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Volunteer in Guatemala - It Will Change You Forever...

  • World's most affordable fees guaranteed
  • Pay your program fees directly to your host families and projects
  • Experienced local staffs to attend to your every need
  • Flexible schedule that leaves evenings and weekends free for fun, travel and exploration

Travel to Guatemala and volunteer in one of the most diverse and beautiful countries in the world. With active volcanoes, national parks, limestone bridges, Mayan Ruins, indigenous tribes, vibrant markets, beautiful lakes, friendly people, exquisite cuisine, astonishing nature and adventurous excursions, Guatemala is the ideal travel and volunteer destination.

As you explore remarkable Guatemala, you can combine your travels with a cultural exchange and meaningful volunteer experience. What more could you ask for? Sadly, Guatemala is still overwhelmed with poverty and many struggle to access healthcare, quality education and basic necessities. Thus, Helping Abroad invites you to volunteer in Guatemala to enrich the lives of Guatemalans by providing aid to schools, clinics/hospitals, childcare programs, schools and nonprofit organizations in Quetzaltenango (also known as Xela). You will undoubtedly have a life changing experience as you learn about Guatemalan culture, explore the country, practice Spanish, grow professionally and most importantly, improve the local quality of life. Act now. Guatemala awaits you. Email us to begin an enchanting and valuable experience. We will be happy to provide you with more information and answer any questions you may have.

Program Fee

Helping Abroad volunteers Program starts every 1st and 3rd Monday of each month.

Are you looking for a safe and affordable volunteer abroad experience? Do you want to see the fees you pay, being utilized towards the welfare of the project and host families? Helping abroad, a 501 c 3, offer volunteer programs at unbeatable, low prices. At Helping Abroad, we maintain a level of transparency of funds, especially for volunteers who want to know where and how the fee they pay are being channelized. The volunteer fee is paid directly to the families that host volunteers and the project that volunteers work on. The program fee is divided as registration fee ($299) and weekly fee. The registration fee is used to cover our expenses like advertisement and office expenses. The weekly fee is divided between room/local food (3 times a day, 50-70%) and project donation/ support to local project staff (30-50%) and local coordination fee (10%). The allocation may differ according to location and project type. Therefore, our coordinator will explain these issues before you pay the fees. Please find the breakdown of the cost in a weekly basis below:

Duration All Other Projects Medical project
  1 Week
  $160   $185
  2 Weeks   $270   $320
  3 Weeks   $380   $455
  4 Weeks   $490   $590
  5 Weeks   $600   $725
  6 Weeks   $710   $860
  7 Weeks   $820   $995
  8 Weeks   $930   $1,130
  9 Weeks   $1,040   $1,265
  10 Weeks   $1,150   $1,400
  11 Weeks   $1,260   $1,535
  12 Weeks   $1,370   $1,670
Additional Fee
  • Spanish Lessons (10hrs a week, M-F) $50/Week
  • Mandatory Comprehensive Travel Insurance $3.49/day
Included in Fee
  • Accommodation
  • 3 meals a day
  • Donation to project
  • In-country office expenses
  • Field support
  • Project coordination
  • Emergency support
  • Airport welcome
Not Included in Fee
  • International flights
  • Passport and visa fees
  • Immunizations
  • Personal food and beverages
  • Entertainment
  • Local transportation
  • Laundry
  • Communication (telephone, internet)
  • Personal items

Volunteer Programs

Teaching English in a Rural School (Quetzaltenango/Xela) in Guatemala

Volunteers with students

Volunteer in Guatemala teaching English and expand future opportunities for your students! With its geographical location and increased tourism, English is more important now than ever. Unfortunately, schools in Guatemala cannot keep up with the growing demand for the language and many lack adequate resources, safe facilities and qualified teachers. For this reason, schools in Quetzaltenango urgently need volunteers to help improve school environments and allow poor students the opportunity to learn English, increasing their chances for future employment. Helping Abroad is currently partnering with local schools and teachers to provide quality English instruction to students who may not otherwise have the chance to learn English. As a volunteer in Guatemala teaching English, not only will you enrich the lives of your students, but you will also gain teaching experience, immerse yourself into a vibrant culture and explore the gem of Central America.

