Central America is an amazing place to be a volunteer. Take a break from your travel and go to Central America to live an unforgettable experience.
Volunteering is also a great opportunity to know a country better, save some money and, of course, help a cause.
Volunteering can be a tough decision, you don’t know the country and you are not sure about where to start. Believe me when I said, that you will get over it and would be the best choice that you will do.
The advantages of volunteering are endless and Central America is an amazing place to start. Here are 5 ideas of great volunteer work you can do in any Central American country.
1. English teacher
Teachers can have an easier time finding a teaching job in Central America. Some cities like Granada in Nicaragua, Antigua in Guatemala or Tegucigalpa in Honduras, have a lot of language schools and universities where you can apply.
Since tourism is growing their need for learning English is growing too. Also, you can exchange classes, learn some Spanish and teach some English, it is a win-win!
If you want to stay away from the main touristic places, think about applying to a local school, maybe one in a community or a small town. It is hard for some schools to find teachers that are willing to live in a remote location.
Most of the time a certification as TEFL is required, especially for teaching in universities or private schools.
But you can also find opportunities without any certifications. Usually having a certification gives you the chance to earn more money.
If you are already traveling, don’t worry, you can still get your certification online. For example, in the Nicaraguan city of Leon there are one of the international TEFL academies and you will only need 4 weeks.
BECA is a non-profit organization with schools in Honduras. The idea of Beca is to offer an inexpensive bilingual education and programs for development as summer camps or counseling. Their volunteer application to become an English teacher is always open.
2. Surf instructor
Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua are paradises for surfers, traveling through its coasts and surfing all over.
Along the Pacific coast, there are a lot of hotels and surf shops that offer you good deals as a volunteer.
The most common one is having a bed and meals for free, while you teach some surf.
Other ones offer you a free bed while you work at the bar some hours a day.
The best part is that you will live close to the ocean, any free time you have you could go inside the sea and surf the waves.
Looking for more practical volunteer tips? Take a look at some of my other posts:
3. Hiking guide
Discover the volcanos in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, and have amazing adventures being a hiking guide. Every year more tourists and even locals hike the volcanos in these countries.
Being a guide is a demanding job, English is usually required, as well as a good physical condition, but the reward is amazing.
You just need some weeks to learn the paths and the volcano’s history, after that, you are ready to lead some hikes and enjoy the stunning views.
Where to apply as a hiking guide?
- If you read any of my posts about Nicaragua, you already know that I worked for Quetzaltrekkers Leon, and an amazing non-profit tour operator that offers volcano hikes and all their profits go to help children. Quetzaltrekkers has an interesting volunteer offer, a minimum of three months, you will have the chance to become a hiking guide and live with other volunteers from all around the world. Your work will go directly to help projects working with kids. Quetzaltrekkers has programs in Leon (Nicaragua) and Quetzaltenango (Guatemala), two amazing places to hike active volcanos.
- Volcano Day Tour is run by a good Nicaraguan friend of mine, who probably has the biggest experience as a local guide in the whole country. The tour operator also offers volunteer positions as a guide, while helping children through sport. They sponsor soccer leagues in the city. As an extra motivation, they are notoriously known for their parties at the beach.
- OX Expeditions in Antigua, Guatemala offers hikes, but also several other activities around the area. The volcanos here are stunning, hiking Acatenango has to be on your bucket list if you are in this country. The agency helps a project in the area that educates children and focuses on developing their creative sides.
YOU MAY BE ALSO INTERESTED IN: BEST VOLCANO HIKES IN NICARAGUA
One of the most recurrent volunteers all over Central America is working in a bar or in a bar at a hostel.
You usually have a bed for free, while you are working serving cocktails or food. This is perfect volunteering for travelers who love to party and meet new people.
This opportunity can be adapted to your plans really well, save some money on housing while you are crushing at the hostel, meet some cool people, know the city for more than two days and leave when you are ready.
The two requirements are speaking English and, at least, know how to prepare basic drinks and shots. And the most important is being able to have a good time!
5. Coffee farms
Do you mind getting your hands dirty? Are you looking for something more authentic?
Work hand in hand with local farmers using traditional agricultural techniques, the perfect cultural immersion experience. Farms usually arrange work-exchange homestays.
Coffee is one of the most common farms where you can volunteer, but there are other types of farms too.
Whether you would like to learn more about sustainable farming or coffee production, you will have the chance to learn and gain experience.
Some farms offering volunteer opportunities:
Finca Esperanza Verde is an Ecolodge and organic coffee farm serving as a financial resource for community projects in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. They offer to do volunteer work at the farm as well as in the surrounding communities.
Caoba Farms is a small sustainable farm in Antigua, Guatemala. Besides producing several crops, they also house animals and have the biggest collection of carnivorous plants in Guatemala. They accept volunteers some days a week for three hours of work, and in exchange for that, they provide you with a bag of fresh, organic vegetables grown on the farm, really cool to pick up your own food.
Have you volunteered in Central America? Do you have other tips? Leave a comment and let me know!
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