Local Volunteer Projects in Guatemala

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About

Maximo Nivel provides great volunteer programs in Antigua, Guatemala. Maximo is a locally-based organization and you work directly with local projects, get involved, and make an impact!

University credit is available for our service learning programs from our official School of Record: California State University-Monterey Bay

Volunteer placements include:

Questions & Answers

Reviews

96%
based on 150 reviews
  • Impact 9.2
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 46 - 60 of 150
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Alora
10/10

IVHQ Guatemala

I absolutely loved my time in Guatemala! The volunteering was great and so much fun. The staff at Maximo were very helpful with any questions or concerns. I volunteered in child care and it was so wonderful contributing to these little kids lives. Although we couldn't speak to them it was lots of fun playing with and helping the kids. They love anyone willing to give them attention. Outside of the volunteering aspect, Antigua is beautiful and there is so much to do in the surrounding areas. (The staff at Maximo can help arrange these extra excursions). I made so many wonderful friends whilst in Guatemala and it was truly an unforgettable experience. I would recommend anyone going here who is looking for some adventure and also some sunshine!

Yes, I recommend
George
10/10

Guarderia San Lucas Childcare Program - Maximo Nivel

Throughout my journey in Guatemala, volunteering with the Pre-school, was by far my favorite, and absolutely, most humbling part of my trip. The Guarderia San Lucas Pre-school is a program that is managed by the Obras Sociales de la Esposa de Alcalde, the local municipality, and is designed for working families, or single/divorced mothers. It is set up in 3 age groups, kids aging from - at least when I was there - 2 months to 6 years old. Each kid acquires a unique personality - some more shy or extroverted than others - all hilariously curious. Yet with time, each kid will open up to you.

Every day, I tried to jump around in every stage group, getting involved with the daily activities, and helping the teachers or cook when necessary, there is always something to do (the staff will love you if you wash/polish the dishes too). The teachers here were some of the strongest and most patient women I've ever met, and they will do whatever they can to make you feel comfortable. Hygiene and nutrition are two huge areas of interests with the kids. One volunteer I worked with made a huge tooth-model, to demonstrate how to brush your teeth properly. Another time, I brought in my guitar and played for the kids until their attention wondered elsewhere! Anyway, if you are lucky enough to get involved with this program, just remember, always keep a big smile on your face, the kids will love it.

How can this program be improved?
Nothing I can think of.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Carolina
10/10

Construction with Freddy

It was an amazing experience. I learned so much and everything was really organized.
The host family it was really good, and food it was amazing too.

In the construction, I learned so much and it was really good for my profission because I'm an Architech. Now, I know how to do walls in Guatemala, because everything is so different from my Country.
Freddy was the best teacher ever!

I want to do again probably in Peru. Thank you so much for all.

Carolina

Yes, I recommend
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Margot
9/10

Caring Doctor and Fabulous Animal Care

My daughter and I had an amazing experience working through Maximo Nivel at Vet Pro in Guatemala. We were thrilled with the opportunity to help socialize animals and couldn't have been placed in a better spot. Dr. "JP" has an enormous heart and tried to tailor our visit so not only could we be of assistance, but so that it could be a learning experience for us as well.

By working alongside JP and his team, we were able to understand the need for animal care in Guatemala, the limited resources available and the importance of animal rescue and adoption. The caring JP showed us and the animals at Vet Pro will forever make an impact. My daughter has already started a Go Fund Me campaign that we hope will raise funds for equipment that Vet Pro needs and give us yet another reason to go back and visit.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Andrew
10/10

Volunteer Experience

Sitting here, I can not think of what to write for this review as there has been so much that I have experienced.
From the time my family and I first exited the airport, Maximo Nivel was there ready with their yellow smiley face flag. Through them, we were able to volunteer with our program, and explore Guatemala.
My family and I volunteered with Antigua Exotica. It is a wildlife refuge for reptiles and amphibians that were rescued from illegal ownership. The man in charge, Danny, had dedicated his life to this area and works alongside the police, identifying animals in raids and arrests and keeping them alive for evidence. If it were not for Danny, these animals would most likely be killed.
The refuge mostly holds many species of snakes, both non-venomous and venomous. Rattlesnakes, constrictors, and even an anaconda share space in Antigua Exotica.
On our first day, Andrea, our program manager, and Jacob, another Maximo Nivel member, accompanied us to our destination. We took the chicken bus by the park near where we were staying and the ride was only about 10 minutes. Once arrived, we were introduced to Danny, Oscar, and David. Andrea showed us around, her knowledge of the place not lacking as she told us about every reptile.
On the second day, we cleaned out two snake cages. While cleaning, two of us were able to handle the snakes and it was amazing. Seeing these snakes up close made them so majestic and my admiration for them increased.
Thursday, my family and I went with Danny to an extension of his refuge about 2 and 1/2 hours away. Here lived Sergio and his family who lived and took care of the day to day business. Within the 1 acre property lay turtles, iguanas, and 50 alligators and crocodiles.(all rescued) There is also an orchard filled with coconut trees(we got to try coconut and they were amazing), dragonfruits and more. At this extension, the elevation is only about 3000 feet, compared to Antigua's 5000, and we sure felt it. At the peak of the afternoon, it had to be at least 95 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity was insane. But we cooled down at lunch with homemade lemonade. In addition, Sergio's wife made this delicious meat stew and man it was good!
While in Guatemala, we went on two tours. One to Iximchu, and one to a coffee plantation. Both were fabulous and I throughly enjoyed the trip. Looking out the window of the shuttle, I realized how lucky I was really was. Seeing Guatemala outside of the cities was quite life changing.
Visiting Guatemala and volunteering through Maximo Nivel changed my perspective on things and I hope to return one day. I truly admired what Danny is doing and his dedication to conservation. I wish him luck in the future.

