Volunteering in Antigua
Making a difference to the wildlife and communities of Antigua, Guatemala
Why volunteer in Antigua, Guatemala?
Antigua is Guatemala’s most famous destination given its stunning landscapes, colonial architecture, and breathtaking ruins, that are so well preserved that the entire city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
Antigua has so much to offer its visitors including open markets, traditional costumes from the locals, cultural events and a beautiful central plaza with restaurants and shops for everyone.
And to add something extra this city is surrounded by several volcanoes that can be seen looming above the city from the streets or rooftops!
And there’s so much more!
The month I spent in Antigua, Guatemala was amazing! I have had such a good experience and loved every part of it.
Furthermore, Antigua is such a cute little city where you easily feel at home. My host family was super kind and the food and accommodation were nice. In the mornings I had a private Spanish class which I really enjoyed and which really helped me in learning the language even faster and being able to talk to my host family and the people at my placement.
Overall, I had an amazing experience and I would highly recommend anyone to sign up for a volunteer placement like this.
Antigua Volunteer Projects
Mayan Indigenous Communities Immersion
Get ready to live and work in a farming community outside of Antigua, assisting with activities that provide a modest income to local Mayan families, such as the creation of woven handicrafts, while having unique cultural exchange and experience of their daily life.
Location: Outskirts of Antigua
Duration: 1 – 12 weeks
Construction & Rehabilitation Project
Get ready to make a difference in community development by helping to create infrastructures such as housing, schools, churches, and community centres.
Duration: 1 – 12 weeks
Located 1500 meters over sea level in the central highlands and only one hour away from the capital city, Antigua is the most popular city in the country for tourists. Its inspiring architecture, stunning views and vivid country turn it into a must-visit destination!
The scenery surrounding the city make it so picturesque and photogenic that you won’t have issues taking amazing shots! Its 3 ancient volcanoes and tree blanketed mountains are truly unique and stunning. And besides that, you can even climb the Active volcano of Pacaya to have some amazing views from the summit and also take some photos besides the glowing molten lava rivers!
This is a destination best appreciated by foot since walking along the city ́s cobbled streets, taking pictures at its historical buildings and appreciating its beautiful architecture will take you back to the times of Spanish colonialism. The city is so well preserved that it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Don’t forget to leave some time to spare so to walk around the local markets that are bursting with colourful handicrafts and pretty woven garments. You will find beautiful and intricate ponchos, hats, tablecloths, wallets and decorative bowls, all of which make unique gifts.
Extra tip, Guatemala is the birthplace of the chocolate bar and instant coffee since its an ideal climate and geographical location. So you certainly can’t leave the city without trying the local delicacies. You can even visit one of the local coffee plantations, where the farmers will show you their crop and the coffee-making process.
Volunteering in Antigua, Guatemala
Antigua is also an amazing place given its ideal location and proximity to some of the country’s main tourist destinations! Just outside of Antigua, there is a lot to explore including nearby coffee farms, volcanoes, and both Mayan and colonial ruins. Further outside the area, volunteers can venture to visit beautiful Lake Atitlan, Semuc Champey, and the famous Tikal archaeological site! This is certainly the ideal hub for your trip to Guatemala!
We also have an institute located in the heart of Antigua, just 200 metres away from the Central Plaza. The institute is the best place for volunteers and students to meet and enjoy magnificent views of Volcan de Agua from the rooftop terrace.
Our institute, which is open 7 days a week, offers a lovely central garden, a fountain, WIFI, snack bar and it serves as a great meeting place for our students, interns, and volunteers from all over the world where you can get to know each other, plan activities, and practice Spanish.
By joining us you can also benefit from many free activities such as free salsa classes, cooking lessons, Tandem Spanish Conversation Program, a free walking tour and more.
Antigua Highlights & Excursions
Guatemala is known as the Heart of the Mayan Work, but besides featuring lots of really well preserved Mayan ruins it’s an extremely diverse country offering beautiful landscapes, volcanoes, lakes and wildlife. Tours and trips can be easily booked through our on-site travel partner, and we ́ll be there to help you organize your travel plans.
This beautiful lake surrounded by soaring volcanic mountains, that offers shallow spots where you can swim or dive is one of the must-see locations in Guatemala. Besides the coffee plantations that dot the steep mountainsides, there are picturesque Mayan villages and scenic towns all around Lake Atitlan.
Visit Guatemala ́s most paradisiac destination when you venture out on this majestic place hidden in the lush mountainous jungle to enjoy its 6 turquoise blue water pools. People visit Semuc not only to enjoy swimming in the pools but also to explore the nearby water cave, or tube down the Chabon River which disappears under the limestone bridge only to reappear miles later.
Watch Volcan de Fuego erupt
Antigua has three massive volcanoes that dominate its landscape, with Volcán de Agua to the south of the city and Volcán de Fuego and Acatenango side-by-side to the southwest.
Of these three behemoths, the “Volcano of Fire” (or Chi Q’aq’, which means “where the fire is” in Kaqchikel) is by far the most active. Located less than 10 miles from the city, Fuego lives up to its name by emitting small eruptions of gas and ash approximately every 15 to 20 minutes!
Half day City Tour of Antigua
Set out on a half-day excursion to explore the historic streets of this picturesque city and get an up-close look at the ruins of colonial churches and Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture.
Set out on a half-day hike to climb Pacaya Volcano, a fully-active volcano and one of Guatemala’s best national parks.
Tikal Archaeological Site
Travel further to Tikal National Park. Explore the “City of Voices” and learn about Mayan civilization and history. You visit the Temple of the Jaguar, the Great Plaza, the Lost World, and you climb Temple IV.
You will be staying in a traditional family-stay where you will be placed with a pre-approved middle-class Guatemalan family. They ́ll have breakfast and dinner with you seven days a week so you will have the chance to share a true cultural exchange experience, learn from the local culture and even practice some Spanish with them! If you are in a shared room, you can expect to stay with 1-3 other people of the same gender and similar age.
Our host families live in the heart of the city of Antigua and are approximately 10-25 minute walking or by bus from our main institute, so very centrally located.
If interested, additional housing and upgrades to private rooms or other types of accommodations (hotels and backpackers are available at an extra fee).
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Guatemala safe to visit?
We take our volunteer’s safety very seriously and we ́ll give an in-depth induction upon arrival. Please check our Safety Tips as well and don’t worry about this since we ́ll look out for you and lots of tourists visit this beautiful country every year. Petty crime and scams are some of the biggest issues so you need to be on the lookout and pay attention to pickpockets or similar petty thieves.
What is the weather/climate in Guatemala?
Guatemala has a tropical climate, but the temperatures and rainfall can vary greatly within different regions, especially due to different altitudes. The lowland and coastal areas are typically the warmest parts of the country—they have an average annual temperature around 80°F (27°C), but during the months of March and April, the temperature can hang around 100°F (38°C). In the valleys between mountains, which range from 4,000–6,000 feet (1,200–1,800 m), the temperature is usually mild. Big cities like Quetzaltenango, Guatemala City, and Antigua are found here, and tend to enjoy comfortable temperatures around 60°F–70°F (16°C–21°C) all year. Atop mountains and volcanoes, the temperature can drop to below freezing.
What is the currency in Guatemala?
The currency is the Quetzal (Q) but U.S. dollars are accepted in all places of business but are NOT available at ATMs. All money exchange is done at banks.
What is the language in Guatemala?
The official language of Guatemala is Spanish although there are many Amerindian languages spoken (23 official languages, including K’iche’ Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca).
What should stay in your hand luggage when travelling?
All valuables should be kept in your hand luggage, not left in your checked bags.
Which Electrical Plugs are used in Guatemala?
Electricity throughout Guatemala is 110V, 60Hz – the same frequency used in North America. Be sure to check your electronics and small appliances for compatibility, and purchase any adapters or converters necessary.
Electrical outlets are both 2-prong (left) and 3-prong (right). Please note that 2-prong outlets are the most common in Guatemala.
Know Before You Go
Code of Conduct
Volunteering Safety Tips
- Be sure to keep track of your belongings at all times.
- Keep your belongings on your lap while riding the bus.
- Do not accept drinks from strangers.
- Use busy and well-lit streets when walking and never walk alone after dark.
- Only use official taxis and public buses.
- Keep small change in your pockets and hide large bills.
- Be vigilant when using an ATM.
- Never count your money on the street or in public.
- Take special care with your camera, laptop, jewellery, purse, and electronics.
- Save your project manager’s number on your phone and make sure to provide us with a copy of your emergency contact person at home.
We will review safety again in detail during your orientation.
Please consult with your private physician or doctor in regards to what immunizations or vaccinations are needed.
- Hepatitis A&B: Recommended
- Typhoid: Recommended
- Rabies: Recommended
- Yellow Fever: Guatemala is NOT at risk to yellow fever but if coming from a yellow fever country you need this vaccination together with proof of having it.
- Routine vaccinations including measles