your heart and an open mind.

Terms & Conditions

The minimum number of people for this trip is 15 people. If there are less than 15 people booked for this trip the trip will be canceled. If due to extreme weather conditions building of the school is deemed unsafe by Hug It Forward, the trip will remain as scheduled and will be adjusted to visit previously built bottle schools where you can interact with the community. Here you will have the opportunity to see the many ways Hug It Forward and your contributions are supporting education and community.

Cancelation Policy

If you cancel 4 weeks before departure you will receive a 50% refund. Deposits are non-refundable.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance Travel insurance is MANDATORY for every person participating in a Bottle Schools Voluntourism Trip.

If you do not submit a copy of your travel insurance to carlen@divinitree.com before your departure, you will not be allowed on the trip.

You can purchase travel insurance from your regular insurer, or from a specialist travel insurance company. One recommendation is Travel Insured.

Minimum Requirements

Whichever travel insurance you choose, it must meet the following minimum requirements:

Emergency Medical and Dental……………….$10,000 Emergency Medical Transportation…………..$50,000

One option that meets these minimum requirements is provided by Travel Insured.

Additional Recommended Insurance

We suggest that you purchase a travel insurance policy that also meets the following requirements, but this is NOT mandatory:

Trip Cancellation Protection …………………Up to the trip cost Trip Interruption………………………………..100% of the trip cancellation limit Loss of Baggage / Personal Effects………….$1,000

If you cancel your trip for whatever reason less than 30 days before departure, you will receive no refund, as we have to pay our suppliers (hotels, transportation, etc) in advance, and those payments are nonrefundable. Purchasing travel insurance will protect you in such a situation.

Travel Insured is one insurance company that offers suitable insurance policies that meet the recommendations above. We suggest that you first contact your regular insurer, and also do your research to find the policy that is most suitable for you.

Being Culturally Sensitive

Things to Consider

Visiting a new country and experiencing a new culture is much different from what you are used to back home – different language, customs and clothing being the most obvious. The most important thing is to remain open to the experience and seek to learn from it.

Remember that you are a guest in Guatemala and in the communities that you visit. Be humble, show gratitude, and enjoy the experience for what it is, without comparing it to what you are used to back home. Learning a few key phrases or words such as “hello, goodbye, where’s the restroom, please and thank you” can take you a long way and is a useful way to gain respect from the locals.

The roles of men and women may be different than what you are used to. Don’t make any assumptions or judgments, but do your research. This does not mean that you should fulfill the traditional male/female roles, but you should be aware of what to expect and of how your differences might be seen.

Likewise, it’s always good to be aware of gestures that might be considered inappropriate or insulting. For example, what is commonly used as the “peace” sign in the United States, when presented with the palm facing inwards is offensive in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Similarly, the “thumbs up” gesture has a vulgar meaning in parts of Latin America.


A negative aspect of tourism is the creation of an economy dependent on tourists. Giving money or gifts to individuals on the street does not help solve overall economic problems. For example, in a case where you might feel moved to give a child on the street money or a trinket or chewing gum, you may then find yourself immediately surrounded by other children asking for a similar thing. It is impossible to fulfill each person’s needs in this manner. Please take these items into consideration:

You are the gift Give of yourself: teach and share about your culture, family, and hobbies. What can I bring/do? Sometimes people pack clothes they can wear during the trip and donate to community members after. This also creates extra space for souvenirs for the trip home. You will be personally responsible for packing such items What should I not bring? Please do not bring any candy. Kids in Guatemala already eat a lot of candy, and they lack dental services or awareness of how to look after their teeth, so tooth decay is common. Please do not bring cheap plastic toys that are made in China. While kids may appreciate such toys, we are trying to raise consciousness around the use of plastic across the world, and to minimize harmful pollution caused by shipping things thousands of miles. Can I bring school supplies? Please purchase school supplies in Guatemala rather than at home, so that we can help the local economy. You may bring elementary reading level books, but remember you must pack them in your own suitcase. Books in Spanish are much more useful than books in English. When can I gift? Please do not give gifts without asking the trip leader. Please inform the trip leader at the beginning of your trip that you have gifts that you would like to give to the community. We will let you know when and how it would be appropriate to offer your gifts. Ask yourself, “What can I gift to the community that is not tangible?” Consider an intangible gift you can leave with the children. You can teach them a song, paint with them, teach them a magic trick, play soccer with them, etc. Photography

Though in many countries stopping and snapping a photo of anything or anyone may seem a normal occurrence, many small communities around the world are not yet as comfortable with this modern technology. In parts of Guatemala, it is believed that taking a photo steals the soul of the person being photographed, and people are quick to anger if you try to take pictures of them or their children. However, the communities we work with have no problem being photographed: there is no need to ask before taking photos in these communities. Kids especially enjoy being photographed. Show them the photo after you’ve taken it – they will get a thrill out of seeing it!