Educational Requirements and Project Skills

No specific skills, qualifications or experiences are required, although Spanish skills are desirable to communicate effectively. If your Spanish skills are poor, we suggest enrolling in our Spanish language course to make your stay more rewarding–both for you and for the people you help. You should have a passion for teaching and caring for children. Volunteers must be hardworking, patient, confident, enthusiastic and good with children. You should bring energy and enthusiasm to your projects.

Your Responsibilities as a Volunteer

The Helping Abroad volunteer teaching English in Guatemala project offers an array of formal and informal educational programs for children. The primary responsibility for volunteers is teaching conversational English while making the language fun and interactive. Here are some examples of volunteer activities in Guatemala:

  • Teaching English
  • Working with local teachers to plan lessons
  • Planning and leading extracurricular activities such as dancing, games, music, sports, art, etc.
  • Helping children successfully finish their homework
  • Singing songs and playing music/instruments
  • Helping children with art projects and drawing
  • Teaching children personal hygiene
  • Reinforcing life skills and chores such as cleaning and cooking
  • Teaching children to how to garden
  • Working on maintenance such as painting, building, and other activities to improve the facilities
  • Providing assistance to school administrations to help with operational tasks and curriculum development
  • Fundraising

Please Note:   The activities above are mere examples of volunteers’ daily activities, but this may change due to requests from local staff members and teachers. You will receive your work schedule from the school administration. In addition, you will work with a school supervisor that will provide guidance and assist you develop your teaching lessons. You are only required to work only 3 to 4 hours a day, Monday through Friday, therefore, you will have ample time to relax and explore Guatemala.

Healthcare and Medical Project (Quetzaltenango/Xela)

Medical project volunteer with patient

Helping Abroad’s Healthcare/Medical Project has it all. As a volunteer in Guatemala in the Healthcare/Medical Project, you will gain professional medical experience, travel to the heart of Central America and provide treatment and education for low-income Guatemalans. There’s no better program to join together career goals, responsible travel and community service into one extraordinary and meaningful package. Volunteers in Helping Abroad’s Healthcare/Medical Project will work alongside doctors, nurses and nonprofit organizations in Quetzaltenango to promote education on basic health, disease prevention, nutrition, personal hygiene, family planning, etc. Depending on individual skills and qualifications, volunteers will also help to provide quality healthcare to Guatemalans and assist clinics and hospitals with basic functions. As a medical volunteer in Guatemala working in healthcare, you will help Guatemalans feel better so they may live healthy and joyful lives.

Educational Requirements and Project Skills

To be a medical volunteer in Guatemala and work in clinics and hospitals, you must submit proof of a medical certification such as a medical ID, EMT, paramedic, nursing, etc. Due to liabilities, volunteers must be healthcare professionals and those who lack medical credentials may not participate in this project. Spanish skills are desirable to communicate effectively. If your Spanish skills are poor, we suggest enrolling in our Spanish language course to make your stay more rewarding–both for you and for the people you help. You must be flexible when dealing with organizations, doctors, curses and patients. For this project, volunteers must be open minded, patient, enthusiastic, hardworking, resourceful and willing to learn. Helping Abroad will require a copy of volunteer’s credentials, resume and qualifications. Depending on your host organization, additional application materials may be required.

