Volunteer in Guatemala with Maximo Nivel - Best Rated Projects

Video and Photos

Laundry
Laundry
New friends
New friends
My turn
My turn
Jf3
Jf3
Jf2
Jf2
 Nuevo
Nuevo
 Nuevo
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.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

96%
based on 153 reviews
  • Impact 9.2
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 136 - 150 of 153
Default avatar
Natalie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Most Meaningful Travel Of My Life

My fourteen year old daughter inspired our journey to Guatemala and it was one of the best experiences of my life. When asked what she wants to do when she graduates from high school, her response has always been that she wants to help people. It seemed a volunteer vacation would be a great way to explore that.

From the time we arrived in Guatemala, we received excellent support from the staff at Maximo Nivel. A volunteer orientation was held the first day where we learned about the city of Antigua, safety, travel opportunities, Spanish class options, etc. A staff person from Maximo then led us on a tour to help us orient ourselves and pointed out banks, shopping, restaurants and other useful information.

Later that day we met with another Maximo staff person and he took us via chicken bus to our placement at an after school program in San Antonio. He showed us where to get on and off, how much to pay and how to find the school we'd be working at. We were introduced to the director of the program and then stayed a bit observing and basically hanging out to get a feel for things.

Our two weeks working at the school were incredibly satisfying and fun! Maximo's advice about being flexible is important to remember. This was not a US after school program, it was much looser. Be prepared to have some ideas on how to help with Math and English, especially if you don't speak much Spanish. It was challenging in the best of ways and every effort we made was truly appreciated.

We were in a home stay with the most amazing family! Everyone I've spoken with has been very happy with their accomodations and meals.

I could go on and on about how wonderful our experience was, but the main thing is if you're reading this and considering doing it, I strongly encourage you to go for it!! It was the experience of a lifetime and we look forward to working with Maximo Nivel in their other locations!

What would you improve about this program?
Advice for future travelers...

Stay a bit longer if you can to do some sight seeing. We learned of many tours and trips once we arrived and we were amazed by how many cool things there are to do here!

For those that don't speak Spanish, I highly recommend taking a week or more of Spanish classes. It's cheap and the instructors are top notch. Even learning some basics helped us tremendously.

Bring those small packs of tissue for public bathrooms!

Be open and have fun!!!
Default avatar
Jennifer
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience in Guatemala

Guatemala changed my view on life. I had the most inspirational trip and am so glad that I had the privilege to come and be apart of the amazing experience. I learned so much about the culture, people, and beautiful areas surrounding Antigua and I was only here for a week. This trip has helped me figure out what I want to do when I graduate college and has helped me develop a certainty for how much help I am capable of lending out a helping hand. This is by far the best trip I have ever been on and working with the children in the orphanages was a great experience. I wouldn't of had as much fun and knowledge about this trip if it wasn't for all the help I received from Maximo Nivel and for that I thank you.

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

Thank you!!!

Thank you to Maximo Nivel for a wonderful time in Guatemala. These past 2 weeks were great! I enjoyed getting to expierence another culture, meeting tons of people from all over the world, sightseeing, and most importantly volunteering at Casa Aleluya with some amazing children! You guys do a great job of making sure we have all the appropriate documentation prior to leaving for Guatemala. The support throughout the two weeks to ensure that I was getting the most out of my trip while remaining safe in a new location was great! I wish I knew about this program when I was younger! The orientation process was alittle slow when I first arrived, I felt like I wish I knew a little bit more about how things would begin [ such as volunteering is only a half day so you have time to do afternoon trips for sightseeing] but once everything got started it seemed to flow really well! Thanks again!!!

What would you improve about this program?
More information on the volunteering. If I knew that I was only volunteering for half days I probably would have volunteered for a longer period of time and not done the mini adventure.
Default avatar
Lan
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Guatemala Volunteer Experience

I wish I knew about this program when I was younger because it's a really great way to meet new people, get started in traveling while doing great things for a community, and immerse yourself into a culture. Maximo Nivel did a great job preparing me before the for the trip in getting all the necessary documentation to start volunteering. Orientation could have been a little bit more specific during the initial stages, however after we got the ball everything fell into place. During the trip, I felt there was great positive support from all of Maximo Nivel staff members. I also did the mini trip that was an option, and I'm really glad I did it, but it may not have been the most cost effective route. However that being said, it was the best route for me with my limited time here at Guatemala and I got to see a little of everything.

What would you improve about this program?
-More information about the specific project you are about to complete prior to coming
Default avatar
Max
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing experience!

I volunteered in San Antionio Aguas Calientes at the free clinic. I got to work with three different doctors while there and learn tons while helping to provide affordable medical care for the local population. The support I received from Maximo Nivel's staff was awesome at helping with any problems that I had while there.

