Quetzaltrekkers Leon is the only all non-profit, all volunteer-run trekking and outdoors association in Nicaragua. In fact, apart from our sister organization, Quetzaltrekkers Guatemala and the recently founded Condortrekkers Bolivia, we might just be the only organization of our kind anywhere in the world. Quetzaltrekkers offers adventurous hikes through the volcanoes in the surrounding areas of Leon, Nicaragua and then donates ALL profits to locally-run projects working with disadvantaged youth.
A BIT OF OUR HISTORY
Quetzaltrekkers was founded in 1995 as a means of self-sustainable, grassroots fundraising for the functioning of Asociación Escuela de Calle (EDELAC) with the overall aim of combating the unfortunate reality of children living and working on the streets of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. The idea of QT was simple: raise money from tourists and use all of it to help the Guatemalans that need them most, namely, street children and other at-risk youth. From these humble beginnings, Quetzaltrekkers grew to become the biggest trekking operator in Xela and possibly all of Guatemala. As interest in the treks expanded over the years, so did QT’s ability to help Quetzaltenango’s street children. In 1999, Quetzaltrekkers opened the Hogar Abierto, a dormitory that continues to act as an immediate crisis center and (in many cases) permanent home for troubled youth who lack families that can cover their basic needs.
Encouraged by the success of Quetzaltrekkers in Xela, three guides set out from Guatemala in 2004 to expand the organization to other countries in Central America. They decided to settle in León, Nicaragua due to its proximity to the Maribios volcanic range. Instead of creating their own social project, the guides decided to seek out a pre-existing, well established organization for which to raise money.
After speaking with many organizations committed to helping children, the guides eventually chose to work with Asociación Las Tías. This independent organization was established by local merchant women for the purpose of reducing drug use among disadvantaged youths in Leon and rehabilitating those with existing addictions.
As time continued, the popularity and profits of QT León increased exponentially. The Directors of QT Leon began to use surplus earnings in order to support other local organizations that assisted at-risk kids. As of January 2017, Quetzaltrekkers donates its profits to four projects in León: Asociación Las Tías, Las Chavaladas, Minibiblioteca Manuelita Sacasa, and the QT Scholarship Fund. QT Leon also provides funding to special projects on an ad hoc basis. QT guides also volunteer each week at the organizations.