Making a difference to Guatemalan communities and its wildlife
Why volunteer in Guatemala?
Guatemala is a really historically and culturally rich country that also features over 50 areas under national protection for its unique ecosystems and biodiversity. This beautiful country offers amazing landscapes that include tropical coastal areas, jungles, mountainous regions filled with deep river valleys, and over 30 volcanoes, 3 of which are still active. But besides that, this stunning country has deep cultural roots in the Ancient Mayan Civilization which is represented by countless archaeological sites throughout the country and you can see ancient Mayan traditions and customs still alive today.
Guatemala is one of the fastest-growing economies in Central America but despite that, it still suffers from more than half the population living in poverty, unequal access to education and healthcare, as well as poor social justice. Our volunteers play a huge role in assisting the community and making a real difference in people’s lives.
Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime in one of Latin America’s hidden gems?
This trip was the best thing I have ever done but it was also the most physically demanding thing I have ever done. To interact day to day with the locals and just know that this is their life every single day makes me feel extremely grateful. On the other hand, this project took a major toll on my mind and body but it also helped me realize that I am a lot stronger than I thought I was. At the end when the hole was fully dug I just laid in it and absorbed my accomplishment of finishing the hole. I would 100% recommend this program and project to people because it helped put my life into perspective and allowed me to push myself to the limit and realize how strong I am.
Guatemala Volunteer Destinations
In a country filled with magic, mystery, ancestral civilizations, beautiful landscapes, volcanoes, forests, stunning beaches along the Pacific Coast and historical cities, there’s no better place for a real contribution to communities, wildlife and ecosystems!
Guatemala literally means the “land of many trees” and the country really honours its name with a huge abundance of unique ecosystems that make the entire region a utopia of biodiversity. Whether you are looking for historical cities, ancient civilization ruins, majestic forests, volcanoes, stunning beaches or adventure activities, this is where you’ll find it!
Colourful handicraft markets, traditional dances and celebrations, regional costumes and traditions, incredibly hospitable people, natural landscapes that frame volcanoes, lakes, rivers and mountains, make it a unique paradise to visitors from all over the world.
This country is also known as the country of the eternal spring so you can enjoy its pleasant climate and visit it any time of the year.
If you want to discover the mystery of the Ancient Mayan civilization, you need to add Guatemala to your bucket list and visit the country with the largest number of archaeological sites in the Mayan Culture such as Tikal, Yaxhá, Aguateca, Mirador, Quiriguá and Q’uma Raj among others.
So don’t miss out on the opportunity of making a real contribution to communities and wildlife in need in one of Central America ́s most stunning paradises.
Fun Facts About Guatemala
- The export of coffee and tourism are the biggest industries in the country.
- Tikal National Park is the world’s first mixed UNESCO World Heritage Site for its cultural and natural wonders. Tikal’s Mayan ruins are embedded in the jungle.
- The instant coffee process and the first-ever chocolate bar were invented here! This last one during the Mayan times!
- Guatemala has over 30 volcanoes out of which 3 are still active, and if you visit the Pacaya Volcano you can actually see the lava flow!
- Guatemala offers big traditional celebrations that include processions, typical costumes and music for events such as “Semana Santa” (Easter), All – Saints – Day, the election of Maya princess ‘Rabin Ajau’ in Copán and the ‘Palo Volador’.
- Guatemalans honour their dead by flying kites. Every year on November 1st, Guatemalans partake in this ritual that has been around for more than 3000 years.
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
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
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.
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