Do’s and Dont’s When Volunteering in Guatemala

Marissa Hiking Pacaya Volcano in Guatemala

Our best advice for getting the most out of your volunteer trip to Guatemala:

  • Don’t drink tap water; only bottled or filtered water
  • Have a cell phone in Guatemala (either from home or buy local)
  • Carry your cell phone everywhere
  • Tight / revealing clothes will draw extra attention from men
  • No jewelry, cash or expensive electronics in public
  • Don’t go alone on excursions or isolated places
  • Tell your host family if you are not going to be home for meals
  • Don’t isolate yourself (ear buds, sunglasses, spending all free time in bedroom)
  • Don’t worry about mistakes when speaking Spanish
  • Do not use ATM’s around Central Park Antigua area due to electronic fraud
  • In Antigua use only ATM’s inside upscale hotels like Porta Hotel Antigua
  • Watch for pickpockets and scammers at all ATM’s
  • Be aware that sexism and harassment are prevalent
  • Bring a rain jacket and small umbrella – it rains often in Antigua and Xela
  • Use your own toiletries
  • No swimming under any circumstances
  • Wash your hands frequently (or hand sanitizer if you can’t wash)
  • Keep your room tidy and clean up after yourself
  • Always ask before taking photo/video of someone
  • Speak softly – shouting and talking loud is impolite
  • No riding in chicken buses
  • Vehicles always have the right of way
  • Don’t ignore symptoms like headache, diarrhea, not sleeping
  • Fight jet lag with water, exercise, and adjusting to local time immediately
  • Always carry contact information on paper for our staff and your peers
  • All illnesses, incidents, & accidents MUST be reported immediately to coordinator
  • Use bug spray at night to avoid mosquito bites