I have been told that Huehuetenango  is the up-and-coming spot for grassroots village-based tourism, especially since a recent investment by the European Union built basic infrastructure and provided training to get the project off the ground.
To explore this completely untapped region of western Guatemala and support a worthy venture, visit the Huehuetenango Community Ecological Tourism Project (www.todossantoscuchumatan.weebly.com  or www.laantesaladelcielo.blogspot.com ) for a list of participating villages, prices for guesthouses and guides, and descriptions of local attractions.
These community tourism projects are the first of their kind in these predominantly Mam Maya areas, and are visited by just a handful of visitors each year.
One option is Lago Magdalena (US$20 per person per day, includes guide), just above Lake Magdalena. Guests stay in one of six cabanas, made of river stone and wood, with electricity and shared outdoor toilets. Meals are arranged separately with a local cook.
La Ventosa and Chiabal (contact Esteban Matías, tel. 502/5381-0540, www.turismocuchumatanes.com , US$35 per person per day, includes lodging, guide, and three meals) are located about 45 minutes before Todos Santos . (Look for a collection of cabanas at nearly 11,000 feet on a wide, sheep-speckled plateau.) From here, you can climb El Torre, the highest non-volcanic peak in Central America.
Guatemala ’s poverty and human rights abuse history has ensured a large number of nonprofit organizations doing different work around the country. Guatemala NGO Network (www.laantiguaguatemala.net ) is one site that consolidates and organizes various projects in the country. You can also do a “Guatemala” search at www.volunteerabroad.com . They usually have an overflowing database of extended travel opportunities.
The Antigua-based organization Starfish One by One (www.starfishonebyone.org ) works to educate girls and empower women in Maya communities surrounding Lake Atitlán . Starfish occasionally has volunteer opportunities.
The Rigoberta Menchú Tum Foundation (tel. 502/2230-2431 or 2232-0793, guatemala [at] frmt [dot] org, www.frmt.org ) considers itself “guardians of our territories which have the vastest biological diversity in the world.” They offer various educational, development, and human rights related programs in which you can become involved or support financially.
MayaWorks (tel. 312/243-8050, info [at] mayaworks [dot] org, www.mayaworks.org ) is a nonprofit organization that helps Maya women start small businesses and sell fair-trade crafts. They partner with 125 artisans in the central highlands of Guatemala. You can support them right now by shopping, donating, or volunteering on their website. In 2012, they’re offering a tour (10 days, Feb. 17–26, US$1,450) where travelers can visit some of the artisans and learn about their lives and villages.