Learn Spanish & Sea Turtle Conservation in Guatemala

Location
Guatemala
Length
2 to 8 weeks
Housing
Hostel
Age
Min. 18 years
37 travelers saved this program

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About This Program

Guatemala’s ‘must visit’ destination Antigua is a place of rare beauty, major historical significance, vibrant culture and a global hot spot. Your first week is spent in Antigua enjoying homestay accommodation with 3 meals daily in the center of town. Each morning Monday to Friday there are 3 x 45 minute Spanish lessons with one morning volunteering in a local junior school to start your immersion into life in Guatemala and to prepare you for volunteering in Monterrico!

Your cultural immersion continues in week 2 when you transfer 80km south to the beautiful Pacific coastal village of Monterrico. A busy schedule of Spanish lessons and volunteering help you maximize your time here, before you transfer (3 week program only) a few kilometers along the coast for your final week volunteering with ARCAS. ARCAS are a wildlife rescue and conservation centre who do important environmental and conservation work focusing on the vitally important sea turtle nesting grounds and mangrove forest.

Highlights

  • First week in Antigua enjoying homestay accommodation & Spanish lessons before transferring to Monterrico - a cool pacific beachside location - for final two weeks volunteering in a local community right on the beach.
  • Meaningful volunteering including placement at sea turtle sanctuary
  • Turbo charge your Spanish with intensive lessons during first two weeks - tailored to all levels - combined with interactions with local people through volunteering
  • A busy program including accommodation, meals, Spanish lessons, volunteering, transfer from Antigua to Monterrico and 24/7 program support
  • Two start dates per month but welcome to arrive anytime - we also arrange airport transfers on request (1+ hour from Guatemala City)

Homestay accommodation in Antigua in week 1 with time to enjoy and explore this exciting city including full program support to help you optimise your time.

During weeks 1 (Antigua) & 2 (Monterrico) Spanish lessons are usually in the mornings from 09:00 – 11:45 (3 x 45 mins daily Monday to Friday) but occasionally are scheduled for the afternoon to facilitate access to schools where a lot of our volunteer activities will be focused. Spanish lessons are tailored to suit all levels following Cervantes curriculum (beginner to advanced) and are designed to help you interact with the local community.

Volunteering tasks are varied and we enlist junior school pupils in many of our projects – many hands make light work! Part of our objective/legacy is to ensure that today’s kids become model citizens enjoying and respecting the local environment including wildlife to be found in the nearby Mangrove forest, and sea life including turtles that nest here.

During week 3 we move 3km up the coast to ARCAS for a residential volunteer placement. ARCAS is a wildlife rescue & conservation association supported by the Guatemalan government with a primary objective to protect the regions most important seas turtles and to help ensure conservation of the last remaining mangroves in Guatemala.

Volunteers work between 6-10 hours per day and jobs include; maintenance of infrastructure and surroundings, beach cleaning, night patrols to look for nesting female turtles (in season), transport of food and water, collection of data and releasing baby turtles into the ocean (in season).

What's Included
Accommodation
Activities
Some Meals
What's Included (Extra)

15 intensive Spanish lessons

What's Not Included
Airfare
Travel Insurance

Your base in Monterrico is El Delfin Hotel – a cool backpacker hostel right on the beach with hammocks, swimming pool and lots of toys (including wifi!) to help you relax and unwind during your free time. The program is quite busy but there is still free time to enjoy a great social life and participate in the many other activities you can enjoy here.

NOTE : though program start date is Sunday you are welcome to arrive early and pay for extra nights bed & breakfast. We are open 365 days a year!

Fresh fruits, scrambled eggs, tortillas and plantains for breakfast served beachside while staying at the El Delfin Hotel.

In Antigua one morning is spent volunteering in a local school. As well as being a classroom assistant you will also assist during meal and recreational periods.
In Monterrico an ‘umbrella’ project has been developed whereby kids accumulate stamps for 6 different ‘activity types’ during the year. As a reward, at the end of the year up to 30 of the most enthusiastic junior volunteers will enjoy a trip to Pacaya volcano and Antigua! Our job is to motivate them by effective communication in the schools and timetabling activities – with fun stuff tagged on! Our focus is community and environmental volunteering including sea turtle conservation.

