Volunteering in Guatemala (Xela)!
Do you have the desire to travel and see new parts of the world? Does the complex history of Guatemala interest you? Would you like to volunteer and help others in need while you explore a new country? You can do all of this when you volunteer in Guatemala.
Guatemala is a fascinating country where the ancient Mayan civilization meets the 21st century. Known as the “land of eternal spring,” it seems that everything is newly alive in the majestic country of Guatemala, full of beauty and rich with culture.
Travelers visit Guatemala for its captivating landscapes and breathtaking biodiversity. When you volunteer in Guatemala programs, you will have the chance to see the sights and fully immerse yourself in the exquisite ethnic culture.
Unfortunately, poverty is high in Guatemala. Unbalanced wealth distribution is acute, with a small percentage of the population controlling most of the country's wealth. The indigenous population, by far the poorest, has limited access to education, and public education is not free. Half the population is employed in farming, which is insecure due to lack of broad land ownership and frequent natural disasters; other employment opportunities are rare for most of the population.
Today, Guatemala needs volunteers more than ever.
Join a volunteer program in Guatemala and offer your skills teaching English in a rural school, volunteer in an orphanage, work in health and medical care, support street children, or work in the Guatemala Women's Project. Opportunities in Xela starts at $110.
Find a new life purpose, broaden your world view, and make connections and memories that will last a lifetime.
Request information about volunteering in Xela and choose a program that speaks to you!
Volunteering in Guatemala: Programs
Are you looking for a volunteer opportunity, but really want to find the right one for you? Global Crossroad offers several opportunities, and we want you to choose, based on your own passion and interests. You can bring positive change to the world in a way that fits with you.
Do you have a passion or interest in teaching, and want to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds? If so, you will consider volunteering with us. English literacy is a valuable skill. There are countless job opportunities in Guatemala for those who are fluent in the English language. You can make a monumental difference in the lives of many people by simply joining this project.
By participating in Global Crossroad’s volunteer teaching English program in Guatemala, you will be involved with public schools located in rural areas that serve children of farmers, and other working-class citizens. Native English speakers are in high demand here. With your humble efforts, many people in Guatemala will be able to shape their future into something much brighter and more prosperous.
Unfortunately, a lot of vulnerable and young children are left abandoned in Guatemala due to their family’s inability to care for them. Most of these orphaned children are malnourished, exploited, unhealthy, and sometimes forced into illegal activities. They are often scared and lonely, with no loved ones to look after them.
Fortunately there are local government bodies and other organizations putting their best efforts toward helping this situation. These orphanages, however, are often under-resourced, and are largely supported by volunteers. You can only imagine how much help is needed here due to the ever-rising influx of orphaned children.
Upon joining Global Crossroad’s volunteer orphanage work in Guatemala, you will partake in looking after these orphaned children, who have no one else. Through this work you can become their caregiver, friend, mentor, and teacher. There are no specific qualifications required, but you must be enthusiastic about caring for others and empathetic to them and their struggle.
Do you enjoy working with children? If so, we have a place for you. Unfortunately, poverty is pervasive in Guatemala, and many children from impoverished communities need your help. The disadvantaged children of Guatemala need kind and compassionate volunteers to share some time, laughter, and love. Your efforts can make a significant difference in the lives of these deserving children.
Upon joining Global Crossroad’s street children volunteer program in Guatemala, you can support these children by giving them skills, caring, and supervision they need. By doing this, you help not just them but their families to escape from the vicious cycle of poverty. Volunteers serve as positive role-models in these children's lives, and allow them to imagine a brighter future for themselves.
By participating in Global Crossroad’s medical volunteer program in Guatemala, you will have the chance to gain firsthand medical experience, while making a true and meaningful difference in the lives of others. You will be placed in a local hospital in either an urban or rural location, in and around Antigua.
This is an excellent opportunity to explore the field of medicine, while gaining valuable experience in it. You will work alongside medical professionals and build meaningful relationships with like-minded volunteers. You can share your medical expertise, and make a difference to those in need.
Women in poor communities around the world are often trapped in endless cycles of poverty and abuse. They are often unable to support themselves or their children, and they have no assistance in legal matters. In Guatemala, the government and other organizations try to help out poor rural women by providing support and education. Unfortunately, there are not enough resources and personnel to help them.
Upon joining Global Crossroad’s women empowerment volunteer program in Guatemala, you can help countless women get back on their feet, and give them a chance for a better future by providing them with education, and support in a wide variety of areas.
