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 106 - 120 of 150
Wally
10/10

4 weeks teaching English

I had an incredible experience teaching English in Guatemala for 4 weeks. Maximo Nivel was the organization responsible for arranging my teaching placement. I arrived on a Friday night to my volunteer house and the following morning I was greeted by an employee from Maximo Nivel who gave me a safety orientation about Antigua, Guatemala. It was a detailed power point presentation on safety tips and advice. He even went above and beyond by printing out a map of Antigua and showing me where the best places are to eat, where to exchange money and even took me by foot to show me where the bus depot was located. The next day a different staff memeber Andrea - - gave me and another handful of volunteers an orientation of the building and a walk about around the city. Maximo Nivel did an absolutely phenomenal job assisting me with anything I needed. They are extremely focused on client service and made my volunteer trip a smooth, safe and positive experience. Whether your a first time traveller or veteran backpacker and you wish to volunteer, please take the opportunity to do it with Maximo Nivel. The staff are extremely friendly and very approachable and I would highly recommend this organization to anyone who is eager to make a difference in this world.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Kim
10/10

Guatemala Volunteer Program

I spent two weeks in Antigua this summer, volunteering at a medical placement at Casa Maria, an elderly care facility just outside Antigua, and taking spanish classes through Maximo Nivel. I had no idea what to expect when I got off the plane, but the whole experience was beyond amazing!

The Maximo Nivel staff was wonderful and very supportive. They had great suggestions on places to visit over the weekend or in the afternoons (there's so much to do and see!). The volunteer house I was placed in was a great way to meet and connect with other volunteers in Antigua. My host mom was very sweet and made delicious dinners every night.

At my placement, I was with one other volunteer, and we got to help with wound care and taking vitals, as well as interacting with the residents. I knew little spanish going into this, but the placement staff and maximo nivel were all very supportive and open to teaching me things.

Travelling around guatemala on the weekends was an unexpected joy as well- there's so much to do! Visiting Semuc Champey, hiking Acatenango volcano, and seeing Lake Atitlan and Tikal were all highlights for me on this trip. Overall I had an amazing experience- it was a great blend of volunteering, learning spanish, getting to know interesting people, and seeing Guatemala!

How can this program be improved?
Maybe it might be possible to provide a bit more information about placements prior to arrival, just so volunteers have a bit more of an idea of what to expect.
Yes, I recommend this program
Ginger
10/10

Volunteering at Casa Aleluya Orphanage

My two teens and I left Antigua in the early morning, every day for five straight days. We would hop on the "chicken bus," our newest form of transportation, and head toward "Guate, Guate." We would hop off the bus and ring the bell at Casa Aleluya, a home for precious children who needed love, hands to hold and faces to smile back at theirs. We hope we offered something to these beautiful children because they sure offered something to us. Thank you, Maximo Nivel, for a life-changing experience.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Glenn
10/10

2 Weeks at an Orphanage!

My daughter & I spent 2 weeks volunteering our time and energy, 5 days/week, about 4 hours per day for an amazing orphanage called Casa Aleluya, near Antigua, Guatemala. Casa Aleluya is an AMAZING organization, housing around 430 kids of all ages. Over the years they've taken in about 5300 kids who were in very unsafe or abusive situations and now have a safe place in which to grow up. They are provided with love, care and respect. They are taught, rather SHOWN how important love and respect are to the health and well-being of both individuals and organizations of which they are a part. Many of the kids go on to attend college or university programs, all supported by Casa. Maximo Nivel was a crucial part of this experience too. The folks here truly care and execute their role with professionalism and alacrity. They are also known to be one of the most inexpensive ways to gain an experience of this kind. Kudos to Phomolo, Nancy, Maritza, Colin and the entire crew at Maximo!

