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MAXIMO NIVEL participants MAXIMO NIVEL participants

Great Volunteer Programs—Costa Rica | Guatemala | Peru

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A life changing, eye opening, and fully engaging experience

As a first time international traveller, I could not have chosen a safer program than with Maximo Nivel. I truly felt supported by the staff during the 6 weeks I spent in Peru, and quickly established a connection to them and my host family. I volunteered with the Special Needs program, and while there were moments that were emotionally straining, I found many opportunities to engage with the residents and grew close bonds during my time there. I also practiced my Spanish, and worked through their tutoring program with an amazing instructor. There are plenty of opportunities to explore Cusco, and the staff can give advice or information when you feel concerned or unsure.
I strongly suggest this program, and if you are like me and have never travelled abroad by yourself before, the Peru program is a great place to start. Thanks to the wonderful staff and program, I will be returning to Peru and work with Maximo Nivel again in the future. For the price, you get every pennies worth, and many stories to tell for the rest of your life.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A life changing, eye opening, and fully engaging experience

As a first time international traveller, I could not have chosen a safer program than with Maximo Nivel. I truly felt supported by the staff during the 6 weeks I spent in Peru, and quickly established a connection to them and my host family. I volunteered with the Special Needs program, and while there were moments that were emotionally straining, I found many opportunities to engage with the residents and grew close bonds during my time there. I also practiced my Spanish, and worked through their tutoring program with an amazing instructor. There are plenty of opportunities to explore Cusco, and the staff can give advice or information when you feel concerned or unsure.
I strongly suggest this program, and if you are like me and have never travelled abroad by yourself before, the Peru program is a great place to start. Thanks to the wonderful staff and program, I will be returning to Peru and work with Maximo Nivel again in the future. For the price, you get every penny's worth, and many stories to tell for the rest of your life.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Child Care in Cusco

Initially, I had planned to join a construction project in Peru after experiencing a similar project in Argentina. After a day at construction, I felt that my skills could add more value to childcare and after voicing my concerns to the Maximo staff on the same day, they immediately understood and found me a new project which was to begin the very next day.

I spent three weeks working at Kausakusun which was a 'casa' for single mothers that have suffered from domestic abuse. The mothers receive training on a variety of skills and assistance in looking for jobs and homes. Whilst the mothers were busy in the daytime, it was my responsibility to look after 6-8 children, aged between 2 and 14 years.

The staff at Maximo really took their time to explain to me what the project would be like and gave me lots of pointers on activities I could do with the kids. They also gave me access at all times of the day to their arts and crafts cupboard which was full of resources for my disposal. Coming up with different crafts projects each day was a challenge at times but Pinterest helped and the effort was worth it as the children and I had collectively managed to really brighten up the classroom with all of our crafts.

The staff at Maximo were constantly checking in on my experience and took their time to drop by the project at least once a week as well, which I appreciated.

I studied an hour of Spanish a day and cannot begin to express how happy I was with my progression from week 1 to week 3. My confidence in speaking really soared after just 15 hours!

I also really appreciated the fact that Maximo took their time to 'match me' with other students/volunteers that were of a similar age in my homestay. This meant that I could really enjoy my downtime with like-minded individuals that have most defiantly become life-long friends.

Overall, I found Maximo to be incredibly organised and support in all of my endeavours and I'm very excited about working them again on my next project in Costa Rica!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

My heart is still overflowing with joy...

I had the pleasure of volunteering for two weeks during the holidays with Maximo Nivel in Cusco, Peru. I honestly did not know what to expect and to my surprise it exceedingly surpassed my expectations! We went to different orphanages to give out Christmas gift, paint bedrooms, we played games, and engaged with the children. The children were so incredibly grateful and loving, it was truly humbling. The icing on the cake for me was the friendly and attentive staff at Maximo Nivel which was a huge relief since I was traveling alone and had never been to Peru. I always felt safe whenever traveling with Maximo Nivel and that was very important to me.
I also had the opportunity of touring Cusco, Peru on my own which was absolutely beautiful. I really felt as though I was in the movie, Eat, Pray, Love as I explored the picturesque sights. For me this trip was life changing, I made friends from all over the world that I look forward to keeping in touch with, I saw some of the most breathtaking sights and I believe I have made a difference whether it was through a hug, a kiss, a brush or a smile my heart is overflowing with joy.