What to Bring

Travel light

Packing too much may tempt you to set down your personal belongings while in public. Don’t bring anything you’d hate to lose, such as:

Irreplaceable family objects All unnecessary credit cards Social security card Limit your valuables to those things you must have to accomplish what you’d like to on your trip. Examples: 1 or 2 Credit Cards, Passport, Camera, charger, memory sticks

Carry valuables in your carry-on suitcase or bag. It’s always good to pack a set of clothing in your carry-on in case of unexpected circumstances.

It is recommended to leave laptops at home, though you can leave them locked in your room at the hotel. Wi-fi internet access is available at the hotel in Antigua and at the hotel in San Martin, although it will be slower than what you are used to at home!

What to wear

Dress conservatively. Guatemalan culture generally has more conservative dress standards, particularly for women. While working on the bottle school, both men and women should wear jeans or work pants, not shorts or yoga pants. Women should avoid revealing tops, such as tank tops or tops with spaghetti straps, and stick to wearing T-shirts. It’s ok to wear shorts to dinner, but please dress conservatively when visiting the Mayan Ruins, as it is a sacred site. If in doubt, err on the side of caution and seek advice rather than risking causing offense. Antigua is a touristy town, and it’s acceptable to wear shorts and revealing tops there, but not in San Martin.

Dress protectively. You will be working on a construction site, where there may be rebar, nails and fragments of metal on the ground. We recommend that you wear sturdy work boots with thick soles that will protect your feet from possible metal debris. You may be working with sand and/or cement, and we recommend that you wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from cement, sand or other materials getting in them. At the Mayan Ruins there is a lot of walking involved and we recommend that you wear walking shoes or sneakers, not flip-flops or sandals.

Packing list

Reusable water bottle It is very important that you bring a reusable water bottle for the trip. Guatemala does not have a waste management system and relying on plastic water bottles throughout the trip will just add waste in the communities. Purified water will be available at all times so you can refill your reusable water bottle and some options we suggest are Nalgene, Sigg, Mizu, Klean Kanteen, or Hydro Flask. This will also be a great habit to continue after the trip! Sunglasses Shoes that are comfortable, but can get dirty Good thick socks Earplugs (occasionally it can get a little noisy near the hotel in San Martin and some people find that earplugs help them to sleep) Sunhat or baseball cap Waterproof jacket Packaged energy foods for snacking – granola bars, trail mix, raisins, candy bars Camera (with enough memory cards!) Your Travel Health Kit: Prescriptions you normally take Pack in your carry-on and bring extra in case of unanticipated travel delays If your life depends on any of your medications please make your trip leader aware immediately after booking your trip A daily probiotic to take while in Guatemala if you tend to have a sensitive stomach Special prescriptions Your doctor may have recommendations for preventative medicines to help you on your trip (e.g. anti-diarrheal) Any over-the-counter medicines that you or your doctor feel you may need (e.g. allergy medications) Other important items: Insect repellant Anti-itch aide (ointment, spray, pill, hydrocortisone cream) for insect bites Sunscreen (SPF 15 or greater with both UVB and UVA protection) Anti-bacterial wipes Health insurance card Bringing additional money People on previous trips have found that $200 to $300 is a reasonable amount to bring. You will have the opportunity to buy lots of beautiful handicrafts which make great gifts! We will not be taking you to any “touristy” shops – all purchases will directly benefit indigenous communities in the areas where bottle schools are being built. Apart from gifts and souvenirs, the only other thing you will need money for are discretionary tips for our Guatemalan Staff (trip leader, assistant trip leader, bus driver, and private cook). Past guests have found that a total of $50-$60 is a reasonable amount to set aside to show their appreciation for the staff on the ground who take care of them throughout their trip.

Health & Safety

We have an excellent safety record on our bottle school trips. With our experience of Guatemala, we have put many measures in place to safeguard the health of participants on bottle school trips. It’s important that you follow some simple steps too, as outlined below, as you will be in a very different environment to what you are used to.

The information provided here is basic information to take into consideration for your health and safety. You should research and consult with YOUR doctor to ensure YOUR health safety within the parameters of what you are comfortable with. Your medical insurance health coverage in and out of your home country is a matter that should be looked into before your trip begins.


There are various recommendations on vaccinations to get before traveling abroad.

