Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in Mexico from $270
88% Rating
(32 Reviews)

Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in Mexico from $270

Volunteer abroad in Mexico with IVHQ! Every year, hundreds of volunteers join IVHQ's highly affordable volunteer projects in Mexico assisting on a range of community-driven projects including teaching and animal care. Volunteers can choose to participate on projects for periods ranging from 1 week to 8 weeks and are accommodated in a volunteer house in Merida alongside other international volunteers. While Spanish is not required in order to participate on the program, volunteers can enjoy taking discounted Spanish lessons during their time on the program.

IVHQ Volunteer Projects Available in Mexico:

  • Teaching English
  • Childcare
  • Special Needs
  • Environmental Research
  • Animal Care/Animal Rights
  • Maya Agriculture

Highlights

  • Programs available year-round, starting on the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
  • Highly affordable program fees from $270 for 1 week
  • Community-driven projects focused on supporting local needs and delivering sustainable positive impacts
  • Superior support services both pre-departure and while volunteering
  • Affordable Spanish language lessons available in Mexico
  • Free online volunteer training for all IVHQ volunteers
  • Between 5 and 20 IVHQ volunteers start in Mexico each month
  • Weekends are free to explore Mexico with fellow volunteers - visit Chichen Itza and more!
Locations
North America » Mexico
Length
1-2 Weeks
2-4 Weeks
1-3 Months
3-6 Months
Language
English
Housing
Host Family
Hostel
Starting Price
$270.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Mexico Program Fee includes airport pick-up, orientation, program supervision, accommodation and meals during volunteer program period, in-country 24/7 volunteer support and in-country administration costs.

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Impact
    83%
  • Support
    87%
  • Fun
    90%
  • Value
    87%
  • Safety
    95%

Program Reviews (32)

Default avatar
Daniella
Female
20 years old
United Kingdom
Other

Volunteering with IVHQ in Mexico

8/10

I had a really great time - all of the people at the placements were lovely, however sometimes things seemed a bit disorganized. The IVHQ team were very helpful apart from when it came to arranging trips for over the weekend so I would recommend booking those in advance. Also, I felt that the program wasn't exactly as it had been depicted on the website. Nevertheless, Mexico is a beautiful country and I will definitely be returning one day.

How can this program be improved?

Better organisation, more accurate descriptions of the placements on the website.

Default avatar
Kelly
Female
23 years old
United States
Widener University

Special Needs in Mexico

9/10

I participated in the Mexico program for two weeks in the beginning of August. I truly enjoyed my placement at Pastoral de Amor. At first, it was challenging to communicate with the residents and staff but I tried my best to speak Spanish and learn from them as well. Even though there were some mornings where I didn't feel well, it always brightened my day to spend time with the sweet residents over at Pastoral. I was able to participate in providing rehab therapy services; it extremely was helpful and eye opening to me as a student in the rehabilitation field. It will always be an experience I will cherish. I hope one day in the future, I'll be able to visit the residents again!

As far as the accommodations- I did not have high expectations for the housing. The house is essentially a hostel style accommodation. There is no air conditioning but there are fans provided. The bathroom is shared and there is no hot water in the summer (although you might get lucky if you shower at 2-3pm ..there might be about 5 minutes of hot/warm water). Also as a forewarning, there are a lot of bugs - mosquitoes and fire ants, bats, and lizards that are lurking around particularly in the bathroom. The food for dinner was typically a traditional Yucatanean dish along with veggies and rice. Since the humidity in Merida never goes away, there's a nice pool outside to cool off for a few minutes or hours :) I thought that the support staff was helpful. Marianna helped out a lot in terms of navigating around Merida through public transportation. Also, it is quite safe in Merida but always be precautious.

My tip is to Lysol everything, especially in the bathroom to avoid spreading illnesses and use a lot of mosquito repellant because those mosquitoes are really aggressive. Also, make sure you spend some time exploring Merida and other surrounding towns..it's worth it!

Overall - I had a great time getting to know other volunteers, exploring Merida, and will always value my experience at Pastoral.

How can this program be improved?

There should be more sanitary efforts within the house. It was addressed previously with Miguel - but the bathrooms really should be continued to be cleaned every day to prevent illnesses from spreading.

Default avatar
Lauren
Female
30 years old
Cleveland, Ohio
Other

Childcare in Merida Mexico

7/10

Merida Mexico is beautiful and full of places to explore and learn about. I traveled to Merida to volunteer with their childcare program. I met amazing people along the way and friends I will have for a lifetime. I learned many things while in Merida including the children's everyday life, culture, and history. I worked with special needs children while staying in Mexico and it was an experience I will never forget. I expected a little more help and direction from the host family running the Merida project but with the help of the other volunteers we managed. Have an open mind when heading to a new country and understand that nothing is the same or as comfortable as your own home. I recommend volunteering abroad whenever you can!

How can this program be improved?

The host family in Merida Mexico should be more involved. They should explain where our money is going since a lot of the placements needed simple things that weren't purchased. A lot of the volunteers felt on there own with not much guidance.

Default avatar
Arthur
Male
53 years old
Canada
University of Calgary

Childcare at Xcuyun

10/10

I had a wonderful and rewarding volunteer week at a small Mayan community called Xcuyún which is northeast of Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico. Together with my two daughters, we signed up the Childcare project organized by IVHQ to offer a summer camp for children, mainly from age 5 to 10, there at Xcuyún. I don’t speak Spanish and so most of my contributions were playing with them soccer and running around games. Life can be simple and fun!! Their laughter brought back my childhood memories years ago. I was like that, even playing soccer with no shoes.

We stayed in the Volunteer Inn of IVHQ in Mérida. Everything is adequate. The opportunity for the volunteers to meet new friends and to know each other is invaluable!

The overall schedule was perfect. We worked three to four hours a day. Then there was ample time for relaxing or exploring places according to your own preferences. The weather was hot though.

We had an awesome local coordinator Mónica Pinzón. She was the main reason of this successful trip. She stayed on top of everything the first day we confirmed going to Mérida. She is caring and meticulous.

I will go again! Next time, I will prepare a few more Spanish words to be used in a playground.

How can this program be improved?

I understand that it would be difficult to assign any specific placement ahead of the trip. I also imagine many volunteers are probably signing on or changing plan the last minutes. We did get a good list of all the possible available things-to-do for a childcare project after signing up. However, hope any specific goal or the estimated number of children and number of volunteers could be given ahead of time. The first timers may need a better feel. Only at the orientation day, we learned more information and the motifs. Knowing those even just a few days ahead of time, volunteers like me who has no experience could have prepared activities closer to the motifs and suitable for the group size. Being said, we did have a day to prepare or to purchase materials. Shops, including Walmart and Sears types, are nearby.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Arthur, Thanks for your awesome review! We are so happy that you and your daughters had a great time in Mérida and were well supported by Mónica throughout your trip. Thanks for being a great volunteer and we would love to have you back!
Andrea - IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

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Yan
Female
28 years old
Merida
Seattle University

Amazing

10/10

I was placed in an animal shelter called AFAD. There is very friendly staff working there!!! The animals are very friendly, cute and sweet as well!!!
I had so much fun with cute cats and dogs!!! I don't speak Spanish but I communicated very well with local team!!! I got attached with a kitty in the shelter and I decided to take her with me in Seattle. It was a great experience overall!!
Since there are many animals, I would like to see more volunteers who love animals can spend a few time here taking care of cute animals!!!

How can this program be improved?

I think overall it was great....

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Yan, Thanks for sharing! We are so happy to hear that you had a great experience in Mexico working at an animal shelter. We hope your kitten is enjoying life in Seattle.
Andrea – IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

Default avatar
Avigail
Female

IVHQ MX

8/10

I volunteered in Mexico for 4 weeks. I truly enjoyed my experience. I taught English in a small town near Merida called Xcuyun. The kids were a pleasure to have! They were ready and willing to learn English. When we were short on staff, I would be in childcare. I would play soccer and participate in arts and crafts with the kids. The volunteer coordinator was helpful when guidance was necessary.
Additionally, Merida is a safe city. I always felt safe when I left the house. The program administrators were always available when needed.

How can this program be improved?