Christina Rodriguez

Christmas & New Years 2015

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Empowerment in Peru

I was lucky enough to work with an empowerment group in Saylla, Peru, which is just outside of the main part of Cusco. Working with the girls in the program touched my heart immensely. I was nervous at first when I met the girls but they immediately welcomed me into their lives and I knew that when the time came, it would be heartbreaking for me to say goodbye. My program was the best part of my trip to Peru. I loved the people I worked with and the support from the Maximo office always made me feel like I could work my best. If you are feeling called to go volunteer, make a way to follow it; it is worth it.
Much Love!
XO

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Fabulous time with the kids!

A group from work and I had the opportunity to volunteer at Villa Maria, in October 2015. From the pickup, to the home we stayed in, to the orientation and addressing all the issues we had, Chelsey and the extended team went above and beyond to make sure that our time there was as smooth as possible.
Working with the kids was a bit challenging due to the language differences, but the Maximo team helped us bridge that gap and taught us that play is a universal language!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Amazing.

My experience with Maximo Nivel in the Teaching Program was nothing short of amazing. Phomolo and the whole team were always very supportive and trusting. Teaching the kids was the best experience I had and my placement was incredible. I'm definitely coming back one day!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

One Week in Guatemala was NOT Enough and I Cannot Wait to Return!

I just returned from volunteering in Santa Catarina and staying in La Antigua. This experience changed my life. I was surprised at the things the small medical clinic needed us to do for them. They had waited for three plus years for a wall to keep their clinic from flooding, we were able to build the wall for them. In addition to the wall, we were able to pour two cement floors and build two new walls with doors to give them a playground area for the children and two new treatment rooms. I spoke very little to basic Spanish before leaving for this trip, but my host family and Maxima Nivel co-workers worked with me to be able to understand the community. I was blessed to meet the doctors, nurses, and patients of the clinic. They were all so appreciative of the work we were performing for them. Even the people of Santa Catarina were stopping to see and thank us for our contribution. I was so humbled by the experience that I personally cannot wait to return and volunteer in this amazing country again. Guatemala has forever changed how I look at my volunteer experience!!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    7

Construction Volunteer in Cusco

I had a outstanding experience with Maximo Nivel. I have traveled many places but this was my first time volunteering and I thought the experience was great. The staff is top notch and the volunteer opportunities outside of the project we were working on were special too. This is something I would recommend to anyone traveling to the Cusco area. The only thing I didn't like, is that I didn't have more time to give. Two weeks were great, but I could have easily found myself staying much longer. Much Kudos to Maximo Nivel. Thanks for an amazing time.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Two Months in Antigua

Honestly I had the best time volunteering through Maximo Nivel and I can't imagine doing It through anywhere else. I stayed in Antigua for two months, and in those two months I taught English at a school and I worked on the coffee farms. I thoroughly enjoyed my experiences at both projects, and those projects are only two of the many they have that you can volunteer at.
I lived in volunteer housing while I was here and it was really nice. There was plenty of space, it was clean, and it gave me the opportunity to meet a ton of awesome people. It became my home away from home.
In my free time here I was also able to take Spanish classes that were offered through Maximo. The teachers were incredible and I really learned a lot. The staff at Maximo was awesome too. They were friendly, nice, and always willing to help me out. I have no complaints about Maximo!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

Smart Volunteering

Many argue the issues of "voluntourism" and how many volunteer programs, such as this, may be doing more harm than good. In many cases, this may be true, but Maximo Nivel has done an amazing job in partnering with several local non-profits, run by local people, and pairing volunteers in ophanages and after-school programs that truly require their skills. I worked in a small Mayan town just outside of Antigua, a ~40 minute chicken bus ride. The organization I volunteered for, Niños con Bendición, is run by an amazing Guatemalan couple, whose dedication to giving better education and opportunities, along with amazing values, to their community's youth is unbelievably inspiring. As a volunteer, I was able to give English and Mathematic lessons daily, along with enjoying leisure activities such as coloring, playing tag, and of course futbol! It was an amazing experience and I continue to remain in touch with the organization, fundraising and donating to help it grow and help more children in the community. Can't wait to go back!

I highly recommend this program, and I hope that anyone who plans on volunteering abroad does so with appropriate responsibility, respect, and preparation!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Aspire to Inspire!

