Volunteer in Antigua, Guatemala
Would you like to experience Central America while also leaving behind a positive impact? Do you feel called to make a difference in the life of underprivileged communities? Then keep reading about these incredible volunteer opportunities in Antigua, Guatemala.
Antigua is a gorgeous colonial city classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once the capital of Guatemala, it is located right outside of the current capital Guatemala City. Full of churches, cobbled streets, lively markets and amazing bars, the city is ringed by volcanoes towering over the skyline.
Sadly, Guatemala struggles with poverty, with a small percentage of the population controlling most of the country’s wealth, leading to extreme rates of income inequality. More than half of the country’s inhabitants are indigenous, mostly Maya. These segments of society are often the poorest, and struggle with access to education, healthcare, and infrastructure.
There are currently organizations working hard to break this cycle of poverty and they need your help to lift poor children and entire communities out of bad conditions. There are many ways for you to make a difference in this amazing country, but whatever Guatemala volunteering program you choose you can be happy in the knowledge that you are making a huge difference for countless people through your love, passion and dedicated efforts.
Do you want to experience an amazing country filled with natural and man-made splendors alike and make a difference in the lives of the people who live there? Then contact IFRE today to start your journey!
Volunteer in Antigua, Guatemala : Available Projects
No matter what passions, skills, or interests you bring to the table, IFRE has a project in Antigua that can use your help. Explore our available projects and find one that speaks to you!
Would you like to travel in Guatemala and volunteer to improve the lives of the orphans? In recent years, the number of orphans in Guatemala has increased dramatically. Deprived of their homes and families, these children desperately need attention, love, friendship, and basic necessities.
By joining IFRE’s Antigua, Guatemala Orphanage Volunteer Project, you will be given a wonderful opportunity to give help, love, and attention to orphans who are in urgent need of care and protection. There is no better way to help them than by participating in this rewarding volunteer program that aims at protecting them from the harsh realities of life on a daily basis. We guarantee that it will be an unforgettable experience for both you and these children, with whom you will share your time, energy, and love.
English is the global language of commerce, business and tourism. Therefore, a good knowledge of the English language has become crucial for local Guatemalans seeking good employment opportunities. Unfortunately, many Guatemalan citizens cannot afford adequate English education for themselves or their children. Moreover, the majority of public schools lack qualified English teachers. As a result, international volunteers are crucial for the locals to be able to learn English and improve their living standards.
At IFRE’s Volunteer Teaching English in Antigua, Guatemala program, you will be teaching English to students in local schools for about 6 hours a day. It will be a great opportunity for you to learn the fundamentals of teaching in a class and gain valuable practical work experience. If you would like to join this program, you must be 18 years old or older and have a solid grasp of the English language.
While participating in IFRE’s Medical volunteer program in Guatemala, Antiqua, you will be volunteering in local public hospitals working alongside the local nurses and doctors. As a volunteer, you will be shadowing and assisting local doctors and nurses in treating sick patients, carrying out training and providing basic health care service to local people.
This program is a perfect fit for those who would like to build their careers in the field of healthcare, providing you with plenty of practical hands-on experience while supporting local doctors in their critically important work.
In Guatemala, there are many disabled children with cerebral palsy, microcephaly, autism, quadriplegia and other physical and mental disabilities. Special needs childcare organizations take care of them but these organizations are sorely lacking in resources and manpower and thus in great need of volunteers to support these disabled children.
By joining IFRE’s Special Needs Children volunteering program in Guatemala, you will get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to give love, care, attention, and therapy to many disabled children. This project might be emotionally challenging, but also extremely rewarding, as you will be helping the most vulnerable members of society and working closely with them.Do you want to provide life changing love, care and attention to disabled children? Visit the project page to find pricing and complete information.
Despite this modern age, young girls and women in Guatemala are still being discriminated against so much that the violence against them has reached severe levels. Therefore, it is very difficult for young girls to get education and employment without being harassed or discriminated against along the way.
To change this situation, programs and workshops are being held striving to help young girls rise above racism, sexism, and gender inequality, and give them confidence and hope for a better future.
With IFRE’s Girls Empowerment Volunteer Guatemala Program, you will have an opportunity to support various initiatives and workshops taking place in Antigua aimed at empowering young women. On this project, dedicated volunteers will make a change in the present and future lives of young girls in Guatemala who have been victimized and discriminated against for many years by their society, giving them the skills and resources they need to thrive and become self-reliant.Do you want to fight sexism and help make the world a fairer and more equal place for all? Visit the program page to find pricing and complete information.
Nowadays, many elderly people in Guatemala are being placed in nursing homes and abandoned by their families. The country lacks the infrastructure and trained professionals to handle this increase in elderly people who need care, and as a result, there is very high demand for international volunteers willing to improve the daily lives of these aging adults.
At IFRE’s Elderly People in Guatemala Volunteer Program, you will become a companion, caregiver, and friend to the elderly people who have no one to help them. Furthermore, you will be assisting their nurses and helping with meal preparation.
As most elderly people in Guatemala do not speak English, having at least a basic understanding of Spanish is crucial for this placement. Volunteers are expected to be open-minded, flexible, patient, and have a desire to be of service to communities and individuals in need.Are you interested in brightening the lives of the elderly and providing them with the attention, care and respect they deserve? Visit the project page to find pricing and complete information.
In rural areas of Guatemala, more than fifty percent of families rely on an open fire to cook their meals, as they cannot afford paying for safer alternatives. Therefore, most households in Guatemala have kitchens filled with eye-watering smoke that provokes coughing and leads to a wide variety of health issues such as cancer, pneumonia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
To handle this issue, IFRE is partnering with local organizations who have been helping low income families to make safer stoves in Antigua, Guatemala. In this project, you will be building stoves for poor families providing them with a safer and more eco-friendly way of cooking food on a daily basis. These new cook stoves will be particularly useful for women and children who spend a lot of time around the fires, saving them from potentially gruesome health risks.
Making stoves for poor families and seeing smiles on their faces as they get to cook their food without choking on clouds of smoke is an amazing volunteering experience in Guatemala, and you will feel rewarded and fulfilled knowing you have made a direct impact on their lives.Do you want to save Guatemalans from deadly health risks and potential loss of life, homes and possessions in deadly fires? Visit the project page to find pricing and complete information.
Volunteer in Antigua, Guatemala: Dates and Fees
IFRE programs begin every Monday year-round. If you have travel constraints, you can still start your chosen program on any day of the year.
Since 2006, IFRE has been the most trusted and respected volunteer abroad organization in the world, and also the most affordable. We’re dedicated to providing the highest quality volunteer programs at the lowest fees, which make it possible for everyone, especially students, to volunteer internationally and make a positive impact in the lives of others.
We believe in 100% transparency. Rest assured, we never use middlemen. Your one-time registration fee of $299 covers our administrative costs. The low weekly fee is paid in the host country directly to your host family and project (via country coordinator), and includes housing, food, and minor expenses. IFRE is a non-profit organization, so your program fees are tax deductible.
Volunteer Program Fee (US$)
|Duration||No Spanish||With 10 Hours Group Spanish|
Program Fees Cover:
- Accommodation (host family)
- Food (local food 3 times a day)
- Program Orientation
- In-country support
- Personalized project
- Pre-departure information
- Certificate of completion
- Fundraising ideas and letters
- Discount for returning volunteers
Program Fees Exclude:
- Personal expenses on soft drinks and foods
- Daily transportation
- Airport return transfer
The volunteering programs in Antigua, Guatemala fees will cover expenses that will begin on the first day of the program (usually the first or third Monday of the month) to the last day of the program. If you arrive before the first day of the program or you decide you stay beyond your program’s last day, you will be responsible for the additional expenses, which would typically be around $30 a day for room and meals at a hostel.
You might feel overwhelmed about managing accommodation and meal during your volunteering trip abroad. With IFRE, you can rest calm as we will arrange safe and secure accommodation option with 3 daily foods a day.
During your Costa Rica volunteering trip, we will arrange your accommodation with our carefully selected host families. Our caring and responsible host family will provide you with healthy 3 meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner).
Are you hoping for some free time to explore Antigua, Guatemala and make the most of your time abroad? You’re in luck! You will be volunteering on average 4-6 hours a day Monday-Friday, but that leaves plenty of time in the evenings and on the weekends to go sightseeing, take excursions, and travel around Guatemala!
Volunteers in Guatemala can enjoy local architecture, volcanoes, mystical ruins, national parks, colorful markets, museums, hiking, restaurants, lakes, and much more. You can climb Acatenango and watch the nearby volcano named Fuego erupt, wander gorgeous colonial streets lined with churches and other amazing buildings, visit bustling markets, and much more!
