FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is Soluciones Comunitarias' role within Certified Homestay?
Soluciones Comunitarias, through its local coordinators, manages the communication to successfully connect a traveler with the ideal local family.  During the year, Soluciones Comunitarias coordinates the network of families to host participants of programs led by a strategic partner, Social Entrepreneur Corps.  To ensure quality service, families are constantly trained, advised, visited and certified. For these services, Soluciones Comunitarias charges a fee, but does NOT hold any further responsibility in managing and/or mediating the experience and communication with the family. The fee paid to Soluciones Comunitarias is used to fund local community empowerment projects.
How do I book a stay with a Certified Homestay family?
Once you know the country that you are interested in visiting, you can directly contact our local coordinators.  They will contact you to understand the timing of your stay, your locations of interest, and gather more personal information to match you with the right family. They will send you all the information you need to reach the homestay family or a meeting point. 
For Ecuador, contact: Meg at meg@socialentrepreneurcorps.com
For Guatemala, contact: Marta Lidia at martalidia.garciasitan@gmail.com
For Mexico, contact: Luke at lukeburchell@socialentrepreneurcorps.com
For Nicaragua, contact: Alyssa at alyssa@socialentrepreneurcorps.com
How long can I stay with a Certified Homestay family?
The minimum stay is two nights. If you need some flexibility in determining the length of your stay and wish to decide once you have spent some time with the family, it is your responsibility to communicate your plans with the family and seek their approval.  Should the family be unable to accommodate you beyond the original confirmed period, we will contact another certified family and let you know of their availability. 
How much does it cost to stay with a Certified Homestay family?
The cost will vary between $12USD and $17USD per night depending on the country and community. You will be notified of the exact cost once you confirm your travel plans. Upon arrival, a fee, equivalent to one night's stay, will be collected by Soluciones Comunitarias for providing the service. 
How do I pay for my stay?
You will pay the homestay family directly, so make sure to have cash handy. Upon arrival, you will be requested to pay for the first two nights. For longer stays, it is recommended to pay on a weekly basis. It is your responsibility to ensure that the family is consistently paid.
What does the fee of the stay include?
The fee includes: three meals a day, a private room with a bed and a chair, bedsheets, blankets, towel and a lock for the door. Also, you can have your laundry done for stays longer than two days depending on the location.
Is the food safe to eat?
Yes. All families have been trained to provide safe meals. All vegetables and salad items are properly cleaned.  Raw salad items are washed with purified water and/or with a sanitizing solution. All families have filtered/purified water in their homes to drink.  Remember that when traveling or living in Latin America there is always the risk of 'traveler's diarrhea' as your stomach is exposed to a new diet.
What if I have dietary restrictions?
No problem.  It is important that you inform us when coordinating your stay so that we can inform the family.  Our families are used to preparing meals that require special attention. 
Are there any language requirements?

Spanish language competency is not required. We do, however, strongly recommend a minimum level of basic Spanish to make the most of the experience and feel comfortable with engaging with the family.

In certain homestay communities, families will speak Spanish as a second language.  Communication between family members may be in a local indigenous language.

Is it possible to stay as a couple?

We do work with families who accept couples or two friends.  If learning or improving your Spanish communication skills is an important aspect of your trip, we would recommend that you each have a separate homestay family.

Are there any specific rules to respect while staying with a Certified Homestay family?

Families will have different rules that will be communicated to you once arrangements are confirmed. In general, for example, families in urban areas are used to having travelers who occasionally head out in the evening to socialize.  You should inform the family of any plans you have to return to the house after 9 PM. They may wait up for you, so it is important to be punctual in returning at the time you have given.  It is not acceptable to return to the home intoxicated.  When staying with a family in a rural area, there will be limited oportunities to socialize in the evening so you will often be expected to be home before 9 PM.

What if my travel plans change or I need to cancel my trip? 

Should you need to cancel your homestay or are going to be delayed please contact us ASAP and no later than 24 hours before your arrival. 

Dalai Lama