General discussion about volunteer opportunities in Guatemala with a focus on Xela.
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Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:07 am


Post by KassC »

My family and I think we will be moving to the Western Highlands area at the end of this year. Can anyone tell me what the weather is like all year around. I know there is a rainy season and a dry season. We are selling all of our things and I don't know if I should keep sandles or boots, skirts or pants, tee shirts or button ups. I want to fit in as much as possible and although I will clearly look like a foreigner I don't want to stand out. So please help me pack the right things for me and my three little girls. Oh and for my husband too! What should he wear? Thanks

I wish there was a spell check on this thing.
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Re: Weather

Post by NormanQ »

Jeans, pants, long sleeve shirts, sweaters, coats, durable/comfortable shoes. Right now (March-early Junish) is summer (dry season). It's hot enough during the day for shorts, but if you go up the mountains it cools down quickly. Other than the dry season, long pants is the best way to go. It gets cold at night, and during the wet season (June, July, August) it rains pretty much everyday. The sun's rays are stronger here; you'll get sunburned quickly even if it's cool out. So if space is an issue, then definitely pack for cool weather only.
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Location: Quetzaltenango

Re: Weather

Post by Felipe »

The attempt to not stand out is somewhat futile, especially in a rural area. Everyone who looks at you will know instantly that you are new to their community. Having said that, I do think it is important to show some respect for local customs and beliefs.

Guatemalans do not trust people with tattoos. They are associated with gang membership. Same goes for any piercings other than womens' earrings. Interestingly, indigenous Guatemalans tend to pierce their daughters' ears at a much younger age than most Americans I know. Except in the city, and with fairly wealthy people, Guatemalans do not wear expensive jewelry. In my view, it is not only disrespectful to poor people, it makes you a target for robbery.

Guatemalans tend not to wear shorts, and I respect that in my own dress, though I have gringo friends who do wear shorts and don't get hassled for it. Women do wear pants, especially in the city, but skirts seem to be more the norm in the "campo" (rural area). In that case, I think it depends what YOU are more comfortable with. No one expects you to adapt completely overnight.

I don't think sandals are a problem if you are comfortable in them. Plenty of women, and some men, wear them. But boots are definitely more useful in the rainy season.

I wear t-shirts most of the time, but I wear button shirts at work so I can keep pens and notes in my pocket. It is so common for foreigners and young people to wear t-shirts here that it will not cause you to get any second looks.

I agree with Norman. If space is an issue, pack primarily for cool (but not freezing) weather. It is fairly easy and cheap to buy tee shirts here if you decide that you want them after arrival. Assuming that you and your husband are typical foreigners, larger than the locals, finding jackets, pants, or boots that are big enough for you may not be as easy. Of course that will not be as much of a problem for your girls.

I wish you success and happiness on your trip. Keep us posted on how it goes. And be sure to stop by Casa Wilson (my home) if you are ever in Xela. Send me a private message to find out the address and phone number.
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