Volunteering in Mexico, one of the most diverse countries in the world – biologically, ethnically, linguistically, and culturally – means you'll never be bored. Mexico is home to one of the new seven wonders of the world (Chichén Itza), dozens of biosphere reserves (monarch butterflies, coral reefs, volcanoes, and more), spectacular beaches, world-renowned cuisine, and the second-largest city in the world (Mexico City). There really is something for everyone!

Maintaining this diversity while growing economically has been one of Mexico's foremost challenges. Popular volunteer projects in Mexico include environmental initiatives and work with poor communities. Unfortunately, the country also continues to struggle with providing basic services, particularly in rural areas, which means that health and education volunteers in Mexico are regularly needed. Many volunteer opportunities are only available to volunteers with some Spanish.

Environmental

Mexico is one of a few "mega-diverse" countries in which most of the world's biological diversity is found. A number of different projects work to maintain this diversity, and volunteers might conduct flora and fauna censuses or provide community education about conservation. Experience in biology and botany is a plus.

Work with Children and Youth

Social services in Mexico are chronically underfunded, particularly those that work with orphans, children in poor communities, and children of single mothers. Volunteers in this realm nurture these children, and their work is truly an investment in Mexico's future.

Education

Schools in Mexico can't keep up with growing numbers of students. Poor students rarely have access to English and computer classes, which provide economic mobility, and volunteers can help create these opportunities for underserved youth.

Health

Volunteers, particularly those with a medical background, can work in clinics throughout Mexico or help with outreach projects. These positions typically require the highest level of Spanish.

Gender Equality

Violence against women in Mexico puts them at an extreme economic and social disadvantage. Women make significantly less money than men and many times they need to travel for work. Volunteers can help change the long history of discrimination and sexist attitudes.

Volunteer Support

Many large cities in Mexico have fairly large populations of expats from the U.S., so you can expect to find organizations of foreigners, English-language bookstores and libraries, and stores that will sell comfort food and familiar brands. The U.S. embassies and consulates are also very helpful in case of emergency and the economic dominance of English means that you can almost always find someone to translate in a pinch. (Similarly, many doctors have trained in the U.S. and speak excellent English.)

NGOs/Nonprofit/Volunteer History in Mexico

Since the 1990s, perhaps the most visible role of NGOs has been in preventing violence - and mediating - between the government and indigenous peoples. However, NGOs and nonprofits are currently active in many realms of political, social, and economic life in Mexico.

Know Before You Go

Due to the drug war, customs agents are particularly diligent about medication. If you need prescription meds, bring enough for your entire stay, or get the chemical formula and have it filled locally. (The second option is usually cheaper, even without insurance.)

How to Save Money While Volunteering in Mexico

If you're interested in learning more Spanish, see if you can arrange an intercambio - a language exchange with someone interested in learning English. Live in a homestay or with local students - either way, you'll live cheaply and really improve your Spanish. Cook meals instead of going out, and learn what's local and in season to eat the most cheaply.

Best Places to Volunteer

Mexico City, Oaxaca, the Yucatán, anywhere near a beach.

Questions to Ask

Are you responsible for arranging your own housing? Is there an option to take language classes? How much free time will you have? Are there opportunities to travel within Mexico?

Visas for Volunteering in Mexico

Citizens of the U.S., E.U., and many other countries do not require visas to enter Mexico as tourists, and can stay for up to 180 days.

The diversity of Mexico makes it difficult to make country-wide recommendations, although typhoid and hepatitis A and B vaccinations are recommended for all travelers. Anti-malarials are recommended for a small number of rural areas, and insect protection measures are advised due to the prevalence of dengue fever. Long-term volunteers might consider travel insurance.

Although the U.S. media paint Mexico as dangerous, the truth is that drug-war-related violence is limited to the border region and the states of Sinaloa, Michoacán, and Guerrero, particularly Acapulco. General street smarts are all that's required for most of Mexico: the traffic is usually the single biggest hazard to your safety.

Contributed by Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein

Volunteer Programs in Mexico

Volunteering is a great way to make your travel experience more meaningful
Displaying 61 - 73 of 73 programs
Voluntrek
Train to Volunteer in Natural Disasters in Mexico
Mexico

You will be trained in Mexico City by one of the most recognized...

Simply Smiles
Volunteer at the Simply Smiles Home for Children in Oaxaca, Mexico
Mexico

We are looking for exceptional volunteer groups to travel to the...

Voluntrek
Volunteer in Mexico with Voluntrek!
Mexico

Voluntrek specializes in volunteer programs in Mexico; volunteer from...

Voluntrek
Voluntrek: Build a Home for a Family in Need
Mexico

Work together with other volunteers to provide a home for a family in...

Human Connections
Local Cultures & Community Engagement Alternative Spring Break
Mexico

Join a group of globally-minded students from across North America...

Voluntrek
Summer Program! Boy Scout Patrol Leader for Underprivileged Children
Mexico

Volunteer this Summer as a Boy/Girl Scout Patrol Leader at a school´s...

ESL - Language Studies Abroad
Volunteer Work Opportunities in Mexico
Mexico

Playa del Carmen in Mexico is more than just a vacation destination...

Mexican Volunteer Experience
Volunteer with People with Disabilities & Learn Spanish in Mexico
Mexico

This project is for caring and compassionate people who are willing to...

FM4 Paso Libre
Full time volunteer in Migrant Attention Center
Mexico

FM4 Paso Libre has a Migrant Attention Center that works every day of...

Boomerang Communities
Mexico - Social Enterprise and Community Development
Mexico

Support Hammock Boutique, a recently certified B-corp and Fair Trade...

Mexican Volunteer Experience
Teach English to Children in Mexico City
Mexico

English is an important language to know due to high globalization in...

Explore Volunteering Abroad in Mexico

What People Are Saying

Volunteering

Volunteering with Aantah Tulum was definitely a once in a lifetime experience and a meaningful way to help the children in Tulum. Knowing that I was able to help make a difference in their everyday...

everyone is so caring

The impact that has this is incredible, they are always taking care of the children and also trying to help them in any way. I had a lot of fun and also learn so much about the communities, they don’t...

Volunteer Program

Hi my name is Roberto I recently volunteered with Aantah Tulum. I was on the Teaching English Program. In my experience volunteering gave me the chance to give back something meaningful to the...

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