Volunteer in Guatemala with Maximo Nivel - Best Rated Projects

Video and Photos

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

9.59 Rating
based on 153 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 92.81%
  • 7-8 rating 5.88%
  • 5-6 rating 1.31%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Impact 9.2
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 49 - 56 of 153
Default avatar
Alora
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

Read my full story
George
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
Nothing I can think of.
Default avatar
Carolina
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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

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

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.

Default avatar
Andrew
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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

Default avatar
Anon
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

Default avatar
Adelaide
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
Possibly the addition of free transportation back to the airport.
Default avatar
Jay
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.