-Andrew

Yes, I recommend
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Anon
10/10

Childcare in Santa Maria de Jesus, Guatemala

Although this was not my first experience in volunteering abroad, it is definitely one that will stay with me.

Volunteers stay in Antigua, a quaint little town with cobbled roads and a backdrop of volcanoes. There is plenty to see in this tourist area, and a quite active nightlife, for those who are interested.

Wally, from Maximo Nivel, accompanied us to our project on the first day. We caught a mini-bus from the market in Antigua, and this took us to the village of Santa Maria de Jesus, about 20 minutes away. Wally advised us to enjoy the experience, try our best to benefit the community, but also to keep our eyes open and learn. He gave us some background about the community - although the area is quite poor, the daycare is state-funded. However, after children are too old for the daycare, the families have the options to send them either to private school or to a state-funded school. Paying for private schools is generally out of the question and, because most families have around 15 children, even paying for school supplies to send them to public school is too expensive. A lot of children, once they are 5 or 6, will therefore have no further education and will work with their fathers on the farms or their mothers selling things in the markets. I saw a very young girl carrying a baby in a sling on her back. I presumed that this young girl was left to care for her brother while their parents were working. After Wally told me that a lot of the girls have children when they are as young as 12 or 13, I realised that the baby on this girl's back might not have been her brother.

Starting work in the nursery, I soon realised how warm and loving the children (and staff) are. On my first day there, the children were coming and hugging me and trying to climb on me and the other volunteers. They had very little reservation in playing with these three complete strangers who barely knew any Spanish. For my first few days, I tried hard to communicate in my broken Spanish with the children. However, I soon realised that it is not so much the words you are saying that are important. The children are very quick to respond to your tone and actions. Not knowing Spanish is not a particularly large barrier to having a great time at the daycare.

I loved being at the daycare and, hearing about other volunteers' experiences at other projects, I strongly suspect that mine was the best. If you are lucky enough to get a placement here, you will probably end up wanting to stay longer.

Yes, I recommend
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Adelaide
10/10

Working with Maximo Nivel in La Antigua, Guatemala

Working with Maximo Nivel in La Antigua, Guatemala was the experience of a lifetime. I am a nursing student with Emergency Department experience and worked in one of the local free clinics with a fellow nursing student. The clinic provided services from vaccines to family planning to emergency triage and as a volunteer we were able to be a part of every aspect of the clinic. Our transportation to the clinic was an experience in its self as we used the ¨Chicken¨buses to get to the town we were working at.
Our home-stay with a local was just another plus for our trip because at any one time we had people from France, Belgium, Germany, United States and more sitting at the dinner table and sharing their experiences with us.
There really is not anything I can say about the local culture that will do it justice, so you have to come for yourself!
Altogether my experience was a good one, Maximo Nivel took care of everything and made me very comfortable during my stay. I would definitely do this program again!

How can this program be improved?
Possibly the addition of free transportation back to the airport.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Jay
10/10

Unbelievable 1st Abroad Volunteer - Antigua Kids Teach Eng

Doing a volunteer project abroad is something I've always wanted to do, but just hadn't found the time or opportunity to do. I took advantage of vacation time to get to check off an item off of my life to-do list, and that's what led me to discovering my volunteer project in Antigua. My experience was life-changing across many fronts: from the people of Guatemala to the amazing kids that made me smile every single minute I was with them. I can't emphasize enough how seamless everything went, and highly recommend Maximo Novel for anyone looking to volunteer abroad in Latin America.