Make sure to tell volunteers to also bring money for supplies and transportation to the placement.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Avigail, We are happy to hear that you enjoyed your teaching experience and always felt safe in Merida, Mexico. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
Andrea – IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

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Jeremy
Male
20 years old
San Diego, California
San Diego State University

Merida, mexico

8/10

I worked in childcare at the summer camp X'cuyun. I worked with mainly the boys but I worked with the other kids as well. The volunteering experience was life changing. I can not speak Spanish well, but interacting with the kids was still fairly easy. They were so loving and treated me with respect. We played a lot of soccer so the first day I got pretty beat due to the heat. But I began to get used to it and adjusted to the heat. Being able to watch these kids have such a fun time with just a ball was a humbling experience.

Useful tips I would suggest is bring a ton of sunscreen and bug spray. You will need it! Also, watch out for getting sick. Take care of yourself and drink water and electrolytes. Just remember, If you aren't well you can't help out as well!

How can this program be improved?

I honestly thought the program was amazing, especially for the price. My only suggestion would be to maybe try to keep people in the same program throughout their whole time, especially if they are there for only 2 weeks because it allows bonding. Just a thought!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Jeremy, We are happy to hear that you enjoyed your time on the program. Thanks for your very practical advice for future volunteers heading to Mexico – we hope others take heed!
Andrea – IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

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William
Male
19 years old
Merida
Other

Farm work in Merida

8/10

The Mayan agriculture programme is interesting as you get a true cultural experience of what it's like living the lives of Maya tribes, doing different kind of jobs everyday as you take part in the development a new and upcoming project by IVHQ. I would definitely recommend a good level of Spanish for the Mayan agriculture programme, more than others, as even the coordinator there speaks no English.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi William, Thanks for sharing. We are glad to hear that you found the Mayan Agriculture project to be an interesting project. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

Default avatar
Antonia
Female
24 years old
Mexico
Borough of Manhattan Community College

Ivhq mexixo

10/10

I have volunteered with ivhq before and loved it! It's affordable and you have great help from the day you apply. My time here has been great! I worked in a daycare with around 13/15 kids. Even though I don't speak spanish they I'll very welcoming and you can communicate with the kids easily by just smoky and playing games with them. Whenever I volunteer with ivhq, I always like to stay in the volunteer house because you get to meet some really cool people from all over the world! I'm happy to say that I still speak to volunteers who I met 5 years ago! And I hope to do the same with the volunteers this time round. While you are here in Merida you will have lots of opportunities to travel :) I did the pink beach, cenotes, Cancun and chichen itza! And again it's all very affordable

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Antonia, Thanks for sharing! It is heartwarming to hear that you are still in touch with the volunteers you met on your IVHQ program 5 years ago – that it awesome! Thanks for your travel recommendations and for being a returning volunteer, we hope to have you join us again!
Andrea – IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

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Shaila
Female
19 years old
Merida, Yucatán
Other

IVHQ Mexico

10/10

This was my first ever volunteer experience and it left me with so many great first impressions of volunteering abroad. Because I worked in the summer program it was a little disorganized but it was understandable . This required a lot of creativity which is why I enjoyed it very much. I arrived at my placement not knowing where to begin . The girls that I worked with were all at different levels with their English . Some didn't even know how to read or write in Spanish . So if I knew that I would have arrived more prepared.
Before volunteering I would have never thought I'd become so close to my roomates . Everyone bonded in the house which helped with feeling homesick . And I would have never thought I'd attached to the kids either . The kids are sweet , caring and very athletic .

How can this program be improved?

More organized .

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Shaila, We are stoked to hear that your first volunteer experience was a success. It sounds like you used your initiative and really made the most of the time at your placement. Thanks for being a great volunteer and we hope you will join us again!
Andrea – IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

Default avatar
Yelim
Female
19 years old
Mérida
Carnegie Mellon University

IVHQ México

9/10

I really enjoyed my time in Mérida. The staff were extremely supportive and did everything they can to make the volunteers feel comfortable with their living situation and placement.
While it is important that the volunteers are open towards new experiences, I think IVHQ can improve the program by giving more information to the volunteers before they arrive, such as age range of the children or what has been done in the past.
Overall, it has been an extremely rewarding time here in México and I would definitely recommend it anyone who is on the fence.

How can this program be improved?

Stated above

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Yelim, Thanks for sharing! We are so glad to hear that you really enjoyed your time in Mexico. Thanks for your feedback and for recommending IVHQ!
Andrea – IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

Allison
Female

Teaching English

8/10

I was able to volunteer in several different locations during my time in Mexico. Each placement had a different feel, but they were all very welcoming. The kids are always eager to learn and a lot of fun to be around.
The staff is always willing to help will do anything they can to make your stay in Mexico more fun and comfortable.
Mexico is an incredible place to visit and this program is a great way to explore Mexico while making a difference.