Your Responsibilities as a Volunteer

As a medical and healthcare volunteer in Guatemala, you will act as an assistant to local doctors and nurses. Activities will range widely depending on individual skills, interests and medical qualifications. Volunteer duties may include:

  • Observing local doctors and nurses
  • Promoting disease prevention through education
  • Planning and leading educational workshops
  • Teaching personal hygiene and sanitation
  • Teaching locals about clean water, food, nutrition and a healthy diet
  • Planning and leading trainings
  • Providing basic care to patients
  • Administering basic first aid
  • Taking and recording vital statistics such as height, weight, blood pressure, etc.
  • Helping clinics and hospitals with administrative tasks
  • Assisting with vaccinations and basic care
  • Observing basic functions of clinics and hospitals
  • Assisting local organizations, clinics and hospitals in any way necessary

Please Note:  The above examples of activities may vary depending on individual skills and interests and the needs of the hospital and/or clinic. You will be provided with a very flexible schedule from local teachers, doctors or nurses so that you can adjust in the new environment. Along with Helping Abroad in-country staff, these counterparts will support you throughout your project. You will normally work for 3-4 hours a day, 5-6 days a week. All other time you are free to relax and explore the beautiful country of Guatemala.

Working in an Orphanage (Quetzaltenango/Xela)

Volunteers with orphanage children

It is estimated that 370,000 orphans are living in Guatemala due to poverty, disease, abuse and hardship. Discover the treasure of Central America as you provide orphan children with educational and emotional opportunities. Thankfully, orphanages are working hard to help vulnerable children by providing shelter, food, education, healthcare and basic necessities. As a volunteer in Guatemala, you can assist orphanages lacking financial and human resources and ultimately increase the quality of life for these destitute orphans. Helping Abroad is partnering with orphanages in Quetzaltenango and invites you to volunteer and act as a buddy, confidant and teacher. Each volunteer in Guatemala working in an orphanage will work to plan and lead development-enhancing activities, provide basic necessities and improve the futures of the children. Act now and truly make a difference in the lives of others while having an unforgettable experience yourself.

Educational Requirements and Project Skills

No specific skills, qualifications or experiences are required, although Spanish skills are desirable to communicate effectively. If your Spanish skills are poor, we suggest enrolling in our Spanish language course to make your stay more rewarding–both for you and for the orphans you help. You should have a passion for teaching and caring for children. Volunteers must be hardworking, patient, confident, enthusiastic and good with children. You should bring energy and enthusiasm to the orphanage and your projects.

Your Responsibilities as a Volunteer

As a volunteer working in an orphanage in Guatemala, you will help to enhance the quality of life for underprivileged orphans. Depending on individual skills and interests and the needs of the orphanage, volunteer roles and responsibilities may include:

  • Teaching basic English
  • Teaching other subjects such as math and science
  • Teaching children life skills such as gardening, painting, building, sewing, etc
  • Carrying out extracurricular activities such as games, sports, art, music, dancing, etc
  • Teaching health and personal hygiene
  • Providing care and friendship to children
  • Planning events and field trips
  • Taking children to and from school
  • Cooking and serving food for the children
  • Helping children with their homework and school assignments
  • Simply playing with the children
  • Making the children smile
  • Giving the children confidence

Please Note:   The activities above are mere examples of volunteers’ daily activities, but this may change due to requests from local staff members. You will receive your work schedule from local orphanage staff. You are only required to work 3 to 4 hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week, therefore, you will have ample time to relax and explore Guatemala’s natural beauty and culture.

At-risk/Street Children Project (Quetzaltenango/Xela)

Volunteers with orphanage children

Sorrowfully, many Guatemalan children are abandoned and left without basic necessities, education or support. Helping Abroad is acting now and partnering with local communities, municipalities and nonprofit organizations to provide hopeless and threatened children with care and education. While organizations are working hard, many childcare programs lack human and financial resources and urgently need your help in brightening the futures of these children. As a volunteer in Guatemala working in the At-risk Children/Street Children Project, you will help street children and children from very low-income families grow and develop into healthy, happy and productive citizens. Volunteers plan and lead extracurricular and educational activities for the children to help them live the childhood that every child deserves. Each volunteer working in the At-risk Children/Street Children Project will without a doubt make a difference in the lives of these children, so travel to Guatemala now and give tourism a new and valuable meaning.

Educational Requirements and Project Skills

No specific skills, qualifications or experiences are required, although Spanish skills are desirable to communicate effectively. If your Spanish skills are poor, we suggest enrolling in our Spanish language course to make your stay more rewarding—both for you and for the people you help. You should have a passion for teaching and be caring towards children. Volunteers must be hardworking, patient, confident, enthusiastic and good with children. You should bring energy and enthusiasm to your projects.

Your Responsibilities as a Volunteer

As a volunteer working in the At-risk Children/Street Children Project in Guatemala, you will help to enhance the quality of life for disadvantaged children. Depending on individual skills and interests, volunteer roles and responsibilities may include:

  • Teaching basic English
  • Teaching other subjects such as math and science
  • Teaching health and personal hygiene
  • Providing care and companionship to children
  • Cooking and serving food for children
  • Teaching children life skills such as gardening, painting, building, sewing, etc
  • Carrying out extracurricular activities such as games, sports, art, music, dancing, etc
  • Fundraising
  • Helping local organizations with administrative tasks
  • Planning events and field trips
  • Providing low-income families with assistance
  • Helping medical and health staff with child healthcare

Please Note:   The activities above are mere examples of volunteers’ daily activities, but this may change due to requests from local staff members and teachers. You will receive your work schedule from local staff. You are only required to work 3 to 4 hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week, therefore, you will have ample time to relax and explore Guatemala’s natural beauty and culture.

Women's Project (Xela, Guatemala)

Volunteers with local women

Volunteer in Guatemala to empower disadvantaged women and expand their future opportunities!

With emphasis on sustainable development and gender equality worldwide, helping women, especially illiterate and poor, to take charge of their lives have become more important now than ever. Unfortunately, the society and many cultural practices in Guatemala still prevent young girls and women from seeking education and empowerment. For this reason, women’s project in Xela urgently needs volunteers to help create awareness and train local women. Helping Abroad is currently partnering with local government funded project to provide training, counseling and many other support to local women. As a volunteer in Guatemala in women’s project, not only will you enrich the lives of disadvantaged women, but you will also gain experience working in a grassroots project, immerse yourself into a vibrant culture and experience the gem of Central America.

Educational Requirements and Project Skills

The project accepts only female volunteers. You will also need to be at least 18 and have intermediate Spanish skills. No other specific skills, qualifications or experiences are required. You should also have a passion to help local women. Volunteers must be hardworking, patient, confident, enthusiastic and good with local issues. You should bring energy and enthusiasm to your projects.

Your Responsibilities as a Volunteer

The Helping Abroad women’s project in Guatemala offers an array of formal and informal educational programs for women. The primary responsibility for volunteers is working with local project staff to train, educate and empower disadvantaged local women. Here are some examples of volunteer activities in Guatemala:

  • Plan different activities with local staff
  • Visit partner organizations
  • Attend and give lectures in the morning
  • Accompany facilities and social workers in different activities
  • Participate and plan education and training activities
  • Prepare material on different issues facing local women
  • Participate in radio programs
  • Help produce or participate in TV programs
  • Fundraise

Please Note:   The activities above are mere examples of volunteers' daily activities, but this may change due to requests from local staff members and teachers. You will receive your work schedule from the school administration. In addition, you will work with a school supervisor that will provide guidance and assist you develop your teaching lessons. You are only required to work only 3 to 4 hours a day, Monday through Friday, therefore, you will have ample time to relax and explore Guatemala.

Spanish Language

Are you looking to learn Spanish or improve your skills? Helping Abroad offers exclusive Spanish lessons for its volunteers in Guatemala and collaborates with a respectable Spanish school. Volunteers will learn from highly qualified and experienced teachers who offer intensive and valuable classes. Volunteers will work in their project and simultaneously take classes, allowing volunteers to practice what they learn in class with project staff, new friends and host families. Volunteers will either take classes in the morning and volunteer in the afternoon or visa versa, volunteer in the morning and take classes in the afternoon. Volunteers can work with their project staff to create their own schedule. As you improve your Spanish skills, your experience will be more beneficial, both for you and for those you help.