Please do not ask us what vaccinations you “should” get, as this is a personal choice that you will have to make, in consultation with your physician. Serve The World Today is unable to give advice on which vaccinations you should or shouldn’t get, as there is no “right” answer. We are not trained medical professionals, and for reasons of liability we cannot give any more advice than there is in this document.

Very few visitors to Guatemala choose to get vaccinated against rabies or malaria, and many choose not to get any vaccinations at all. Others choose to get every vaccination available to them. It is entirely up to you what you feel comfortable with.

One place to go for information is the Center for Disease Control’s web site: See Information about Guatemala on the CDC web site.

Having read the CDC web site, you should consult your doctor or visit your local travel clinic for a consultation before making any decisions about what vaccinations to get. To find a travel clinic near you visit the CDC: Travel Clinics webpage.

We also suggest that do your own research (such as Google searches) before making decisions on getting any vaccinations.

International Travel Health Notices

For the latest health information and warnings for countries around the world visit one of the following websites:

CDC: Travel Notices webpage

CDC: Information about Guatemala

US State Department: Country Specific Information

Food and Water

Be aware of your water Don’t drink the tap water. We provide bottled water and bottled water will always be available wherever you are. Use bottled water when you brush your teeth, and keep your mouth closed in the shower. Only eat the food that we provide you, plus any packaged snacks that you bring with you. In Antigua we eat at a trusted restaurant; in the communities we have a private chef, Christy, who trained in food science in the US. Don’t buy food off the street, however tempting it looks If a child offers you candy, you can take it so as not to appear rude or ungrateful, but don’t eat it – you don’t know where their hands have been. Keep your hands clean by washing with soap often or using hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol). Before eating After using the bathroom After coughing or sneezing Bring snacks. It may be a good idea to pack snacks from home such as granola bars, peanut butter, power bars as an option in case local food disagrees with you. You’ll also be working hard on the bottle school, so you may need snacks outside of mealtimes! Stay hydrated Carry a bottle of water around with you everywhere you go. This is a great preventative measure for heat stroke, dizziness, fatigue or heat exhaustion, and dehydration. You should drink enough to maintain the same urination frequency you have at home. Remember as you age your thirst reflex begins to decline so don’t solely rely on that feeling for when to hydrate As a minimum you should be drinking 6 pints of water per day. 8 pints or more is fine and necessary in certain climates. Remember that coffee, tea and alcohol cause your body to lose water; if drinking these drinks you will need to drink more water. Wear sun screen. Get plenty of rest and wear earplugs when you sleep. Use insect repellant if mosquitoes are prevalent Safety

Guatemala may be perceived as a “dangerous” country, but most parts of the country are not dangerous at all. Antigua is a popular tourist destination and is very safe. San Martin Jilotepeque is very remote and does not see many tourists; you will be welcomed as honored guest or even like a family member. Please note, however, that petty crime has been on the rise in Antigua recently (late 2013). Please stay aware, and please stay with the group at all times. Be especially careful when getting money out from your purse or pocket, and be careful with your iPhone or camera – don’t have it visible and accessible, such as in your back pocket. Always follow the instructions of your tour guide and group leader, as they are familiar with the many ways to ensure you have a pleasant experience. Always communicate specific desires and requests to your group leader and they will always do their best to accommodate you, if they can without disrupting plans for the entire group. Do not handle or pet animals so as to avoid bites, particularly dogs and cats If you are bitten, wash the area immediately with soap and water, and seek medical attention straight away Money and valuables

All the trips costs are included in the price of the trip. You will only need a small amount of cash with you for souvenirs and tips. Guatemala has a lot of beautiful fabrics and handicrafts – most people end up buying a lot! $200 to $300 is generally a good amount of cash to bring. Your valuables will be safe at the hotel, or in the community. There is always a safe place to store valuables while we are working on the bottle school.

Bringing Your Family

Our favorite trips are the trips where parents come with their children. It’s a wonderful experience to share with your family – you can learn and grow a lot together as you all step outside of your comfort zone. Young minds have the most to gain from having such a powerful experience so young in their lives. It can really change the way they look at the world.

Guatemala is a safe environment for children, and our trip leaders are experienced in working with children of all ages. Children will have the opportunity to play and interact with children in the communities where you are working on a bottle school, and to help build the school with their own hands.

We’ve had children as young as eight on our trips, and teenagers and young adults too. There’s no set age limit for coming on a bottle school trip – it really depends on the individual child, their level of maturity, have they traveled before, and so on. If you’re thinking about bringing your kids on a trip and you have any questions or concerns, please email Adam at adam@hugitforward.org.

Flight Information

Guatemala City is well served by many different airlines flying from different cities in the United States.

