Beach & Turtle Conservation Volunteer Program in Guatemala
Want to help save endangered marine wildlife as a Beach and Turtle Conservation volunteer in Guatemala? International Volunteer HQ’s Beach and Turtle Conservation project empowers volunteers to contribute to efforts protecting the local environment and its inhabitants on the gorgeous Pacific Coast of Guatemala. Volunteer support will help turtle populations to flourish and preserve the natural environment that is their home and breeding grounds.
- Programs start every Monday
- Affordable fees from CA$932 for 2 weeks
- Includes accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
- Help critically endangered sea turtles survive and thrive
- Explore beautiful and secluded parts of the Guatemala
- Stay in a relaxed hostel near the beach
Who is this program suited to?
What to expect and how you'll make an impact
Guatemala is home to four different sea turtle species, two of which are critically endangered. Volunteers are able to provide highly valued assistance in preserving the natural environment and helping turtles thrive and build a more stable and abundant population that will survive for many years to come.
As a Beach and Turtle Conservation volunteer you will assist a government organization with beach conservation and sea turtle protection programs on a remote part of the Pacific Coast. Specific tasks will depend largely on the time of year, but typically the seasonal work is as follows:
February to June: Assist in habitat conservation, planting mangroves, running education programs and teaching English to locals.
May to July: Help with sick or injured turtles and improving facilities.
July to October: Nesting season. Help to nurture pregnant mothers to give them the best chance of producing healthy offspring.
September to December: Hatching season. Help with night beach patrols, egg collection and releasing hatchlings.
Other volunteer work year-round may include:
- Beach clean-ups
- Maintaining and upgrading facilities and the hatcheries
- Community education
Why do Beach & Turtle Conservation volunteering in Guatemala with IVHQ?
When you volunteer to save sea turtles in Guatemala you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:
- Helping increase turtle populations to a sustainable level
- Conserving and preserving the beach environment
- Practicing your Spanish
- Developing your communication skills
- Gaining conservation and animal care experience
- Immersing yourself in Guatemalan culture
- Exploring Guatemala’s fabulous beaches
- Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate in this program. If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ offers alternative volunteer opportunities for teens. Visit our High School Volunteer Abroad page to learn more.
- All volunteers are required to speak fluent English, have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ before departure.
Beach and Turtle Conservation volunteers will find themselves staying in a remote beachside village on the Pacfic Coast of Guatemala. The area is known for great surfing, fishing and its stunning black-sand beaches. The project is located about 2 hours from Antigua.
Arrival and orientation
The program orientation begins every Monday and volunteers need to arrive in Guatemala City on the day before orientation.
After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the La Aurora International Airport (GUA) in Guatemala City. Your airport pick-up is included in your program fee. We recommend that volunteers under the age of 18 travel internationally with a notarized letter from their parents to support their documentation.
When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Antigua. Your accommodation is covered by your program fee and includes the night before your program orientation.
If you are traveling in Guatemala prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up in Antigua on the day before your program orientation.
Orientation is hosted by our local team at their office in Antigua. Orientation begins on Monday morning and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Guatemala – an introduction to Guatemala, Guatemalan customs, language training details, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities in Guatemala, 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 socializing.
After orientation, volunteers on the Beach and Turtle Conservation project will be taken to their project site by shuttle.
Volunteer schedule example
Please note, volunteers work 6 days a week and your specific day off can vary, depending on the need. The following schedule can vary as projects take place in either the morning, afternoon or evening.
|7:00 AM - 8:30 AM:||Breakfast at the volunteer hostel.|
|9:00 AM - 11:00 AM:||You will join the local staff and will receive a duty roster and plan for work. Some tasks may include, but are not limited to: Hatchery cleaning, painting and repairing the hatchery, measuring temperatures of nests.|
|12:00 PM - 3:00 PM:||Lunch and free time|
|3:00 PM - 5:00 PM:||Resume placement work. Tasks can include but are not limited to: beach cleanup, maintaining a clean area for nesting turtles, collecting data and planting native trees along the beach, measuring erosion on the shoreline, maintenance and upkeep of plants/trees/mangroves.|
|6:00 PM - 7:00 PM:||Dinner|
|7:00 PM - 11:00 PM or 11:00 PM - 3:00 AM:||Night patrols. Patrolling the beach to spot nesting turtles, tag turtles, count eggs in nests.|
During the weekends, volunteers have spare time and usually just relax and explore the area. It’s a good idea to take your own snorkel equipment, books, games, beach activities and hiking shoes.
Accommodation and WiFi
You’ll stay in a dormitory-style hostel with open-air rooms and mosquito nets provided. Living is comfortable in both the volunteer house and homestays and all accommodation has electricity, running water and western bathrooms.
Low pressure showers should be expected and the water is not always heated. Bedrooms have single beds and bunk beds with bedding provided.
Wifi should be available at the hostel, along with a pool, hammocks, an ocean swing and surfboards to hire.
Volunteers can expect to receive breakfast, lunch and dinner while on the Beach and Turtle Conservation project.