Major FAQ's

  • Who will meet me in airport? What should I do if I am delayed or miss my flight? When should I arrive?
  • Please book your flight to arrive at the Aurora International Airport, Guatemala City. The Helping Abroad country coordinator will be waiting for you at the “arrival” gate. Please look for a person with both the Helping Abroad’s company logo and your name on a sign card. In case your contact person is not there, please contact the Helping Abroad office and we will immediately follow up on your contact person whereabouts. Coordinators’ contact details are available in the pre-departure handbook. If your flight is delayed, immediately contact Helping Abroad so we can make adjustments to your program. Helping Abroad will be responsible for creating the necessary changes in your program.

    The program fee covers expenses from the first day of the program to the last day of the program. If you arrive before the first day of the program and/or stay beyond the last day of the program, you will be responsible for these expenses.

  • What are the visa requirements to volunteer in Guatemala?
  • It is the volunteer’s responsibility to acquire a tourist visa. Please contact either our office or the local Guatemalan embassy to learn more about the process for obtaining a visa, timelines, visa fees and visa extensions.

  • What do I need to know about health and safety in Guatemala?
  • Volunteers should be aware of all health and safety information before traveling to Guatemala. You can read about health and safety in Guatemala on the website listed below:

  • What immunizations/vaccinations are recommended before arriving to Guatemala?
  • We strongly recommend that volunteers obtain vaccinations before arriving in Guatemala. You can speak with your health-care provider to determine which vaccinations you will need. Please read CDC recommendations about vaccinations and preventive medicine: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/Guatemala.htm

  • What is the local currency and exchange rate?
  • Guatemala's local currency is the Guatemalan Quetzal (GTQ). ATM cards are the best way to get money and Visa, MasterCard and American Express are also accepted in airports, large stores and large hotels. ATM’s are widely available in Guatemala City and Xela. It is a good idea to carry a credit card for large purchases and emergencies. Make sure you notify your bank that you will be out of the country and give them your expected arrival/departure dates. This will prevent your account from being locked and you will be advised about any fraudulent charges. Please always be aware of your situation and keep all valuables and money concealed at all times. It is always best to go to the ATM machine in groups.

    Please visit XE, a privately held online foreign exchange tool.XE.com (http://www.xe.com/)

  • How can I communicate with my family/friends while I am abroad? Is there Internet access?
  • If you have an unlocked cell phone that contains a sim card, we recommend that you bring it because you can buy a sim card upon arrival in Guatemala. Phones are important to have for safety and communication with family and Helping Abroad staff. Internet cafes are widely available in Guatemala.

  • How is the climate in Guatemala ?
  • Guatemala’s climate is temperate and typically sunny, warm and comfortable. The rainy season is from May to November.

    For accurate weather please visit ACCU Weather (http://www.accuweather.com)

  • What should I bring?
  • You can purchase basic necessities in Guatemala at reasonable prices, but we suggest bringing the following:

    • An unlocked mobile phone (you can use it after buying a sim card)
    • Camera
    • Sleeping bag
    • Mosquito repellent
    • Insect repellent
    • Sunscreen
    • Books about Guatemala
    • Map of Guatemala
    • Toiletries
    • First aid kit
    • Flash light
    • Electricity adapter/converter
    • Sun glasses
    • Good shoes (for work and travel)
    • Towel
  • Should I bring gifts for my host family?
  • You are not required to bring a gift, but it is common courtesy as a token of appreciation for hosting you. Gifts can be as simple as postcards or pictures from home, chocolates, t-shirts, or something that represents where you are from. In addition, you can bring gifts for your projects. If you are working in orphanages or schools, you can bring items such as school supplies and games. Remember that many children will desire what you bring, so you may want to bring a large amount of one item (pencils, pens, notebooks, games, art supplies, etc).

NOTE: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is derived from generic information about the country, and should not be used as a definitive travel guide. Travel information and situations abroad change constantly, and the information contained here may not be up to date. Participants should consult Helping Abroad staff or travel advisors to verify this information.