In addition to the above projects, we also offer family Volunteering, alternative spring break, high school volunteering, college/university volunteering and many other programs. Contact Global Crossroad for further information.
Volunteering in Guatemala: Dates and Prices
Dates: Volunteer in Guatemala
All volunteer in programs in Antigua, Guatemala start every Monday. However, Global Crossroad is very flexible and understands that various travel constraints that you might face.
All volunteering overseas in Antigua, Guatemala options are available year around, except at times programs like a volunteer teaching English overseas program might be closed for various holidays and vacations. Between the project link and a Global Crossroad representative, all of this specific information regarding programs dates will be available to you. If a program is unavailable, we will provide an alternative program for you to join.
Fees: Volunteer in Guatemala
Global Crossroad is committed to offering the most affordable and highest quality Antigua, Guatemala volunteer trips. We strive to keep our costs low. The humanitarian side of the business is our passion.
Global Crossroad's volunteer opportunity in Antigua, Guatemala application and registration fee cost US $299. The application fee covers the cost of advertising, program promotion, and office expenses (rent, utilities, and staff salaries in USA office).
In addition to the application fee, you are required to pay a weekly program fee. You will pay your weekly fee directly to your host family and project. This way, the fees that you pay will benefit those who rightfully deserve them, and not for company profit.
|Weeks|| All Projects
(includes 10 hours per week group Spanish)
(Includes 10 hours per week group Spanish)
Mandatory comprehensive travel insurance $3.49 a day »
How your fee is allocated?
Airport Pick up and Transfer to Xela from Guatemala City- $40 to $80 (depending on type of accommodation)
Program fees cover:
- Group Spanish Lessons (10hrs a week)
- 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.
Accommodations and Meals
While volunteering in Guatemala, Global Crossroad's weekly fees include management of your meal plans and accommodations throughout projects and travel options.
We place our volunteers with a host family. You will share a room with another volunteer of the same gender. Our host families are chosen carefully, and are esteemed community members who have experience in the realm of hosting international travellers. Host family residences are in comfortable, clean and safe neighborhoods, and rooms are simply furnished and tidy.
Three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) will be provided and will consist of local ingredients and feature traditional cuisine choices for Guatemala. Our meal program can accommodate vegetarian needs; however, we are not able to provide for other dietary restrictions. Food and drinks outside of mealtimes are your responsibility. In most cases, there are restaurants and markets nearby the homes in which our volunteers stay.
Free Time Options
Guatemala offers tons of travel options for the visitor. Global Crossroad volunteers don’t have to miss out on all there is to see. Our work days are typically 4-6 hours, after which volunteers have free time to explore. Weekends are entirely yours for planning whatever trips you desire.
Volunteering in Guatemala: FAQ
Have you got more questions for us? We hope so. Please browse through our FAQ to find answers to your questions.
Which airport do I need to fly in for my volunteer project?
You should fly into International Airport of Guatemala City (Airport La Aurora) for your volunteer work in Guatemala.
Do you organize airport pick up?
Yes, we do organize airport pick-ups for our international volunteers. You just need to provide our staff with your flight details.
What happens if I missed flight or arrived late?
It is vital for our volunteers to inform and notify us about their missed flight or late arrivals. If you do miss your flight, please contact the in-country coordinator right away, who will make arrangements around the new schedule.
If my volunteer program begins on Monday, when should I arrive? If I want to arrive earlier than then my assignment begins, where do I stay and who will organize the accommodations? Does it cost me extra?
It will be much more convenient to book a flight to Guatemala and arrive on Sunday if the Guatemala volunteering program begins on Monday. You can go out and spend your free time exploring Guatemala. Arriving earlier is always beneficial for foreign volunteers for the day of rest it provides before beginning. You do need to understand that you will be responsible for food and accommodation costs personally for any days beyond your schedule.
Who will bring me to the airport for my departure after completing my volunteer work?
Global Crossroad does not offer transportation to the airport for departure flights. We can, however, assist you in arranging a taxi to take you back to the airport upon request.
What do I need prior to departure from my home country?
Passport, visa, couple of photos, credit cards, some cash, flight tickets, comfortable clothing and shoes, toiletries, medicines, first aid kit, sanitary towels, deodorant, insect repellent, mobile phones, laptops, adapter, chargers and last but not the least a travel insurance. These are all necessary for a safe and secure volunteering experience in Guatemala.
Can I take language lessons during my volunteer program?
Yes, you can take a language lesson on your volunteer trip. Global Crossroad offers local language classes to those volunteers who are a tit bit more interested in language, history, culture and traditions of Guatemala.