"Go into the world and do well, but more importantly, go into the world and do good" This applies to each and every volunteer that took part in the Christmas volunteer week this past December 2014, a life changing experience for all of us! We had the opportunity to spend Christmas in an orphanage with children in need and one day we did a Medical campaign in Koyllorpucyo, a very small village in the outskirts of Cuzco. We provided basic health services (diagnose, treat and educate) to populations with no access to healthcare. The project was a perfect integration of basic sciences and clinical medicine, and it also allowed for the group to see preventative and diagnostic medicine. It was exactly what we were looking for! The hands on experience was priceless. The staff was excellent, they were very attentive and helped us all time.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Childcare Experience in Costa Rica

My experience in Costa Rica was amazing. Not being a native Spanish Speaker, I was nervous that my trip would be uncomfortable or not as good as it could be. Not the case at all! Maximo Nivel was so kind and understanding, even in the hardest of times. The homstay was a very traditional taste of Costa Rica. Maximo Nivel also made it possible to do any kind of activity I could think of! Although I only stayed a week, I would come back in a heartbeat. If you haven't traveled abroad before, or if you are looking for a new eye opening experience, I would highly reccomended this program! Pura Vida!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

your little involvement can make difference in people's lives

your little involvement can make difference in people's lives!!!!
I did my 4 weeks volunteer in Cusco, Peru for teaching English ! What an incredible and rewarding journey with my dearest chicas!! They made me truly understand that the happiest people do not have everything but they just make the best of everything! They welcome me with wide open arms and say goodbye to me with the most genuine and squeeze hugs! Love them and miss them a lot !
and Maximal nivel is just an amazing amazing organization. The staff there are incredible nice and helpful, I had a great experience working with them!!!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Costa Rica Dream trip

I have always wanted to go abroad and travel while at the same time volunteer. I had no idea what kind of mentality to arrive with so I arrived with a blank page ready to be written. I was blown away by the hospitality our host family had, which made me feel like I was home away from home. Every single person at Maximo Nivel was interesting, warm, and very but I mean VERY intentional with each volunteer. I love the diversity at Maximo Nivel's staff. From the bus rides to my volunteer site to the adventures I had aside from volunteering, I did not feel any danger but rather felt safe (of course had precautions, the staff gave us some advice/insight about safety precautions).

The best part is the process. I was really connected with one of the staff from Interexchange and they were always ready to respond to any question I had whether it was about about accommodation or simple things like "What should I bring to wear?" Never hesitant, always willing!

I had the most incredible experience that I will never forget. Dreaming about the day I can go back and see the amazing little smiles I got to see every single day. Thank you InterExchange & Maximo Nivel!!!!!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

Construction volunteer Guatemala July 2014

This was a great experience to meet and work with locals in a small town not far from Antigua. The construction techniques were extremely interesting to learn about and there was never a dull moment with always something to do. The local foreman, staff, other volunteers and support staff at Maximo Nivel were fantastic to work with. If you are interested in Guatemala and volunteer construction then this program is definitely for you.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

Amazing experience.I left totally inspired.

My experience, as facilitated by Maximo Nivel, may very well have changed the entire trajectory of my life.

I left Guatemala feeling so inspired and at the same time so incredibly frustrated that these wonderful kids - who are no less hungry to learn, no less creative, no less mischievous, no less bratty and no less bright than the kids in North America - will find themselves educationally stumped and thrust back into the same cycle of relative poverty that they’ve come from. It breaks my heart. But, in the same breath, this experience has reaffirmed my belief that education, creativity and full bellies are the keys to changing this cycle and, more essentially, providing kids with the tools and opportunity to use their precious gifts to better their circumstances from their generation and onwards.

I came to Antigua thinking this was preparation to move abroad to Spain and use teaching English as a means to achieve other personal goals. I left Antigua, I believe, with a higher calling to use the means that I have available to me to make a complete education more accessible to those who would otherwise find that beyond their reach. This is proof that Maximo’s work goes beyond the few weeks spent volunteering - it inspires volunteers to take greater action and make an impact on the world, however big, however small.

