Volunteer in Guatemala with Maximo Nivel - Best Rated Projects

Video and Photos

My turn
My turn
Laundry
Laundry
New friends
New friends
Jf3
Jf3
Jf2
Jf2
 Hogar
Hogar
 We re-painted the wall at Nuevo
We re-painted the wall at Nuevo
 Nuevo
Nuevo

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 76 - 90 of 153
Default avatar
Coraisma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching English

Excellent Support!
From missing my flight in Mexico City (layover) before heading to my destination Guatemala, the staff contacted me and made accommodations to pick me up from the airport at a late night time. My placement was awesome, heart touching and a great life experience. Being able to teach at a poor elementary school was great to me, I was able to reflect in life and value everything from home. I highly recommend this program because the staff is really nice, supportive and friendly!

Thank you Maximo Nivel for everything on my stay in Guatemala!!

What would you improve about this program?
Have a day of excursion.
Default avatar
Giselle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

See you later Guatemala

After my incredible volunteer opportunity in Antigua, I now consider Guatemala my second home. As a young women I am constantly told to not travel alone, yet to a foreign developing country far far away from home. My six weeks with Maximo were the best six weeks of my life that I will cherish forever. I find myself constantly talking about my great experience volunteering with Vet Pro through Maximo. This trip overall gave me an itch to travel more and see the world. I always felt safe and comfortable with the other volunteers in my volunteer house. I formed great friendships that continue to strive after leaving Antigua. I miss waking up every morning and going to my volunteer site!!

When I left it wasn’t a goodbye, but simply a “see you later Guatemala”.

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Stephanie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Niños con Bendicion Project 2017 through Maximo Nivel

For the second time in four years, I was able to return to return to Antigua, Guatemala through the Maximo Nivel School, and I am tickled to say that Maximo Nivel set me up with the same childcare project as the last time that I was in Antigua, at Niños con Bendicion in San Antonio Aguas Calientes.

Niños con Bendicion, or "Children with Blessing" was created in 2006 by Lesbi Chavez and her husband, Juventino Guaran, so that the impoverished children of their village of San Antonio Aguas Calientes could stay in school and receive a quality education while strengthening their own cultural and familial ties. They began with their own 2 children and three others and Q300 in their own home. The program provides the children with a place to go after school, while their families are still working. The alternative is what the majority of kids in Guatemala do after the third grade, and that is work in the family business, or out in the farm fields.

Their dedication to the children is infectious, and Lesbi and Tino created this educational sanctuary and home for the children out of their deep spiritual belief that the direction for this program came to them in a dream from God. Thanks to sponsorship and donations, the children are able to attend local schools during the day, and then receive tutoring help with schoolwork and a nutritious afternoon snack each day. Financial support for the Program comes from yearly school sponsorships, calendar sales, donations, and other fundraising endeavors that Lesbi & Tino involve the children in. The children come from poor families, where the family business and putting food on the table is priority. Little support is able to be provided at home because the parents frequently do not know how to read or write or complete basic math problems. A local elementary school teacher and a music teacher are two of the permanent volunteers who work in the facility, and other volunteers are constantly needed to help gather and direct the energies of the 32 children who now attend Niños con Bendicion.

In the last 4 years since I was here, the program and the facility have grown immensely, as they have been able to include several more families of children, and assist some of the families financially when one or more parents were not able to work, and they began construction on their new facility. As well, 4 of the older children are now attending University or trade schools via scholarship programs with Niños con Bendicion. I am so proud of the kids for working that hard and staying in school in a culture where furthering your education and obtaining a degree is not necessarily the norm.

Maximo Nivel made this trip possible and I am grateful for all of their help and organizing, as well as the friendships with the staff, other volunteers, and project staff that this trip strengthened wonderfully!

What would you improve about this program?
I know that this is helpful, but honestly, my two trips here with the MNAntigua staff have been terrific and I have had no problems at all. Thank you very much!
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Louis
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Highly Recommend

This 1-week trip may have been one of the most rewarding and best experiences of my life. My only regret was not being able to stay for 2 weeks. However, being a dedicated college student, a 2-week stay was a little bit unrealistic for me. But do not let that sway you towards not going, even if it is only for 1 week! It's hard to put into words how positively impacted I was after traveling through Maximo Nivel. They do a fantastic job of finding local organizations and do an even better job of taking care of all the essentials (e.g. housing, food, travel, emergency situations) so that it's not necessary for you to plan for or worry about those things. This means you'll be able to enjoy your time spent here all the more!

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Amirah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Such a fun experience!

I've travelled a lot with my family but this was my first time venturing out by myself. Guatemala seemed like the perfect choice - and it was! I was part of the holiday program (2 weeks) and what a wonderful experience it was. Maximo Nivel was incredible, so friendly, and extremely resourceful and helpful. I was so nervous to go on a trip by myself but Maximo Nivel made me feel so safe and prepared before and throughout the trip. One of my favorite memories was the trip to Tikal, a definite recommendation!