Safety and In-country Support
Your safety is IFRE’s number one priority at all times, and you can have peace of mind knowing we will do everything possible to ensure you have a safe and secure experience volunteering in Antigua, Guatemala. We offer pre-trip support, reliable and comprehensive travel insurance, airport pick-up, and availability to 24/7 guidance and support by an experienced in-country staff that is right there on the ground to help you every step of the way.
As soon as you arrive in Antigua, Guatemala, you will have the support of an experienced team of in-country field staff. The team is comprised of mature, educated, socially respected individuals who are dedicated humanitarians highly experienced in working with international volunteers.
Your main point of contact will be the in-country coordinator. They will select your Antigua, Guatemala volunteering project placement, make all the arrangements for your airport transfer, accommodations, and food, give you an orientation which covers culture, safety, and your service work, introduce you to your host family and project staff, and make periodic visits and calls to check up on your progress. You can reach out to the coordinator at any time with any questions, issues, or to ask for advice and they will be happy to assist you.
Volunteer in Antigua, Guatemala: FAQs
Which airport do I need to fly to for my volunteer project in Guatemala?
You should fly to the Aurora International Airport.
Do you organize airport pick-up services?
Yes, we organize airport pick-up services for you. You just need to provide our staff with your flight details and then meet them at the airport, so that they can drop you off at your hotel before the start of your project.
What happens if I miss my flight or arrive late?
Prior to departing for your Guatemala volunteer trip, you will be provided with the contact information for our in-country coordinator. As soon as you are aware of delays or changes in your travel plans, inform the coordinator and they will arrange for a new pick-up time for you.
Who will come to pick me up? How will I recognize this person at the airport?
Our local representative will be waiting for you at the airport arrival terminal. He/she will pick you up from the airport and take you to your accommodations before the start of your volunteer work in Guatemala. You can recognize our local representative by looking for a person carrying a white signboard with your name on it. Another option is calling them directly if you do not see them straight away, as their contact information will be provided to you before your flight to Guatemala.
If my volunteer program begins on Monday, when should I arrive? If I want to arrive earlier than the starting date of my assignment, where will I stay and who will organize the accommodations? Will it cost me extra?
If your assignments begin on Monday, we highly advise you to arrive on Sunday, one day before the start of your volunteer placement. If you plan to arrive earlier than the starting date of your program, you should get in touch with our in-country coordinator and let them organize the accommodations for your stay. But it will cost you extra $30 per day. Another option is to look for hotels online and make reservations for your stay on your own. If you make your own arrangements, be sure to let the coordinator know about your plans.
Who will bring me to the airport for my departure?
IFRE does not provide any airport drop-off services for you after the completion of your volunteer project in Guatemala. You will need to arrange for a transfer vehicle to the airport for your departure and budget for this extra expense. The local project staff will be able to advise you on how to set up a taxi if you need help with this.
What do I need to do before departure from my home country?
You will need to do many things before departure from your home country. To begin with, you will need to get up to date on your vaccines and meet with your doctor about your planned travel, obtain travel insurance, do the appropriate research and apply for your visa (if applicable), and buy flight tickets and provide your trip details to our in-country coordinator.
We suggest you do a fair amount of research on your destination prior to traveling abroad, paying particular attention to the culture, customs, and expected dress and behavior in your host country. Trying to learn some Spanish will also be a big help in easing your culture-shock and allow you to connect on a deeper level with the people you are volunteering in Guatemala to help.
Where are the projects located?
All our volunteer projects are located in Antigua. Located in the central highlands of Guatemala, Antigua serves as popular travel destination for backpackers all around the world. The colorful colonial town of Antigua is most famous for its churches, colorful markets, leafy plazas, and cobblestone streets. There is a lot to see, do, and take in Antigua, as it also offers services and commodities expected from modern cities.
Is there a minimum and a maximum stay?
IFRE’s volunteer programs are available from a minimum of 1 week to a maximum of 12 weeks.
Can I extend my stay if I choose to?
Yes, if you would like to stay for a longer period of time and continue your volunteer trip, you can extend your stay Guatemala without any issues, and IFRE is happy to assist you with this.
Will I have enough time to travel after work and on weekends?
Yes, you will have enough free time to travel and explore the country after work and during weekends. All of IFRE’s volunteer projects have flexible schedules that allow you to do extra activities and travel across the country.
Who will guide or support me in my Brazil volunteer project?
Our in-country coordinator will be responsible for guiding and supervising you throughout your stay in Guatemala. Similarly, our local staff will keep an eye on you at all times and be available to offer you support when you need it.
Can I change my project if I do not like the one I chose?
Yes, you can change your program if you have any issues. However, most of our volunteers hardly ever decide to change their volunteer projects, as we have a 99% satisfaction rate and make sure that all of our volunteer experiences are interesting and satisfying. Contact our in-country coordinator to discuss this option, and please be aware that placement at a new project will be based upon availability.
Can I work in more than one project at a time?
Yes, you can choose to work in more than one volunteer project at a time. For that, you should get in touch with our in-country coordinator to begin the application process for two different volunteer programs. However, you should keep in mind that each of our volunteer programs in Guatemala will require you to work for at least 5 hours every day. It can be physically demanding to work on more than one volunteer project in one day. A more manageable option might be to split your travel time in two, volunteering during the first half of your journey at one project and transferring to another for the last half of your trip.
How old should I be to take part in these projects?
Most of the time, in order to join our volunteer projects you should be 18 years old or above. Anyone below that recommended age must demonstrate parental consent from their parents/guardians to be eligible for our programs, and in some cases, we can make exceptions. Minors can also volunteer alongside their parents.
Who manages the volunteer projects in Guatemala?
All of our programs are managed by an experienced in-country coordinator, who is responsible for running each volunteer project smoothly. The in-country coordinator provides full support and assistance to you throughout your trip. You can consult our in-country coordinator whenever you need help regarding your project activities and tasks.
Will I receive training before the start of the project?
IFRE provides a training class to you before the start of your program. The nature of the training given will depend on the specific volunteer project you will be working at. Our in-country coordinator and the local staff will train you thoroughly for the work you will be doing and will also be on hand to assist with any issues that may arise. Your orientation will also include a briefing on the customs and culture of Guatemala, along with any safety measures you should keep in mind.
Is there a dress code to volunteer in Antigua, Guatemala?
There is not a specific dress code to participate in our programs. However, you should dress in a modest and conservative manner. Please do your research regarding what is considered as acceptable clothing in Guatemala and do your best to always show respect to the culture which you are visiting.
Why should I pay to volunteer abroad?
IFRE is a non-profit volunteer organization whose main goal is to offer life-changing volunteering opportunities in countries all over the world. However, running our programs would be impossible without charging a small volunteer program fee. This is because IFRE depends on its program fees for the operation and management of its programs.
Money paid by volunteers helps IFRE cover everything from the utility bills, rent, and advertisement, to the salaries of its staff members and taxes of the company. Your fee also covers many things for you while you travel abroad, such as housing, food, supervision, and a donation to the project you are volunteering at.
Why are IFRE’s fees so much more affordable than other volunteer organizations?
IFRE has never focused on gaining financial profits from its volunteering projects in Guatemala or in the 19 other countries around the world it operates programs in. The money collected from the fees of IFRE’s volunteer programs is just enough to support its humanitarian goals of helping destitute people and communities overcome poverty, illiteracy, and social injustice.
Also, there are no middlemen involved in any of IFRE’s volunteer projects. Therefore, IFRE is able to charge much more affordable program fees compared to the fees of other volunteer organizations.
Can I get a tax deduction for my volunteer program in Brazil?
Yes, volunteers can get a tax deduction for participating in our volunteer programs. Being a 501(c) 3 organization, IFRE can provide tax deductions to its participants who wish to go on a rewarding but very affordable volunteer trip.
Can I get help to raise funds?
Yes, we are always ready to help you raise funds for volunteer projects across the globe.
Is it safe to travel to Guatemala?
Yes, it is very safe to travel to Guatemala. The government of Guatemala is doing its best to make sure that international volunteers can come and experience the beauty of Guatemala as safely as possible. IFRE also puts much effort in keeping you away from any risks and dangers. With that being said, all travel involves risk, and you should check with your home country’s advisory website to keep up to date on the current situation in your destination.
What safety measures should I take during my volunteer trip in Guatemala?
If you ever get sick and require immediate help while volunteering in Guatemala, our field staff will take proper care of your health and take you to the nearest hospital or clinic. Our in-country coordinator along with the help of local doctors and medical professionals will do their best to make you feel better. Be sure to bring along your passport and a copy of your travel insurance to present to the physician.