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

The best month of my life

I did the medical placement in a Puesto de Salud in Magdalena, Guatemala. It was the best month of my life. I made a lot of friends and did a lot of trips around the country. This was the best experience of my life and more than I expected. The staff of Maximo was really cute with all the volunteers. I always had the vocation to help others and this experience reinforced my goals. Even though I was afraid initially, this was the best decision that I ever made. At the end of the month, I was so adapted that it was hard to say goodbye. This was a valuable experience that helped me in different aspects of my life and made of me a new person. That month doing volunteer work in Guatemala was a rewarding experience that I will never forget.

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

comments on ratings

overall support from MN was excellent, but more/updated project-specific info is needed. i will provide more info & photos for future volunteer resource.
cost was fair (ex. casa shekina was awesome & food great) but cost for turtle project meals & accomodations could have been much less. going direct with ARCAS may have been a more cost effective way to volunteer.
safety was good but there is still always an element of risk in a country like GUA.
overall experience was excellent. people, housing, on-site learning for turtle project was de a huevo. hard work & no free time, so not for the light-hearted volunteer. for those who like hard work, crazy hours, & are willing to get their hands dirty to do anything to support the project & learn, ARCAS is amazing. otherwise, pick another project! this is not playing with turtles! it is hard work, so the people that think it "sounds" fun need not apply! personally, i loved it!

What would you improve about this program?
better communication about the details of the turtle specific program so volunteers are better prepared for the work. more importantly, it is important to tell volunteers about the work so they can plan their time in GUA accordingly...
for example, if i knew that work was 7 days a week, i would have planned to stay an additonal week to have the time to travel and explore more of the country. with the turtle project, you have no free time so plan to stay a week before or after your volunteer time to explore more of GUA.
Default avatar
Volunteer
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Good experience

I volunteered with Maximo Nivel in Guatemala for four weeks. It was definitely a great experience. I enjoyed it a lot. It was exactly as described on their website. They staff was the most helpful staff I have ever encountered. I was very anxious before getting to Guatemala but once I was there, everything went smoothly. I feel like I got a lot out of the experience. I wouldn't trade my time volunteering with MN for anything.

What would you improve about this program?
I would've felt a lot better if I would've known where I would be staying beforehand. I enjoyed my homestay a lot, but I would've preferred staying in the volunteer house. I would've liked to have the option to do more than one placement at once without the additional fee. Since you only work for half a day, I would've liked to volunteer someplace else during the other half of the day.
Default avatar
Chrissie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Medical Placement

I had an amazing time Guatemala. The staff was amazing and my host family was great! My typical day started around 7 with breakfast with my family and other volunteers. I would then meet other volunteers working at my placement at Maximo Nivel and we would walk to the bus station. The bus ride was about 30 minutes and would drop us off really close to the clinic. I always enjoyed the bus rides because we got to see some of the countryside and you got to really see how the local people lived.
I worked in a one room clinic with an amazing doctor. I was really intimidated at first but he was so patient with me. The number of patients we saw depended on the day; we saw anywhere from one to almost ten patients varying in ages from newborns to grandparents. When the clinic wasn't busy, the doctor would teach me different diagnosis and what medicine would cure certain symptoms. Additionally, he taught me how to give shots and draw blood. He was always very patient with my Spanish and I felt comfortable speaking around him. We didn't just speak about medicine though. He was interested in my life and what I did back home. Often times he would ride the bus back with me and talk to me about the different customs of Guatemala and especially Antigua. I got especially lucky because he took me to see the head of internal medicine at the national hospital outside of Antigua. I would always look forward to my time in the clinic because I really enjoyed working with the patients and talking with the doctor.
After leaving the clinic somewhere between noon and one, I would return home and eat dinner with my host mom because everybody else in my house had left for their volunteering or had already eaten. In the afternoons, I toured the city and visited many coffee shops. I really enjoyed just taking a Spanish newspaper with me to a coffee shop and trying to read it while enjoying the Guatemalan coffee. I did hike to the cross a couple of times when it was nice outside and that had a beautiful view of the city. For the first week that I was there, I took the Spanish lessons offered through Maximo Nivel. I ended up taking the hour private lessons instead of the group lessons. I found these lessons to be extremely helpful. Since I was on my own, I got to choose what I wanted to focus on. I chose to focus mainly on speaking and medical terms which really helped build my confidence when I first got there.
Dinner was always a whole family affair and I was never disappointed with the food. After dinner and helping clean up a little, the other volunteers and I would often go out and meet other travelers or even locals at the bars around the town. Everybody was always very friendly and we always had a good time.
I only took one trip while I was there; some of my friends and I went to Lake Atitlan. Although the lake and surrounding area was beautiful and we had fun, I felt like it was very overpriced and not really worth the money I spent. I really wish I had had time to go to Pacaya. Overall, I had an amazing time volunteering with Maximo Nivel. The staff was so nice and welcoming that I felt at home from the minute I walked into the office for orientation on the first day!

