Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in Mexico from $270

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About

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.

As an IVHQ volunteer in Mexico, you can choose to volunteer in Merida, the cultural capital of the Yucatan, or in the popular coastal location of San Pancho. Your Program Fee includes airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support. You’ll be accommodated in a volunteer house with other like-minded, impact-focused travelers from around the world. IVHQ is trusted to support the meaningful adventures of thousands of volunteers every year, so before you even depart for Mexico, you’ll receive outstanding personalized service from your expert Volunteer Program Manager and exclusive access to superior pre-departure volunteer training.

IVHQ Volunteer Projects in Mexico:

  • Teaching English (Merida)
  • Childcare (Merida)
  • Special Needs Care (Merida)
  • Animal Care/Animal Rights (Merida)
  • Maya Agriculture (Merida)
  • Childcare and Education (San Pancho)
  • Environmental Education and Upcycling (San Pancho)
  • Art and Community Outreach (San Pancho)

Questions & Answers

Reviews

89%
based on 39 reviews
  • Impact 8.5
  • Support 8.8
  • Fun 9
  • Value 8.8
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 15 of 39
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Jillian
9/10

My Experience in Merida, Yucatan.

My trip to Mexico was an incredible experience for the most part! I had an amazing time teaching English to the wonderful students at Serapio Baquiero Preve. I met some amazing people in my volunteer house who I became close friends and had a lot of fun with. The schedule was intense but I learned to go with the flow and find ways to make the most out of my time there. There were absolutely some challenges along the way. Running on a lack of sleep was something that I struggled with throughout the trip, but I was able to deal with it more effectively as time went on. The volunteers working at my placement were the ones that had to get up the earliest, since the classes at the elementary school sometimes started as early as 7:20, and we had to be up quite early in order to catch the bus there. But the flipside of their early start time was that their English classes for the day always ended around noon, so we would have the rest of the day to do whatever we wanted and enjoy ourselves. I had a great time exploring the Mayan ruins, going to cenotes, beaches, malls, and clubs with my friends, and just relaxing at the volunteer house and hitting up the gym that I found nearby. The students were all very bright and incredibly sweet. They had an insane amount of energy and it was often hard to get them to focus on the material we were trying to teach them - especially the younger ones - but they were all very clearly grateful for our presence there, and shared an infectious energy and enthusiasm. It was a more smooth process teaching English and playing games with the older kids, who understood the language a little bit better and were more calm and engaged with the material. The littler kids, even though a lot of them didn't understand what we were trying to teach, were all very sweet and thrilled to talk to us in Spanish and in the little English that they did understand. I can't overstate what good kids they were. All of them were so, so sweet. A lot of them were rowdy, but none of them were punky or mean kids. There was not a bad one in the bunch. Overall, I had a great time (even though I was exhausted for most of it!). It's an experience I'll never forget, and I'd love to volunteer abroad more in the future. As far as being ready, I would just advise future participants to be mindful of the amount of sleep they might be getting during their time abroad, and to be mindful of the heat and how that can really suck the energy out of you. Otherwise, just do the training, bring some bug spray (and VapoRub for mosquito bites! It helps the itching!), and you'll be good to go!

How can this program be improved?
This program can be improved by having the local staff act a little bit more professionally.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Bradley
9/10

CRIA

My daughter and I served in Merida for one short week. She at CRIT and I CRIA, where we (I was with two other young men) played, socialized, and kind of mentored young men, mostly teens, who have been removed from their families for various reasons. The boys were full of energy. Just like everyone, they just want some fun and happiness in their lives. I found them to be hard working, respectful, and kind.
The only thing I would do differently is prepare better for the weather and mosquitoes and volunteer for two weeks. We arrived on Sunday evening and left Saturday afternoon, so we weren’t able to visit any sites. Straddling a weekend would be advised. Or at least extend your stay. We also did a homestay, which was fabulous. But I think there is something to be gained in staying at the volunteer inn. All in all, this was a great experience for both myself and my daughter, who is already thinking of other volunteer opportunities and wants to improve upon her Spanish!

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

Volunteering in Mérida, México

I volunteered at an animal shelter in Mérida, México, for 4 weeks. I chose México for its culture and delicious food and I wanted to stay for the people I met and the animals at the shelter.

As a volunteer I worked cleaning the dogs and cats cages, feeding them, brushing them, walking them and also just playing and cuddling with them. That was a very important part of the job because the goal is to get those animals adopted and so they need to get used to human touch.
The shelter is only a 15 min walk from the volunteer house, which is a big plus!

