Volunteering in the Pacific Coast
Making a difference to the wildlife of the Pacific Coast, Guatemala
Why volunteer in the Pacific Coast of Guatemala?
Guatemala’s Pacific Coast is an exotic, diverse and ideal place to visit and enjoy its beautiful beaches of volcanic sand, green natural reserves and see marine turtles, iguanas and crocodiles all over the area.
This coast has stunning beaches that spread over 300 km and allow for surfing and water sports, as well as some relaxing time by the beach or at the different coastal resorts
And there’s so much more so come and discover the magic hidden in the Pacific Coast!
After my incredible volunteer opportunity, I now consider Guatemala my second home. As a young woman, I am constantly told to not travel alone, yet to a foreign developing country far far away from home. My six weeks were the best six weeks of my life that I will cherish forever. I find myself constantly talking about my great volunteering experience. This trip overall gave me the itch to travel more and see the world. I always felt safe and comfortable with the other volunteers in my volunteer house. I formed great friendships that continue to strive after leaving. I miss waking up every morning and going to my volunteer site!
Pacific Coast, Guatemala Volunteer Projects
Sea Turtle Conservation
Get ready to make a difference in a truly bio-diverse country, by helping to reverse the risk of extinction of sea turtles by taking an active role in protecting both adult and baby sea turtles
Location: Pacific Coast
Duration: 2 – 12 weeks
Pacific Coast Volunteer
Our environmental conservation volunteers will have the unique chance of spending their days in the relaxing Pacific Coast of Guatemala. Most tourists don’t make it to this side of the country, so if you are looking to spend some relaxing time away from the crowds and mass condos, in a more off-the.grid adventure, this is the place for you.
The main attractions on this side of the country are the extensive natural reserves, the volcanoes (which you can actually hike), archaeological sites such as Takalik Abaj, abundant marine life and black volcanic sand beaches. You won’t find the stunning white beaches here but being able to relax in a volcanic beach almost without any other tourists in the are can be quite appealing! This is also the perfect spot to practice some water sports such as surfing, given the amazing waves that hit the coast! If you come during the right season you may also be able to enjoy some amazing whale watching tours!
Our volunteers coming to this area will be joining the sea turtle conservation project and will not only have the amazing opportunity of enjoying the black sand beaches, reserves and archaeological sites but also have the chance of seeing thousands of sea turtles at the same time in places such as Monterrico and work towards their conservation! Your specific location may change depending on the needs and the turtle’s movements and you will only find out your specific location upon arrival and going through orientation in Antigua.
Volunteering in the Pacific Coast, Guatemala
If you want to spend your volunteer days in a tropical paradise off the beaten path but offering stunning views with beautiful to relax in, look no further since this is the ideal location for you!
Keep in mind that we also have an institute located in the heart of Antigua, just 200 metres away from the Central Plaza, where you’ll spend the first couple of days for your orientation. The institute is the best place for volunteers and students to meet and enjoy magnificent views of Volcan de Agua from the rooftop terrace.
If keen to add some Spanish lessons in Antigua for a couple of weeks before joining your project in the Pacific Coast, let us know and we ́ll set it up for you! Don’t miss out on the incredible opportunity of also bringing a great tool back home to enhance your CV by adding Spanish to the languages you speak!
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.
Volunteer Highlights & Excursions
Guatemala is known as the Heart of the Mayan Work, but besides featuring lots of Mayan ruins really well preserved 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 spend the first 2 days in Antigua for your orientation and 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 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).
Once you move to the Pacific Coast for your project placement, you will be staying in dorm-style accommodations, just 50 meters from the beach, in shared rooms with capacity for up to 6 people. You are provided with breakfast and dinner every day.
Keep in mind that there are no lockers at the accommodations so you should avoid bringing anything of high value. You may store some small personal items in the project office, but we recommend using a suitcase lock to secure your belongings.
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