How can this program be improved?

It would be nice if drinks were provided, at least with meals.
Also there was not really a good system of keeping track of what other volunteers had done, so it was very hard to gauge where students were with their English skills and what they still needed to learn.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Allison, We are happy to hear that you felt welcomed and accommodated while on our program in Mexico. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
Andrea – IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

Maria
Female

Great way to travel

9/10

I loved the program and all volunteers! Very easy to form a community while traveling alone. I stayed with a host family and enjoyed it! At first I was nervous, I would be disconnected from the group not living at the Volunteer Inn, but that was not the case at all! I volunteered with the Teaching English and teaching abroad was such a cool experience- I LOVED it. The kids were amazing! If you come, just remember to drink lots and lots of water!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Maria, We are so happy to hear that you loved the program and all of the volunteers! Thanks for sharing your positive experience and your recommendations for future volunteers. We would love to have you join us again!
Andrea – IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

Default avatar
Macet
Female
20 years old
Iowa
University of Northern Iowa

When in Mexico

9/10

My time in Mexico was amazing. The children at my placement taught me the beauty of life. The smiles, hugs, and laughs were well worth the sweat and tiredness. Along with the volunteering, the gals at my placement made my experience even better. Everyone was so welcoming and ready to experience the area and culture together. I also had the opportunity to travel around to Chichen Itza, cenotes, and the pink lakes!! My overall experience was amazing and I can't wait to come back one day!!

How can this program be improved?

I think keeping some water and snacks around for the volunteers would be beneficial!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Macet, We are so happy to hear that you had an amazing experience in Merida, Mexico! It sounds like you made the most of your time on the program by getting stuck into your placement, making friends with the other volunteers, and exploring in your spare time. We can’t wait to have you back!
Andrea – IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

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Sara
Female
21 years old
Iowa
University of Northern Iowa

When in Merida

7/10

My trip in Merida was full of challenges and illness but the friends I made and the program I volunteered in made this experience worth it. The hosts were very helpful in taking me to the doctor and translating for me when I needed help. Both of the homes I stayed in were very nice and I would definitely recommend a host family if you are wanting more comfort and privacy. Merida is a beautiful city with a lot to explore and the volunteers in the program become your friends very quickly. Although challenging, this program was fun and worth the trip!

How can this program be improved?

I would recommend more communication before the program on what to expect. The program I was at had very few resources and volunteers were expected to plan a lot of the days activities with very little help. If there was more communication volunteers would come more prepared for the programs and the programs would have more or an impact.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Sara, Thanks for sharing. We are glad that in spite of being unwell on the program you felt supported by the local team and still managed to enjoy your time in Merida. Thanks for your recommendations and we wish you well!
Andrea – IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

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Kourtney
Female
19 years old
California
Other

Childcare in Merida

10/10

I volunteered in Mérida for 4 weeks, and I wish I could stay longer. I have grown so close to all of the children and ladies at my volunteer placement and I looked forward to seeing them everyday. Every single person I have met here, whether it be a fellow volunteer, a coordinator, or someone else in charge, it has been a pleasant experience and I have felt extremely cared for. I have grown close to the children and the coordinators of the entire Mexico program and they feel like family. I highly recommend this to anybody who really wants to submerge themselves in a new culture and live like a local. :)

How can this program be improved?

I think water should be provided at the house for the volunteers, and maybe some snacks as well!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Kourtney, Thanks for sharing this lovely review! We are so glad to hear that you had a great 4 weeks volunteering in Merida, Mexico. It has been a pleasure to have you join us and we would love to have you back one day!
Andrea – IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

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Nisha
Female
28 years old
Canada
Ryerson University

Merida

8/10

I had a very pleasant and exciting volunteer experience. The staff and community members were extremely friendly and welcoming. The summer camp was fun and I feel the youth really enjoyed it. They took some time to warm up to me, especially considering that I did not speak Spanish.

At times I felt that there were very low expectations of volunteers and the program catered more to the needs of the volunteers than the youth. The resources at the centre are limited, so i definitely encourage volunteers to bring materials with them.

How can this program be improved?

