Volunteer in Guatemala with Maximo Nivel - Best Rated Projects

Video and Photos

My turn
My turn
Laundry
Laundry
New friends
New friends
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Jf3
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Jf2
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About

Maximo Nivel offers volunteer abroad programs in and around the quaint, colonial city of Antigua, Guatemala, as well as on the Pacific coast. Maximo Nivel is a locally-based organization that partners with local projects to ensure maximum impact for residents of the community. You can choose to volunteer for as little as one week and as long as one year, with a new start every Monday. Commit to just one passionate project or try several during your time in Antigua. All program fees include airport pick-up, a welcome orientation at the institute, 24/7 in-country support, and much more. Be confident in knowing you’re supported from the minute you email or call in for information until you complete your program. We’re happy to answer any of your questions or concerns and can even connect you with past volunteers to get an insider’s perspective.

Highlights
  • New volunteer programs start every Monday year-round
  • All-inclusive—shared accommodations, meals, and many extras
  • Academic credit available
  • No Registration or processing fees
  • 24/7 in-country support

Travel Grants Available for a Limited Time!

Ready to work as an English teacher abroad? Register today for our award winning TEFL Certification in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Peru and apply for a special travel grant.

Popular Programs

Working with Kids  in Guatemala

Homelessness and poverty have left many children in Latin America without access to proper education and a loving environment. Maximo Nivel’s childcare projects aspire to change children’s lives by providing caring and nurturing volunteers to work, study, and play with them.

Teach English in Guatemala

Maximo Nivel’s teaching English projects serve underprivileged schools and communities—people who want to learn English, but who do not have the financial means to do so.

Sea Turtle Conservation in Guatemala

Sea turtle conservation programs begin with 2 days in San Jose, Costa Rica or Antigua, Guatemala. This is an important step to be sure you go through orientation and prepare for your project.

Construction projects in Guatemala

Maximo Nivel’s construction programs focus on community development. Construction projects may include building or repairing homes, adding classrooms to schools, or making structural improvements to clinics.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

96%
based on 153 reviews
  • Impact 9.2
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 31 - 45 of 153
Emma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Hogar Amor de Patricia

I chose to volunteer with the Childcare Program and it was my first time volunteering abroad. Although I only stayed one week, I made friends and gained an amazing experience. Maximo Nivel made me feel comfortable to approach them with any questions and made me feel informed and safe. I was placed in an orphanage named Hogar Amor de Patricia and it was one of the best experiences of my life. The children were sweet and the nannies were very sweet as well. I would tell anyone to definitely step out of their comfort zone and give volunteering abroad a try because I am sure they will fall in love with it as well.

Ale
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Voluntariado en Guatemala.

TRANSLATION:
In Antigua I had the opportunity to do two projects, with rescued dogs and with children with special needs. Very different projects but I am very satisfied with both. With the dogs, I had the opportunity to take them for a walk, pet them, clean their cages and play with them. A super fun experience! With the children I felt that I grew as a person since I could understand and play with them. I'm going to miss them, too! The whole experience of volunteering was very rewarding. I got to know the Guatemalan culture through the host family and being able to live with other volunteers.

ORIGINAL REVIEW:
En Antigua tuve la oportunidad de hacer dos proyectos, con perros rescatados y con niños con necesidades diferentes. Muy diferentes proyectos pero estoy muy satisfecha con los dos. Con los perros uve la oportunidad de sacarlos a pasear, acariciarlos, limpiar sus jaulas y jugar con ellos. Una experiencia super divertida! Con los niños sentí que crecí como persona ya que pude entender y así jugar con ellos. Los voy a extrañar demasiado! Toda la experiencia del voluntariado fue muy gratificante. Conocer la cultura de Guatemala por medio de la familia de acogida y poder convivir con otros voluntarios.

Lynsey
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

my experience

my overall experience with ivhq was extremely positive and fufilling. i feel like i made an impact on the lives of the children i worked with and grew from the experience. i would come back to guatemala again because of the experience i had with ivhq. i was able to learn about the culture and feel connected to everyone i worked with. the otther volunteer and i were able to donate 6 plants for the children to care for a grow long after our time with them.

Adan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

First Time Volunteering

I spent a week in Guatemala volunteering at Casa Aleluya and had an amazing time learning and growing. From the host family, to the staff at Maximo (Jacob, who was my guide thru the program), to the staff at Casa Aleluya, everyone helped to make this one of the best experiences of my life. I was nervous at first and worried as to how impactful I could be at the orphange, but thru past working journals of activities done with the kids by past volunteers and the fact that just giving your love and time to the children all makes it a wonderful process.

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Marc-Andre
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching English to local police in Antigua

I have been here for 3 weeks and it has been a very fun and cool experience. The staff from Maximo Nivel were all super nice and very helpful. I met a ton of travelers doing volunteering as well and made new friends. Also many cool thing to see around the city: Volcano, Lake, Ruins...

