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Free (or Cheap) Volunteer Work in Guatemala

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Free or Cheap Volunteer Work in Guatemala


Those looking to stay longer in Guatemala will find the country a real volunteering hotspot, with a diverse range of options to choose from.


Grassroots Volunteering in Guatemala

The organisations listed below have either got in touch with us to add their details to this or another of our websites, or we otherwise have reason to believe they are actively looking for international volunteers and charge reasonable or no fees to join in, live and work with them:

Casa Guatemala

A home for 300 orphaned, abandoned, or abused children, located on the banks of the Rio Dulce. The majority of their volunteers work directly with the children in providing day to day care and supervision of the children who live onsite. Other positions include working in the school as a librarian, gym teacher, or English teacher. Doctors and nurses are always especially welcome to volunteer at Casa Guatemala, and may work at the orphanage in the clinic for whatever amount of time you can provide. Long term volunteers should be over 24, and have a basic grasp of conversational Spanish, and stay for at least three months.

Where: Along the Rio Dulce, about a 20 minute boat ride downstream from the town of Fronteras.
Accommodation & Costs: Long-term volunteers pay a one off donation of $300 and live onsite at Casa Guatemala in a special living area exclusively for volunteers. Conditions are basic but food is provided. There is also a flexible volunteer vacation programme for $300 per week, where volunteers live in a hotel, with meals included, and travel daily to and from Casa Guatemala by boat.

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Nature lovers will enjoy the challenge of working as a volunteer guide leading trekkers on hikes near Quetzaltenango. Duties also include recruiting customers and cleaning the equipment. With the money they make from leading tourists on adventurous hikes Quetzaltrekkers help to fund an organisation that takes care of local street children. Guides must commit to three months, should have a love of the outdoors and be in good physical condition, have first aid certification and intermediate Spanish. Before you are accepted as a guide, you will need to successfully complete a trial week. Volunteers can also help out at a children's dormitory and a street school.

Where: Quetzaltenango.
Accommodation & Costs: Volunteer guides pay around $25 per month to live in the guide house. All expenses are covered when guiding. Remember also to factor in the cost of the trial week.

Volunteering in Guatemala


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Camino Seguro

Camino Seguro's mission is to empower the children of families working in the Guatemala City garbage dump. Depending on the time commitment and skills volunteers can assist in the kitchens, in the garden, or work with Guatemalan teachers in grade level classrooms as tutors, co-teachers, classroom aides, and special activities leaders (ie art, music, theater, etc). Classroom assistants should be able to speak Spanish and commit for longer than five weeks. There are also a variety of options available for qualified applicants interested in making a commitment of six months or more.

Where: Guatemala City.
Accommodation & Costs: A non refundable $50 application processing fee is requested, plus a $50 admin fee. Food and accommodation in a homestay in Antigua is available for $75 to $90 per week. Otherwise volunteers arrange their own accommodation. Volunteers are also asked to contribute to the cost of Camino Seguro's private volunteer bus (used to insure the safety of their volunteers) to and from Antigua to the project in Guatemala City.

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AWARE operates the largest No-Kill animal shelter in Central America, and could not continue without volunteer help. With over 300 dogs and nearly 100 cats they always need help with anything from building dog runs or putting up fences to bathing, brushing, or walking dogs, providing some human company for both the dogs and the cats, or helping out with educational programmes. The more time you can commit to the better: the animals get to know you, and you get to know the animals and the routine. They ask a two week minimum commitment for volunteers staying on site.

Where: Near Sumpango. a village in Guatemala’s Central Highlands.
Accommodation & Costs: Accommodation is provided for $5 per day. Food is not included. There is no charge to volunteer if you provide your own accommodation.

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Long Way Home

Long Way Home is a nonprofit that uses sustainable design and materials to construct self sufficient schools that promote education, employment and environmental stewardship. LWH seek many talents from fixing engines or laying concrete to playing games and horsing around for periods of one week to three months.

Where: San Juan Comalapa.
Accommodation & Costs: $75 a week cover the cost of accommodation in the volunteer house. Typically food costs and preparation duties are shared by everyone in the house.


Help Exchange Networks in Guatemala

Workaway -
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HelpX -


More Volunteering in Guatemala Resources

EntreMundos - Based in Quetzaltenango, also known as Xela, EntreMundos has been an intermediary between volunteers and host organisations since 2001, and over 150 volunteers use their services every year. Currently, EntreMundos offers volunteer placements with roughly 100 different organizations in Guatemala, the majority of which are based in the Western Highlands. These organisations work in a range of fields like health, education, micro-credit, the environment, small-business support, agriculture, and community development, among others.


Other Ways to Travel or Stay for Free in Guatemala

Stay for free in return for caring for local residents' homes or pets. Join Trusted Housesitters to live rent free as a house sitter (Americans may prefer this link). You can also get a free $25 Airbnb credit from us here.


Volunteer Experiences*

Habitat for Humanity Review Zacapa Global Village Trip April 2013 - Mig finds a meaningful experience and a cultural immersion on his volunteer vacation in Guatemala.


* not all these volunteer experiences are with grassroots NGOs or low cost organisations

Image courtesy Caleb Phillips