Sonoran Desert Village FAQs

Join Habitat for Humanity Tucson’s special build celebrating our 40th anniversary of building homes, community, and hope in Southern Arizona!

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What is Sonoran Desert Village?

The Sonoran Desert Village trip is a short-term service trip where you can volunteer in your home country with Habitat for Humanity Tucson.

Your trips will include a mix of work, rest, and free time. It is our desire that these trips not only utilize your skills to build safe, affordable houses in places where they are desperately needed, but also give you the opportunity to see another culture up-close and experience what Tucson has to offer.

Why am I paying to volunteer?

The work that you do on your volunteer trip provides shelter for hardworking families in need, but the donation that you make ensures that future families can have strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter. Your donations make Habitat’s work sustainable and help us continue building after you return home.

How much does it cost to take a volunteer trip with Sonoran Desert Village? Does the cost of the trip include airfare?

The Sonoran Desert Village Trip costs $1800.  This cost does not include airfare.

Included in the cost of the trip:

  • An 8-night stay at Westward Look Resort, your private oasis in a historic district of Tucson, with breathtaking views of the Sonoran Desert landscape
  • Meals that explore the Southwestern flavors of Tucson, and celebrate our region’s rich agricultural heritage, thriving food traditions, and culinary distinctiveness
  • Cultural activities and community visits that give you a first-hand, authentic Tucson experience
  • Professional construction support as you build safe and stable homes in local Southwest neighborhoods alongside Habitat homebuyers
  • Transportation upon arrival at Westward Look Resort
  • Program donation

Habitat Tucson’s Sonoran Desert Village Trip program works to ensure that trips are well planned and coordinated, safe, and constructive for volunteers. The ultimate purpose of Habitat Tucson Village trips is to improve the housing conditions of families in Southern Arizona and provide volunteers with rewarding experiences and cultural exchange opportunities.

Do I need any building or language-speaking skills to volunteer?

We welcome and encourage adult travelers and adventurers of any age who want to contribute to our work, no matter your experience, background, religion, or race. Previous construction experience or fluency in a second language is not required. Please note, however, that manual labor is a part of the trip, so all participants should be in good health.

Can Sonoran Desert Village accommodate my special diet?

Our programs are able to accommodate typical dietary restrictions. If you have significant concerns, don’t let it stop you from serving with Habitat Tucson! Contact us to request additional information about meals and what can be accommodated.

Will we complete the house we’re building during my trip?

Building a house is no simple task! Construction activities around the world vary in length, but most likely you won’t build a house from start to finish in only one week. With the help of your donations, construction continues even after you return home as we work towards a world where everyone has access to affordable shelter.

Is my trip cost tax-deductible?

Habitat for Humanity Tucson is recognized in the United States as a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization. For many U.S. citizens, the trip cost is tax-deductible. Since the tax laws and the interpretation of those laws are ever-changing, we do not provide deductibility instructions; please consult a tax professional for current rules and interpretations. Consult a tax adviser for any other specific questions on the deductibility of your trip-related expenses.

You can read more about the trip cost and tax information on our website.

Can I extend my stay?

Yes! Westward Look Resort is willing to offer a Habitat for Humanity rate for the three days before the trip and the three days after. Please contact us to arrange an extension of your stay.

What should I be sure to pack?

Essentials

  • Passport, extra copies of the photo page
  • Photo ID
  • Copy of airline itinerary
  • Emergency contact information (this will be sent to you closer to departure)
  • ATM/credit card

Clothes

  • Build clothes: long pants, lightweight shirt, sweatshirt or sweater, hat, closed-toed shoes. These should be items you don’t mind getting dirty.
  • For dinners and non-build outings: comfortable clothing, walking shoes, sunglasses, and a hat.

Medicines and Other Health Items

  • Any prescription meds you need
  • Sunscreen (30+ SPF)
  • Lip balm
  • Aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol
  • Kleenex
  • Toiletries
  • Small backpack or day bag
  • Reusable water bottle

All Souls Procession

  • Walking shoes
  • A photograph of a loved one who has passed away (optional)
What is the “All Souls Procession”?

A celebration and mourning of the lives of our loved ones and ancestors, The All Soul’s Procession had its beginnings in Tucson, Arizona in 1990.  Each year, well over 150,000 participants gather on the streets of downtown Tucson for a two-mile long procession that ends in the ceremonial burning of a large Urn filled with the hopes, offerings, and wishes of the public for those who have passed.

Join us for perhaps one of the most important, inclusive, and authentic public ceremonies in North America today, where community members from all walks of life to express their grief and loss in a celebration of creative energy and rejoicing of life.

I haven’t traveled to Mexico before. How do I prepare?

During your trip to Tucson, you will have the option to explore the border, this time on the Mexico side!

Traveling to Mexico is very common for people who live in the Tucson area. People travel across the border for amazing restaurants, authentic experiences, and colorful shops full of Mexican arts and crafts. The most common way to cross the border is to drive from Tucson (67 miles, roughly an hour) and park on the U.S. side. The walk across the border is easy and only takes minutes.

From there, we will get around by walking with a guide, as the restaurants and shops are close to the border. Going back across to the U.S. usually takes more time due to the amount of people waiting to cross into the U.S. Once it is your turn to cross, you simply present a border agent with your passport and answer simple questions about why you were visiting Mexico for the day. We will walk back to the vehicle and that’s it! And don’t worry if you don’t speak Spanish! We will have Spanish/English speaking guides and translators.

If I don’t want to travel to Mexico, what else can I do that day?

If you would prefer not to travel internationally, we are happy to accommodate you. Most likely, you will be able to visit the Sonora Desert Museum. The museum is world-renowned and in TripAdvisor’s top 10 museums to visit in the U.S. It features native animals, plants, amphibians, minerals, geology and many more aspects of the Sonora Desert!

I want to bring my son/daughter with me on the trip - what are the age requirements?

All volunteers must be over the age of 16 and should be accompanied by a responsible adult. Additional information can be found in our minor policy.

What happens if I have to cancel my trip unexpectedly? Can I be refunded?

If a registrant needs to cancel their reservation for any reason, Habitat for Humanity Tucson will process refunds as follows:

  • Any participant cancellations made in writing, prior to October 4, 2019 at 5:00 PM Arizona time will result in a 100% refund minus a $25 processing fee;
  • Any cancellations made between October 4, 2019 at 5:01 PM – October 18, 2019 at 5:00 PM Arizona time will result in a $250 cancellation fee.
  • Any cancellations made after October 18, 2019 at 5:00 PM Arizona time will not be eligible for a refund.

Please contact us at 520-326-1217 ext. 228 if you need to make a cancellation.