Hosted by Monterrico Adventure

Guatemala – frankly it’s a winner. Spanning the centre of central America with a foot in both the Caribbean and Pacific seas, it has a string of majestic volcanos running through its core, highlands, mangrove forests, glorious white sandy beaches...

Tim Poullain Patterson
Program Director
Have a question?
Send Tim a Message

Availability

2 Weeks
$735 USD
3 Weeks
$1095 USD

Reviews

90%
based on 3 reviews
  • Impact 8.7
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.3
  • Value 8.3
  • Safety 9
Showing 1 - 3 of 3
Default avatar
Anne
9/10

Monterrico Adventure

I left Belgium on my own to do a one month travel in and around Guatemala with MonterricoAdventure.
Imagine wanting to go on adventure, but not knowing where to begin. With MonterricoAdventure, you will have the perfect journey. Imagine not having to worry about transportation, tickets, tours, the language, contacts,... but still having the best adventurous time of your life.
One of the best things about this organisation is the spontaneous personality of Gabriel. He was taking so much care of me and has years of experience traveling the world. The personal contact is perfect and even if you are traveling alone, you will never feel like it.
I wanted to combine volunteering and backpacking. This offers you best of both worlds. Thanks to Gabriel, you have a project you can start with, but you can still feel free and bring your own ideas. Working in the school is amazing. The kids and teachers are so thankful for everything you do. And in between the volunteering weeks, you have the chance to go exploring the beautiful El Salvador, lake Atitlan, Acatenango and Antigua. On a short time, you see so much but there’s still time to chill (and party) in the nicest hostels. Gabriel has found the perfect combo of all this.
Also the private spanish lessons from a friendly teacher are recommended.
Prepare for an active, challenging, heartwarming and inspiring journey. Time of my life! Thank you Gabriel and MonterricoAdventures!

How can this program be improved?
Build a bigger organisation for volunteering so people can collect money and volunteers know where to use it for.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Laura
9/10

Amazing volunteering experience in Monterrico!

I volunteered in the beautiful town of Monterrico for two weeks. At the start of the program I was welcomed very warmly by Gabriel and Grace in Hotel El Delfin (right on the beach with a swimming pool!!). The hotel has a great view of the incredibly beautiful sunset and you can watch it from your hammock! During the first week of the program I took Spanish classes at the local Spanish school. My Spanish teacher, Jorge, got me talking Spanish very quickly. Besides my Spanish classes, I taught English at the Curvina school to kids between 7 and 9 years old. With games like bingo the kids learned English words and they defenitely taught me some Spanish too! On wednesday and friday we cleaned the beach and the mangroves with the kids and locals. You have no idea how much garbage was just lying there in the beautiful nature. That is why Monterrico Adventure also educates the kids and the community to throw there garbage in the trash bin.
During my second week, I volunteered at ARCAS, a wildlife rescue & conservation association. Here, I took care of the parrots, turtles and crocodiles by feeding them and cleaning there cages. The staff also took me kayaking in the Mangrove lake and showed me how to make an amazing smoothie with the cashew nut fruit from a tree that grows in the garden. After my second week I returned to Hotel El Delfin for their Saturday night celebrations with a live band and a lot of cocktails! That was a perfect ending to an amazing volunteering experience!!

Yes, I recommend this program
Aaron
9/10

Fun and Friendly

I spent over a week around Monterrico. The town feels small, friendly, safe, and fun. The staff at Hotel Delfin are always smiling and having a good time. After having just met you once, when they see you again they will come up to greet you with a smile and high five. The beach bar has a lively vibe with a great view. The restaurant is open air and right on the beach and a good chill spot to use wi-fi or chat up a new friend. I met lots of interesting people in Monterrico, from other young travelers willing to party, to friendly expats willing to share their knowledge, to locals wiling to chat about life.

Yes, I recommend this program

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