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114,282 volunteers since 2007

Beach & Turtle Conservation Volunteer Program in Guatemala

Apply now. The next available start date for this project is Jan 3, 2022

Guatemala is home to four different sea turtle species, two of which are considered critically endangered. Volunteers are able to provide highly valued assistance in preserving the natural environment and helping turtles to flourish so their numbers can grow.

Your duties will involve hands-on work as part of a government organisation targeting 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:

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.

This project is well suited to volunteers who are prepared to work hard and get dirty. The project is located in a rural area and you can expect to stay in a dormitory style hostel.

Beach and Turtle Conservation volunteer in Guatemala with IVHQ

This project is well suited to volunteers who are prepared to work hard and get dirty. The project is located in a rural area and you can expect to stay in a dormitory style hostel.

Please note the Beach & Sea Turtle Conservation project requires participation for a minimum of two weeks and has an extra cost of US$75 (approximately £55) per week for the supervision, materials and logistics involved. This amount will be included in the Program Fee quoted to you by IVHQ when you apply.

Volunteers on this project must be at least 18 years old, unless volunteering with a friend or family member who is 18 or older.

Apply now
Apply now
Project Highlights
What you need to know
  • Affordable fees from £246 for 1 week
  • Help to boost the numbers of critically endangered sea turtles

  • Assist a government organisation with a range of seasonal activities

  • Suitable for fit volunteers who enjoy hands-on, physical work

  • Additional US$75 (approximately £55) surcharge for additional supervision, materials and logistics

  • Based rurally, with accommodation in a dormitory-style hostel.

  • Minimum duration requirement of 2 weeks

  • Volunteering for up to 6 hours per day

Destination Highlights
Guatemala at a glance
  • Based in the city of Antigua, 30 minutes from Guatemala City

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

  • Accommodation in a volunteer house or local homestay

  • Between 30 and 70 volunteers start in Guatemala each month

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.

The IVHQ Guatemala volunteer program has volunteer placements located in the colonial city of Antigua and in the surrounding towns and villages. Antigua is located approximately 30 minutes out of Guatemala City. Turtle Conservation volunteers are based in a coastal town on the Pacific Coast, and Eco-Agriculture Conservation volunteers are based in the Guatemala Highlands, just 30 minutes from Antigua.

Guatemala Volunteer Project Locations:

  • Childcare (Antigua)
  • Medical (Antigua)
  • Teaching English (Antigua)
  • Beach & Turtle Conservation (Pacific Coast)
  • Construction and Rennovation (Antigua)
  • Eco-Agriculture Conservation (30 minutes from Antigua)
  • Mayan Cultural Immersion (Rural Antigua)
  • Animal Care (Antigua)
  • Working with Elderly (Antigua)
  • Special Needs Care (Antigua)
  • Spanish Service Learning (Antigua)
  • Holiday Experience (Antigua)

Volunteers are required to fly into La Aurora International Airport, which is a 11 hour flight from most major airports in Britain.

Guatemala Volunteer programs begin every Monday. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks.

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. British travellers do not require a visa to enter Guatelama for a duration of 90 days. Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee. We recommend that volunteers under the age of 18 travel internationally with a notarised 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 travelling 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 – Introduction to Guatemala, Guatemalan Customs, Language Training Details, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities in Guatemala, 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 your orientation is complete, you will be transported to your home-stay or volunteer house and introduced to the relevant hosts. Volunteers on the Turtle Conservation project will be transported to their conservation site on the first Monday of their program.

Volunteers in the Turtle Conservation Project will be transported to their conservation site on the first Monday of their program.

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: Volunteers will have a morning or afternoon shift, which will last around 2 to 4 hours. A typical afternoon schedule is as follows:

12.00 PM - Lunch at a local restaurant

1.00 PM - Volunteer leaves home and travels to the project. The volunteer joins with the local staff. You will be given a duty roster and a plan for your work. Work and hours is dependent on the project and location that the volunteer is participating on.

