Volunteering in Guatemala

Experience Central America authentically

Costa Rica, Panama, or Guatemala – the countries of Central America are becoming increasingly attractive destinations for backpackers. As a tourist, you often get only a superficial understanding of your vacation destination. If you want to delve deeper into the culture of your travel destination, volunteer work offers you the opportunity to get to know the land and its people intensively. At the same time, your work supports important aid projects in Guatemala. This Latin American country is our absolute insider tip and offers unique diversity: in addition to breathtaking volcanoes, colorful colonial cities, and rainforests, you can also follow the traces of the past and explore ancient Maya ruins in Guatemala.

If you've just finished school or university and are in need of a change of scenery, WanderWorld Travel is the perfect fit for you. Together, we'll plan your dream trip to Guatemala and guide you on how to get involved in social projects.

By the way: If you'd prefer to participate in a Work and Travel program instead of volunteering in Guatemala, check out our programs for Work and Travel  in Guatemala an.

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Quick Facts

Our volunteer projects in Guatemala

Animal and nature conservation projects

In Guatemala, environmental protection and sustainability have played a minor role so far. Existing resources are exploited, and large parts of nature are used for agriculture. This has led to a decreasing habitat for many animals and contributes to species extinction. Through your volunteer work in Guatemala, you can contribute to protecting endangered species and raising awareness among the local population about the importance of environmental conservation.

Animal welfare in Guatemala

The wildlife rescue center in Petén ensures the protection of endangered species in Guatemala. This sanctuary provides refuge for injured animals. Additionally, the rescue center serves as a place for interaction, where locals and tourists can learn more about Guatemala's wildlife through guided tours. The local project coordinators are eager to welcome animal-loving volunteers like you to actively support the center's work.

In the Turtle Protection Project in El Hawaii, a small coastal town on the Pacific Ocean, you will assist in the breeding and release of the endangered leatherback turtle and other turtle species. The organization also hosts a small wildlife rescue center and a special mangrove conservation project where you can lend a hand.

Children's aid projects

Guatemala, like many other Latin American nations, is heavily affected by unemployment and poverty. Many families live at the subsistence level, which often deprives their children of access to education. Moreover, in large families, children often work to contribute to the family's income. Due to a lack of government support, aid projects in Guatemala serve as a crucial pillar of the social system.

Social projects in Guatemala

In Antigua, you have the opportunity to support the Teaching Project at a private school. Here, children are not only taught academic subjects but also receive a nutritious meal daily, school supplies, and supervision. Local volunteers make a valuable contribution to the education and upbringing of these children, aiming to provide them with a better start in life.

The care and homework assistance after school is extremely important and often cannot be provided by many families. That's why the children of the San Antonio community are invited to participate in the Youth Development Project located 10 km east of Antigua, which provides them with a nurturing space for growth and play. As a volunteer, you'll engage in recreational activities with the children and offer tutoring in various subjects.

Volunteering in guatemala

with wanderworld travel

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Regardless of which project you choose, your volunteer work in Guatemala makes a valuable contribution where help is needed. Get involved in child and youth assistance or support projects focused on wildlife and nature conservation, all while exploring this exciting and culturally rich country. Guatemala is our hidden gem—underrated in our opinion, despite offering so much to discover. Backpackers especially appreciate its rich culture, diverse landscapes, and excellent travel infrastructure. Let these four reasons convince you to embark on your volunteer journey in Guatemala, and soon we can plan your adventure in this remarkable country.

Imposing volcanic landscape

Guatemala enchants all travelers with breathtaking landscapes, beautiful nature, and active volcanoes that make adventurers' hearts beat faster. Where else can you have the opportunity to climb a volcano? From our personal experience, we can assure you: hiking to the Acatenango Volcano will be the highlight of your Guatemala trip. An experience you will never forget, where you can reminisce with cool pictures in mind. From Antigua, you can join a group hike to the volcano and be equipped with hiking gear by a local tour provider. During your volunteer project in Antigua, you can experience this 2-day hike over a weekend. You'll first trek uphill to the base camp, where you'll spend the night in a tent. Before sunset, you'll ascend the final meters to the peak of Acatenango, where you can witness the indescribable sunrise at nearly 4000 meters. Additionally, you'll get a perfect view of the lava-spewing Fuego Volcano. But it's not just a volcano hike that makes your stay in Guatemala special; the sight of the impressive volcanic landscape alone makes the journey to this country worthwhile.

Tradition and culture

In Guatemala, you can immerse yourself in the fascinating Maya culture, where many traditions are still practiced by locals today. Their way of life reflects the rich cultural history of this indigenous group through various aspects of daily life. Many women wear traditional clothing, not only symbolizing their identity but also representing impressive craftsmanship. Maya artistry is evident not only in the colorful woven textiles but also in street art adorned with traditional motifs and symbols. These artworks tell stories from a distant past, adding a touch of vibrant history to the streets. Particularly, the craftsmanship, such as intricately handwoven textiles, painted wooden masks, figurines, and more, holds significant cultural value and can be admired and purchased daily at large markets. While many countries have gradually lost their traditions and culture, in Guatemala, these elements are intensely palpable, transporting you to a different world.

Insider tip among backpackers

Guatemala is our hidden gem in Latin America because it's not as touristy or well-known for backpacking as, for example, Costa Rica or Peru. Nevertheless, the country offers good infrastructure for travelers, exciting volunteer projects, and numerous must-see attractions. It's not overcrowded with tourists, yet you can find beautiful hostels, good restaurants, charming cafes, all at affordable prices. Compared to other Latin American countries more driven by tourism, Guatemala still offers reasonable prices for food, transportation, and activities. Affordable shuttles (mini-vans) make traveling comfortably and safely from place to place easy in this relatively small country. You can explore a variety of attractions in a short time, from beautiful cities to beaches, volcanic landscapes, rivers, and dense jungles—all within Guatemala. Additionally, it's an ideal place to learn Spanish because Guatemalans speak clear Spanish with little accent, making it easier to understand and learn.

Our favorite city Antigua

Antigua Guatemala is our favorite city, a beautiful colonial city that is also perfect for longer stays. With its charming cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and historic ruins, it transports travelers to a bygone era. The city offers a wealth of leisure activities, from exploring its rich history to browsing the large markets, and engaging in outdoor activities like hiking and volcano climbing. Behind every corner, there's a new café or restaurant with lovely rooftop terraces offering views of the volcanoes. The city is known for its culinary diversity and comes alive every evening in restaurants and bars that not only serve delicious local cuisine but also offer a lively nightlife, making every day a new adventure. In Antigua, you can experience a vibrant mix of locals and backpackers from around the world – a place where you'll never be bored. Additionally, the city is the perfect starting point for excursions throughout the country and is only 1.5 hours from the capital's airport.

Your accommodation

If you choose a project in Antigua, you have the option to stay either in a cool guesthouse or with a host family.

In the host family, you will be treated to delicious Guatemalan meals for breakfast and dinner. Staying with a local family provides you with the opportunity to deeply immerse yourself in their way of life and improve your Spanish. You'll also have your own private room to retreat to.

In the guesthouse, you'll share your new home with people from all over the world. Accommodation typically involves staying in a dormitory-style room with other volunteers or guests, where you can forge new connections in the communal kitchen or on the rooftop terrace. The guesthouse is lovingly decorated and located on the quiet outskirts of Antigua. For an additional fee, you can opt for a single room. Meals are not included at the guesthouse, but volunteers often enjoy cooking together in the communal kitchen.

We are happy to arrange for you to be picked up at the Guatemala City airport by our driver, who will take you directly to your accommodation. Projects in and around Antigua are accessible via public transportation.

In our wildlife and conservation programs in Guatemala, you'll immerse yourself fully in nature, staying at a volunteer house surrounded by greenery. The programs provide dedicated accommodations with dormitory-style rooms for volunteers on-site. Here, you'll engage with like-minded individuals and share both work and leisure time with the project residents. Additionally, you'll receive full board daily. From Antigua, we can arrange a shuttle to the project locations, ensuring your journey is as seamless as possible. We offer these in optional arrival packages.

WHY volunteer in Guatemala with Wanderworld?

Guatemala is a developing country where significant social inequality persists, and there is a lack of adequate measures to combat climate change and species extinction. Over the years, many small NGOs and initiatives have been established to address these issues independently of state assistance. These projects rely on donations and volunteer assistance to sustain their efforts and represent the only chance to continue their initiatives. They play a crucial role in tackling these challenges and making a positive impact in Guatemala.