Thank you again for this great gift. As our coordinator Kate said on orientation day, as much as you give, you get in return - and I have received so much from my time at Mi Escuelita and I hope to have had a small impact on the lives of the kids I taught. I am moved to the core and believe it will not end here.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    N/A

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Fun and supportive program

This was my third year taking college students to Antigua to attend Spanish classes through Maximo Nivel. I have really enjoyed working with the MN administrative staff and language instructors. The staff is always super supportive in helping me to plan my trip and develop a language program tailored to each students' level of language proficiency. They have also worked hard to find local accommodations that can house my group of 10-14 students. The language instructors have always been professional and knowledgeable. They make language learning fun. I will be taking another group of students to Antigua next year and I am looking forward to once again working with Maximo Nivel.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

My incredible time in Cusco!

Couldn't have asked for a better experience from this program. Not only were my accommodations comfortable (great host family and got to live with other fun volunteers), but my clinical placement was everything I wanted it to be. I got to work alongside very nice doctors and nurses in a poor clinic that clearly needed assistance. I was able to meet tons of great patients, help complete paperwork, patient examinations, and even got to give a few vaccinations (I am just a pre-med undergrad). Knowing Spanish certainly helps but isn't make or break. I would definitely recommend this program to others!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

All-around wonderful volunteer experience

This is my first time working with Maximo Nivel, and I gotta say that I'm impressed with their administration. Our volunteer group worked directly with Medy, who is totally awesome. The other Maximo Nivel staff we worked with were also very organized and down-to-earth people.

We volunteered in the jungle conservation project at the Casa Ita/Gamitana site. It was great that we got to contribute our time and energy on the organic farm. We also had the chance to do a night walk, snake hunt, and canopy walk, which added to the "jungle" experience. The staff and other Maximo Nivel volunteers we met at the jungle were all very welcoming and great to be around. I would definitely recommend working with this organization!!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    9

Santiago Clinic

This experience was amazing. You truly get a chance to immerse yourself in the culture and feel like you are making a difference. The people will also make a difference in your life as well as they are so grateful to have your helping hands. In my clinic we had the opportunity to triage the incoming patients and then shadow the doctors in the examine rooms and give vaccinations. We also got to travel to another community to give vaccines which was a really rewarding experience. If you are interested in getting hands on medical experience and getting to be a part of a new culture, I would recommend this program to anyone!!!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

An experience everyone should try at least once in their lives

If you have never volunteered before then dont worry because your not alone, I hadn't either until recently. There is no reason to feel nervous when you volunteer through Maximo Nivel because they guide you through every step of the way. Before I arrived in Cusco there was always a point of contact that I could reach out to for help if I needed it, but usually before I could ask I had an email ready and waiting with a detailed step by step guide of how to provide any information that was required.
When I arrived in Cusco I was welcomed by one of Maximo staff with a huge smile and I was shown where my new home would be for the next month and I was introduced to my host family.

Volunteering in construction in Cusco would have to be the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Working along side other volunteers it's amazing to see how much of an impact we can make by giving up just some of our time in our lives that makes a huge difference to others in need. I was fortunate enough to be able to see the completion of one project and to start another.

Also during this experience I have met the most wonderful people. Friendships that I know will last forever.

So stop procrastinating, get out there and volunteer. I guarantee you won't regret it!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Social Life

    7

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Volunteer Experience

    8

Junquillal volunteer

The program, story and vision of the organization, and the knowledge provided were great. Very welcoming and helpful community based environment. While the work shifts focus between high turtle season to low turtle season, it displays all aspects of the conservation efforts and showcases the importance and connections varying disciplines have on the sea turtle population.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

First time in the Amazon

This was my first time volunteering abroad and I will say it was an amazing experience! I will never forget the things I saw and did while in the Amazon.

The staff at Maximo Nivel were great! They were very professional and friendly to work with. Out volunteer guide in the jungle was Medy, and she was very nice and adventurous! The other volunteers seemed very motivated to be there and it helped me to understand just how important our work was to the jungle conservation project with ITA and InkaTerra.

I would definitely recommend the jungle conservation project to anyone who wants to get out of their comfort zone and discover something new. The Amazon is so unique and everything felt alive and full of spirit. It will definitely cleanse your soul.

Big Mahalos (Hawaiian for Thank you) to Maximo Nivel and ITA!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    10

Construction in Cusco

Maximo Nivel was an excellent program that offered a lot of support and fun activities such as salsa. We had staff from Maximo coming to visit our work site every week to make sure that everything was going well and I knew that if I ever needed anything I could easily go in to the Maximo office and ask. The housing was excellent and the people were all friendly and welcoming. It was a wonderful experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat!