ALTERNATIVE BREAKS


Through carefully curated, educational itineraries, we connect international student groups with our local partners, who are Mexican artisans, micro-entrepreneurs, and organizations.  These interactions allow students to tackle complex issues through honest conversations with people who have direct experience in these areas. Our trips facilitate a mutually-beneficial exchange of perspectives, and help students grow as socially-minded individuals.

We consistently witness the profound intellectual and personal development that can take place over the course of a few well-planned days. Making your group’s international experience as powerful as possible is our mission.  

TRIP TYPES AND TOPICS

Human Connections can manage the logistics and content planning for your alternative break, service week, experiential education trip or off-campus component of your university course. We call these experiences, ranging from four days to two weeks, Global Engagement Trips (GETs).

Our specialty is in curating trips focused around social sector topics, such as: social entrepreneurship, sustainable volunteering, microfinance and economic development, indigenous rights, migration or environmental sustainability – to name a few! Your trip can be focused on one or many of these themes.

PRICING

As a social enterprise, we are committed to keeping our prices accessible.

Trip prices depend on number of people, length of stay, accommodation type, and other variables that you decide, as well as time of year. Input your information into our calculator to get an immediate estimate.

RISK MANAGEMENT

Human Connections staff is trained in risk management and has a comprehensive general liability insurance policy. When we work with high school groups, the trips require faculty leaders. At the university level, we can work with a student or faculty member to organize the experience. We cater to groups from zero Spanish to fluent, depending on your needs.

SOCIAL IMPACT

At Human Connections, relationships are at the core of everything that we do. Our trips are intentionally non-voyeuristic; instead, participants are welcomed into the homes of local people, where they listen to diverse perspectives and engage ethically in a reciprocal exchange of resources and experiences. We pride ourselves on being socially responsible, educating about how to travel responsibly, and channeling tourism dollars into local hands.

To this end, each itinerary includes:

  • Program and intercultural orientations
  • Conversations with local artisans and entrepreneurs
  • Visits with nonprofits and local leaders
  • Excursions throughout the gorgeous Riviera Nayarit
  • Group debriefs and reflections
  • A volunteer component (optional)
  • Our Responsible Tourism Guarantee
I loved the way we were all able to be ourselves and do our jobs effectively. The atmosphere was also so welcoming and I feel that this has been a great opportunity and one that I will hold on to and cherish for a lifetime. It went far beyond just an internship for me and I appreciated everything I gained from the experience.
 

Sample Itineraries

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you mean by “ethical volunteering”?

We recognize that those who wish to volunteer, at home or abroad, generally do so with the best of intentions. However, when international volunteers come into our communities to “help,” the outcome is complicated and often reinforces damaging power dynamics between groups of people. Here are one, two, and three resources to learn more about “voluntourism.”

At Human Connections, we are discerning about the volunteer experiences we facilitate, and always integrate the following two commitments:

  • Partnerships – We partner with local organizations to make sure that any volunteer work our groups do is truly needed, does not take away local jobs, and compensates the organization’s staff fairly for their time with volunteers.
  • Learning – We contextualize the volunteer component of our itineraries with discussions that address the concerns with “voluntourism” directly. Students hone their critical thinking skills, learning tools to tackle social justice issues and developing a broader global perspective that will serve them for years to come.

Is your community safe?

Bucerias, Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit, the regions in which our programs take place, are all specifically excluded from U.S. Department of State travel warnings. These are areas with a thriving international tourism industry, in part because it is so safe. Our program orientations always cover best practices for the most agreeable experience during your time in Mexico. That said, everyone has their own level of comfort and we recommend that you do your own research before signing up for any experience abroad.

Are your trips appropriate for high school students?

Absolutely! We welcome the opportunity to work with young people, including high school students. One of the strengths of our GETs is that there is flexibility in your itinerary and we customize the itinerary to meet your students’ needs. For more information about creating a GET for high school level, contact info@humanconnections.org.

I’m not part of a school, but your trips sound amazing. Can I sign up?

Of course! We are happy to design a trip for a family, yoga retreat, group of friends or coworkers. As previously mentioned, we can cater the activities and logistics to match your goals and preferences.


Institutions we’ve hosted include: