Volunteer Abroad Programs -- Costa Rica | Guatemala | Peru

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Maximo Nivel is a locally based organization in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. Volunteer abroad—get involved, make an impact, and learn to serve by working at local projects.

Since 2003, Maximo Nivel has been a leader in educational travel and study abroad. We are a professional, ethical, and hard-working organization that is completely dedicated to providing a great experience to every participant, student, traveler, and client!.

In your volunteer abroad program at Maximo Nivel:
- Field Managers work side-by-side with volunteers to ensure integration at project sites.
- Great home-base facilities, open 7 days/week, including holidays.
- Special add-on programs: Surf School, Scuba Certification, Yoga Certification, and more
- Earn university credit via our School of Record: California State University-Monterey Bay

Here are some of our popular volunteer abroad projects:

Questions & Answers

Hi, great question! We recommend looking at testimonials and reviews from past participants to get a feel for the program experience. This link has tons of info on what to expect during your time abroad and links to user reviews: https://maximonivel.com/volunteers/what-to-expect/ .
It's easy to register for our programs! If you are ready to sign up, please fill out the registration form in https://maximonivel.com/registration/ . If you have questions about any of the programs, you can contact our Program Advisors using the form in https://maximonivel.com/contact-us/ , who will be happy to help! Maximo Nivel is one of the least expensive international program providers, and...


based on 36 reviews
  • Impact 9
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.1
  • Value 9.4
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 31 - 36 of 36
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Experience of a life time!

This was my first volunteer trip abroad and I couldn't be more satisfied. I went through Maximo Nivel and I can't think of one negative experience from the minute I landed in Guatemala to the minute I left. Maximo Nivel arranged for someone to pick us up from the airport and take us to their building and the host family we were staying with. My host family was absolutely wonderful and the house was a very comfortable size. We were served fresh fruit and veggies with every mean, which was important to me. The staff at Maximo Nivel was also amazing and showed us around the whole town, explained how to travel around and use the public buses, and even gave us helpful tips when needed. I volunteered at an orphanage where the kids would run up to be and hug me every morning. Nothing made me happier than to see the little guys and I miss them terribly already! While we were in Guatemala we also took some evening and weekend trips which were recommended to us. Going on those trips helped us make many new friends which we still keep in touch with. Everyone, form the staff to the volunteers were extremely friendly and energetic. I loved everything about this trip and would recommend to anyone. It is life changing and eye opening to do something like this. Don't make excuses and just do it! You won't regret it as long as you go there with an opened mind and willingness to help and make a difference. When I went to Guatemala I was hoping to change a child's life, but instead, they changed mine.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Guate Guate Guate!!!!

The shouts from chicken buses, the brightly coloured local dress, smells wafting from local eateries and street stalls, and music drifting from the Parque Central...you know you're alive in Antigua, Guatemala!

I was lucky enough to spend 2 months there during the festive season, taking part in the Burning of the Devil celebrations, being hauled in to a local Posada parade, and being invited to eat tamales and drink Christmas punch with local families. I lived with the warmest and loveliest of Guatemalan families, who generously shared their home and life with me and my fellow volunteers, including us in all of their celebrations.

I had signed up for the medical volunteer programme, not really knowing what to expect, but I was very impressed with the team at Maximo Nivel, who had everything organised in a country that seemingly doesn't run to any sort of schedule! I worked in a small but busy rural clinic, assessing patients before the doctor saw them, and on the days there was no doctor, performing the medical consultation with the help of the local nurses. I struggled with how sick some of these children became before their mothers would bring them in, but as I learned more of the daily life at home and the demands of 5 or 6 other children, I could see why this was so. I was impressed at the clinic's vaccination regime, and generally the mothers were pretty good at returning for the next appointment, even if it were just to weigh and measure their child, keeping an eye on nutrition and growth. The staff in the clinic were admirably very adaptive, coping with days of 40 or more patients, sometimes with no doctor, no running water, or a shortage of necessary medications - on the whole, they ran a good health service for a large and widespread population. The patients were to be admired also, for their ability to wait patiently for review or treatment, and for putting up with a white alien with imperfect spanish on the days when I was on my own!