Where are the projects located?
Our projects are all located in Xela. We also offer volunteer program in Antiqua. Xela is the second largest city in Guatemala and serves as the best place to explore the western highlands of Guatemala. Staying in Xela lets you experience Guatemala’s social and political reality like nowhere else. You could spend months exploring Xela and still barely scratch the surface of what it has to offer.
Is there any minimum and maximum stay for my volunteer project?
All of Global Crossroad’s volunteer programs in Guatemala range from a minimum of 1 week to maximum of 12 weeks. So, you can choose any of our volunteer projects depending upon how many days you plan on staying. You should at least have 1 week of spare time on your hands to be able to participate in Global Crossroad’s volunteer projects.
Can I extend my stay if I choose to?
Yes, you can choose to extend your stay if you wish. Our volunteer in Guatemala programs are designed with flexibility, so the program itself can be extended for those who would like to volunteer for a longer period of time than they initially planned. You just need to inform our in-country coordinator about your desire to extend your stay and he/she will make sure that all is taken care of from that moment on.
Will I have enough time to travel after work and in weekend while volunteering in Guatemala?
Our international volunteers will have enough free time on their hands to travel and explore Guatemala after work and on weekends. Our volunteering work programs leave lots of spare time for volunteers wanting to explore the beautiful surroundings of Xela, Guatemala.
Who will guide or support me in my volunteer project?
Our country coordinator will be responsible to guide and supervise you throughout your volunteer program in Guatemala. That being said, our local field staff will also keep an eye on you at all times to make sure that everything goes smoothly for you. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions of these people.
Can I change project if I do not like?
Yes, our volunteers can change their volunteer programs for whatever reason. However, most of our volunteers report being fully satisfied with their experience. Regardless, if you wish to change, please discuss this in person with the in-country coordinator.
Can I work in more than one volunteer program?
Yes, you can choose to work in more than one volunteer project. Global Crossroad offers many volunteering opportunities in Guatemala and so if you ever get interested in more than one volunteer program then you can get in touch with our country coordinator to begin the application process for participating in a second one.
But you should know that each of our volunteer programs in Guatemala requires you to work for at least 5 hours every day. For this reason we do not suggest trying to work in more than one program at a time.
What age ranges take part in these projects?
Volunteers must be at least 18 year old in order to be eligible for our programs. If you are below the age of 18 years but still wish to go on a volunteering trip, then you must provide us with parental consent from your legal guardians before joining our volunteer projects.
Will I receive training before the start of my Guatemala volunteer program?
Global Crossroad does provide training to its volunteers in Guatemala before the start of any of their programs. The nature of the training given to our volunteers will depend upon the difficulty of the project itself. You will receive proper training and guidance in an orientation class run by our country coordinator and local staff after reaching Guatemala. They will be there to support you afterward as well.
Why pay to volunteer abroad?
Volunteering in Guatemala program requires each participant to pay a certain volunteer program and application fee. It simply would not be possible for a non-profit organization like Global Crossroad to run its programs if volunteers don’t pay for its program fee. The money gained from the volunteer program fee helps Global Crossroad to pay for its rent, advertisement, utility cost, tax and salary for its staff. Without charging any fess, Global Crossroad would also be able to provide you with any support that you’d need as a volunteer, including food and accommodations.
Why are Global Crossroad’s fees so much more affordable than other volunteer organizations?
The fees for Global Crossroad’s volunteer projects have always been affordable from the get go. Compared to other organizations, Global Crossroad serves as fully transparent non-profit volunteer organization which does not have any middle men running its volunteer trips. The volunteer program fees charged by Global Crossroad are just enough to keep the project running and the company. We do not earn any profits from operating these volunteer programs.
Can I get help to raise fund?
Yes, you can get help from us to raise funds if you don’t have the necessary money to participate in our Guatemala volunteering opportunity. You simply need to get in touch with our representatives through telephone or email and ask them for assistance with raising funds for humanitarian projects and volunteer work.
Why do I need to pay to volunteer?
Is it safe to travel and volunteer in Guatemala?
Yes, it is completely safe to travel to Guatemala for volunteer work and projects. Nation wise, Guatemala seems to be doing great with lots of foreigner flying in to take part in volunteering activities each year. We even make sure that all of your activities are well-reviewed for any potential dangers. Further, our staff is available for support throughout the time period of your volunteer program in Guatemala. However, we always advise and request all the participating volunteers to read and understand all relevant safety information before leaving home.
What are safety measures you take for international volunteers?