The airport code for the airport is GUA. We recommend that you search multiple airlines to find the best deal.

If possible, you should book your flights to arrive no later than 4pm on the day that the trip starts, to ensure that you get to Antigua in time for the orientation and the opening night dinner. Your flight back to the US can leave at any time on the last day of the trip.

You will be met at the airport by a member of the Serve The World Today team, who will welcome you and take you to the private shuttle to Antigua. The journey to Antigua takes take about an hour.

Don’t miss your flight! Please allow plenty of time to get to the airport. It’s a real shame to miss the first day of the trip. If you do miss your flight or if your flight is delayed for any reason, please please contact us immediately, so that we know and we’re not waiting at the airport for you when you’re not going to be there.

If you have any further questions, please contact Gerson Guitz, our voluntourism director in Guatemala – gerson@servetheworldtoday.com

Thank you!

Contacting trip participants in Guatemala

While you are on a Voluntourism trip, please tell your loved ones they can call Gerson (the expert guide leading the trip) at any time in case of an emergency (011 502 3020 3201).

If you can’t get ahold of Gerson, try these other Hug It Forward contacts in Guatemala:

Adam Flores – 011 502 4283 5042 – adam@hugitforward.org Zohe Telón – 011 502 3084 3561 – zohe@hugitforward.org

Our Expectations of You

Communication is the most important thing Communicate, communicate, communicate If you don’t feel well, you aren’t comfortable, you are not getting the experience you would like to have, or you don’t understand something, please communicate. Don’t assume anything. Communicate what you need: we can’t know your needs unless you communicate them. All health concerns must be raised immediately with the Trip Leader While it’s not unusual to have some episodes of diarrhea while traveling, it’s always better to be safe than sorry with regard to your health. If in doubt, ask your trip leader. Please inform your trip leader of any and all symptoms immediately so that we can avoid serious problems. Please do not self-medicate. Our on-the-ground staff have seen it all when it comes to different ailments that affect travelers: please trust their judgment and follow their guidance when it comes to treating your health issues. Please do all you can to not pass your illness to others. It is never inappropriate to ask where the nearest restroom is. Avoid discussing your symptoms too much with the rest of the group (apart from the team leader/organizer). Alcohol consumption must be kept to a minimum You are a reflection of Hug It Forward, and your home country. Anyone abusing alcohol will not be allowed to continue volunteering with the group. While one or two alcoholic beverages may not result in negative consequences, you should not assume that drinking in the streets or in public locations is tolerated. As a rule of thumb, don’t do anything on foreign soil that you wouldn’t feel comfortable doing at home! Above all, you must always follow the trip leader’s direction regarding appropriate alcohol use. Absolutely no drug use will be tolerated If a volunteer is suspected of using drugs they will be sent home immediately, no questions asked. If you are caught in possession of even “small” amounts of drugs, or using drugs, or even in the company of people using drugs, there may be serious mandatory jail sentences in extremely unpleasant and dangerous conditions. Your legal rights will be VERY different than those within your home country. In many countries you basically have no rights. Be culturally appropriate We are guests in their country and just because something might work or be “the best way” in your country does not mean it will in theirs. Make it a priority to protect their culture and the way they do things. Who are we to tell or imply how something “should” be done? Please always remember to be considerate and open-minded. Bigotry will not be tolerated, even in joking. Be aware that men and women in other countries are most likely not aware of your home county’s cultural norms. If you find something offensive, remember that the only person you can control in the situation is yourself. All disagreements should be brought up with your Trip Leader Team morale will make or break your trip. Any group environment will include many different personalities and we encourage you to remind yourself of your focus: We are there for the people we are serving. Disagreements or people not pulling their weight will jeopardize the team morale and consequently the project we are there to help with. Always be kind, considerate, and open with the communication of your frustrations or confusion. This will help us work through any issue and more quickly find common ground. Be the solution, not the problem. Ask yourself “how can I help out?” at every moment you can.

Intentions for the Trip and working with the community

We commit to be positive and committed to resolution, fun and ease, so that negativity doesn’t impact the synergy of our group We will all have a safe, fun, life changing experience that we will cherish for the rest of our lives, knowing and truly believing that you will have the experience you desire We will stay open-minded at all times We recognize that just because something works in our country doesn’t make it the best option for another We remember that what’s “common sense” to us might not be common sense to someone else We remember that we are all “one people”, and act accordingly We will blend our group with those we interact with We will become part of the flow of energy – don’t just observe life, get involved, participate! We constantly ask ourselves, “Am I participating, or spectating?” We show gratitude and humility, always