I decided to stay for 1 week at the volunteer house, which was very fun and comfortable (it also has a pool!!), the food was great and I liked spending time with the other volunteers. The rest of my time in Mérida I spent it with a host family. This is something I recommend to everyone because in my opinion it gives you the full experience, especially if you want to improve your Spanish skills. During my time at the homestay I didn't feel isolated or far away from the other volunteers, on the contrary, I saw them all the time and we hung out together, took trips together, etc.

I chose IVHQ because it was important for me to feel safe and supported during my stay and this is something that really was true, there was always 24/7 someone I could talk to or contact in case of trouble. Also, I feel like Mérida is a great choice because I always felt very safe no matter what time of the day, the people were friendly and helpful and it's very easy and cheap to move around. You must be prepared for the heat, though :)

For those who are still not sure, I would just tell you to take the plunge and do it :)

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

Making a Difference in Animal Care

I worked in the Animal Care program with several other volunteers at two animal shelters in Merida, Mexico. In both cases, I felt like I was making a difference in the lives of dogs and cats. One of my favorite memories was how grateful the permanent workers and local volunteers were for our work and support. It was incredibly rewarding to help them and support their programs. IVHQ staff were incredibly supportive before I left for my volunteer placement. They answered all of my questions quickly and the orientation process was fun, interactive, and easy to follow. Mexico was my first volunteer abroad experience deeply affected me and has increased my commitment to promoting the proper care and treatment of cats and dogs.

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

Fun and safe

I had the pleasure to volunteer with my teen for a week during school spring break. We had great time in Merida.Placement was situated on a quite street. Location was very safe. Property was kept locked all the time. We were provided with keys upon arrival. Adjacent to the placement were snack shop selling water(1.5 liters for 11 pesos) and laundry. Staff was very knowledgeable, friendly and made us feel at home.We participate in a childcare project.Project was meaningful, children were eager to learn, other volunteers were very responsible.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Petya, We love that your family chose to spend spring break giving back. It's great to hear you found meaning in your project and enjoyed the location of the Merida Program. Thanks again for your great review and we hope you will join us again in the future! ^Andrea - IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

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

1 week full of fun!

It was an excellent week - we got to visit Mérida and its surrounding while participating in a great volunteer placement at a boys shelter! We felt very welcome in our host family and would recommend it to any future students going abroad! The rich experience of living with a host family is irreplaceable! We enjoyed the orientation day on the first day - the staff brought us sightseeing to the main places downtown and took the time to explain the city. One of our favorite moment is the celebration of the Posada at our volunteer placement! If you are looking for a week full of fun - this is the place!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Isabelle, Thanks for your glowing review. We're glad you agree that the host family experience is like no other. Mexico is steeped in history and traditions and was thrilled to hear you enjoyed the delights of the city. Thanks again for the recommendation and we hope you join us again! ^Andrea - IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

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

A+

I only went to Mexico with IVHQ for a week. It was a very pleasant week!! We were safe, well housed, well fed and the staff was very kind. The placement was also very good and we felt very appreciated.

IVHQ stands out because of the way the staff made sure we did not miss anything and that we were happy. We were constantly asked for feedback to improve our personal experience - with food, with our housing or placement. Since I was only there for a week, I wanted to do an activity every afternoon to visit the city. We were helped by the staff to find beautiful places, find the right way to get around with local transport and even organize a tour at a better price than on the internet.

I definitely recommend IVHQ to have peace of mind ! A+ Thank you !!

How can this program be improved?
More description of where our money is going - program fees + host family ; more accurate description of our placement (I was doing childcare, but I was with teenagers - However I loved my placement!). But overall it was very good !!
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Daniella
8/10

Volunteering with IVHQ in Mexico

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.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Daniella, We appreciate your honest feedback and I will pass your concerns onto the local team. I'm glad to hear you saw how beautiful Mexico is! I was just visiting the placements in Mexico and agree, the placements are lovely. There's always more work to be done and we hope you'll join us again in the near further.
Andrea - IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

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

Special Needs in Mexico

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.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Kelly, Thanks for sharing. We are happy to hear that you truly enjoyed your volunteer placement in Mexico and were able to push through the challenges to have a rewarding volunteer experience. Thanks for your suggestions and recommendations, we will be sure to follow up with our local team. We wish you all the best!
Andrea - IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Lauren
7/10

Childcare in Merida Mexico

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.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Lauren, Thanks for sharing. We are happy to hear that you met amazing people and had a unforgettable experience in Merida, Mexico! Thanks for your feedback and for being a great volunteer.
Andrea - IVHQ Mexico Program Manager

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

Childcare at Xcuyun

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

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

Amazing

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

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Avigail
8/10

IVHQ MX

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

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Jeremy
8/10

Merida, mexico

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

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
William
8/10

Farm work in Merida

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!

Yes, I recommend this program

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