While Guatemala is a safe country for volunteering, it is always necessary to exercise some degree of caution during a volunteer project. That is why we make sure to engage our international volunteers in an orientation class. In these classes we provide volunteers with all vital information on security, and how to avoid dangerous situations during their volunteer abroad project.
What happens if I get sick?
On this volunteer opportunity in Guatemala your health will be closely assessed and monitored. If you get sick, our in-country coordinator along with the local support staff will do everything possible to look after you. You will be taken to the hospital for treatment if necessary without delay.
Why must I get travel insurance before beginning my volunteer trip?
Getting insured prior to do volunteer abroad work gives you a safety cushion should something bad happen to you. If you want to be financially secured for emergency medical and rescue situations then you should consider getting a reliable travel insurance policy. Just make sure to read all the documents before buying any travel insurance packages, no matter how reputed the company is.
What Vaccination Do I need to take prior to my volunteer trip?
The main recommended vaccinations for Guatemala are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, rabies, yellow fever, and malaria. For your personal health precautions and extra safety, you should consider consulting your doctor for further vaccine recommendations prior to the start of your volunteering program in Guatemala. Learn more about vaccinations for a trip in Guatemala here
How do I spend my free time while volunteering in Guatemala?
Guatemala is home to an incredibly varied landscape, from beautiful thick jungles to scenic wetlands. There will always be plenty of things to keep you occupied and entertained. You can explore old cobbled streets and historic forts; visit bars, restaurants, clubs and shops; and relax in the turquoise water pools.
Do I get time to explore the area during the morning and evening?
Yes, you will get plenty of time to explore Xela, Guatemala during the morning and evenings of your Guatemala volunteering program.
Which are the best places to visit in Guatemala?
Laguna Lachua, Chichicastenango, Quetzaltenango, Monterrico, Livingston, Lake Atitlan, Flores, Antigua, Izabal, Tikal, and Guatemala City are some of the best places to visit in Guatemala. If you have free time and want to learn more about Guatemala during your volunteer work abroad then we suggest visiting these famous sites.
How can I apply for a volunteer program?
Applying for our volunteer in Guatemala program is simple and easy. There are no complicated steps. you just have to go to our website and fill in our volunteer application forms. You will then have to wait for our staff to contact you for further processing.
When should I apply for a volunteer trip in Guatemala?
You should apply for our volunteering projects whenever you find yourself seeking for a volunteering trip abroad. Once you have made up your mind, and have made enough free time for our volunteer program then you can apply for any of our volunteer programs immediately.
What happens once I submit my documents and application?
Once your documents and application for the volunteering program in Guatemala have been submitted to us, our staff will begin to evaluate them. The application will be sent to our country coordinator in Guatemala, who will be responsible for managing your volunteer program. Once the country coordinator goes through your application and approves it, you will then be contacted by us and provided full details of your volunteer trip.
How long does it take to process my volunteer project application?
Most of time it takes us about 2 to 4 weeks to process any of our volunteer application forms. But we can always speed up the process in case of emergencies and for special requests made by our volunteers.
What kind of visa do I need to work as a volunteer in Guatemala?
You will need to get a tourist visa from the nearest Embassy of Guatemala in our home country to come to Guatemala. But remember that the citizens of the US, Canada, and EU countries don’t need a visa. Single entry tourist visas for Guatemala cost around USD 25$. Obtaining a Guatemala tourist visa is a must for any of our volunteer projects.
Can I extend my visa while I am in the country? Can you help me on this?
Yes, you can extend your visa for volunteering activities while you are still residing in Guatemala. You simply need to visit the General Directorate of Migration in Guatemala and apply for visa extension. For more information regarding the extension of your tourist visa, check the website here: www.migracion.gob.gt
How do I contact with Global Crossroad’s local coordinator during my volunteer Guatemala trip?
You can contact Global Crossroad’s local coordinator through your mobile phone. Or you can go online and email them your inquiry. We will provide you with the personal contact details of our local coordinators before the start of the Guatemala volunteer program.
What I need to bring for my volunteering project?
You need to bring Pepto-bismol tablets (for food poisoning), dry shampoo, camera, bug repellant, sunscreen, quick-dry towel, books, LifeStraw water purifier, water bottle, backpack, hygiene wipes, portable charger and adapter, tissues, lightweight rain jacket, first aid kit, anti-bacterial gel, deodorant, toothbrush, and flip-flops for your volunteering program in Guatemala. Don’t forget to bring important stuff like your passport, flight tickets and travel insurance.
Page updated: 15th September, 2019