I taught English to local police. They were all very nice and eager to learn and very appreciative.

I really recommend the experience for anyone interested!!

Marc-André

What would you improve about this program?
The last week i was alone at my home stay and no internet. So the nights were a bit boring.
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Adelaide
5/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Positives and negatives - at this point I am fairly neutral

Maximo Nivel Guatemala, like anywhere else has many positive qualities, and some negative also. Anyone can admit that no where is perfect, so at this point, I will simply summarise the positives and negatives and say that I am of a neutral position.

I have travelled to 23 different countries and volunteered locally in Australia, and internationally in India, Bali, Vietnam, Cambodia and Guatemala to name a few. I have had almost exclusively positive experiences, some of the best times of my life have been volunteering overseas. But with Maximo Nivel, things were slightly different.

I am very willing to admit that the organisation has many good traits. They take the safety of their volunteers extremely seriously, which in areas such as South and Central America is imperative.

The accommodation was the best I have ever experienced in my volunteer tours. While it was basic (as one would expect when volunteering), it was comfortable, the food was good and I felt well looked after.

I volunteered in their healthcare project, and was placed in an orphanage for people with additional needs which was very well run, resourced and most satisfying.

In saying that, my positive experience was compromised when I was subjected to some pretty appalling discrimination on the back of my epilepsy at the face of their director of international programs.

I reported the incident at the time to the country manager who could not have been lovelier about it. However, the woman in question never so much as apologised to me for treating me in such a manner, making me think that she did not/does not believe she had done anything wrong. I was not the only person to have an issue with this woman’s attitude and aggression towards the volunteers, indicating a pattern of behaviour.

EDIT: My initial review of Maximo Nivel Guatemala was very negative, however I have since had some very positive correspondence with the country manager who apologized profusely and assured me that measures were being taken to ensure no future volunteers would be treated in the same manner that I was.

As I stated, Maximo Nivel Guatemala has some very positive traits. It is well organized, takes the safety of volunteers seriously, the programs are all highly valuable and well run, the accommodation is safe and comfortable. Most of the people working for the organization are deeply good and hardworking human beings.

While my experience was not excellent, I am willing to give it another chance, and hopefully I will be able to write a much more positive review in the future.

What would you improve about this program?
Some staff members need to undergo a serious attitude adjustment. I have been assured however that such modifications are now underway. I look forward to reviewing the progress.

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Deborah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Medical Volunteering in Guatemala

My time here in Guatemala has been amazing. Although I was only here for one week I have learned a lot throughout my time here. I enjoyed my time working at my placement in the clinic and got to experience how the medical field operates in Guatemala. The food is amazing and the staff is very supportive. I would highly recommend coming to Guatemala through IVHQ. You will make memories that last a lifetime.

Sandy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Antigua, Guatemala

Spent 2 weeks here as a medical volunteer, and it was an amazing experience. Everything from wonderful host family to the amount of support and resources provided. It´s very well organized and takes care to ensure that I could get to my volunteer site safely. Everyone at the clinic where I volunteered were very welcoming and accepting. I joined Maximo Nivel with hopes to participate in medical volunteer, learn Spanish, and just to have fun. And Maximo Nivel made it all happen!

What would you improve about this program?
I´ve had no negative experience with this program in my 2 weeks here :)
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Ashlee
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IVHQ Guatemala

The construction program in Antigua, Guatemala was life changing. I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing the culture through living in a dorm style home run by locals, working on building a meaningful extension, and spending time with other volunteers. This experience has truly been eye opening. The most enjoyable part of this trip was learning about and conversing with Freddy and Roberto. They are some of the nicest people Ive ever met, and they are the most humble.

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Laura
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A once in a lifetime experience

Prior to my time in Guatemala, I had traveled only to European countries and Caribbean resorts. This was my first experience in a third world country, but Maximo Nivel was excellent at acknowledging our surroundings and setting us up in a volunteer house, whose hosts provided housing, laundry, and delicious meals. The coordinates did a thorough job at orienting us on our first day, and were extremely helpful throughout our week. My friends and I opted for the construction division, and though we were exposed to dangerous tools, everyone ended up having a safe, impactful, and unique learning experience. Our project was to build an extention of a clinic, so that patients may have a room to wait to be seen in. Each morning, we would watch as the patients stood outside as they waited, a daily image that made our work all the more purposeful. The supervisors were fun and respectful, and there was little to no issue with the language barrier. Highly recommend.

Winnie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IVHQ Guatemala

I volunteered with Maximo Nivel through IVHQ and had an amazing experience. The construction project was challenging and encouraged us to really push ourselves. I also enjoyed staying at the volunteer house. Breakfast and dinner were provided, and it was interesting to hear the experience of other volunteers. I highly recommend for anyone looking to give back & learn valuable skills at the same time.