Breakfast in Guatemala typically consists of bread or tortillas, spreads, fruit and eggs accompanied with tea or coffee. Lunch and dinner commonly consist of meat, beans, starches and vegetables.
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
|2 weeks||CA$938 Equivalent to CA$67/day|
|3 weeks||CA$1303 Equivalent to CA$63/day|
|4 weeks||CA$1662 Equivalent to CA$60/day|
|5 weeks||CA$1981 Equivalent to CA$57/day|
|6 weeks||CA$2300 Equivalent to CA$55/day|
|8 weeks||CA$2939 Equivalent to CA$53/day|
|10 weeks||CA$3578 Equivalent to CA$52/day|
|12 weeks||CA$4217 Equivalent to CA$51/day|
|16 weeks||CA$5495 Equivalent to CA$50/day|
|20 weeks||CA$6772 Equivalent to CA$49/day|
|24 weeks||CA$8050 Equivalent to CA$48/day|
- Breakfast, lunch 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
- Certificate of International Volunteering
- All programs attract a Registration Fee of CA$387 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 CAD.
- 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, public transportation to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
- Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Guatemala generally find US$100 per week to be sufficient for expenses, such as lunches (except for Beach and Turtle Conservation and Mayan Cultural Immersion volunteers), in-country tours, and Spanish language lessons.
Recommended activities and tour add-ons
We believe that no volunteer adventure would be complete without experiencing the natural wonders of your host country. That’s why we offer volcano and coffee plantation tours, surfing lessons and mini adventures, exclusively available to IVHQ volunteers in Costa Rica as affordable add-ons.
Please contact us or your IVHQ Program Manager to book or get more information about any of the following activities and tours.
Your half-day Volcano Tour will take you to Pacaya Volcano, an active volcano within a national park with exciting thermal activity and stunning scenic views. Enjoy taking amazing photos and even roasting marshmallows over warm lava rocks.
Want to make sure you tick off all the must-see sites in Guatemala? The Mini Adventure combines the major hot spots in Guatemala into a 1-week excursion that can be added at the beginning or end of your volunteer program. You will be accompanied by a certified, bilingual tour guide for each trip, using Antigua as your home base between tours. The 6-day adventure complements your volunteer experience, without the stress of trip planning!
The Mini Adventure includes:
- Pacaya Volcano Hike
- 3 days/2 nights on the beach in El Salvador (surf lessons included)
- 2 days/1 night in the Mayan Ruins of Tikal (airfare to and from Tikal included)
- Zip-line tour
Enjoy a challenging 2-day trek and camping adventure on the active Acatangego Volcano. You’ll hike 11 miles (8 kms) round-trip up this active volcano with an elevation gain of 5,150 ft (1,500 meterss). Be sure to pack your camera to capture the stunning views with neighboring volcanoes spewing lava while camping at 13,000 ft (3,963 meterss).
Spend a full day trekking up Acatenango Volcano, an active volcano in Guatemala with stunning views of neighboring volcanoes.
Enjoy a half-day tour of the Yalu Coffee Farm or Philadelphia Coffee Plantation, both working coffee farms, led by your own expert guide. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about the coffee production from plant to cup, and enjoy a coffee tasting at the end of your tour.
How to book IVHQ’s recommended add-ons:
When you apply for an IVHQ volunteer program, make a note of which tours and add-ons you’re interested in on your application form so we can check availability and prices for you.
Once you’ve paid your registration fee, your IVHQ Program Manager will be able to book your place on the tour(s) you have chosen and help you organize your trip.
Affordable Spanish language lessons
Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Guatemala program, however on certain projects volunteer work will be restricted with limited language ability. We recommend that volunteers take advantage of the very affordable language lessons offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers by our partner staff in Guatemala. Past volunteers feel that taking these lessons help immensely with day-to-day volunteer work and communicating with local people. Volunteers interested in taking Spanish lessons can arrange these directly with the IVHQ Program Manager prior to departure. The language lessons are tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Spanish and classes run from Monday through to Friday. The cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers. These lessons are not available for volunteers during the Beach and Turtle Conservation project or Holiday Experience project. Volunteers on these projects can arrange lessons before or after their projects if they wish to stay longer in Antigua.
- 1-hour Private Classes: from CA$77 per week
- 2-hour Private Classes: from CA$155 per week
- 2-hour Small Group Classes: from CA$71 per week
How to book IVHQ’s language lessons: When you apply for your IVHQ volunteer program, make a note in your application of the language classes you’re interested in.
Once you’ve paid your registration fee, your IVHQ Program Manager will be able to book your place on your chosen language classes.
Check what's required to visit Guatemala
Fill out the quick form below to find out what the Covid-19 restrictions and visa requirements are for Guatemala, based on your country of residence.
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
|Currency||Guatemalan Quetzal (GTQ)|
Weather and climate: Guatemala has a range of micro climates and the high altitude of Guatemala City results in a subtropical highland climate in this region. There aren’t distinct seasons in Guatemala and the temperature is typically mild year round. Temperatures range from 22°C to 28°C (72°F to 82°F) during the day, and 12°C to 17°C (54°F to 63°F) at night. The country attracts winds and rain during the months of May to October with the hottest month being April.