What would you improve about this program?
I would try to make the orientations have more people in them so that volunteers could meet other volunteers. My orientation was just me and although it was nice to have one on one time with the staff and be given a private tour, I would have liked to meet the other volunteers that didn't live in my house.
Default avatar
sanjuaem
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

KEEP AN OPEN MIND AND HUMBLE HEART

This was truly an amazing experience and Maximo was there through every step of the way. From my awesome host family to taking me to my project site and checking up on how our project was going. Not only did our volunteering experience exceed my expectation I was able to explore Guatemala and visit some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

From the bottom of my heart I feel like this was the most humbling experience a healthcare provider could come across.

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

Fantastic Experience

You will be placed in a homestay or a volunteer house, both of which I have had experience with and both of which have their own appeal and both of which are very fun. During orientation, you will be given your placement and work hours.
On your face day of work, one of the Maximo staff will bring you to your placement and introduce you.
The best thing about Maximo in my opinion is that their staff is very helpful and fun and they are very flexible. If you have a problem, it will be solved quickly if you let them know.
There is plenty of down time with this type of volunteering which is great because you will have plenty of time to explore the city. Also, your weekends are free so you can travel around and explore the country.

What would you improve about this program?
The food we were getting at one of the volunteer houses was very poor in my opinion. But, that being said, I have also been in homestays that had amazing meals, so I guess you will have to get lucky. That would be my only complaint about the program.
Default avatar
Mike
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great place to make a difference

My experience as a volunteer teaching English was fantastic. Although my wife and I had to create our own curriculum we feel the students at our all girls school gained much from our 4 weeks there. I would like to see a set curriculum at some time so things won't seem so random. The kids were great. Maximo has a great staff and they will help you in whatever you need help in. You name it - project support, housing, where to eat, what to do, where to go, any sort of problem, etc. I highly recommend this program.

What would you improve about this program?
As I mentioned above, a set curriculum is needed. So much of what we taught was random. Also, we felt bad because no volunteers were following us so the girls were not going to continue to receive English instruction. They need more volunteers!
Default avatar
Rachel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

People I will never forget

My home stay family, the Lau family, was welcoming and encouraging.I adore my Guatemama as well as the other members of the household.
Fredy was the construction leader and I worked on remodeling and improving a school(run by an amazing couple)
Maximo helped me plan trips,taught me how to live there and had amazing patience whenever I wanted to change my Spanish lesson time or level.The teachers are great by the way.
Rachel

What would you improve about this program?
Not really sure
Default avatar
Marielle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Lo maximo

I worked in the construction program for two week and left extremely satisfied with virtually every aspect of my experience. Since the first moment that I decided to volunteer I have had nothing but great, prompt, thorough responses and help from both the Maximo team and the IVHQ team.

The work was great and very gratifying. The supervisor was extremely competent and I had a lot of confidence in him.

I was also secure in knowing that any issue I may encounter or even possibly encounter would be addressed properly and that i would not have to face any issue on my own. The Maximo team was more than willing to take the time to help and explain anything I needed.

I also really appreciated the myriad of social and cultural activities that Maximo offered.

I have worked in the past with similar organizations and have had experiences where the support team was not exactly supportive. I was, on numerous occasions, basically left by myself to figure a lot of things out, some very pragmatic and essential things. So those not-so-positive experiences have really made me appreciate Maximo even more.

I look forward to possibly working with Maximo Nivel again in the future, "primero Dios"!

What would you improve about this program?
It was a little bit difficult to not have much living / storage/personal space for the volunteers in the house we were at. However, the house family was extremely doting and kind and sweet.
Default avatar
Sahar
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Medical Placement in San Antonio

I loved working in the clinic in San Antonio, it was quite the adventure. I rode on a chicken bus every morning to the clinic and took heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and respiratory rate of the patients. The highlights were being able to do a wound cleaning, give injections, and be in the surgery room in a hospital to see a birth. The doctor was very kind and I learned so much from him. He inspired me even more to enter the medical field and I am very grateful to have had this experience. If you are interested in medicine and have a real passion, I say go for it. Coming to Guatemala to volunteer will be one of the best decisions you will ever make!

What would you improve about this program?
I wish I could have worked more than 4 hours. I think 6 hours would have been the perfect amount of time.

Location

Location:
Antigua
Currency:
Guatemalan Quetzal
Weather:
Jan-Mar
81 F / 54 F
Apr-Jun
82 F / 59 F
Jul-Sep
77 F / 61 F
Oct-Dec
75 F / 55 F
Airports:
La Aurora International Airport
( GUA )

Antigua was the capital of Guatemala prior to a major earthquake that left most of the city in ruins. Guatemala city then became the capital, and Antigua city returned into a small town until the whole city was deemed a UNESCO world heritage site. Attractions include monuments and buildings, as they preserve Guatemala's historical beauty and showcase the Spanish influence in the area.

About Maximo Nivel

Founded in 2003, Maximo Nivel is a leading organization in study abroad and educational travel. We are an internationally accredited organization with 4 locally based institutes in 3 of the most beautiful countries in the world—Costa Rica, Guatemala....