Animal Care Volunteer Project in Mexico - Merida
Want to make some four-legged pals as an Animal Care volunteer in Mexico? International Volunteer HQ’s Animal Care project is a great way for volunteers to assist non-profit organisations that run shelters for abandoned and stray cats and dogs in Mérida. These animals are often left to fend for themselves on the streets or captured and put down when they are unable to be rehomed. Volunteers gain animal care experience while playing with, grooming, feeding and socialising cats and dogs so they have the best chance of finding a new home in the community.
- Programs start every first and third Monday of the month
- Affordable fees from AU$453 for 1 week
- Includes accommodation, breakfast and dinner, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
Help care for and rehome abandoned cats and dogs
Discover the Mayan culture in Mexico’s Yucatán state
Stay in a volunteer house in a safe and peaceful area of Mérida
Who is this program suited to?
What to expect and how you'll make an impact
Animal care in Mexico is a growing issue, with large numbers of cats and dogs being abandoned on the streets and stray animals often being put down when they are unable to be rehomed.
By volunteering with animals, you’ll provide valuable assistance to non-profit organisations that run shelters for these vulnerable animals, aiming to care for them and have them adopted back into loving homes.
As an Animal Care volunteer, you’ll work alongside local staff and other volunteers. Duties can vary but generally include:
- Playing with animals
- Cleaning and grooming
- Socializing and training animals
- Public education about animal abandonment
- Fundraising for shelters
- Running clinics to spay/neuter pets
Why do Animal Care volunteering in Merida with IVHQ?
When you volunteer with animals in Mexico you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:
- Improving the chances of animals finding new homes
- Caring for and socialising animals
- Developing your communication skills
- Gaining animal care experience
- Immersing yourself in Mexican culture
- Discovering Mexico’s rich history
- Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program
- All volunteers aged 13+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 13-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
- All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
- All volunteers must speak fluent English.
Mexico photo gallery
”This was the first time volunteering on an Animal Care project! I liked it! We treated the animals with such love and care. The Merida program and site seeing is unique in itself.”
Read reviews from Animal Care volunteers in MeridaSee more reviews
Mérida is the capital of the Yucatán state on Mexico’s Caribbean Coast. It was an important area to the ancient Mayan people and many people living there today have Mayan ancestry. This vibrant culture mixed with a legacy of Spanish colonialism has left the city with a heady mixture of activities, events, architecture, artwork and atmosphere. Mérida is also said to be among the safest cities in the Americas and extremely clean.
IVHQ’s Mexico program is based in Merida, 30 minutes from Centro, an area where there is great food, shopping and nightlife. Volunteer placements are set in different neighborhoods around the region.
Arrival and orientation
The Mexico volunteer program orientation begins on the first and third Monday of every month and volunteers need to arrive in Mérida on the Sunday before orientation.
After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive into Manuel Crescencio Rejón International Airport (MID) in Mérida, where you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation; or if you are arriving into Cancun International Airport (CUN), you will need to take a 4-hour bus ride from the airport to Mérida. If you choose to arrive in Cancun, the best bus company for traveling to Mérida is ADO. You will see a big red and white ADO sign at a kiosk at the exit of the airport. You should purchase your ticket for the next departure for Mérida Altabrisa Station, which is close to the volunteer accommodation. Please call or email the local staff to let them know your estimated time of arrival so they can arrange for your pick-up. Your IVHQ Program Manager will provide further guidance in regards to travel options between Cancun and Mérida once you have registered for the program.
Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.If you are travelling in Mexico prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up in Mérida on the day before your program orientation.
Orientation will be hosted by our team in Mexico and will cover everything you need to know for your program in Mexico – an introduction to Mexico, Mexican customs, language training details, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities in Mexico, and an introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising. Once orientation is complete, volunteers will be transported to their placement and introduced to all relevant parties and placement staff.
Volunteer schedule example
On your first day of volunteering, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.
Weekdays - A typical volunteer day would be as follows:
|7:30 AM||Breakfast at the volunteer house or homestay.|
|8:00 AM||Volunteers leave home and travel to their placements.|
|2:00 PM||Lunch at the volunteer house or homestay. Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to travel home, take Spanish lessons, prepare for the next day or do some shopping and sightseeing.|
|7:30 PM||Dinner at the volunteer house or homestay.|
Please note, some placements do not begin until 2:00 PM and in this case, volunteers usually have their Spanish lessons in the morning.
During the weekends, volunteers have spare time and usually just relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of Mérida and the state of Yucatán. You can make the most of Mérida’s charms and check out the bustling local markets, baroque Spanish architecture, a wide variety of music, art and cultural events, visit a 19th century mansion, sample the local Yucatan cuisine, take a dip in a volcanic crater or watch a Mayan ball game.
