Why Involvement Volunteers International?
Volunteer in Guatemala
South of Mexico, Guatemala is a mountainous region and a mix between ancient Latin cultures and more modern North American influences. Some parts of the country have a real European feel about them, with all the old colonial buildings lining the streets (such as in Antigua). Guatemala also has plenty of jungle to explore, mountains and historic towns. Despite the poverty and unemployment in Guatemala, the locals are incredibly friendly and welcoming to visitors.
Volunteer Projects in Guatemala
Teach English to adults and children after going on an intro course on ESL teaching. Help with basic phrases, grammar, pronunciation, spelling, reading, writing and conversational skills. You can also get creative with fun educational games in the classroom.
Work at local day-care centres and after school programs, helping understaffed facilities and providing support for the local childcare workers. You can also help provide much needed help, support and care for the individual children who need it most.
Help groom, exercise, and train both the dogs and cats. Assist with bathing, brushing, walking, leading obedience training, cleaning the kennels, medical treatment, spay/neuter programs, education, and fundraising.
Help with general check-ups, taking vital signs, preparing materials and equipment, and assisting during mealtimes. Volunteers can also help educate the community by creating medical campaigns to provide healthcare, dental check-ups, and hygiene education to disadvantaged communities outside of Antigua.
Work at assisted living-facilities, helping with people who are physically or mentally disabled, elderly patients, and children infected with HIV. Get involved in all aspects of the patients care, including conversation and speech therapy, feeding, bathing, physical therapy, workshops, and generally putting a smile on patients faces.
Work alongside biologists and researchers on the Pacific Coast, as well and learning about the local ecosystem, bio diversity and how to sustain the environment. Be taught how to collect data and educate the local community about environmental and conservation issues, as well as how to maintain this precious marine ecosystem.
Work with farmers just outside Antigua, where you learn about eco farming and volunteer on the coffee and macadamia nut farms. You will learn and provide assistance in every step of production, from growing, harvesting, and processing the crops and yield. Be prepared to put in hard work on this manual project!
Get involved in digging, removing dirt, mixing cement, carrying bricks, painting, and plastering. Learn basic construction techniques under the guidance of a local coordinator. You’ll be taught how to use adobe, plaster, bamboo, cement block, drywall, and aluminium, as well as how to build, cut, mix, paint, and decorate.
Live with a local Mayan Kakchikel-speaking family and assist within everyday life. Work includes helping in the fields, cooking traditional Guatemalan dishes, caring for animals, assisting with local construction projects, working at the local school, agricultural work and making handwoven textiles and crafts.
30 Years Experience
IVI is an Australian charity & non profit organisation founded in 1989 and is one of the pioneers of overseas volunteering successfully placing over 20,000 volunteers globally. We accept volunteers from all over the world and place them in meaningful overseas missions.
Affordable Volunteer Travel
Safe & Responsible Projects
Work Experience & University Credits
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.
The majority of our projects are located in 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.
We have a beautifully restored colonial building (with a pretty garden and fountain) for you to enjoy meeting all the other volunteers. Just a half-block away, with incredible views from the rooftop terrace is another volunteer centre, with common areas indoor and outdoors, to sit and relax after project, learn Spanish, use the internet or to interact with other volunteers.
The majority of volunteers stay with a pre-approved middle-class Guatemalan 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.
Student residence rooms (subject to availability) may be shared or private, as requested. Shared rooms are single gender. The accommodation will be within a 10-minute walk from the volunteer centre and the Central Park.
Apartments are private (or you can share the apartment with a travel partner). You receive a key and are free to come and go as you please. All apartments are middleclass and fully furnished including linens, towels, kitchen utensils, and Wifi. Meals are not included in apartments stays. The accommodation will be within a 10-25 minute walk or bus/taxi ride from the volunteer centre.
Hostel rooms can be shared (single gender) or private, as requested. Please note, meals are not included in hostel stays. You will be situated within a 10-25 minute walk or bus/taxi ride from the volunteer centre.
Hotel rooms are private unless planning to share with your travel partner. Meals are not included in hotel stays. You’ll be within a 10-25 minute walk or bus/taxi ride from the volunteer centre.
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.
*Meals are not provided for apartment, hostel & hotel stays
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.
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.
Spotlight on Guatemala
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