What will happen if I get sick while in Guatemala?
If you get sick, then you will be taken to the nearby local hospital or clinic depending on the level of seriousness and severity of your health conditions. Our local staff and in-country coordinator will do everything possible to improve your health. You must always keep our staff informed about your health condition or if you want to visit the hospital for a quick checkup. Be sure to bring your passport and a copy of your travel insurance to present to the physician.
Why must I get travel insurance before beginning my volunteer trip?
IFRE requires you to obtain travel insurance before departing from your home country. This will cover you in the case of injury, illness, or emergency. If you need help finding a policy, IFRE can help provide reliable and comprehensive coverage.
What vaccination do I need to have to volunteer in Guatemala?
Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, rabies, yellow fever, and malaria are some of the vaccinations suggested by the CDC (www.cdc.gov) and WHO for travelers planning to go to Guatemala for at least a week. However, you must consult your local doctor and ask them for proper advice. Learn more about vaccinations for a trip in Guatemala here
What are the principal health risks for traveling in Guatemala?
Like any other country in the world, Guatemala has its own health risks and hazards, which you should be prepared for. You must be cautious while volunteering outdoors and be prepared to cope with the temperature and exposure to sun and insects. Staying hydrated all day long should be your top priority, but you should only drink water that is boiled or chemically filtered. You should avoid drinking the tap water and eat food only from the hygienic places, as food and water borne illness are a cause for concern.
Do I need a visa to volunteer and travel in Guatemala?
Yes, you need a visa to volunteer and travel in Guatemala, but this is largely dependent on your nationality. However, citizens of the US, Canada, and European countries are eligible for a 90-day stay without a visa. You can learn more about Guatemala’s visa policies here
How do I apply for the visa?
The easiest and most direct way to apply for a Guatemalan tourist visa is by visiting the official Embassy of Guatemala in your home country before your departure. You can also apply for a visa after your arrival at the airport and before the start of your volunteer placement. You need to have a passport with a validity period of at least 6 months to obtain a tourist visa. Do your research ahead of time to determine what the requirements will be based on your home country.
Can I extend my visa while I am in the country? Can you help me with this?
Extending a Guatemalan tourist visa is usually not difficult. According to the Immigration law, you simply need to visit the General Directorate of Migration in Guatemala and fill out a visa extension application for a longer stay in Guatemala. Check this website to learn more about Guatemalan visa extension: www.migracion.gob.gt. If you require assistance, you are welcome to reach out to our in-country coordinator for advice.
How do I contact IFRE’s local coordinator during my volunteer work in Guatemala?
You can contact IFRE’s local coordinator via phone or email. You will be provided with the full contact information prior to your trip. You also welcome to stop in the offices at any time you like.
How can I communicate with my family from Guatemala?
The most convenient way to communicate with your family while you are in Guatemala is by chatting online on social media like Facebook and Skype. Internet facilities are available everywhere in Guatemala, so it will not be difficult to access the Internet from your project location.
Can I use my phone during my volunteer project in Guatemala?
Yes, you can use your personal mobile phone during your time at the project. However, you will need to reach out to your current phone provider to determine if your phone will function while you are traveling abroad. International roaming charges may apply, and these can be quite expensive
How can I access/purchase Internet services?
The first thing which you should do in order to purchase Internet services in Guatemala is buy a local SIM Card. For that, you will need to bring your original passport along with a recent passport size photo for documentation. Then, you have to activate the SIM Card by inserting it in your mobile phone. After that, you just need to ask the vendor to buy Internet data plan to access the Internet. Again, check with your provider prior to travel to ensure the SIM will function in your phone.
Is there internet available everywhere?
Internet facilities are available everywhere in Antigua, Guatemala so you will have no trouble accessing the internet while abroad.
What do I need to bring for my volunteering project in Guatemala?
You should not forget to bring the following items: passport, flight tickets, travel insurance, pair of sneakers, pair of flip-flops, travel towel, sunglasses, hat, headlamp, credit cards, small amount of cash, tissues, toiletries, sunscreen, insect repellent, pollution mask, sleep mask, power bank, medicines, first-aid kit, earplugs, power adapter, hand sanitizer, camera, laptop, mobile phone, plug adapter, and water bottle. IFRE provides bedding material, but if you feel a sleeping bag is something you would like, you are welcome to bring one along.