I would recommend volunteering with Maximo Nivel to anyone who has an inkling to go somewhere completely out of your comfort zone, the motivation to learn spanish and to share your skills with others, and the humility to let those you work with teach you something about this world we live in.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Cusco, Peru

i volunteered with Maximo Nivel for four weeks over Christmas and new year of 2011/12. I spent two weeks doing Spanish classes, which were extremely beneficial in a country where hardly anyone knows more than 'I give you good price lady' or 'lady, you want a massage?'. whilst doing this three weeks in Cusco working at a Police Station with children off the street. It was the hardest, heartbreaking, most rewarding thing I have eve experienced and wish I could have stayed for longer and helped ou forever! the children were adorable, some quite cheeky, but not once did I ever feel threatened or uncomfortable. the program made me grow so much as a person opening my eyes to such a different lifestyle to my own, and certainly made me extremely grateful, yet heartbroken that there could be such a difference in social classes. I have travelled quite a bit before to lower economic countries, but this program, being involved with the locals, was definitely the biggest eye opener and to see that even with nothing, you cannot get rid of the smile off their faces.

After three weeks spent with the children, I decided to see a different side of Peru, the Amazon! I spent a week near Manu, about a 10 hour bus ride from Cusco(definitely an adventure) helping out with nature conservation, plantations and taking care of the two pet monkeys.

Maximo Nivel are a very organized and friendly company who I would reccomend to anyone! They are flexible as I spent two of my weekends over Christmas and New Years on Lake Titicaca and doing the four day trek to Macchu Picchu which were both highlights of my trip, and can be done through PATAS, a company closely associated with Maximo Nivel!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Best 8 weeks I could have asked for in Guatemala

So I guess I should start at the beginning! I was in Mexico City due to fly to Cuba the following day when I realised that the trouble I'd be having communicating in Mexico was only going to be worse in Cuba where less English was spoken. I emailed Maximo about 7pm on the Friday night asking to come early...as in the next day! I wasn't expecting a response so late on a Friday evening but within 25 minutes I had an email back saying well if you can arrange a flight get us your flight number and our driver will get you at the airport. Was able to organise a very late notice cheap flight and the next day it was off to Guatemala!

Was met promptly on time by their driver Tito who took us on the 45 minute drive to Antigua. It was late and Maximo closes at 6 on the weekends and we arrived much later but the staff were there waiting for me and another volunteer to arrive to show us to our homestays.

Next day was orientation at 10am (see they're even nice enough to let you sleep in on your first day :D) which was great to get my bearings for Antigua.

So I was there for 8 weeks in total doing Spanish classes and volunteering teaching English. I had a few different Spanish teachers as I was doing group classes and private combined but then changed to just private one on one classes. Their Spanish program is excellent. The workbooks, the teachers, the exercises are all fantastic. The teachers are so lovely as well and patient and even accept the excuse "el perro comi mi tarea!" The dog ate my homework for those nights where you just didn't get it done. I had very basic Spanish when I arrived, I am currently in Nicaragua where I just enrolled for an additional week of classes here. Organised the whole thing in Spanish and the woman complimented me saying how good my Spanish was for 8 weeks learning. Owe that all to Maximo, especially the Sandra.

The volunteering program had me teaching English to 2 classes in a town about 15km from Antigua called Alotenango. Maximo were fantastic at organising this. They took me there on my first day, gave me a crash course in teaching English (i'm a law/politics student, never taught in my life!) and away I went. I won't lie the first few weeks were hard but by the end, especially with about 7 of the kids it felt like real progress had been made. Basically I felt like my volunteering had actually been worthwhile to the local kids there and its something they'll keep with them. I made plenty of friends at Maximo who had nothing but good stories to say about their projects additionally. One great advantage as well was the flexibility of Maximo. If you wanted to do a tour that meant missing a day, just had to let them know 24 hours in advance and they were cool with that. They also made some great recommendations for things to do in and around Antigua. Additionally a tour company Guinness Travel run by the coolest Guatemalan dude Carlos operates out of Maximo and offers some great affordable trips.

I'll conclude with the way Maximo deals with issues. Basically I had an issue with my homestay family on week 1. Within a day Maximo had moved me and another volunteer to new families where there were no issues at all and because of moving I actually got to meet someone who I know will be a friend for life. My host family (the ones I spent 7 weeks with) were incredible. Hilda (the mum) has been hosting language students and volunteers for over 40 years so is well experienced in hosting and I was truthful to her when I told her she was the best cook in Guatemala each day (even if these compliments were scoring me extra food at meal times). I had one other issue that was compleltely brought on by myself and Maximo were extremely supportive and helped me deal with it.

To conclude I could not have asked for a better experience in Guatemala and am on my next overseas adventure planning to visit South America. If I find myself in Peru, Maximo will be the first place I'll be going to sign up to help out the local communities. Thanks again for a great life changing experience Maximo.

Yes, I recommend this program
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An incredible experience

Maximo Nivel is a fantastic institution with which to volunteer, with a wide variety of programmes to choose from. My experience in Guatemala, from the friends I made through Maximo to the time I spent volunteering with underprivileged children, was truly one of the best things I have done. I had never been to a developing country before, but my few apprehensions were dispelled very quickly with the help I received from Maximo, and by the wonderful family I was placed with, who instantly made me feel at home and welcomed me as an extra member of the family. It was also very easy, and exciting, to go traveling and to experience so many aspects of Guatemalan life, culture and history. I wish I could have stayed a little longer, but it is very satisfying to know that you have made a difference, no matter how small, to the lives and futures of whoever you will work with and for.

Yes, I recommend this program
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My Cusco Experience

A a 58 year old first time volunteer I had chosen childcare as my volunteer work and spanish lessons as my reward. I applied via GVN which partnered me with Maximo Nivel in Cusco.My day commenced 7.30am with a 10 minute Combi trip to work place : Manco Capac preschool. Initially it was difficult as we took stock of each other They did not speak english and I did not speak a lot of spanish and I needed to get used to "Cusco time" sometimes things started later than planned!! After 2 days of this I just got stuck in by getting jig saw puzzles out of shelf and putting them together, this led to children joining me while teacher did some bookwork.Then teacher gave me things to do and I became teacher-aid and helped teacher Maryline with preparing crafts, teaching children "Ringa-ringa-rosie" playing "pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey" and helping children to write letters and numbers. The children helped me with spanish words.Midday parents picked up their children I returned to SanPedro house for a lovely lunch and then walked for 20 minutes to Maximo Nivel for my 2 hour spanish lesson. My class had 3 Australian students, one American and myself..the New Zealander.Our teacher Kris was excellent although she shocked us at start when she wrote all instructions in spanish and spoke in spanish with only occasional help in english!!! After class I would stroll home via various routes and savour Cusco by day. Pop into a church, sit in a park bench and watch the people or meet a tandem partner who would help me with my spanish and I with their english. I always felt safe and, as I had been in Cusco before as a tourist, I was familiar with the area and had done most of the sight seeing in 2009. This left me time to learn spanish with the staff at San Pedro house and socialise with the teacher from Manco Capac while fellow volunteers went sightseeing.I ate all my meals at San Pedro house and rarely frequented restaurants and bars...did not feel the need as I found food to be excellent at San Pedro house which became my home for 5 weeks.Albeit things were not as I expected the overall experience was a great one as I learnt more about myself, Cusco and life in general.One just has to knuckle down accept and enjoy the experience and be aware of where and why you are going before you go and take the good
( people,places, experiences) with the not so good ( unexpected costs, unexpected changes in volunteer placements, misunderstanding how "volunteering" works.)

Yes, I recommend this program

About Maximo Nivel

Máximo Nivel (Maximum Level)—The Intercultural Center of Latin America

Máximo Nivel is a family-owned, social enterprise founded in 2003. Our three intercultural centers are locally-based organizations focused on international education and cross...