Volunteer in Guatemala
Guatemala is a very poor country, the civil war which ravaged the country has long ended but there are still problems with poverty, educational standards, healthcare and unemployment. Working as a volunteer here will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life where you can help by giving service and also experience the life and culture of the country.
Volunteer Programs in Guatemala
Search structured, free & low cost volunteer opportunities in Guatemala.
Apply to Volunteer in Guatemala
Guatemala is often seen as a very un-safe destination to visit but we wouldn't let this put you off, most of the country is very safe and they need all the international help they can get especially if you have any specific skills or experience. Around 50% of the population live below the poverty line which is quite a shocking statistic but there are local organisations on the ground trying to help and this is a country very much looking forward. You can find free and low cost volunteering programs in Guatemala, we also list organisations and large sending agencies who offer inspirational projects and volunteer holidays where you can help children and communities.
Placements are also really fun, you'll meet people from all over the world and be able to interact and socialise with locals. This is also a great way to improve your Spanish skills. You can find programs in places like Antigua and in rural villages and towns like San Miguel Duenas and Quetzaltenango (Xela). We list various worthwhile projects throughout the country.
There are a wide selection of volunteer opportunities available where you can give back and make a difference in this naturally beautiful country, Summer and group programs are popular and are a great way to travel and give back. You can choose how long you participate for, some placements can last a week or over 6 months and don't worry you won't need any previous experience. Accommodation is usually basic including house shares with other participants and also home stays where you will get to live with a local family.
Types of Volunteer Programs in Guatemala
There are lots of different programs available to join including:
Some local organisations recognise the barriers to success, meaningful employment and quality educational experiences faced by low income individuals and their families. In Guatemala, opportunities are not being seized, chances are not being taken, and people are unable to move forward. They strongly believe that all people have the right and should be offered the chance to participate in a sucessful life, become citizens for international change, and most importantly be allowed to make a positive impact whether big or small, near or far. You can work to improve life and living conditions in Guatemala, there are lots of community based initiatives available where you can help local people improve skills on business and education programs.
Volunteer with Children in Guatemala
You could apply to teach English in Guatemala at schools or help at outreach centres. When working at schools local children will really love having you there and its great to see the positive effect you will have on them. Usually these teaching placements start early at around 8am and you will assist a local teacher in daily routines which include drawing pictures and writing on chalk boards. Schools usually finish in the early afternoon and then you are free to relax or explore the local area. Participants will need to be pro-active in organizing activities and leading daily activities, you might be helping with maths, science or sporting lessons.
You can get involved with community life in a Guatemalan village, you can make a big difference by helping out with a range of tasks from teaching the children English, maths, computing or crafts to assisting with healthcare. As a volunteer teacher you will be able to help out where you are needed most and in the areas you are most interested in, the areas you will be able to help with include: You can opt to assist with a number of projects; the main focus will be on educating and supporting the children teaching subjects such as English, computing, mathematics, physical education and handicraft.
Conservation Projects - Volunteer with Animals in Guatemala
Beauty spots and nature is under threat in Guatemala due to de-forestation and new building projects. This as a result has had a very negative effect on wildlife. There are also problems with the illegal wildlife trade and poaching. Places you can help include the Laguna del Tigre Park and at wildlife rescue centres, if you have a background in veterinary this is beneficial but there are normal placements available where you can help working hands on rehabilitating and caring for animals. There are also sea turtle research and release projects available on the coast which are a really amazing way to help this species.
How to Apply
Generally everyone over 17 can apply as long as you qualify for a tourist visa which is granted on arrival. You will not need to know Spanish to apply but it is highy recommended you learn to make the most of the experience. Sometimes you might need to have a interview either over Skype of in person. You can apply to volunteer in Guatemala on our website today and also placements can be booked in advance. By applying through a sending agency you will need to pay a fee but they provide everything from placements, transfers, accommodation, meals and in-country support. View our Central America volunteering programs for more options.
Volunteer in Guatemala for Free
There are also free local non-profits and NGO projects available where you might need to pay a small donation or just give your time.
Recommended organisations which offer free (and low cost) volunteer programs in Guatemala to international participants include:
- Animal AWARE - help rescue and rehabilitate animals. A $5 donation per day is required which goes directly to the sanctuary.
- Maya Pedal
- Ninos de Guatemala
- Mayan Families
- Safe Passage
- Trama Textiles
- Quetzal Trekkers
If you would like to recommend a free volunteer organisations in Guatemala get in touch.
Guatemala Volunteer Reviews
Have you ever been to help in Guatemala? Would you like to review an organisation or project? Get in touch and give us your feedback!
"I went to volunteer with animals in Guatemala for 2 weeks which was an amazing experience. I applied through IVHQ who offer safe and affordable programs which are very organized. You will love Guatemala!" - Laura, Canada