Clear guidelines and expectations should be outlined for volunteers. Volunteers should be advised in advance what program and population they will be working with, so they can bring materials from their home country.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Nisha, Thanks for sharing. We are really glad to hear that you had a pleasant and exciting volunteer experience. Thanks also for your feedback and recommendations, we will be sure to take these on board.

Andrea – IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

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Jara
Female
21 years old
Indiana

IVHQ Mexico

7/10

I did the IVHQ Mexico program for one week, and overall it was a good experience. There were a few things that could have been improved, but that's always the case when you go to a foreign country! The local staff were super supportive and always responded to our calls/texts within a few minutes, and they were more than willing to take us to the doctor/regularly check in on us when several volunteers on my program got sick. The volunteering programs were pretty good, too. It felt like you were really doing something to help the community. The other volunteers were all super nice - they were my favorite part of the trip! The accommodation was pretty nice - the pool was definitely very helpful in the hot summertime to cool off in!

How can this program be improved?

I think it would be helpful if there were a lot more fans in the volunteer house because it was VERY hot, especially at night. I woke up every morning DRENCHED in sweat, and I usually wake up cold when I'm at home. I think it would also be helpful if maybe you knew ahead of time more concrete plans about what to do with the kids, because a lot of us weren't completely clear on what lessons we should plan for when we arrived.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Jara, Thanks for sharing. We are glad to hear that the local team was supportive, the volunteer placements were worthwhile, and that the other volunteers were friendly. Thanks for your feedback and recommendations - we always appreciate hearing of ways to improve our programs. We wish you all the best!
Andrea – IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

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Zachary

IVHQ Volunteer In Merida Mexico

10/10

Volunteering in Merida Mexico was a great eye-opening experience. First off the volunteer house was a good place to live. Everything was good and the dinners were great. I was placed in two locations to volunteer. The first location was at a school next to the house where they offered many activities for children. The kids all came from troubled families and it was a pleasure bringing some light into their lives. Although they came from rough upbringings they were happy to be alive. The second location was in a Mayan village. These were younger kids. This village was very rural without many resources but once again the kids made the best of their surroundings and had great spirits. All of the kids were happy to have us there and it really made me feel good to be around them. It was a great experience. The IVHQ staff was very friendly. They helped organize tours and resources in and around the city. I would recommend this program.

How can this program be improved?

I thought the program did the best with the resources that they had.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Zachary, We are so happy to hear that you had an eye-opening experience in Merida, Mexico! It sounds like you made the most of your time there by enjoying your placements and taking tours in your spare time. Thanks for your recommendation and we would love to have you join us again in the future.
Andrea – IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

Jessica
Female

Childcare in Xcuyun

9/10

Although I only volunteered for a week, I still had a great time. I lived in the hostel, and at the time, there were around 25 volunteers. Miguel and Janese were both amazing, and they were always looking after our comfort and health. Additionally, Monica was always willing to help us with whatever we needed.

Groups of volunteers will be at different placements, and I was put in a summer camp program in Xcuyun. There were lots of kids, all very energetic, but they loved seeing us volunteers each day. I played with a group of boys, and we split each day into 3 sections: teaching English, sports, and crafts. The boys loved playing soccer, so we centered activities around this sport, making it easy to keep them engaged.

How can this program be improved?

It would be much easier to get the summer camp started if there were notes or reflections from the years before. It was the fourth time the program had run when I went, but there was no information on what activities previous volunteers had done that worked successfully.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Jessica, Thanks for sharing. We are so glad to hear that you had a great time on the program in Mexico. It sounds like you made the most of the week at your placement and we appreciate your feedback and recommendations for improving the summer camp. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
Andrea – IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

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Adela
Female
Salt Lake City, Utah
Portland State University

Mayan Agriculture

9/10

The UMA San Luis Farm's focus is to develop traditional forms of farming and to conserve biodiversity of the tropical forest on its property. One goal of UMA San Luis is to provide a setting where local Mayan children can learn about sustainable farming. Anastasio and Veronica are the head of the mayan family that lives adjacent to the farm. They look after the volunteers in several aspects. Anastasio provides the knowledge and guidance volunteers need to perform the work and achieve the farm's aims. He is also the guide to several local attractions such as the archeological site Ek Balam and a handful of Cenotes (bodies of fresh water that can be in caves or partly exposed) in the area. He has extensive knowledge about the trees and plants that are common to the area. He speaks Maya and Spanish. His wife Veronica speaks mostly Mayan but can understand some Spanish phrases. She prepares all the meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She is also able to do laundry for a small additional cost.