Default avatar
Paul
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Childcare and Spanish Learning

fdMy two weeks spent in beautiful Antigua as a childcare volunteer and student of Spanish through Maximo Nivel exceeded my expectations across various spectrums. Nightly dinners with my host family, commuting and working with locals during the week, and weekend excursions to Lake Atitlan and the Pacific coast all amassed to a well rounded cultural immersion that was truly unique and genuine. Working with children at Guarderia San Lucas, a daycare located 20 minutes from Antigua, was both rewarding for me and much appreciated by the community. The last day of work I left with a heavy heart and a smile, knowing I would miss the ninos and ninas I met over the two weeks, while feeling so grateful for the experience and the impact it will have on my worldview.

Spanish class was intimate and tailored to my needs as a student. My teacher combined structured exercises with more informal opportunities to practice conversing, which was an effective learning method for me. In addition to class, I was glad I took advantage of the free tandem language exchange, which allowed me to practice my Spanish and make a friend along the way. I leave two weeks of intensive classes and tandem exchange feeling more confident about my ability to speak the language, and motivated to continue learning.

From day one when I contacted the International office at Maximo to learn more about their programs, to the last day when I said goodbye to the local staff in Antigua and thanked them for all their help, I couldn't have been more impressed with their professionalism and friendly demeanor. They anticipated all travel and accommodation needs, and went beyond expectations by providing recommendations for leisure activities and being genuinely interested in each of their clients. The staff was extremely welcoming, and made it clear that they were available at any time should you need something, which was especially reassuring as a solo traveler.

Antigua is a beautiful place, nestled between volcanoes and enriched in culture and history. It's conducive to learning Spanish, and a great launch point for weekend excursions should you choose to leave town. I'm glad I made the decision three months ago to book this experience, and I look forward to future experiences helping hardworking Guatemalans and learning with this organization Antigua.

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Kaitlyn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Veterinary Clinic Volunteer Program Guatemala

My experience with Maximo Nivel was better than I envisioned. From the staff and fellow volunteers to La Antigua itself, I immediately felt welcomed and at home. I spent the duration of my visit in Guatemala volunteering at K-Pets, a local veterinary clinic located a short 10 minute chicken-bus (a colourful and lively school bus) ride away in Ciudad Vierja. Contributing to the safety and care of the dogs and cats in Guatemala hits close to my heart and it was obvious that the staff at the clinic felt the same way. The staff I was working with had hearts of gold and clearly loved each animal that came through the door. Despite the entertainment of playing charades, I definitely recommend brushing up on your Spanish to better communicate with everyone. Doctor Karen cares tremendously for the animals and has even provided aid to stray animals in need (a common sight in Guatemala as dogs and cats generally aren't domesticated) - regardless of there being an owner to pay for her services. As a dog owner myself, I rarely experience this selflessness in North America and am honoured to have contributed to such a genuine clinic.
Outside of volunteering I was able to engage in many activities including a run up to the breath-taking view at Cerro de la Cruz as well as a hike up Volcan Pacaya. For a less physical activity I definitely suggest exploring La Macadamia, a macadamia nut farm not too far from Antigua with some of the tastiest pancakes you can find!
In one short week I have met people and made memories that I will cherish indefinitely. My time with Maximo Nivel in Guatemala has left me feeling fulfilled and excited to plan my next adventure.

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Jasmine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Special needs care at Virgen del Socorro

It's hard to put this experience into words. It was eye-opening, exciting and pushed me out of my comfort zone. Guatemala is a beautiful country with beautiful people.
My volunteer placement was at Virgen del Socorro, which is a care facility for up to 250 people with varying levels of disability. I had low expectations as to what the facility would be because there are issues with caring for special needs in Canada. Boy, was I wrong. The facility was incredible. It was clean, it was spacious, and it was full of various resources from computer labs, to schools, to arts and crafts and music rooms. The staff at the facility are indescribable. They were phenomenol with the residents, and were always around with a smile desite the difficult environment. It was quite inspiring to see how the staff had welcomed the residents into their hearts and each staff seemed to have a special bond with each of the residents.
As incredible as the staff are, they are stretched thin. A significant number of the residents required a certain amount of one-on-one time that is just not feasible with the staff on site. That is where volunteering comes in. I was able to assist in the "Belen" and thus double the amount of residents seen one-on-one. It made a difference.
I would highly recommend Virgen del Socorro as a volunteer placement. In the short time I was there, I knew I was helping in a meaningful way, and it was very fulfilling.
Until next time Guatelmala! Adios!

