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.

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!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

89%
based on 39 reviews
  • Impact 8.5
  • Support 8.8
  • Fun 9
  • Value 8.8
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 16 - 30 of 39
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Antonia
10/10

Ivhq mexixo

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

Yes, I recommend
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Shaila
10/10

IVHQ Mexico

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

Yes, I recommend
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Yelim
9/10

IVHQ México

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

Yes, I recommend
Allison
8/10

Teaching English

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

Yes, I recommend
Maria
9/10

Great way to travel

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

Yes, I recommend
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Macet
9/10

When in Mexico

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

Yes, I recommend
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Sara
7/10

When in Merida

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

Yes, I recommend
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Kourtney
10/10

Childcare in Merida

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

Yes, I recommend
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Nisha
8/10

Merida

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

Yes, I recommend
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Jara
7/10

IVHQ Mexico

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

No, I don't recommend
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Zachary
10/10

IVHQ Volunteer In Merida Mexico

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

Yes, I recommend
Jessica
9/10

Childcare in Xcuyun

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

No, I don't recommend
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Adela
9/10

Mayan Agriculture

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

No, I don't recommend
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Kinza
10/10

Childcare in Mérida

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.

Yes, I recommend
Melissa
9/10

Special needs care in merida.

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.

Yes, I recommend

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