Details: Transportation, Visas, Communication
When entering Honduras, you should request a tourist visa valid for 90 days in Honduras. Teachers are not technically working but volunteering for the school. The school will cover the cost of renewing the tourist visas twice a year, in October and March, but volunteers must leave the CA4 zone (Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador) on their own over Christmas break to renew their 90 day visas.
We ask our foreign staff to pay their own airfare. For a non-profit organization such as Mayatan, the cost of the flight is considerable on top of the monthly stipends, housing and other benefits of working here.
Most teachers fly into San Pedro Sula, Honduras (4 hrs by bus from Copan Ruinas) or Guatemala City, Guatemala (5 hrs). More detailed information about travel will be sent as part of the hiring process.
Buses are the cheapest and most convenient method of transportation within Central America. We recommend Hedman Alas for its tight security and the level of comfort on its buses, though it is the most expensive ($25 one way to Copán from San Pedro Sula). There are also second class buses providing transportation all over Honduras and Central America ($7 San Pedro Sula to Copán). Second class buses and mini-buses may not be as comfortable or secure as first class companies like Hedman Alas.
During Orientation Week, the school will help you open an account into which your monthly stipend will be deposited. The account will include a debit card, and there is an ATM machine in the center of town for easy withdrawals.
The mailing address is: Your Name, Escuela Mayatan, Copán Ruinas, Copán, Honduras, Central America. A letter generally takes 10-14 days to arrive from the U.S. and small packages in envelopes about 2-3 weeks. Your local post office can give you rates and approximate amount of time that the package will arrive in Honduras; once it reaches the country, it will most likely take a little longer to get to Copán.
There is no home mail delivery and you will have to pick up your mail at the post office downtown off the Square.
The best and cheapest way to send packages from the United States is with the U.S. Postal Service in a flat-rate box. Although there is no long international land/sea postage from the United States, this is still a better option than a private delivery service because U.S. Mail is less likely to get stuck in customs, which can delay and add considerable fees to a package.
Most volunteers buy cell phones once they are in Honduras, which can be as cheap as $25. A cell phone from North America will probably not work here without changes that can be expensive and difficult to make. Instead of monthly contracts, volunteers choose pay as you go plans from Tigo, Digicel, or Claro; minutes can be bought at stores all over town or at the bank. Skype, Google Voice, and other online services are a good way for teachers to keep in touch with their friends and family back home.
Escuela Mayatan's campus is a wireless hotspot and you can connect while here. A number of cafes and restaurants in town provide free internet service while you patronize the business. You can purchase home wireless internet service from several vendors in town for around $35.00 per month. Internet connection speeds will be much slower than volunteers are used to at home.
Most teachers find a laptop computer essential. However if you do not have one, the school can check one out to you for use during the school day and overnight, per availability. There are some internet cafes in town, but these are expensive and not always convenient. It is more expensive and difficult to purchase computer equipment in Honduras than in the U.S.A., Canada, or Europe; the best way by far is to plan ahead and pack a laptop.