I signed up for Teaching English for kids in Antigua and did this through International Volunteer Headquarters from a friends recommendation, and this project was locally supported by the Maximo Nivel Antigua team. My project itself was for 2 weeks, and worked with one other volunteer for grads 2-5 at a local public school. My project was surreal for me, I got to spend 5 hours a day with 150+ kids that are the kindest, humblest, and appreciative kids I'll ever meet in my life. It was quite a bit of daily work and you should understand that your project has job expectations of you, but also it's charitable work that so gratifying that it flies by too quickly. I cherished every minute at my project, and it has forever changed my outlook on life in a positive way.

Maximo Nivel did an excellent job with making the most of my Guatemala experience. For my project itself, Maximo did a great job consolidating a useful amount of training in a 3 hour period on my first day that helped set me up for the 2 weeks with what to expect at the school. Maximo did an excellent job with giving tools and ideas for me to develop lesson plans for the students, and also were always available for me if there was any issues. One perfect example, my co-volunteer and I were talking to the school principal about the next day's schedule, and we had a difficult time understanding what she was asking from us. It was an awkward situation, and Maximo was rapidly available to speak to her, and completely resolve the mis-communications. I personally was highly impressed with Maximo's team, they seemed very well trained and experienced with supporting volunteers.

Outside of the project, there was a decent amount of time to get to explore around Antigua and Guatemala and Maximo did a great job providing resources and recommendations to cater to whatever your interests are. For my trip, I did an overnight hike to Mt. Acatenanago, which was a must-do if you're into overnight strenuous hikes. The tour service ran under Maximo offered a great price, and also is cool in that there's other volunteers you'll likely be doing tours with and get to meet. Additionally for my trip, I stayed at a host family house that was facilitated by Maximo and covered breakfast/dinners. Overall, my housing was okay, there was a couple of communication issues between the host/maximo/myself but once again their staff was perfect with supporting me and resolving any issues I had.

It's been about 1.5 months since my project ended, and I can't believe how much I miss Guatemala. It's changed me and I still haven't really been able to adjust to being back in San Francisco. I had been anticipating my trip for a while, and I'm just shocked with how much my experience went above and beyond my expectations. From the people I got to meet that made me feel so comfortable, to the wild adventures I got to dive into. Oh and those kids, just wow. I strive to carry their humble and gratuitous nature with me every day. I hope I get to go back to Antigua soon and see all of the people that touched me and changed my life.

Yes, I recommend
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Madeline
9/10

Wonderful and Educational Experience

Working with De La Gente coffee farmers was great! It was an incredible experience to get to meet and work along side the families who make the coffee. By interacting with the families, we were able to hear their stories and get a better appreciation for the hard work they go through to support their families. It's also surprising and touching to hear how much they love what they do. It was neat to see the whole process - from the bean picking, to the roasting, to the bagging. I definitely think more about where my coffee comes from now that I'm back in the States and try to make more of an effort to support fair trade coffee. The staff at Maximo Nivel set everything up for us with De La Gente and made our whole trip extremely stress-free!

Yes, I recommend
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Danielle
10/10

Medical Mission Trip to Guatemala

We just completed a two week medical campaign around Guatemala through Maximo and it was an absolutely wonderful experience. Jorge was our group leader and when we arrived to orientation he said that he had spent over 2 months preparing for our mission trip and it was clear that he had dedicated a lot of time and effort for our campaign throughout the entire trip. We did pop-up clinics nearly every day which was great because we got to see different sides of Guatemala and the varying cultures of communities surrounding Antigua. We also spent some time at a couple daycares and a nursery home which were a great addition to the other areas we visited. Our group was only 6 people but it was the perfect size for this project and we all got a lot of one-on-one patient contact. Prior to coming here only one member of our group had taken Spanish so in my opinion our greatest challenge was the language barrier but, now sitting here writing this review, I cannot believe how much medical and conversational Spanish we have picked up and learned in our own time. Aside from our time at the medical campaign we went to visit the Iximche ruins, a local coffee farm, hiked Pacaya, went zip-lining, and went to Lake Atitlan and Chichicastenago. It was SO easy to plan this trip with Maximo and they were so helpful and willing to let us plan exactly the trip we were looking for. They even helped us to arrange private transportation and our driver Venissio made us feel very safe and he was a fun addition to our group! Overall this trip was even more than we hoped it would be and it is an experience we will look back upon having learned a lot about practicing medicine, patient care, Guatemalan culture, and each other. I hope I am so fortunate to have another experience like this is in my lifetime. THANK YOU MAXIMO!