4.00 PM - Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to travel home, go sight seeing or do some shopping.

7.00 PM - Dinner with the host family.

Please note, this schedule can vary as projects take place in either the morning, afternoon or evening. If a volunteer is taking Spanish language lessons, he/she will usually volunteer for half the day and spend the other half (3 to 4) hours taking Spanish language lessons.

Volunteers are accommodated alongside other volunteers in either a homestay with a local family or a dormitory-style volunteer house. Living is comfortable in both the volunteer house and home-stays and all accommodation has electricity, running water and western bathrooms. Low pressure showers should be expected and the water is not always heated. Bedrooms are comprised of single beds and bunk beds with bedding provided. You can expect to share a room with two to six other volunteers of the same gender, but in some home-stays volunteers will have their own rooms.

The volunteer house does not have WiFi, however it is available in some of the home-stays. You will also have access to computers and WiFi at the local team’s office in Antigua.

Volunteers are provided breakfast and dinner at their accommodation. Breakfast typically consists of bread or tortillas, spreads, fruit and eggs accompanied with tea or coffee. Dinner commonly consists of meat, beans, starches and vegetables. Lunches are not provided to Antigua-based volunteers as they are typically away from their accommodation mid-day. We recommend budgeting between £2 and £3 per day to purchase lunch at local restaurants recommended by the local staff. When you apply for the program, please be sure to notify us of any special dietary requirements so we can make arrangements for you. Tap water in Guatemala is not potable and drinking water is not provided for you in your accommodation, however bottled water is easy to purchase and inexpensive throughout Guatemala. Tap water can be used for showers and brushing your teeth.

“I certainly felt I was making a difference and helping the nurses and doctors out with such a large patient load in one clinic and with an understaffed problem in the other. My favourite moment was after washing a little girl’s feet and hands as a part of the healthy kids program at the clinic, she jumped up gave me a huge hug and said she loved me. It was very touching. It was an excellent learning experience and very rewarding.” - Leah Pagnozzi (Medical Volunteer in Guatemala)

Read more reviews from IVHQ volunteers in Guatemala here


Duration Program Fee
1 week $330 £246
2 weeks $570 £425
3 weeks $775 £578
4 weeks $975 £727
5 weeks $1,145 £854
6 weeks $1,315 £981
8 weeks $1,655 £1,235
10 weeks $1,995 £1,489
12 weeks $2,335 £1,742
16 weeks $3,015 £2,250
20 weeks $3,695 £2,757
24 weeks $4,375 £3,265
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee from US$299 (approximately £223) 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 GBP.
  • The Medical, Turtle Conservation, Construction, Eco-Agriculture Conservation and Mayan Cultural Immersion projects also have an extra cost of US$75 per week for supervision, materials and the logistics involved in these projects. The Holiday Experience project also has an extra cost of US$75 per week for supervision, materials and logistics involved in the 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 Guatemala generally find US$65 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

Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Guatemala program, however on certain projects, such as Teaching and Healthcare, 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.

  • 1-hour Private Classes: from US$60 per week
  • 2-hour Private Classes: from US$120 per week
  • 2-hour Small Group Classes: from US$55 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.

During the weekends, volunteers have spare time and usually just relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of Antigua and other areas in Guatemala. 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 most places (stores, restaurants) are closed on Sundays, as 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 unique and special experience for many volunteers.

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

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 (Köppen Cwb) 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.

Volunteers who are under 18 years old will be required to provide IVHQ with parental consent and two character reference letters in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team. Please note that Beach & Turtle Conservation, Medical and Mayan Cultural Immersion projects are not available for independent volunteers under the age of 18 in Guatemala, so they will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate on these projects. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ once registered for the program.

Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Guatemala volunteer program, however on certain projects, such as Teaching English and Medical, volunteer work will be restricted with limited Spanish language ability. We recommend that volunteers take advantage of the very affordable language lessons offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers by our local partner in Guatemala. Past volunteers feel that taking these lessons helped 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 Guatemala.

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!