Volunteer Abroad in Antigua

Back to Programs

A Guide to Volunteering Abroad in Antigua

Tucked below the ancient Mayan city of Tikal is Guatemala’s former capital Antigua, a city guarded by towering volcanoes and bustling with the spirit that has kept it alive through attacks by Mother Nature. Antigua holds onto some of the last vestiges of ancient Guatemalan life, with centuries-old architectural decay still creating the framework within which the city lives and thrives. By volunteering in Antigua, you have the opportunity to enrich local community life through schools, hospitals, organic farms, and other community centers — all while finding ancient treasure and modern gems. Volunteer in Antigua and kickstart your year of adventure!

Life in Antigua for Volunteers

With its leafy plazas, cobblestone streets, vibrant markets, and exceptionally affordable cost of living, many visitors to Antigua end up staying much longer than planned. The city is just an hour away from the current capital, and it’s also pretty close to many of Guatemala’s other highlights, so it’s the perfect place to slow down and relax or pack in the adventure.  

The city is small; you can walk from one end to the other in under ten minutes, but there is certainly enough to keep you occupied in your free time. Parque Central is the main plaza of the city, and the real intersection between locals and tourists. Reminiscent of Cusco’s Plaza de Armas, the plaza is flanked by cafés, colonial architecture, and market stalls with tantalizing smells.

Also, be sure to check out the often dilapidated religious structures dotted inconspicuously throughout the city. You might think a building with a collapsed roof is no longer functional, but it’s in these very spots where you’ll hear the chimes of a service being given. There are several museums that paint Antigua’s history for you, including a Chocolate Museum that is not only enticing to look at, but also offers hands-on classes so you can come away with your own piece of chocolatey goodness.

Just outside the city are any number of volcanoes you can hike, but if that chocolate has you hankering for a s’more, you can actually climb the active Pacaya and roast your own marshmallows in the heat emitted by the rocks at the top of the crater.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

One of the perks of volunteering in Guatemala is that you will never lack a good meal. Even if you’re running late for your bus, or are otherwise caught up in the rush of things and don’t have time for a sit-down meal, the street food scene has your back! Way before hipsters were duking it out to find the best unsung food truck in town, Guatemalan street vendors were popping up with their smoky barbecued corn on the cobs, their spicy, meaty chile rellenos, and those drenched-in-syrup buñuelos that make you wonder how you ever ate a donut without it. 

Adequately nourished, you can then explore the Mayan ruins, ride horses, swim and snorkel off the coast, or even zip-line through the canopies of the nearby jungles. The climate is temperate year round, so unlike destinations with more varied conditions, this land of eternal spring can be enjoyed throughout the year

As with any place that draws in tourists, there are some pickpockets in the most populated spots. Just have your wits about you; don’t go off on your own in areas you’re not familiar with, and don’t carry valuables when you’re out and about. Guatemala is a very accessible and welcoming country, so the dauntingness of embassy warnings, economic hardships, and quite honestly, bewildering range of things to see and do, is no cause for worry.

If you’re looking to change your life, think about making a change in someone else’s. Antigua is a place practiced in making the best of what it has— whether that be chocolate or coffee from a single bean, or keeping a heritage alive and vibrant amidst decay— and there is no better spirit in which to volunteer. Take the leap and volunteer in Antigua today.

Feeling loco-inspired? Read our entire guide on volunteering in Guatemala.

Read More

written by:

A Guide To
Volunteering Abroad in Antigua


 Find Volunteer Programs in Antigua Now


This listing has been saved 977 times

World's #1 Affordable Volunteer Programs. Trusted By 90,000+

IVHQ is the world's most trusted and affordable volunteer abroad organization with the largest range of top-rated programs, available in 40+ destinations year-round! We place over 18,000 volunteers abroad annually and have over 10 years experience in providing safe, impactful and affordable volunteer abroad programs. With program fees starting from just USD 10 per day and the best safet...


This listing has been saved 322 times

Volunteer Abroad & Make a REAL Difference - From US$175!

Find our Why More and More People are Choosing to Become a Love Volunteer! Love Volunteers is the most affordable way to volunteer and help local communities in developing countries! Why are we cheaper than other organisations? Firstly, we are just a handful of passionate people working hard to help volunteers and local communities around the world. We don't have huge overheads - no company ...


This listing has been saved 134 times

Great Volunteer Programs—Costa Rica | Guatemala | Peru

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: - Working with Kids - Teaching English - Conservation - Construction - Animal Care - Eco-Agriculture - Medical & Healthcare Since 2003, Maximo Nivel has been a leader in educational travel and stu...


This listing has been saved 10 times

Central America Ethical Adventure Trail

Combine exciting adventure travel with a project placement and experience the best of Central America on an unforgettable adventure trip with Frontier through Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Explore the legendary Mayan ruins set in dense rainforests and swim in azure waters off white sand beaches. Climb to the rim of active volcanoes, learn how local coffee is made, ride...


This listing has been saved 6 times

Sea Turtle Conservation in Guatemala

Guatemalas Pacific coast is the nesting ground of several species of sea turtles, including the Olive Ridley, Leatherback, Hawksbill, and Eastern Pacific Green. These turtles are keystone species in the health and function of marine and coastal habitats. However, threats from egg poaching, pollution, and habitat destruction have put Guatemalas turtle population at great risk. ELI works with l...


Volunteer With Children in the Mayan Highlands of Guatemala

Global Dental Relief's Guatemala clinic kicks off in Antigua, the ancient Spanish colonial capital of Central America and Mexico. The first day in Antigua is spent walking cobblestone streets and learning about the vast history of this ancient capital. After Antigua, we begin the journey overland into the Mayan Highlands to set up our dental clinic. Spanish is only one of the languages spoken...


This listing has been saved 1 time

Volunteer Abroad in Antigua, Guatemala: Medical Nurse EMT Professional Student Program

Our partner organization is a large charity hospital with orphanage and senior citizens' home in the center of Antigua Guatemala. The hospital provides both in-patient and ambulatory care to large numbers of people from the entire region who could not afford medical care otherwise or the local hospitals at their place of residence cannot provide appropriate treatment. Volunteers can work in ...


This listing has been saved 21 times

Construction Volunteering with Build Abroad

Build Abroad is the leader in construction volunteering trips, offering trips working on housing, schools, and disaster relief. Build Abroad feels that construction volunteering is the best way to give back to a community. Construction projects provide a physical impact in a community that will last for years. Currently Build Abroad has locations in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nepal, Peru, and Thail...


This listing has been saved 13 times

Volunteer in Guatemala with API

Volunteering abroad doesn’t just benefit the people you have helped, but also you. Apart from playing a big role in the development of a local community through your contributions, you also gain personal and professional growth. So if you’re thinking of lending your hand to those who need your assistance most, API offers guaranteed placements in Guatemala. Focus on an area that suits your s...


This listing has been saved 111 times

Volunteer World: Best Volunteer Abroad Programs Worldwide

Looking to apply your talent and expertise to a good cause? Find a program that matches your interests and skills through Volunteer World! We are the largest volunteer abroad comparison platform around the globe, enabling you to seek and compare offers from major travel agencies as well as smaller grassroots NGOs and local specialists in more than 80 countries. All these with just one click! ...


IPSL Guatemala: Ecology, Culture and Justice

Join a program that offers an opportunity for students to study and experience the intersection between environmental health, human health and animal health while traversing the coasts, mountain forests and vibrant cities of Guatemala! This unique, comparative, on-the-go program consists of daily academic and cultural excursions and service. The fast-paced exploration of Guatemalan agricultur...


This listing has been saved 104 times

Volunteering Abroad through GivingWay

GivingWay is a free and open platform through which worldwide travelers connect with local nonprofit organizations seeking volunteers in a simple and direct manner. With hundreds of volunteering opportunities in over 80 countries worldwide, GivingWay makes it easy for everyone to find just the right cause to support. Whether you want to teach English in Thailand, help out in a white lion san...