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114,124 volunteers since 2007

Animal Care Volunteer Project in Merida - Mexico

Apply now. The next available start date for this project is May 17, 2021

Animal care in Mexico is a growing local issue, with high rates of cats and dogs being abandoned on the streets, while wild animals are often put down when cities are unable to re-home them.

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 families.

As an Animal Care volunteer, you’ll work alongside local staff and volunteers to play with, clean and feed cats and dogs, socializing them and helping to give them the best chance of finding a new home in the community.

Animal Care volunteer in Mexico with IVHQ

Another vital part of animal rights volunteer work is public education around the issue of animal abandonment and helping to fundraise money for animal shelters. Volunteers can also assist with running clinics to spay/neuter neighborhood pets, helping to prevent unwanted litters that often end up being left on the street.

Basic Spanish language skills are helpful but not required, and volunteers need to have had an active tetanus vaccination.

Apply now
Apply now
Project Highlights
What you need to know
  • Affordable fees from CA$413 for 1 week
  • Perfect for animal lovers wanting to assist on the frontline of animal care

  • Hands-on volunteering in a shelter for abandoned cats and dogs

  • Tetanus vaccination required

  • Basic Spanish recommended

  • Volunteering for four hours a day, with more hours available on request

Destination Highlights
Mexico at a glance
  • Based in Merida on the popular Yucatan peninsula

  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, breakfast, dinner and 24/7 in-country support

  • Accommodation in a dormitory-style volunteer house

  • Between 5 and 20 volunteers start in Mexico each month

  • Affordable Spanish Language Lessons available for volunteers in Merida

Fill out the quick form below to find out what the Covid-19 restrictions and visa requirements are for Mexico, based on your country of residence.

The IVHQ Mexico volunteering program is located in Mérida, the capital of the Yucatán state on Mexico’s Caribbean Coast. Volunteers begin on the Mexico program on the first and third Monday of every month. Mexico volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks.

Volunteers are required to fly into Manuel Crescencio Rejón International Airport (MID) or Cancun International Airport (CUN), which is a 4 to 5 hour flight from most major airports in Canada.

The Mexico volunteer program orientation begins on the first and third Monday of every month and volunteers need to arrive in Merida 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 Merida, 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 from the airport to Merida. Canadian travelers do not require a visa to enter Malaysia for a duration of 180 days.

If you chose to arrive into Cancun, the best bus company for traveling to Merida 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 Merida 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 Merida 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 Merida 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 – Introduction to Mexico, Mexican Customs, Language Training Details, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities in Mexico, 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.

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. Work and hours are dependent on the project and placement that each volunteer is working at.

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.

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 CA$6 and CA$12 per day to purchase lunch and upon your arrival, 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 CA$6 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.

“Overall this has been a wonderful experience for me and one which I will never forget. I’m glad I chose IVHQ and that I chose Mexico, it’s the best decision I ever made. I’d also just like to say that when I severely twisted my ankle only a week into my stay and was on crutches for a few weeks, the local staff were wonderful, and even though they were very busy, they made time to run me about, from my house to the volunteer house and back again, and to and from hospital. I felt that they were approachable and if I had any problems they would help where they could. One of the best things was the pool, everybody loved it and commented on how nice and big it was! I would also not hesitate to recommend IVHQ and have done so already.” - Elizabeth Cohen (Special Needs Volunteer in Mexico)

Read more reviews from IVHQ volunteers in Mexico here

Mexico - Merida

Duration Program Fee
1 week $320 CA$413
2 weeks $520 CA$671
3 weeks $710 CA$916
4 weeks $880 CA$1,136
5 weeks $1,020 CA$1,317
6 weeks $1,190 CA$1,536
8 weeks $1,530 CA$1,975
10 weeks $1,870 CA$2,414
12 weeks $2,210 CA$2,853
16 weeks $2,890 CA$3,731
20 weeks $3,570 CA$4,609
24 weeks $4,250 CA$5,488
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee from US$299 (approximately CA$386) on top of the Program Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your program start date*). A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in CAD.
  • The Agriculture project has a one-off surcharge of US$65 to cover training and resources used in this project.
  • Discounts on language lessons
  • * Terms and Conditions do apply
What extra costs will I have?
  • Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours, transport to and from your placement if required
  • Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program
  • Lunches while in-country
  • Spanish lessons (optional)
  • Spending money - Volunteers in Mexico generally find US$90 to be sufficient for weekly expenses
Registration Fee
What it covers
  • Most affordable program fees
  • Expert support from a program specialist
  • Full MyIVHQ account access
  • Online volunteer training
  • Comprehensive preparation tools
  • IVHQ alumni rewards
Program Fee
What it covers
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Airport pick-up
  • Program orientation
  • Volunteer placement
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Discounts on language lessons

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. 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.

See our Mexico Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Mexico!

Capital Mexico City
Population 120.8 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 “cold” 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).

Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate on this program, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. 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 have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ’s local team on arrival in Mexico. Animal Care/Animal Rights volunteers must have an active tetanus shot in order to participate on this project.

Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Mexico volunteer program. However the Teaching English project requires volunteers to have at least an Intermediate level of Spanish as volunteer work will otherwise 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 Mexico. 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 local staff once in Mexico.

Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.

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!