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Marie-Pier
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Guatemala 2017

I did the medical program in Santa Lucia, Guatemala in January 2017. It was not my first time in America Latina, but it was my first volunteering, and I don't think that I could have found a better program and location. The staff at Maximo Nivel is simply amazing: they are bilingual (which is reassuring), they are enthusiastic and energetic. On my first day volunteering, a member of the staff came with me at my placement, showing me how to get there with public transportation. This was very appreciated since the "chicken buses" in Antigua can be pretty scary (very crowded). At my placement, I was doing the pre-consultations with another volunteer; I weighed them, measured their height, blood pressure, temperature and pulse. I really think that my volunteering was helpful to the medical staff, since we were more efficient and more patients could consult with the doctor in a single day. Maximo also organized free activities where you had the chance to meet people/volunteers from all around the world; an example is the guacamole (delicious) and salsa night. I personally think that one of the key elements that can definitely improve your experience abroad is learning the local language (at least the basics), since it will allow you to communicate more easily with locals, thereby making your trip even more amazing.

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Elizabeth
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing

Having signed up to work in animal care, I was advised that as I was spending the Christmas holidays there, I would be partaking in the 2 week holiday experience programme.

My first two weeks were spent working on a coffee farm, in an orphanage for disabled children, construction (we built a wall and made a door way in an existing wall to create a new vaccine room in a hospital) and working in an elderly home.

After that I spent 6 weeks in a vet clinic. It was fantastic! Our time was spent socialising dogs that are waiting to be homed, Standing in for consults and operations.

I also did an extra week, working with exotics. That involved handling snake, lizards, crocs/alligators.

I also met SO MANY amazing people. I'm pretty sure I've made some friends for life through working with Máximo. The other volunteers in my home stay and the staff at Máximo were just really fantastic people. I didn't want to leave.

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Gaby
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Maximo Guatemala is amazing!

I have traveled a lot, but this was the first time doing it alone and doing it for volunteer purposes and it was an experience that I will always cherish. I volunteered at a daycare in San Lucas with kids between 8 months to 4 years old by feeding them, playing, and doing various learning activities with them. I was there for 2 weeks and wish that I could have stayed a month longer. The care takers there truly love the kids and definitely need help.

I stayed with a host family at a big house in which I had 7 other housemates. In the 2 weeks that I was there, I realized how close my housemates and I had become. It felt like we were a little family. We got along so great, had dinner together every night and hung out together every chance we could. We always had each others back and it was so hard to say goodbye to them.

Everyone at Maximo Nivel was amazing and great to talk to. They are so caring and helpful and I have continued to stay in touch with them even after coming back home to LA. I honestly believe that if you want to volunteer abroad, this the organization to do it with.

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April
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

K-Pets in Guatemala through IVHQ

I spent a week in Guatemala volunteering at a local veterinary clinic called K-Pets. One other volunteer and myself would travel to K-Pets by bus every day from our volunteer house. While at K-pets we would assist with surgeries, clean pet cages, and groom and walk dogs. Everyone at K-Pets was extremely kind and helpful. Dr. Karen Soto would explain what she was doing while performing surgeries or consultations. Dr. Soto speaks English very well and was always more than willing to help me communicate with non-English speaking staff because my Spanish was minimal to none. Despite the language barrier and no former experience working with animals my time there was very rewarding to me. I hope that I can go back again in the future and help at K-Pets. The animals are all very friendly and enjoyed seeing us every day. There are very few vet clinics in the area and the need for help is desperately needed. Maximo Nivel also supplies the clinics with supplies if needed and helps as much as they can throughout the stay. The support they offer is always available and they always check in to make sure that everything is going well.

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Amandine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

AMAZING!!!

Such an amazing experience volunteering in Antigua, Guatemala. 3 weeks wasn't enough, I wish I could have stayed longer!
Maximo Nivel was great! Loved the people who worked there (especially Mimi, Wally and Andrea).
I volunteered at Casa Aleluya with infants/toddlers. Such a rewarding experience! I miss their little faces.
There is so much to do and see in Guatemala... My favorite memory was probably climbing Pacaya Volcano. Stunning!
I was going through a lot before deciding to go volunteering and this experience changed my life forever...

Thank you so much Maximo Nivel!

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Ikjot
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My volunteer experience with Childcare in Guatemala

It was my first time volunteering abroad, and I would say that IVHQ and Maximo Nivel did the beat job helling me and supporting me. Nothing brought more joy than seeing the smiles of the children when entering the facility. It was truly a great experience, and I would not change it for the world! I hope to soon come back to the friendly faces, and volunteer more in Guatemala. IVHQ and Maximo Nivel have done such wonders to help around the world, and I surely want to keep up and be apart of the change.

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Maybelle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Antigua, Guatemala

With this being my first experience of volunteering abroad, I can honestly say that I'm tremendously happy I chose Guatemala, and Maximo Nivel to work with. It's obviously not easy to step foot into a different country with minimal knowledge towards their language and customs, but with everyone's support, I was able to adjust with ease. The tías at my placement were patient because they knew my Spanish wasn't advanced, and put in so much effort into communicating with me nonetheless. Every child had a huge smile on their face as soon as I walked into the room, which warmed my heart because despite their individual situations, they acted as if they had the entire world. No one judged, but instead tried to help in every way possible. This goes for the staff at Maximo Nivel as well. The ambiance was truly something special, which is why this trip for me is definitely one for the books. I only hope that others would give an opportunity like this a chance because I promise they won't be disappointed.