WHY we need you in Guatemala
HOW can you help?
WHAT you can do?
Why Involvement Volunteers International?
PROJECT NAME: STRAY DOG & CAT REHABILITATION
LOCATION: ANTIGUA, GUATEMALA
START DATES: WEEKLY (SAT/SUN ARRIVALS)
ACCOMMODATION: HOMESTAY (SHARED ROOMS)
MIN DURATION: ONE WEEK
MIN AGE: 16+ (Under 16 with guardian)
SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: N/A
Unfortunately, Guatemala has a significant problem with stray cats and dogs who wander the streets. These animals are often starving, with bad health and therefore can create an issue with safety within the community. Our local partners are grassroots organisations that provide care and treatment for the animals that have suffered so badly. They provide food, water, veterinary care and most of all, love and attention
You will be helping to groom, exercise, and train both the dogs and cats. You can assist with bathing, brushing, walking, and leading obedience training, as well as cleaning the kennels. You can also take part in the medical treatment, spay/neuter programs, education, and fundraising. These projects working with animals heavily depend on volunteer efforts, so you know that the work you do here is truly helping to keep the program running efficiently.
Projects are located in and around the city of Antigua, which was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. This is a popular tourist spot due to the pretty colonial buildings and ancient ruins. From the streets and rooftops, you can even see volcanoes towering over the city. Antigua’s Central Plaza has plenty of restaurants, shops, markets, and regular cultural events, making it an exciting city to call home.
- Assist with daily duties at the local centre
- Clean, feed, walk and care for the dogs and cats
- Help with medical care and procedures
- Help to educate to community on caring for these animals
Food & Accommodation
The majority of volunteers stay with a pre-approved middle-class Guatemalan host family. You may choose from a shared or a private room. Shared rooms are between 1-3 other people (same gender & age group). You are provided with a key to the house and are free to come and go as you please, we ask you to respect the rules of the family. Our host families live in and around Antigua and are 10-25 minutes walking or by bus from the volunteer centre.
You can also choose to stay in a student residence room, hostel, hotel or apartment, all of which can be private or shared between single genders. Please note, for hostels, hotels and apartments, meals are not included.
Breakfast and dinner are provided 7 days a week* and will generally be of local cuisine. Corn, rice, beans, beef, pork, chicken, cheese, and tortillas form the basis of the typical local foods. Meat stews and soups are very popular also.
Photos below are of the volunteer centre (not homestays)
- Airport Pickup
- Local Transportation
- 1 Day Orientation
- 24/7 In-Country Support
- Project Materials & Equipment
- Pre-departure Expert Advice
- Preperation Tools & Checklists
- Certificate of Completion
For those of you who are passionate about animals, you can make a huge difference on this program. If you have a real love for animals, a caring nature and are willing to put in some hard work, you will be welcomed on this project.
- Airport pick-up
- Host family accommodations
- Breakfast and dinner, 7 days/week
- 3-4 hours/day practical work, Monday-Friday
- Program and safety orientation
- Walking tour
- Official certificate of volunteer service
- Letter of recommendation
- Spanish language tutoring table
- Tandem Conversation Program
- Office-wide WiFi and computer lab
- Salsa dance classes
- Cooking classes
- Free coffee and tea and on-site snack bar
- Institute is open 7 days/week
- Emergency contact number 24/7
- Medical insurance
- Daily transportation
- Travel and tours
- Transfer back to the airport
- Personal spending money
Each project will include a 1-day orientation to familiarise yourself with the local area, rules, safety advice and general information. Your host family will show you the best way to get to/from your accommodation to the volunteer centre. Orientation will include health and safety advice, do’s and don’ts, cultural norms, activities and tours you can do on weekends, and a short walking tour, showing you the local area. You are also able to take a free Spanish placement exam. On your first day the local coordinator will take you to the placement, where you will be introduced to everyone and shown around the project.
Our projects are situated in the Antigua area. The most effective way to get you your project is to walk or take the bus. Travel time can vary between projects, and you should expect to spend 20-60 minutes travelling each way. You may need to change buses, depending on where your accommodation/project is located. Taxis are widely available but much more expensive than the bus.
PLEASE NOTE: You are responsible for your daily transportation to and from your project site. Local bus journeys are very affordable and will typically cost Q8 (about US $1) or less each way but may cost more if your project is further outside Antigua. We recommend budgeting about US $5 per day for transport.
Sunday – Arrival / Welcome and Home Stay Introduction
Monday – Orientation day
Tuesday to Friday
Here is a rough guide on what to expect:
- Breakfast at the accommodation
- 3-4 hours of volunteer work either in the morning or afternoon
- Your own lunch at the accommodation or project site
- Free time
- Dinner at the accommodation
There is so much to see and do around Antigua, including cultural events, tours and treks, and exploring the various markets. The local coordinators regularly post a monthly events calendar to let you know of the activities going on nearby. For more ideas on things to do in Guatemala…
These Mayan ruins are set amidst the jungle of northern Guatemala and close to the borders between Belize and Mexico. The incredible ruins are a little hard to get to but have a spectacular backdrop. The ruins used to be one of the most influential cities in the Mayan empire.
Semuc Champey Pools
Another destination a little hard to get to (think long and windy bus ride) but definitely worth it for the incredibly blue pools of water you will find here, all surrounded by Guatemalan jungle. You can go swimming in the pools too!
Pacaya, Santiaguito and Fuego are active volcanoes which visitors can climb up. These 3 are still active but Guatemala also has 37 volcanoes dotted around the country. If you love hiking, then make sure to try one of these treks for spectacular views.
Lake Atitlan is a place where you can easily spend several days. This pretty lake has the backdrop of volcanoes and pretty wildflowers around the edge of the water. There are lots of small towns around the lake to explore, or you could simply relax by the sparling water or try SUP and kayaking.
Indian Nose Hike
This is a spectacular viewpoint which will only take around a 45 minutes climb. Situated close to San Pedro, this mountain is known for incredible sunrises, but we would recommend going with a tour group for this, for safety reasons.
- Be at least 16 years of age
- Those under 16 are welcome when there is a faculty leader, parent, or guardian present
- Have a reasonable level of fitness as this project requires some hard work!
Limited access to education and healthcare, poverty, illness, unemployment and illiteracy continuing problems in Guatemala. Guatemala is bordered by El Salvador and Honduras to the South, Belize to the East, and Mexico to the North. There is plenty for outdoor and nature lovers here, including tropical coastal beaches and lush jungles, mountains, rivers and volcanoes. Guatemala has a population of 14 million people, half of that being indigenous. You will see plenty of ancient Mayan traditions and customs still alive today.
The climate in Guatemala changes somewhat dramatically. In the lowlands there is a hot, tropical and humid climate year-round. The mountain regions are a lot cooler and can even fall below freezing in the cooler months. The climate in the popular tourist destinations in Guatemala, such as Antigua and Guatemala City, is temperate and a comfortable warm temperature.
May to October is the rainy season, which brings short rains usually in the afternoon. This can be a great time to visit, as the landscape are lush and green. The dry season is from March to May.
Guatemala has strong Mayan and Latin influences, with the main language being Spanish, as well as some Mayan languages. The indigenous people are known for their colourful clothing and textiles and Guatemalans love their sport (soccer in particular) and music. The designs of the clothing vary in patterns from which village you come from. Religion in Guatemala varies from Mayan spirituality, Catholicism, and Evangelical Christianity. Muslim and Jewish populations can be seen in Guatemala City as well. A lot of the festivals here are influenced by religion.
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