As part of my trip through Guatemala, I stayed with a Guatemalan family. When staying with a family, you get a really good inside into the daily life of the Guatemalan. You learn about their religion, their work, their day-to-day tasks and habits. It’s so interesting to get a good understanding of living in Guatemala and in a Guatemalan family.
I stayed with a family of eight – six children and their parents – on the countryside of Guatemala, close to Lake Atitlan. During my stay we prepared our meal together (I learned to make tortillas the Guatemalan way), had a lovely dinner with the entire family, talked, dressed up in traditional family outfits, learned about each other’s culture and laughed. I went to bed early, woke up with a proper home brewn Guatemalan coffee and eggs, before heading out for a new destination.
The cool thing about staying with a family, is the fact you support their household directly. It’s a way for them to earn a little extra money. Which is much needed as many Guatemalan live in poverty.
I really feel more satisfied spending when I know the money goes to the right persons. Next to the money, having international guests makes them practice English. As their educational journey mostly is short (unfortunately), English is not a language they get to learn in school. Within the family I stayed with, only the dad had learned English during work. All of their 6 children learned English from the guests they had over. It’s fun to practice English with them and being able to teach them a little English, as well as learning their local language (kaqchikel).
I brought the family their earnings and next to that I bought gifts to bring. A fun thing could be to bring something from your hometown or country to learn them something about your background and culture. I brought chocolates and cookies, as I spoiled the mum with Ferrero Rocher and the kids with Surprise-eggs (chocolate eggs). Oh the youngest one, Pedro, loved it so much. He had never had such thing. It melted my heart.
A little video of Pedro receiving it
If you would be interested to have such experience and support local families, check your online destination and search for ‘home stay.’ It can also be helpful to reach out to a local travel agency to ask if they know any families who host sleep overs. This way you get to a family directly. Juist notice it’s a small business. My family only did it once a month so you might have to look and book a bit in advance.
Hope you will go and have an unforgettable night at a local family!
Extra info: Homestay Guatemala