UMA San Luis has bathroom facilities that include flushing toilets and showers. There is no electricity at UMA San Luis Farm, so volunteers should bring a flashlight for evening hour use. There is electricity at Anastacio's house and cellular reception is also available at Anastacio's. Volunteers have the option of sleeping on hammocks that are under the volunteer pavilion. If you choose the hammocks you may want to bring a mosquito net. The volunteer pavilion also has tents and there are air mattress in the tents.

Days at the farm are guided by sunlight. Most activity starts early in the morning since sunlight begins early. Volunteers are up by 7am and breakfast is ready by 8am. Volunteer head off to work after breakfast. There are several tasks: such as cleaning planting area, collecting rocks to create areas for planting, clearing unwanted shrubbery, planting seeds, building bird boxes, creating paths, and other general farm tasks. Work ends around noon. Volunteers have an hour to clean up and get ready for lunch which starts at 1pm. Volunteers have the afternoon for any activities that are of interest, and Anastasio is happy to guide and lead the expeditions.

The typical food is excellent. There is plenty of fruit at all meals, and tortillas are provided at every meal too. There are excellent vegetarian options. There can be tamales, panuchos, black beans, chicken soup, vegetable soup, lentils, eggs with tomatoes, and Veronica is happy to make dishes based on suggestions. Pan dulce is also available at most meals.

Tony, UMA San Luis' founder is present at the farm several days during the week. He makes trips to town to collect food items and other materials for volunteers and the farm. He is extremely friendly and is always asking what he can do for volunteers.

The farm has some bicycles that can be used to reach destinations. The closest town is X-ush, it's a very small town with only two small stores. There is a cenote close to this town. The next larger town is Hunuku, it's North of the town and a little further to reach. There are taxis here that can be taken to the amazing ruins of Ek-Balam. The town also offers motorcycle taxis that can be taken to several different cenotes that are excellent. Anastasio can take you to a cenote that is currently not open to the public, but its owned by community group be knows. Hunuku can be found on google maps, but X-ush is too small to find on google maps. The road from the farm to both these towns is not named or paved.

On the weekends Tony can drive volunteers to Valladolid. This is an historic town that is worth exploring. I stayed at Hotel Zaci and explored the cenotes in the ares, markets, public squares, restaurants, churches, streets, and the art house of Casa de Los Venados.

My experience was extremely positive and I learned many wonderful things about the farm, mayan day to day life, cenotes, plants and trees, and many things that must be experienced.

How can this program be improved?

They may want to invest in better mountain bikes since the terrain is very rocky and having bikes is extremely useful in getting around the area. There are no cars other than Tony's and he may or may not be available to drive. The road has areas that are really too rocky for some cars.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Adela, Thanks so much for taking the time to write an in-depth description of your time on the program in Mexico, we really appreciate it and we are sure this will be helpful for future Maya Agriculture volunteers. We are so glad that you found the food excellent, the local team friendly and had an extremely positive experience. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
Andrea – IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

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Kinza
Female
23 years old
Toronto
OCAD University

Childcare in Mérida

10/10

I volunteered at a Foundation that adopted children who had been abandoned by their parents. They weren't orphans necessarily, because they technically had parents, but their parents did not want them, hence living at the Foundation. I volunteered for two weeks with a very tiny background in speaking Spanish. As soon as I met the children, I fell hard in love. I've worked with children in Canada for the last 7 years, and working with the children in Mexico was completely different. I had never met such humble and appreciative children. My presence alone was good enough to make them happy! We helped with homework, brought them paper and colouring supplies, and other arts & crafts. They would get so excited at the simplest supplies, which was such a nice feeling. These children were not spoiled, in fact, they had been removed from one of the most important parts of childhood - having parents - yet they were the kindest, most appreciative children I'd ever met.

The most rewarding part of the trip for me was helping a 12 year old boy with a slight learning disability. He was unable to focus on his homework and would often skip numbers when counting to 10. When I helped him finish his addition and subtraction homework - in Spanish - the look on his face was priceless. A boy who struggled to do homework was so excited to have finished his homework, and he was able to play after that! Being a part of a moment that doesn't seem so special, felt incredibly special to both him and I.