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Nada
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Family Guatemala experience

Our family of five took our first group service trip which far exceeded our expectations. We worked on the construction of a medical clinic with Fredy, who was an amazing leader! Our kids, 13,11, and 9 all were an integral part of the project. Fredy would assign them each jobs that suited their abilities. We were all eager to get to our job in the morning because we knew we were making a difference. Four hours/day was perfect because we were then able to explore antigua and the surrounding areas. Maximo Nivel helped facilitate our travels by offering ease of access to an excellent travel company, Outdoor Outfitters. We had a chance to hike Pacaya volcano, explore lake Atitlan on bike, kayak and hiking, visit the coffee farm and do a chocolate factory tour. Our host family was wonderful. We never felt unsafe or unsupported. We are looking forward to our next volunteer experience and hope that it can be as wonderful as this was!

What would you improve about this program?
Can't think of anything!
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Amber
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Coffee plantation

Overall, this was a fantastic experience. Working with local farmers and their families was inspiring and insightful, while also being fun. The families we worked with were incredibly friendly and were willing and open to answering all of our questions. It felt great to be able to help them in their day-to-day routines, as well as in their coffee businesses. I learned a lot about the coffee process from growing to selling, and how the local farmers are involved.

What would you improve about this program?
Give people the option to not have to stay with a family, or to at least not have to have all meals there (paid for). Our host was not that friendly and while having breakfast there was fine, I didn't see the point in having dinner there since it wasn't with the family. I have stayed with families in similar situations in similar countries, and this was at the bottom of my list of experiences for friendliness, cleanliness, and quality.
Morgan
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteer in Antigua

I have been in Antigua for 6 weeks now with Maximo Nivel. This has been an experience of a lifetime. Maximo helped me with literally any quesiton I had and made me feel comfortable in a new and foreign place. For my project, I was placed in Ciudad Vieja with medical and as a nursing student, I have learned so much in the clinic. I have learned how to do triage, give injections, and communicate with patients in Spanish. One of my greatest challenges was getting sick for over two weeks, but Maximo was so accomodating and helped bring in a doctor multiple times and set up tests for me as well. They do really care about each of their volunteers and will help with whatever we need. Overall, my experience with Maximo and their medical program was outstanding and I would recommend this program to anyone who was interested.

What would you improve about this program?
I think that for people staying over 3 weeks, there should be check ups for the volunteers every two weeks or so because I know some of the volunteers may be too nervous or scared to come to Maximo on their own with any complaints.
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Billy John
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

First best experience in Central America

If you ask me what I miss most about College, it was studying abroad. Specifically, study abroad in Guatemala. I have never been outside of the outside of the US and I have always wanted to travel to central and South America.

Initially, I wanted to go to Japan or one of the other major study abroad choices that our program offered year round. However they quickly filled and our program opened up three more choices: Guatemala, Morocco, and Portugal.

I decided on Guatemala considering my passion for wanting to learn more about the history and culture of Central and South America.

I came with so many preconceived ideas and was on my toes during the beginning of the trip. However, that all quickly changed after attending the Maximo Nivel Orientation. The staff there made us feel welcome and gave us a thorough rundown of the city. Wally (our Maximo volunteer lead) and his colleagues provided guidance to our volunteer locations and ensured us that if we ever needed anything they would be there- and they were.

I specifically volunteered with special needs children so that I could utilize my background skills and knowledge as a Kinesiology: Pre-PT major. The location was about 45 minutes away via chicken bus (fairly cheap fare) and the ride was exhilarating- roads filled with potholes and at times, the chicken buses were filled over capacity.

The kids at "Los Gozoso" orphanage were so fun to work with. At first, the staff and children were hesitant to open up, but after observing that we were really there to help, they eventually warmed up to my friend and me. We usually began our day helping the children with arts and crafts activities and then got to play soccer before lunch. I was able to perform stretches on a child who was spastic and work with a sweet autistic child.

I think what made my experience unique is that it allowed me to positively alter my views in life. After leaving the airport and driving to Antigua, Guatemala, you get to observe the busy city as well as the rural areas and see what life is like. I had several instances where I was able to interact with the people of Guatemala despite the language barrier. This is especially true in the orphanage where my little knowledge of Spanish was just enough to help me communicate with the teachers. When I played soccer with the kids, I noticed that the ones who could walk and run included their friends who were differently-abled. With what little these kids had, they utilized to the fullest. I truly enjoyed making them feel loved and leaving them with smiles on their faces.

Overall, I wouldn't trade my experience volunteering in Guatemala for anything. Wally and his staff made our experience comfortable and memorable. This was totally out of my comfort zone but I conquered and enjoyed it. I encourage you all looking to volunteer abroad to do the same! To the people of Guatemala, I will see you soon!

What would you improve about this program?
N/A.