Projects in nature and wildlife conservation need your active support to ensure the survival of species and protect wildlife. Similarly, children and youth in various social programs can participate in recreational activities or receive academic support thanks to volunteers' engagement, opportunities they wouldn't otherwise have. As a volunteer, you actively contribute to social equity and a better society. Your efforts not only help protect the environment and wildlife but also improve the living conditions of disadvantaged communities in Guatemala.

We have personally inspected the projects in Guatemala to ensure that your assistance reaches where it is needed. We will help you find the right volunteer project where you can contribute your skills and commitment, not only adding value to the NGO but also fostering your personal development. Some of our WanderWorld Travel team members live in Guatemala and have an intimate knowledge of the country. Having extensively traveled this wonderful land, we have gained years of experience that we pass on to our participants. You can reach out to us with any questions before and during your trip, and we are here to provide guidance and support, ensuring an ideal international experience for you.

OUR PROJECT LOCATIONS IN GUATEMALA

Where should your ADVENTURE TAKE PLACE ?
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Lake Atitlan in Guatemala
Lago Atitlán,
Guatemala
Lago Atitlán is a must-see for anyone traveling to Guatemala! The clear and deep blue lake is surrounded by three mighty volcanoes and mountains. Surrounding the large lake are small villages, each with its own charm and tradition. To get from one place to another, you travel on the lake in small scheduled boats.
Church tower of Antigua with volcano in the background
Antigua,
Guatemala
Antigua is beautiful and impressive in many ways, with its colorful houses, cobblestone streets and many small stores, restaurants and cafés. The surrounding volcanoes offer a spectacular view and invite you to hike and dream.
Way into the Dschnugel
Petén,
Guatemala
This is the second largest remaining tropical rainforest in the whole of America - simply impressive. There are numerous smaller lakes and historical Mayan ruins in the surrounding area. For example, the former Mayan city of Tikal. There you can experience the huge temples and the exciting history of the Mayas up close.

YOUR CONTACT PERSON

IN GUATEMALA

WanderWorld employee smiles
Alejandro

Alejandro, our contact in Antigua, is Guatemalan and grew up between Guatemala City and Antigua. His intimate knowledge of the country is unparalleled, and he can answer any question you might have. Alejandro has a background in history and is eager to explain the cultural development of the country. During the orientation in Antigua, he'll guide you through a walking tour of his hometown and share insider tips on the coolest restaurants and bars in the city. Alejandro is always attentive to our participants and you can rely on him throughout your stay in Guatemala. He's also available to assist with bus trips and travel routes.

YOUR FREE TIME IN GUATEMALA

Explore the unique diversity of leisure activities in Guatemala. From impressive volcanoes to ancient Maya ruins and vibrant markets – experience the best that this fascinating country has to offer.

YOUR JOURNEY CONTINUES...
WITH WANDERWORLD YOU HAVE MANY OPTIONS.
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Work and Travel

Would you like to experience a new culture, gain experience and learn a language? Then a work & travel adventure is perfect for you to experience a country like a local.
Work and Travel

Language trip

Would you like to not only learn a language, but also experience a unique culture and go on an adventure? Then a language study trip to Latin America is just the thing for you!
Spanish language courses

FARM EXPERIENCE

Are you a nature and animal lover and longing to get your hands dirty in the bright sunshine? Then our Farm Experience program is the right place for you.
FARM EXPERIENCE

Work and Travel

Would you like to gain new experiences and go on an adventure? Then a work & travel adventure is perfect for you.
Work and Travel

Language trip

Would you like to learn a language and experience a unique culture? Then take a language trip to Latin America!
Spanish language courses

FARM EXPERIENCE

Are you a nature lover and enjoy getting your hands dirty? Then our farm program is the right place for you.
FARM EXPERIENCE

Would you like to know how you can combine your projects with us?

Find out how it works here!

EXPERIENCE REPORTS

ABOUT VOLUNTEERING IN GUATEMALA

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VOLUNTARY WORK IN GUATEMALA AND YOU'RE A PERFECT MATCH?

THEN COME TO OUR WANDERWORLD CONSULTATION!
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TALK TO ...

Sophia, founder of Wanderworld Travel

Lisa, Coordinator & Participant Support in Costa Rica

Amanda, Support and advice before departure

... ABOUT YOUR ADVENTURE !

Here we can plan your volunteer work in Guatemala together and talk about your ideas.

Register now for the WanderWorld consultation . We look forward to seeing you!

All without obligation and free of charge.