How can this program be improved?
The only improvement I recommend is for volunteers to ask for or be provided with a thorough tour of Casa Aleluya. We didn't get the full tour until our last couple of days there. We were blown away by the magnitude, breadth and depth of the entire program. We were placed with the youngest kids, "Los Angelitos", aged 0 to 4 years, I think, but they have an entire school of older kids. Several of the kids met their spouse, got married and continue to serve the organization. It's really an entire community in there! I just wished I'd known about it from the very start. Also, ask to hear the testimony of the founder, Mike, who started this over 20 years ago.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Kelty
10/10

The joy of Nuevo Amanecer

We went to Guatemala with an open mind about where we would be placed and what we would be doing. Our main goal was to give our teenagers a different outlook on the world and their impact and experience in it.
Nuevo Amanecer was the opportunity of a lifetime. We were absolutely changed for the better having worked with the children and the adults in this after school program. The family that started it saw a need and decided to fill it.
The children were a joy to interact with. They were all from families who had very little but to see their joyful faces each day, you would not know it. They were all eager to learn, eager to experience all that was offered. The fact that our spanish was limited was not much of an obstacle because the children were excited to learn some english words and we all managed to communicate.
I would absolutely recommend this to anyone looking to give back. You will get so much more than you give.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Noel
8/10

Casa Aleluya Orphanage

My family and I volunteered at an orphanage called Casa Aleluya; we had a great time working with the children, and experienced what an amazing place Casa Aleluya is for the orphans. We worked with the younger children, from babies to 7 years old. The children enjoyed our company, and we enjoyed spending time with them. There are about 450 orphans living at Casa Aleluya, from babies to young people attending college and working with the younger children.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Laura
10/10

Cultural Wow!!

I had no idea that all of the women in Guatenala actually wear all of the colorful clothing every day. I thought it was for celebration days only. In Guatemala we were able to explore different cultural groups, hear new languages and learn how these women weave their own clothes using natural dyes. Many cooperatives have gotten started with help from the huge amount of tourism to help those women begin their own companies. They use the money to send their children to s school. It was a very educational experience.

How can this program be improved?
The home stay had too many students for one house. There were people and noise all over the place.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Molly
10/10

Our Amazing Time in Guatemala

We traveled out to a remote area, where the citizens were very isolated, without access to healthcare. It had been a year since most of the people had seen a doctor. It was touching to see how much they really needed the care of the doctor, and the anti-parasite medication that was administered. There were many kids there who loved to play soccer. During a quieter time, I went and played soccer with the kids. I loved playing with them, and doing as much as I could to try and help them be healthier. Maximo Nivel surpassed all my expecations. Jorge is an absolute joy to work with, and works endlessly. I would recommend this program to anyone, and I cannot wait to go again.

How can this program be improved?
Leave a water filter in the communities to use.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Elizabeth
10/10

Great program support for volunteers and great coordination with local community organizers

While we were only in Antigua for a week, Jorge from Maximo Nivel was able to coordinate with community organizers in several neighborhoods so that we could participate in make-shift, on-site clinics requested by the communities. In the morning we attended Spanish classes and in the afternoons we went to a clinic site with the program director, an amazing organizer from Guatemala who works with the volunteers, community organizers and a local doctor. Each clinic was in a different location- one in a three-room school, one in a neighbor's one room house, one was in a 15 x 15 corrugated tin church with a dirt floor, one at an orphanage, and another in a house. The doctor provided primary care while the program director provided the needed medications selected from several suitcases full of donated medications. The members of our group were not medical professionals (the students were pre-med) but we were able provide anti-parasitics, vitamins, toothbrushes and toothpaste and hygiene education. The strength of the program to me was in the relationship between the program director and the communities he serves. He was able to create a very meaningful experience for the members of our group while, I hope, also providing some needed resources in the community.

How can this program be improved?
It would be good if we could leave something that might create a longer-lasting improvement in health such as enviro-filters or macademia nut trees (they produce high-calorie, high-protein nuts year round) or financial resources for the community organizers.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Caleb
10/10

Wonderful experience!