I would volunteer a thousand times again if I could. Volunteering with children has been a life-changing experience. I want to help children who don't have what I was fortunate enough to have, I want to give back because I was lucky enough to have a privileged life. I want these children to live happy lives.

Melissa
Female
36 years old
Chicago, Illinois

Special needs care in merida.

9/10

This will be hard to put into words. I was seeing everything for the first time. This was my first time doing something like this, as well as my first time ever leaving my own country by myself.
There are so many unique experiences ive had, but the most intense would have to be my first and last day at pastoral del amor.
My first day... i walk in to a 300yr old building surrounded by nuns. I was kindly greeted and then introduced to the 'kids', who ranged from ages 12 - 50. I didnt expect that. I worked with the kids for a few hours doing various art projects. When lunch time rolled around, that is where i got my first real dose of reality. I had to spoonfeed some of them. I had never done that before. Iwas afraid id hurt them.
They were so helpless. It really hits you in that instant just how vulnerable and reliant on you that they are. You realize in a millisecond just how much in life we take for granted. They have to live like this... every minute of their life. This is their reality. They have no mothers, no fathers. Just you and the nuns.
I wiped the tears from my eyes and reached out my left hand. I gently lifted up a bib to a 19yr olds chin. I said hello, but she couldnt speak. She could only stare. I smiled anyway, hoping it helped. I tilted her head back, and with my right hand i slowly poured a spoonful of some sort of pureed tomato liquid into her mouth. She didnt swallow. I wasnt sure what to do so a nun came over to show me. I needed to tilt her head back more and rub her throat to stimulate the muscles into swallowing. Once i got it right, the girl who could not speak would swallow... then let out a short but genuinely happy little laugh.
Fast forward to my last day. The day it sunk into my head that i was truly leaving. I was so sad. The kids were sad too. I promised them i would come back. I think about them every single day. I finally found my purpose.

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Amy
Female
20 years old
Inuvik, Canada
Other

First time solo, amazing trip!

9/10

This was my first time traveling alone and honestly, it was the time of my life! I always felt safe, and that if i ever needed anything i'd get assistance right away. I did animal care and you really get attached to the animals and grow bonds. I would recommend this to anyone! Its super affordable, and honestly, you wont regret it! Merida is also an extremely beautiful city and very easy to learn how to get around once you've been there a few days. The in country staff are also super friendly. I didn't know any Spanish when I went, and it was easy enough to find my way around, and i defiantly learned some by the time i left.

How can this program be improved?

The only thing that could improve this program would be if the description on the website mentioned how much yard work is involved with animal care. The shelter needs to be kept clean to keep the animals safe.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Amy, It's great to hear that your time in Mexico was such a positive experience volunteering on the Animal Care project. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

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Dhana
Female
24 years old
mumbai
University of Kent

Live like a local in Merida, México

8/10

When I landed in Merida, the local staff made me feel like home. I was worried about adjusting to a new environment but being around like minded people and an extremely helpful and comforting program staff, it felt like home, a different home in a different country. There are so many fun things to do in Merida, where you can wind up after a long days work, not once was I bored. It was a perfect volunteering program in a perfect location; excellent organisations to volunteer for, diverse range of volunteering activities, very flexible and friendly local program staff, plenty of activities and you have no choice but to live like a local and do all the things that locals do. It was a life I would go back to any day.

If you would like to read more about IVHQ volunteering experience, click here : https://lifeofavolunteerblog.wordpress.com/

How can this program be improved?

this program was perfect with variety of placements and plenty of activities. however coming from a business background I would have also enjoyed a Business field placement at an NGO or local social enterprise or at any governmental organisation.

another thing I would like to change would be to recruit serious willing volunteers, who respect the profession of volunteering and are actually signing up to volunteer as their primary goal.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Dhana, It's great to hear from you! Thanks for sharing a little from your experience in Merida. It sounds like you had a really meaningful time and we are glad we could provide this for you. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

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Tammy
Female
44 years old
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Great experience for my Family and me

9/10

My husband and I brought our two boys aged 10 and 12 to Merida Mexico over spring break to volunteer in the Childcare program. We had a great time with the beautiful children of Xcuyun Mexico. I think we learned more than they did, they taught us numbers and colors etc. It was a bit challenging for us as we did not speak much Spanish but the kids made fast friends with my boys and we had so much fun. The staff at IVHQ were great at helping us get around and navigate the city, and also set up some amazing tours. Our homestay was amazing, the house was next to the park and the food was great as was the accommodation. Angelica, our host was so gracious and welcoming. We would definitely volunteer with IVHQ again in the future.

