Places still available for July & August - book now
Animal Care Volunteer Project in Mexico - Merida

Animal Care Volunteer Project in Mexico - Merida

This project is currently not accepting applications.
Care for & rehome abandoned animals
Start dates
Programs start every first and third Monday of the month
Choose from 1-24 weeks
Volunteer hours
Up to 5 hours a day
Volunteers aged 18+ and families
Program fees
From CA$494 for 1 week
What's included
Find out here
'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

New banner

This program is ideal for:

Volunteers who love animals and are passionate about animal welfare. You’ll be working closely with the local team so no experience is required, but Spanish language skills will be useful and you will need to have had an active tetanus vaccination.

Project details

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 organizations 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 socializing cats and dogs so they have the best chance of finding a new home in the community.

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 organizations 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
  • Feeding
  • Socializing and training animals
  • Public education about animal abandonment
  • Fundraising for shelters
  • Running clinics to spay/neuter pets
Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #15: Life on Land

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #15: Life on Land

Human activity has altered almost 75% of the earth’s surface and around 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. Nature is critical to our survival. We must promote kindness to animals and use regenerative techniques to combat deforestation, conserve biodiversity and protect wildlife.

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 socializing animals
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining animal care experience
  • Immersing yourself in Mexican culture
  • Discovering Mexico’s rich history

Volunteer requirements

  • 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.

Not sure which program to join?

Get personalized recommendations >

'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

New banner

What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

Oliwia Lewandowska
08 Aug 2023

It has opened my eyes! I have learned a lot about other cultures from across the world which made me grateful for a lot of things as well. It was the best holiday that I have had so far! All of this while helping animals bought me the serotonin I needed. Everyone should experience this feeling.

Kelly Munro
02 Aug 2023

I did love the experience in the Animal Shelter very much! I also loved the culture immersion and the add-on tours we did! I gained more confidence in communicating with the Spanish people, even if most was through Google Translate. It was nice to step out of my comfort zone which made me feel good.

Sydni Kuczeryk
09 May 2023

Just go it! All of your fears will be gone once you get there. You meet amazing people and experience once in a life time memories. The trip was amazing, meeting the other volunteers, experiencing new cultures, exploring, I couldn't pick just one favorite moment! I will always carry with me the impact the animals at the shelter had on me. They might have had a difficult past, but they were always so happy and excited about life. A piece of my heart stays with them.

Ashley Atkinson
25 Nov 2022

I think my volunteering had a big impact on the animals’ lives. I had a passion of wanting to pursue a career in veterinary medicine and volunteering seemed like a perfect way to help but also learn at the same time if this is the career path for me.

I loved it so much I followed my dreams and went to college and I have been a Veterinary Technician for 6 years now. It gave me the clarity I needed to pursue the career of my dreams!!

Shen Rosen
25 Nov 2022

My favorite moment from the volunteer experience was being able to play with and care for the dogs. I was anxious before I went but I ended up having a really good experience.

Deserray Bauer
10 Aug 2022

Our local support team was amazing. They are kind, helpful, and made us feel at home. I wish I would have been able to spend more time there! The accommodations were safe and I felt comfortable there - if I needed anything I could ask. The other volunteers we really friendly and I really enjoyed dinner. The food was good and it gave me a chance to talk to the other volunteers. It was a great way to decompress after a day of volunteering.

My favorite part was when I was working with the cats at the shelter. Being able to watch my daughter work with them was a heartwarming experience.

Volunteering is a great way to help and I hope to inform people about doing volunteer work. I would say IVHQ makes sure you’re safe. Step out of your comfort zone. Embrace the culture, meet new people and you’ll have an amazing experience.


To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!

Learn about course credit


Volunteer Abroad in Mexico with IVHQ


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 traveling 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 socializing. Once orientation is complete, volunteers will be transported to their placement and introduced to all relevant parties and placement staff.

Volunteer schedule example

First Day

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 CA$7) and US$10 (approximately CA$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 CA$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.


  • USD

Spots are limited. For a Registration Fee of just US$329 (approximately CA$471) you secure your spot and unlock all our preparation and training tools.

You don't need to worry about paying your Program Fee until you get closer to your start date.

Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week $345 Equivalent to $49/day
2 weeks $545 Equivalent to $39/day
3 weeks $735 Equivalent to $35/day
4 weeks $905 Equivalent to $32/day
5 weeks $1,045 Equivalent to $30/day
6 weeks $1,215 Equivalent to $29/day
8 weeks $1,555 Equivalent to $28/day
10 weeks $1,895 Equivalent to $27/day
12 weeks $2,235 Equivalent to $27/day
16 weeks $2,915 Equivalent to $26/day
20 weeks $3,595 Equivalent to $26/day
24 weeks $4,275 Equivalent to $25/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately CA$471) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Mexico generally find US$100 per week to be sufficient for expenses, such as lunches and local tours and activities.
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Airport pick-up
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on language lessons
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • Lunch
  • Transport to and from your placement each day
  • Return to the airport when your program finishes
  • Flights
  • Visa (if required), travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Personal spending money for snacks, laundry, public transportation, drinks and leisure activities during your free time.

Free-time experiences & tours in Merida

Take your volunteer experience to the next level with IVHQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in Merida! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto the IVHQ Merida program.

Spanish Language Lessons
Spanish Language Lessons

Introductory package of affordable Spanish lessons offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers, tailored to your current level of Spanish.

From CA$283

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. The language course will be tailored to suit your current level of Spanish.

These language courses are available to purchase as an add-on via your MyIVHQ account once you have registered for the Mexico program. The cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers. Classes run in the morning or afternoon, Monday to Friday.

  • 10 hours: US$198 (approximately CA$283) per person
  • 20 hours: US$335 (approximately CA$480) per person
  • 30 hours: US$462 (approximately CA$662) per person
  • 40 hours: US$599 (approximately CA$858) per person
  • 60 hours: US$874 (approximately CA$1253) per person
  • 80 hours: US$1149 (approximately CA$1647) per person

Check what's required to visit Mexico

Safety and support

Safety and support with IVHQ

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.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Essential country information

Capital Mexico City
Population 127 million
Languages Spanish
Currency Peso (MXN)
Time zone UTC-06:00

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).

Other projects you may be interested in

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!