Volunteer In Guatemala

The entire country of Guatemala is perfect for the nature-lover or the history buff. From the ruins of the Mayan Empire to the rainbow-colored plants and wildlife, this country offers spectacular historical sites and some of the most amazing landscape you will find in Central America.

However, it is the Guatemalan people that make this country enchanting. You will find indigenous people that want to learn new ways or need help maintaining their current way of life. The people are here are as diverse as the ecosystems. This is a perfect place to volunteer.

How You Can Volunteer in Guatemala

Help is needed in so many ways. Most organizations have special needs or want certain skills. Perhaps you are good with children, have basic carpentry skills, or you have some medical training. You can volunteer in Guatemala with orphanages, with street children or other at-risk youth, in hospitals or clinics, or by teaching English to both children and adults.

Some organizations need help with construction projects or conservation and environmental awareness projects. There are numerous opportunities for those who want to help in anyway possible.

Learning the Language

If you do not speak Spanish, it is time to learn. Most volunteer organizations in Guatemala offer Spanish classes while you are in country. However, it is best if you have a basic knowledge of the language before you arrive. Most of the Spanish you learn in class will be enough to roughly communicate, but the slang and conversational Spanish is something better learned through cultural immersion.

Preparing for Your Journey

You will need to get your passport and/or visa and immunizations. Most organizations charge a program fee, so you will need to start saving now. You will also be responsible for your travel costs, but most volunteer organizations provide lodging and meals.

Many times, you are placed with a local host family, which will add to your cultural experience while you volunteer in Guatemala.

When You Arrive

When you arrive, your volunteer organization will greet you at the airport and get your settled in with your host family. You will probably start Spanish classes within a day or two; otherwise, it can be difficult to communicate.

Most organizations require you to pay for your own local transportation, but it is usually a minimal expense. You will probably receive a safety briefing on what and where to avoid and this best taken to heart. You will be shown where your volunteer work is located and in most cases, you’ll have time off to visit the local sites.


When you volunteer in Guatemala, you will have memories that will last your entire lifetime. You will feel great, as you know you are helping those who are less fortunate. However, you will learn a lot from this country and its people. You may wish to travel with a group of friends, co-workers, or members of your church. It is truly an experience that you will never forget and will more than likely be high on your list of things to do again!