How can this program be improved?

I would have likes a little more information before we went on where we would be going, age of children etc. As well as I felt like we could have been more prepared with crafts etc that we could have brought from home. Also, we will have more Spanish knowledge before we volunteer again, or take Spanish classes while we are there.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Tammy, Thanks for sharing feedback about your time in Mexico. We follow the progress of our family groups closely and we are so glad to hear that you, Jeff and your two boys had such a rewarding experience. Thanks for choosing IVHQ and we look forward to welcoming you all back on another IVHQ program again in the future.

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Ruth
Female
21 years old
Merano, Italy

Spread love for animals

9/10

As I worked at an animal shelter for cats and dogs, the dogs of course were in need of regular baths. However, the staff was very limited (only one employee besides the volunteers), so the animals could not get all the attention they needed. Luckily, there was an expat-team that came to the shelter every single friday to bathe, brush and walk the dogs. Friday was definitely our all favorite day! We learned so much about every single dog and got to know the animals' characters so well... Those expats were honestly some of the most inspirational people I've ever met!! Animal lovers just rule.

How can this program be improved?

I definitely think IVHQ should arrange pick-ups not only from the airport in Merida, but also from the one in Cancun, which is only an hour away and so much easier to fly into. Also, transportation to the airport at the end of the program should be included in the program fee.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Ruth, Thanks for sharing a little from your experience volunteering in Mexico. It sounds like you had a really memorable time on your placement at the animal shelter which is great to hear. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

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Nicolette
Female
25 years old
Honolulu, Hawaii

Great experience

9/10

I did a Mayan agriculture project outside of Valladolid. It wasn't my intended program, not did I sign up for it. Nonetheless it was probably better than my original choice. We stayed in a small farm near Temozon with a Mayan family. Their food was amazing and the family itself were the sweetest people I've ever met.

Had I gone on vacation I would have ended up in Cancun or playa del Carmen, and it wouldn't have been the same. I probably wouldn't have gotten to hold and be kissed by a spider monkey. I wouldn't have learned basic Mayan. I wouldn't have learned the joys of sleeping in a hammock. But most of all, contrary to the tourist experience, I found many similarities with my own culture. This trip obliterated that idea of otherness.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Nicolette, Thanks for your review. It's great hear you had such a positive experience volunteering on the Mayan Agriculture project in Mexico. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

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joe
Other
18 years old
midwest
Simpson College

Teaching English in Cholul

9/10

Short stay in Merida, but managed to make it to Cholul to teach english to young kids. Had a nice time, and did my best to help them learn as I had not had much experience with teaching/volunteering. Very worthwhile, and highly recommended.

How can this program be improved?

It is constantly improving, it just needs time. The facilities will look great in a year or so, and the program just needs more support/awareness from outside sources. A very noble project.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Joe, Thanks for the recommendation. It's great to have you as an IVHQer and we hope to see you on another program again soon.

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Annie
Female
19 years old
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

mexico

9/10

I had to take 1:30 of buses to et to my placement both ways, which was pretty surprising (i did not expect it) and took of lot of time each day. And it was only 10km (15 min by car) from the house.Placement was really nice and fun but only 3h and we spent 3h to get there... it felt as we spend more time in the bus than at placement.

How can this program be improved?

more diversity of food for breakfast (fruits and vegetables!)
Clear info about the bus station and their schedules when we want to visit somewhere
Be aware that we might have an uniform at placement so we can bing pants, shoes, etc in advance.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Annie, thanks for your feedback - we really appreciate it. I have passed on your comments to the Program Manager who will work with the team in-country to improve this for future volunteers! We hope to see you volunteer again :-)

About The Provider

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IVHQ (International Volunteer HQ) provides safe, unique, meaningful and extremely affordable volunteer programs in 35+ countries around the world, with a constantly expanding base. Programs are available in Asia, Africa, Europe, Central America, South America and the Pacific, where IVHQ works alongside local NGOs to

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