Yes, I recommend
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Lauren
10/10

Medical Mission Trip

I went to Antigua, Guatemala through Maximo Nivel and to say this trip was amazing is an understatement to how awesome my experience here was. I came to Guatemala to help provide healthcare to those who could not afford it or had no access to it. Maximo makes planning your trip so easy. Maximo, especially the medical mission trip coordinator Jorge, did an amazing job at coordinating different clinic opportunities for us to really experience the culture of Guatemala. From the doctors to our driver everyone was so welcoming and made me feel like I never left home. I learned so much about medicine here and these are skills that I will definitely carry with me in my future career. Being exposed to how healthcare works in another country is such a huge eye opener and believe it is an experience everyone should have if they are going into this field. We got to treat patients of all ages, backgrounds and cultures. We were ablñe to hand out vitamins, medications, toothbrushes and toothpaste and perform physical exams for those who came to our clinics. Every town we went to was so welcoming and were so appreciative for being able to provide them with care they normally do not have easy access to. I cannot express how amazing that feeling is to have a Mayor of a town thank you for being able to provide healthcare to their town that is min poverty. It is an amazing feeling to be able to help others in this way and I wish I could have given back more. In addition to planning an amazing project for you to do your volunteer work, Maximo also gives you the opportunity to see the country and do various activities from climbing volcanoes to zip lining. I cannot thank Maximo enough for giving me this opportunity and memories that I will remember for a life time! I highly recommend planning a trip to Guatemala through Maximo!

Yes, I recommend
Nick
10/10

Guatemala Mission Trip

It was an absolute priviledge to work with my colleagues and the medical staff through Maximo Nivel in Guatemala. I had an incredible experience each day as we met and treated a variety of different people in Antigua and the surrounding areas. The medical professionals were able to cultivate not only a fun environment for me, but also an incredible learning experience that I can utilitze in my future career.

Additionally, it was humbling for me to gain an appreciation for a culture outside of what I am familiar with. Having never been outside the United States, I did not have any idea of what to expect. I came to Guatemala with an open mind and had the ability to see life in a whole new perspective. I will never forget the experiences I had and the knowledge I gained.

Thanks for everything, Maximo!

How can this program be improved?
nothing
Yes, I recommend
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casey
10/10

Medical Mission Trip to Guatemala

Our trip to Guatemala was absolutely AMAZING. I am so grateful to have had such a wonderful experience full of knowledge, culture and memories that will last a lifetime. Huge shoutout to Jorge, Vinicio, Dr. Guan, Dr. Alvarez, Wally and all the staff at maximo for making this trip so wonderful. I highly recommend maximo and I could not be happier with this trip. I am very sad to see it end but i know i will take everything i have learned here and bring it with me throughtout my entire life. It was such an eye-opening experience and i am very lucky to have been able to serve this community and make a difference. Guatemala and everyone at maximo will always have a special place in my heart. I cannot thank Maximo enough for this mission trip, it was an absolute pleasure.

Yes, I recommend
Laura
10/10

Medicine, Culture & Fun

I had a great 2 weeks here in Guatemala through Maximo Nivel. They made it a really easy process for us, everything was easily scheduled ahead of time and if there was any issues (which there was not) the Maximo office was right here in Antigua. They set us up with a great host family where we made friends with many other fellow travelers and students going through Maximo. For the past 2 weeks we have visited various towns surrounding Antigua that lack the medical resources that many of us take for granted back in the States. We worked with 2 Guatemalan doctors who were very patient with us and took the time to teach us. Our Spanish was rough but the doctors, staff and patients were very forgiving and patient with us. I really enjoyed the hands on medical experience I was able to receive including interviewing and examining patients. We saw many interesting cases and I honestly believe my Spanish vastly improved by the end. I wish that I had brushed up on my Spanish before coming or if I was here longer I would definitely had taken the Spanish courses that Maximo offers.

This has been a great experience and I will never forget it. I am grateful to the Maximo staff and everyone I have met here in Guatemala for such an amazing time. I hope to one day return to Guatemala!

How can this program be improved?
I think that it would be a beneficial addition to the program if we were able to give vaccinations to patients or take a few days out to shadow and see what a hospital in Guatemala looks like inside.
Yes, I recommend
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Joshua
10/10

Medical Mission Trip Guatemala

I had a privilage working with the doctors and the Maximo staff the two weeks that I spent here in Guatemala. I was able to help others, learn about the culture and history or Guatemala, and most importantly make many new friends along the way. It truly was an amazing experience, and I look forward to visiting again in the future to continue to help others. I am extremely thankful to have been blessed with this opportunity. A special thanks to all of the amazing people that I met along the way.

Yes, I recommend

About Maximo Nivel

Máximo Nivel (Maximum Level)—The Intercultural Center of Latin America

Máximo Nivel is a family-owned, social enterprise founded in 2003. Our three intercultural centers are locally-based organizations focused on international education and cross...