Volunteer Abroad in Mexico

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A Guide to Volunteering in Mexico

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147 Volunteer Abroad Programs in Mexico

Affordable Volunteering in Mexico: From USD 270!

Volunteer in the "City of Eternal Spring," Cuernavaca, Mexico with International Volunteer HQ. The city earned the label because of its pleasantly warm and stable climate and rich vegetation. Volunteers can work on computer tutoring, teaching placements, environmental projects, or childcare programs.

Volunteer Abroad in Mexico
Volunteer in Mexico with Adelante Abroad

Spend a few weeks volunteering in the beautiful colonial city of Oaxaca in Mexico with Adelante International Internships and Study Abroad. The first two weeks of the program are focused on giving participants Spanish language skills. Succeeding weeks are spent in volunteering for a local Mexican organization in the medical, culinary, or social work sector.

Adelante International Internships and Intern Abroad photo in Mexico
Volunteer in Mexico with Projects Abroad

Gain practical skills and grow personally while living and volunteering in Mexico through Projects Abroad. Participants take part in a wide variety of activities, including art and traditional craft making, community service projects, and conserving endangered animal species. This volunteer program is open to all interested international participants.

UBELONG

UBELONG is a social venture based in Washington, DC quickly becoming the recognized leader in short-term international volunteering. Without compromising safety, impact or flexibility, we offer the most affordable one week to six month opportunities in Asia and Latin America. We are led by former volunteers, international development professionals and university professors.

ELI-Experiential Learning International

Take your pick of ELI - Experiential Learning International volunteer programs in Mexico and immerse yourself in the ecological and cultural diversity of the region. Journey to Ek Balam, a mixed community of Mayan origin, near the city of Merida and participate in projects that improve the lives of indigenous folk, or stay in Merida and help an orphanage or child welfare organization with aband...

ELI
Global Vision International

Volunteer in Mexico with Global Vision International (GVI). Participants here gain the opportunity to experience a fascinating culture and live in a tropical paradise while contributing to impactful changes for the local community. Volunteers will interact with other international participants and explore various sites around the Yucatan peninsula.

GVI
Instituto de Idiomas e Intercambio Cultural TLALOC

If you´re interested in learning the Spanish language and/or help in making a difference in the poor communities in Cuernavaca, then you´re in the right place! The program that Tlaloc offers is well structured; you will obtain more for less money - guaranteed.

Lenda a hand in Mexico with Love Volunteers

Help local communities of Cuernavaca through voluntary service programs offered by Love Volunteers in Mexico. Volunteers can work with children and provide them with effective, beneficial educational resources and health care services. This program is available for enthusiastic and motivated prospective volunteers worldwide.

Mexico - Diving for Marine Conservation

Come explore Pez Maya, home to a conservation site aimed at protecting the local coastal marine species and their coral reef homes, while also studying their populations. Participants will assist researchers in conserving a portion of the Mesoamerican Reef, which faces increased problems due to development in the nearby cities of Playa del Carmen and Cancun. Volunteers will help with long term ...

Volunteer in Mexico with Cultural Embrace by API

Cultural Embrace by API offers volunteer positions in Oaxaca. Volunteers can choose from many projects, including infant and childcare, teaching or tutoring, social justice, medical health and nutrition, and construction. Volunteer programs include room and board, Spanish lessons, visa assistance, airport pickup, and medical and travel insurance, among many other services.

Child Family Health International

Delve into Mexican culture by spending up to three months doing volunteer work in the state of Oaxaca and in the town of Puerto Escondido. Volunteer program areas include tropical medicine, women's reproductive health, community based care, and more. The program location allows volunteers to explore the Pacific coast, engage in lengthy conversations with locals, and learn more about the traditi...

Baja Sea Turtle Camp Adventure! Volunteer Nest Monitoring

For 12 nights only in August and September 2013 we are offering volunteers the opportunity to work with local biologists on the coast of the Pacific of Baja to protect endangered Olive Ridley marine turtles (Lepidocheyles olivacea). In each month we’ve chosen 6 nights around the time of the full moon, when viewing is optimal for spotting the 100-pound female turtles as they haul their bodies ou...

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Tribe in Mexico. Photo by Allison Rosewicz

How to Volunteer Abroad in Mexico

A Guide to Volunteering in Mexico

Mexico is a country with a mix of American, Spanish, and indigenous cultures, filled with ancient Mayan ruins and a long history of wars, explorations, and conquistadors. Individuals who volunteer in Mexico will clearly see that the country’s cultural and historical influences still play an important role in Mexican society today. Mexico is still considered a developing country, and therefore there is a genuine need for volunteers in Mexico, especially for those interested in community development.

Locations

Individuals who volunteer in Mexico often find the greatest number of placements along the coast. The cities of Oaxaca, Guadalajara, Merida, and Cuernavaca are also quite popular. Cities along the Pacific Coast, like Tecoman, and along the Yucatan Peninsula, like Playa del Carmen, are common destinations for environmental and conservation projects. Tecoman and Playa del Carmen are known for their beautiful beaches, scuba diving, and surfing. Xel Ha is an aquarium park near Playa del Carmen that is considered the largest aquarium in the world. It’s a great place to snorkel, swim with the dolphins, and cliff dive. In Tecoman, agriculture is an important industry, so limes, coconuts, mangos, and bananas are grown there. 

Oaxaca, located in a valley about 300 miles south of Mexico City, is a city strongly influenced by Mexico's indigenous cultures. Seventeen unique languages are still spoken there today. Just six miles west of the city are ruins from one of the largest MesoAmerican cities of all time, Monte Albán. Popular volunteer projects in Oaxaca include projects in medicine and social work.

Guadalajara, the birthplace of Mariachi, is Mexico’s second largest city. It’s known to have a vibrant music scene and is home to the largest public market in the Western Hemisphere, the Libertad Market. Tlaquepaque, one of Mexico’s most important art centers, is located just outside of Guadalajara and sells different arts and crafts such as pottery. In Guadalajara, common volunteer projects include medicine, education, and social work.

Projects & Placements

Conservation projects are especially common volunteer opportunities in Mexico, especially along the coastal areas. One of the most popular environmental projects is turtle conservation, since four out of seven of the world’s sea turtles are located in Mexico, and their populations are declining. Turtle conservation volunteers work with young sea turtles who are threatened by the growing tourist industry, rehabilitating them until they are ready for release.

There are a wide variety of social work projects available to volunteers in Mexico ranging from orphanage work to building houses. These projects work with poor communities in cities throughout Mexico, aiding in community development and working towards social justice for underprivileged members of society. It’s helpful for individuals who volunteer in Mexico to have some knowledge of Spanish in order to communicate with locals, but not all programs have a language requirement.

Health projects in dentistry, nutrition, and general medical services are available throughout Mexico, especially in poorer communities where people can’t afford basic medical care. Volunteers are greatly needed to help keep communities healthy and give everyone the medical attention they deserve. Medical volunteers usually need a background in medicine and a higher level of Spanish proficiency.

Volunteers in education, especially English education, are in high demand in Mexico. Since Mexico borders the United States, learning English is especially important to Mexican citizens. English teaching volunteers generally work with children in classrooms. Most programs don’t require volunteers to know Spanish, but some require a basic level. 

 

Programs can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of years, and those who volunteer in Mexico can often choose how long they stay.

Costs & Affordability

The cost of living in Mexico, when compared to the United States, is incredibly low. The median household income in Mexico is one tenth of that in the United States, which explains why Mexico is so affordable for US citizens. In fact, Americans who move to Mexico are often able to afford luxuries such as maids, cooks and gardeners. Rent, food, and entertainment are all affordable, so those who volunteer in Mexico shouldn’t worry about shopping for souvenirs or going out for drinks or to restaurants during their stay in Mexico.

Accommodation & Visas

Volunteers in Mexico might stay in worksite housing, a volunteer guest house, or a homestay during their time abroad. Homestays allow volunteers to experience cultural immersion, eat home cooked meals, and live with locals during their stay. Volunteer guesthouses and worksite housing offer the chance to build a community with fellow volunteers. A unique housing option sometimes available in Mexico is camping, for example for volunteer participating in turtle conservation projects, where volunteers stay on-site to participate in activities throughout the day and evening.

U.S. citizens don’t need a visa to volunteer in Mexico for less than 180 days. However, for volunteer programs lasting longer than 180 days, volunteers will need to obtain a visa before departing. Visa applicants will need to go to a U.S. embassy or consulate to turn in an application, and they must have a valid passport (Find one nearest you in GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory).

Benefits and Challenges

Safety concerns seem to be a common theme for those who want to volunteer in Mexico. Though organized crime and homicide rates are high in certain areas, such as the state of Chihuahua, many areas of Mexico are safe and have low crime rates. Travelers should always check the US Department of State website for safety information before traveling to any country.