Day trips can be arranged so volunteers can explore popular sites in the area, such as Chichén Itzá – the most famous of the Yucatán’s Mayan ruin sites and one of Mexico’s most visited tourist destinations, the impressive Uxmal Mayan ruin site and the historical town of Izamal.
Looking for more ideas of things to do in Mexico? Check out our Mexico Travel & Tours page!
Accommodation and WiFi
Volunteers in Mexico are accommodated in a volunteer house nestled in a quiet neighborhood of Mérida.
The dormitory-style volunteer house provides shared rooms and bathrooms, a communal outdoor kitchenette for basic food preparation and access to the yard, patio and swimming pool.
You can expect to share a room with up to five other volunteers of the same gender. Living is basic, yet comfortable and the volunteer house has electricity and running water.
Volunteers who wish to arrange an accommodation upgrade for more privacy, air conditioning, filtered water and heated showers can do so with the local team after registering for the program. The host families speak Spanish and therefore homestay accommodation is also a great way to practice the local language and experience the local culture first-hand.
The volunteer house in Mérida has WiFi and internet cafes are located within walking distance of the volunteer house.
In Mexico, volunteers are provided breakfast and dinner in the volunteer accommodation, with a combination of Mexican and Western food. We recommend budgeting between US$5 (approximately AU$7) and US$10 (approximately AU$14) per day to purchase lunch. When you arrive the local staff will provide recommendations on economical places to eat in Mexico.
Tap water is not safe to drink in Mexico, however bottled water is readily available and you should budget approximately US$5 (approximately AU$7) per week for this.
Please be sure to let us know of any specific dietary requirements you have so we can make special arrangements for you.
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
|1 week||AU$454 Equivalent to AU$65/day|
|2 weeks||AU$737 Equivalent to AU$53/day|
|3 weeks||AU$1007 Equivalent to AU$48/day|
|4 weeks||AU$1248 Equivalent to AU$45/day|
|5 weeks||AU$1447 Equivalent to AU$42/day|
|6 weeks||AU$1688 Equivalent to AU$41/day|
|8 weeks||AU$2171 Equivalent to AU$39/day|
|10 weeks||AU$2653 Equivalent to AU$38/day|
|12 weeks||AU$3135 Equivalent to AU$38/day|
|16 weeks||AU$4100 Equivalent to AU$37/day|
|20 weeks||AU$5065 Equivalent to AU$37/day|
|24 weeks||AU$6030 Equivalent to AU$36/day|
- Breakfast and dinner
- 24/7 in-country support
- In-country program orientation
- Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
- Airport pick-up
- Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
- Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
- Discounts on language lessons
- Certificate of International Volunteering
- All programs attract a Registration Fee of AU$423 in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in AUD.
- A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
- Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, lunches, public transportation to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
- Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Mexico generally find US$100 per week to be sufficient for expenses, such as lunches, Spanish language lessons, and local tours and activities.
Spanish language lessons
Spanish language courses are available for all volunteers at all levels. IVHQ recommends these courses for all volunteers, unless they are fluent. If you have a basic level of Spanish and and are staying for a period of longer than 2 weeks, you should strongly consider these courses, as they will allow you to work and communicate with all parties more efficiently during your stay. These language courses are organized on your arrival in Mexico during your program orientation. The language course will be tailored to suit your current level of Spanish. The cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers. Each class runs for 3 hours per day in the morning or afternoon, Monday to Friday.
- 1 week: US$295 (approximately AU$418) per person
- 2 weeks: US$480 (approximately AU$680) per person
- 3 weeks: US$665 (approximately AU$942) per person
- 4 weeks: US$860 (approximately AU$1219) per person
- 5 weeks: US$1055 (approximately AU$1495) per person
- 6 weeks: US$1250 (approximately AU$1772) per person
- 7 weeks: US$1445 (approximately AU$2048) per person
- 8 weeks: US$1640 (approximately AU$2325) per person
Check what's required to visit Mexico
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Safety and support
IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.
- All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
- All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
- All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
- All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Protecting against COVID-19:
Volunteers tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of travel
Health & safety information provided during orientation
Strict disinfecting standards for programs & accomodation
Greater physical distance between volunteers
Essential country information
Weather and climate: The Tropic of Cancer effectively divides the country into temperate and tropical zones. Mérida lies on the Caribbean coast in the State of Yucatán and is one of the warmer regions of Mexico. The warm season lasts from April through June, with an average daily high temperature above 35°C (94°F). The hottest day of the year is May 7, with an average high of 36°C (97°F) and low of 23°C (74°F). Being prepared for the intense heat during this time frame is essential. The colder season lasts from November to February with an average daily high temperature below 31°C (88°F). The coldest month of the year is in January, with an average low of 18°C (65°F) and high of 29°C (85°F).