I decided to volunteer with Maximo for my first international trip abroad and it was one of the best choices I've made. I volunteered as a nurse in a local non profit nursing home and worked alongside nurses feeding, changing, cleaning, and interacting with the patients. I also helped clean the nursing home and help the nurses with miscellaneous tasks.
Maximo offered many activities that allowed for volunteers to meet one another such as salsa night and guacamole. There were also many day and weekend trips that were relatively inexpensive for the weekends.
All in all, this trip was the best I've ever taken and a great way to spend one month of my summer.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Janelle
10/10

Medical Campaign In Guatemala

I had such a great time volunteering for the medical Campaign in Guatemala. We were a group of nursing students that spent a week travelling to areas that didn't have access to healthcare. Everything That Maximo Nivel had to offer was great (transportation, accommodation, Spanish classes, support, daily activities, friendly staff). The doctors and other staff that worked with us during the medical trips were amazing. The whole experience was very rewarding and was such a great learning experience! I would definitely do this again in the future and would recommended spending extra time exploring Guatemala because this country has a lot to offer (Climbing volcanos, swimming at Semuc Champey, visiting local markets, relaxing at Earth Lodge, Walking around Antigua, Surf lessons at El Paredon Beach).

Yes, I recommend this program
Zaineb
10/10

What an experience

last year was my first year going abroad and volunteering, this was also my first time in Latin America. I'd say this to all my friends and family and say it again and again, it is by far my favourite, most rewarding and best experience I ever had. The staff are phenomenal, the locals are the most welcoming, and you receive more than you give, because that's how the Guatemalans do. I can't wait to go back again and again. Thank you thank you thank you for everything.

How can this program be improved?
More hands on experience for medical campaign. Better Spanish prep before the campaign begins
Yes, I recommend this program
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Jenny
10/10

Antigua exotic-Guatemala

I spent a week in Guatemala at the Antigua Exotic reptile sanctuary and reserve. I absolutely loved everything about it, I got to feed and handle all types of reptiles from turtles, snakes, lizards, crocodiles and many more. Eveyone I met in the house I was staying in, the place I volunteered at and the people within the organization were all so nice and helpful. I felt like my time spent volunteering was greatly appreciated by the workers and owners of Antigua Exotic and they were kind enough to take us with them for the day at their crocodile reserve. It was the most amazing experience to help catch and move a crocodile, I will never forget that! They also fed us a purely traditional Guatemalan cuisine made all from plants on the reserve. I got to totally immerse myself in their culture and day to day life. I'm so thankful for my experience and the impact I've made!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Bill
8/10

IVHQ/Maximo Nivel Antigua Program

Great time. Very well organized. Antigua is a great walking town -- if you don't mind cobblestones. There were opportunities to work on several programs. I did eco-farming and teaching English. The language program support is also very good. Maximo Nivel arranged for tandem English/Spanish learning with natives that I found very helpful. I was concerned about how arduous the farmwork would be, but it was not bad at all and they have a marvelous mild climate at that altitude.

How can this program be improved?
It might be good to be housed with other Maximo Nivel volunteers, though I know that's not always easy to arrange.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Jennifer
10/10

A really great experience

I spent four unforgettable weeks working with coffee farmers whose land is on the slopes of Volcan Agua. February is the harvest season and we spent our mornings picking the beans, laying them out on the roofs in the village to dry, or painstakingly sorting them before helping to pack them into huge 100kg sacks for export. We helped roast and grind the beans for sale locally and made sure the labels were stuck on straight.
The most memorable part, though, was getting to meet and talk with the farmers themselves. Eduardo, Miguel, Manuel and Lesbia (the only female member of the cooperative) I thank you for letting me work alongside you. I am in awe of how much work and care you put into producing every bag of 'shade grown Guatemalan coffee'.
On a more practical note, much of the success of the programme was due to the professionalism of the people at De La Gente coffee and at Maximo Nivel. I knew there were people I could completely rely on to sort out any problems. I found the Spanish classes intense, interesting and our teachers were excellent. Finally, I'm way older than most of the volunteers but I never experienced any ageism from anyone, staff or fellow volunteers, that I met.

How can this program be improved?
I would have liked to know how the quite substantial programme fees that I paid to IVHQ were divided out and what proportion went to the members of the cooperative.
Yes, I recommend this program

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...