Work and Travel in Guatemala
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN GUATEMALA FOR TRAVELLERS
Guatemala is a typical Central American country - full of steaming jungles and crumbling Mayan ruins - which is an ideal destination for an adventurous working traveller.
After years of colonisation, persecution, and racism, rates of crime and drug violence are high, so it’s important to weigh the potential safety risks involved in finding work or volunteer opportunities here.
But if you’re willing to step up to the challenge, our travel guide to Guatemala can show you how it’s done.
1. Work at a hostel in Antigua
Antigua is considered the heart of the backpacker route in Guatemala, and many travellers spend many months here. There are tons of hostels to find work in, including ones that also provide surf camps, small vegetable gardens, and other water sports. You’ll be sure to find a place that matches your unique skills.
2. Volunteer at a woman’s shelter
Rates of incidents of violence against women in Guatemala are incredibly high. If you are committed to making a positive impact in the country while you work and travel, consider heading to a shelter that supports local victims of domestic violence. They need all sorts of help - from people maintaining their social media presence and blogs to people that can help teach the women English.
3. Work with a moto tourism company
The preferred mode of tourism transport in Central/South America is often by motorcycle or scooter. Companies have sprung up to lead tours or teach driving lessons to travellers. If you have skills in moto driving or maintenance, head to a major tourist centre like Antigua.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR GUATEMALA
Citizens of the USA, Canada, EU countries, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Israel and Japan are among those who do not need a visa for tourist visits to Guatemala. On entry into Guatemala, you will normally be given a 90-day stay. (The number '90' will be written on the stamp in your passport.)
Citizens of some Eastern European countries are among those who do need visas to visit Guatemala. Inquire at a Guatemalan embassy well in advance of travel. Click HERE for more information on visas.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN GUATEMALA
Spring is considered a shoulder season in Guatemala, with the rainy season starting in May. It will be a slightly quieter time for tourism but the hostels will be pretty busy all year long if you desire to work in one.
Working on farms, conservation projects, building projects and general outdoor work is recommended for spring since the weather is still good.
This is the rainy and cooler time of year in Guatemala. Some of the country’s rugged roads become downright impassable during the rainy days, so it’s best to stick to cities or at least be someplace where you don’t plan on leaving for some time.
Working travellers may find teaching English or some sort of community project is good to take on in summer since the majority of the work can be completed inside.
Another shoulder season, see the description for the section on spring to understand what type of work backpackers may find in Guatemala in autumn.
Winter is the preferable time for tourists to come to Guatemala, as the weather is best. Now is the time to find work in resorts, within tour companies, or other portions of the hospitality industry that cater to foreign tourists. This may be the one time of year when working travellers can make some decent income.
If you’re particularly interested in rainforests and nature, you may search for some conservation projects or tours that set off during this busy time of year.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN GUATEMALA
The small size and reputation of Guatemala keeps many tourists and working travellers away from this beautiful Central American country.
With a healthy respect for the culture and a desire to give back, you can change that. If you want to work and travel in Guatemala, don’t hold off. Start looking for some opportunities today.
- Edited on Jun 14 2021 by Lily