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If you're seeking the perfect blend of giving back, cultural immersion, and adventure without breaking the bank, the Guatemala program is your ideal choice!
Eco-Agriculture Conservation Volunteer Project in Guatemala

Eco-Agriculture Conservation Volunteer Project in Guatemala

Purpose
Promote sustainable farming practices
Start dates
Programs start every Monday
Duration
Choose from 1-24 weeks
Volunteer hours
Up to 5 hours a day
Age
Volunteers aged 16+ and families
Accommodation
Homestay or volunteer house
Program fees
From $465 for 1 week
What's included
Find out here
Apply for free
'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.

This program is ideal for:

Active volunteers who enjoy being outdoors and getting their hands dirty. You’ll be working closely with farming families so there is no need for prior experience in coffee or nut production.

Project details

Ready to be an Eco-Agriculture volunteer in Guatemala? International Volunteer HQ’s Eco-Agriculture project gives volunteers the unique experience of working on a coffee plantation or macadamia nut farm, or eco-farm in the stunning Guatemalan highlands. Volunteers will help local farmers with their operations which are designed with sustainability, economic development and the environment in mind.

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

Guatemala is a star of the coffee world, producing beans and brews that are globally recognized for their taste and organic status. IVHQ’s Eco-Agriculture project gives volunteers the rare opportunity to contribute to this leading industry while spending time immersed in the local culture.

The coffee co-operative that volunteers work with focuses on economic development and sustainable agriculture. Farmers work their own land, producing organic coffee that is shade grown, hand processed and sun dried. The coffee harvesting season is from December until early March, but there is plenty of work to do all year round.

As an Eco-Agriculture volunteer on a coffee farm tasks will vary depending on the time of year, but can include:

  • Coffee picking
  • Harvesting coffee beans
  • Weeding
  • Planting shade trees
  • Packaging the final product
  • Community outreach
  • Environmental restoration efforts

The local organization planting macadamia trees seeks to address climate change, assist communities with self-sustaining agriculture and educate the public about the environment. By planting trees, they’re able to introduce macadamia seedlings to communities as an alternative to slash and burn agriculture.

When you volunteer on a macadamia nut farm you may help with:

  • Nut picking
  • Weeding
  • Making nuts into various items that can be sold on the national and international market.

The eco-farm incorporates Mayan techniques and beliefs to produce high-quality crops, such as farming in spiral figures and applying lunar cycles to farming. The farm also practices intercropping, which takes care of growing more than one kind of crop simultaneously on the same piece of land, allowing plants to access a wide variety of nutrients. Volunteers will also take care of farm animals and rescued animals. Farm animals include ducks, hens, turkeys, and horses.

Volunteers at the eco-farm will assist with:

  • Harvesting crops
  • Picking and storing seeds
  • Watering crops
  • Separating damaged crops
  • Weeding
  • Clearing land
  • Doing general maintenance work
  • Cleaning facilities for farm animals
  • Feeding farm animals

Please let us know if you have a preference for one of these two placements. We will try to accommodate your request, but ultimately volunteers are placed where their help is most needed.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #13: Climate Action

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #13: Climate Action

Climate change affects everyone, everywhere. 2010 - 2020 was the warmest decade ever recorded and Carbon Dioxide levels have risen to an all-time high. In order to keep global temperatures below the Paris Agreement’s 2 degree Celsius limit, we must take action to educate communities, conserve nature and promote sustainable solutions.

Why do Eco-Agriculture Conservation volunteering in Guatemala with IVHQ?

When you volunteer on coffee or macadamia nut farms in Guatemala you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Helping farmers run sustainable operations
  • Learning about the environment and climate change
  • Practicing your Spanish
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining farming experience
  • Immersing yourself in Guatemalan culture
  • Discovering the spectacular vistas of the Guatemalan highlands

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program
  • Volunteers aged 16 or 17 on their program start date are required to provide IVHQ with parental consent in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional document to the local team.
  • 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.
Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

Apply for free

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'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.

What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

JC
Julianna Chancey
28 May 2024

I think the biggest things I gained from this experience was learning Spanish, being emerged into a new culture, and helping people in a way I've never before. I would say stay open to any opportunities that come your way.

