VOLUNTEER WORK GUATEMALA
You have a heart for animals and are especially fascinated by the wild animals of the jungle? You want to protect rare and endangered species and support an exciting project? The rescue center in the impressive Petén, Guatemala, needs your help! Here you will assist in the daily care, feeding and rehabilitation of the wild animals, contribute to the maintenance and expansion of the park and offer guided tours for tourists. In addition, the sanctuary regularly implements projects to protect the environment and the community. Your help is needed! Learn all about the work of a rescue center and become part of a great community of volunteers from all over the world.
Type of program
Sanctuary for wild animals
approx. 7 hours, 5-6 days
Every 1st Saturday of the month
Spanish (basic knowledge)
Animal lover, nature lover
In the middle of the rainforest by the lake
Volunteer house on the project site
Contact person on site
Mobile internet with SIM card from WanderWorld Travel
From 1.760,00 €
Type of program: Wildlife sanctuary
Program location: Petén, Guatemala
Working hours: About 7 hours, 5-6 days
Program start: Every 1st Saturday of the month
Duration: 1-6 months
Minimum age: 18 years
Language: Spanish (basic knowledge)
Requirements: Animal lover, nature lover
Location: In the middle of the rainforest at the lake
Accommodation: Volunteer house on the project site
Support: English speaking contact person via WhatsApp
Internet: Mobile Internet with SIM card from WanderWorld Travel
Price: from 1.760,00 €
The wildlife sanctuary was founded back in 1989 with the mission to counteract the rapid decline of species in Guatemala. While a few years ago many tapirs and jaguars were still roaming the forests, today they are hardly to be seen. The giant anteater and harpy eagle have not been sighted in recent years and are considered extinct in the region. The animals that do arrive at the center are mostly animals that have been confiscated by government authorities for illegal wildlife trafficking. They are also mostly very young. They include parrots, macaws, spider and howler monkeys, owls, hawks, crocodiles, turtles, mycoli and many more.
The sanctuary houses various shelters and cages for its wild residents, designed to meet the special needs of the animals. In addition, there is a dedicated veterinary clinic with veterinarians. The focus of the rescue center is on the welfare, rehabilitation and reintegration of the wild animals living there into their natural habitat. It is very important for the welfare of the animals that they do not have much close contact with humans and do not become accustomed to humans. Endangered or injured animals of the jungle are taken in by the project, cared for, doctored and fed, and stay in the rescue center until they are ready for the wild again. You can actively support in all these areas. To do this, each of the employees adapts their own daily routine to that of the fascinating animals.
The project handles many exotic animals, such as jaguars, monkeys, coatis and numerous birds. The team also breeds the majestic macaws, the large colorful parrots. They raise the parrots until they can survive on their own in the wild. In this way, they hope to increase the population of the free-ranging Mayan macaw in the long term.
In addition to caring for the animals, there are many other activities that the sanctuary puts on and volunteers can get involved in. The grounds are maintained around the clock and new cages are built. The storage of the many food items for the feedings also has to be organized.
In addition, the rescue center offers guided tours and educational exhibitions at the project site, organizes environmental protection activities and projects for the community.
As a volunteer, your working hours are approximately from 06:30 to 15:30, with breaks in between for breakfast and lunch. You usually work from Monday to Saturday, Sunday is free. In consultation with the project, you can also get 2-3 days off.
Most of your work in the project consists of cleaning the enclosures of the animals in the rescue center and feeding the animals. Of course, your personal safety is the top priority here. In special cases, volunteers help in quarantine, clinic and rehabilitation cages. For long-term volunteers or those with advanced knowledge in animal care, there may be opportunities to feed young birds such as parrots, woodpeckers, toucans and many other species.
The sanctuary is equipped with a fully functional veterinary clinic where admitted animals receive immediate examinations, attention, special diets and treatments. Here you can get a taste of the daily life of a wildlife veterinarian. Depending on your experience, desires and skills, you may also be asked to assist with veterinary treatments and surgeries, as well as the regular blood tests that must be performed to monitor the health of the animals.
In addition to feeding and caring for the animals on a daily basis, the organization offers special activities in which volunteers can participate. These activities include, for example, building cages or additional buildings, collecting wild foods for the animals, tours and exhibits, participating in environmental activities and community projects, and building toys and perches for the cages.
Your own creativity is also needed! Time and time again, volunteers develop their own projects. For example, volunteers take on studies of animal behavior at the center and organize educational activities in neighboring schools. Get involved and put your ideas into action to enrich the sanctuary. The animals and local people will thank you.
Petén is located on the edge of the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR) in the northern Petén region of Guatemala and is part of the Mesoamerican Maya Forest. This is the second largest remaining tropical rainforest in all of the Americas – simply stunning.
The sanctuary is located in the middle of the vast jungle in a nature reserve right next to the breathtaking Lake Petén Itzá. In the surrounding area are numerous smaller lakes and historic Mayan ruins. Like for example the former Mayan city of Tikal. There you can experience the huge temples and the exciting history of the Mayas up close.
The cities of Flores and Santa Elena are located in the heart of Petén. The beautiful, quiet town of Flores is only 2 km from the sanctuary and is located on an island on the large Petén Itzá Lake and is only connected to Santa Elena and the mainland by a bridge. There you can do sports and rent a kayak or mountain bike or explore the lake by boat. In your free time you can go on excursions to the fascinating Mayan ruins or just relax in nature.
You do not need any special qualifications for this program. Of course, you should have a desire to work with wild animals and be motivated to improve the lives of the animals in a sustainable way. You will work a lot with locals and other volunteers. You should be open-minded and motivated to get to know a new culture and everything that goes with it. The work in this project will improve your Spanish skills in a fun way and will also have a positive impact on your life. A wonderful experience that you will remember for a long time.
The national language in Guatemala is Spanish. You will be around a lot of locals who don’t know English. A basic knowledge of Spanish is definitely an advantage. If you do not have any knowledge of Spanish at the moment, we recommend that you take a language course, which we will gladly organize for you. You can take the language course before your time in the project.
All volunteers live together on the project site in one big house. Depending on how many volunteers there are in the project at the time, you will have a room either alone or in pairs. Meals are included in the price. The project has its own cook who will provide you with three meals a day. The food is typical Guatemalan, there is also vegetarian and vegan food. There is also a swimming pier where you can swim and sunbathe in the afternoon. W-LAN is available in the project only to a limited extent. You can also use internet cafes or restaurants in Flores.
YOUR CONTACT PERSON IN GUATEMALA
Alejandro is Guatemalan and grew up in Antigua. Therefore, he knows the city, the country and its culture like no other. He has a great passion for Germany, has visited there several times and speaks the language fluently. Alejandro always has an open ear for your wishes and is happy to introduce you to his home country. He will gladly organize city tours and weekend excursions for our participants. You will never feel alone. Through his history studies, he can tell you a lot about the history of Guatemala and the ancient buildings in Antigua. Ale will take care of you during your orientation in Antigua. For questions of any kind during your stay in Latin America, a German-speaking contact person is available via WhatsApp in the same time zone.
“I can only advise everyone to embark on this adventure. Viel zu oft bleibt man in seiner gewohnten Umgebung oder traut sich etwas nicht zu. I learned that it pays to jump over your own shadow.”