...
SE
Sohan Emani
19 Apr 2024

It has been a great experience to understand the type of organic farming and conservation that is followed in Guatemala while actively volunteering. I helped to dig the canal needed for the farm, built a canopy so the young children could play during the hot summer, and helped to weed the spiral plantation.

...
AD
Anneliese Delgado-Cate
14 Feb 2024

There are always a million reasons not to go abroad – finances, time restraints, the unknown. But I would encourage anyone who is considering it to take the plunge and just say “yes.” Not only do I feel like I made a positive impact volunteering on an eco-farm in Guatemala, I also improved my Spanish, made new friends, played various sports in the evenings and experienced the rejuvenating tranquility that comes with traveling to a new part of the world.

...
BF
Brienna Fletcher
09 Sep 2022

Guatemala was my second volunteer trip with IVHQ. It truly was a life changing experience. The locals are so friendly and accommodating. I met so many amazing people and did things that I had always dreamed of doing. Hiking a volcano being one of those things. Anyone who is looking for a city to volunteer in where you immediately feel at home, I highly recommend Antigua, Guatemala.

...
JM
Jennifer Mathers
13 Apr 2021

I recently got back from my first IVHQ volunteer program in Guatemala. I spent a week working side-by-side with three different coffee farmers on various aspects of the production process. From weeding and removing rotted beans in the field to packaging the final product, I experienced first-hand the amount of work that goes into coffee production. When I wasn’t volunteering, I enjoyed exploring the beautiful city of Antigua both with other volunteers and on my own. It’s truly a gem with perfect weather, great restaurants and amazing surrounding scenery. Plus, the locals are very welcoming and I never felt unsafe. It was a great experience and one that I’m so glad I just went for, even in COVID times. I’d encourage anyone, regardless of age, to consider booking a spot in a program. You’ll walk away with a greater understanding of a new culture, appreciation for the day-to-day work of others, fond memories and new friends.

...
HC
Heather Carter
29 Jan 2021

Guatemala will suck you in in minutes, Antigua will charm you, your host family will love you, and your life will change, if you let it. I had the absolute best two weeks volunteering in Antigua, and some of the friendships I made honestly felt like I was there forever. I felt at home at my host family's house, and made great connections with the coffee farmers we worked with each day. I couldn't have appreciated my time with the coffee farmers more - they opened my eyes to the world of coffee, and also the injustice and lack of coordination there is between the coffee suppliers and coffee consumers around the world. My Spanish skyrocketed between the classes I was taking in the afternoons, volunteering in the morning, and conversing with my host family in the evening. An enriching experience, in so many sense of the word!

...

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

Location

Volunteer Abroad in Guatemala with IVHQ

Location

When you walk the cobblestone streets of Antigua it is easy to see why it has been made a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Baroque architecture, Spanish colonial churches and brightly painted buildings can be admired on nearly every corner. The urban environment speaks to the rich history of the city which dates back to the 1500s and includes a number of destructive earthquakes which have seen it repaired and rebuilt over a long period of time.

IVHQ’s Guatemala program is based in Antigua with placements in the city and surrounding areas. At these placements you’re likely to see the struggle faced by many Guatemalans living with limited resources. Despite the beauty of the place and its busy tourism industry, Guatemala is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Its citizens can benefit greatly from the support volunteers can give local initiatives which strive to improve their lives.

Antigua is located approximately 30 minutes from Guatemala City.

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.

Volunteer schedule example

Weekdays - Your exact schedule will depend on your placement, but a typical day might look like this:

7:00 AM Breakfast with your host family and travel to the project site.
8:30 AM Volunter work begins.
12:00 PM Volunteer work ends and volunteers return to Antigua.
6:00 PM Dinner at your homestay.

Weekends

During the weekends, volunteers have spare time and usually just relax or take the opportunity to explore Antigua and other parts of Guatemala. Hop on a chicken bus and discover the beautiful architecture and sights of the charming city of Antigua, or jump on an ATV and go exploring at a coffee plantation, on a volcano or through small countryside villages. You’ll also find a great selection of markets selling everything from fruit and vegetables to locally-made handcrafts and cooking classes that can teach you how to make Guatemala’s tasty national stew - Pepian.

Long weekends can be taken to travel further afield to destinations, such as Tikal, Belize, Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras.

Sunday is a religious day of rest and many shops and restaurants are closed. Most Guatemalans devote the day to spending time with their family. If you wish, you can accompany your host family to their local church, as a Latin American church service is a unique and special experience for many volunteers.

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers who are under the age of 27 are accommodated alongside other volunteers in a large, dormitory style volunteer house, and those over the age of 27 are accommodated in smaller local homestays. If you are traveling as a family, the local team will place you in a home-stay.

Living is comfortable with electricity, running water and western bathrooms. Low pressure showers should be expected and the water is not always heated. You will need to bring your own towel and toiletries, but bed linen is provided.

Bedrooms have single beds and bunk beds with bedding provided. You can expect to share a room with 2 - 6 other volunteers of the same gender. Private room upgrades are available in Antigua and cost $62 per person, per week.

WiFi is available at the volunteer houses and homestays. However, the connection may not be as reliable as what you are used to at home. You will also have access to computers and WiFi at the local team’s office in Antigua.

Please note, volunteers under the age of 18 who are traveling solo will be accommodated separately from those over the age of 18, in a homestay. If there are other volunteers under the age of 18 participating at the same time, the local team will do their best to ensure they are accommodated together.

Meals

Volunteers are provided breakfast and dinner at their accommodation. Breakfast will be bread or tortillas, spreads, fruit and eggs with tea or coffee. Dinner commonly consists of meat, beans, starches and vegetables.

Lunches are not provided to Antigua-based volunteers as they are usually away from their accommodation around midday. We recommend budgeting between $3 and $5 per day to buy lunch at local restaurants recommended by staff.

Filtered water will be available at the accommodation, and bottled water is also easy to purchase and inexpensive throughout Guatemala.

When you apply for the program, please be sure to notify us of any special dietary requirements so we can make arrangements for you.

Pricing

  • USD

Spots are limited. For a Registration Fee of just US$329 (approximately $329) 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.

Duration
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 $465 Equivalent to $66/day
2 weeks $820 Equivalent to $59/day
3 weeks $1,107 Equivalent to $53/day
4 weeks $1,378 Equivalent to $49/day
5 weeks $1,668 Equivalent to $48/day
6 weeks $1,958 Equivalent to $47/day
8 weeks $2,538 Equivalent to $45/day
10 weeks $3,118 Equivalent to $45/day
12 weeks $3,698 Equivalent to $44/day
16 weeks $4,858 Equivalent to $43/day
20 weeks $6,018 Equivalent to $43/day
24 weeks $7,178 Equivalent to $43/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately $329) 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 Guatemala generally find US$80 - US$100 per week to be sufficient for expenses. Please note this budget is for general expenses and does not include money you will need for any weekend activities you plan to do.
  • 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
  • Discounts on travel and tour add-ons
  • 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 Guatemala

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

Coffee Farm Tour (Half Day)
Coffee Farm Tour (Half Day)

Step into the world of coffee excellence in the lush highlands of Guatemala

$79
Mini Adventure (6 days, 7 nights)
Mini Adventure (6 days, 7 nights)

See all of Guatemala’s major hot spots on this 1-week Mini Adventure tour.

$1110
Volcano Tour (Half day)
Volcano Tour (Half day)

Trek up Pacaya Volcano, a fully active volcano and national park. Enjoy breathtaking views and learn about Guatemala’s natural history.

$49

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, Mayan Cultural Immersion project, Eco-Agriculture project or Holiday Experience project due to the remoteness of these project locations. Volunteers on these projects can arrange lessons before or after their projects if they wish to stay longer in Antigua.

  • 2-hour Small Group Classes: from $65 per week
  • 1-hour Private Classes: from $80 per week
  • 2-hour Private Classes: from $150 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

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 Guatemala City
Population 15.08 million
Languages Spanish
Currency Guatemalan Quetzal (GTQ)
Time zone UTC−06:00

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.

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