volunteer in Guatemala with animals.

Wildlife Rescue in Guatemala.


The wildlife of Guatemala is under threat from habitat loss, unsustainable hunting and capture for the illegal pet trade. The decline in local populations of wild animals is obvious and dramatic. The large noisy flocks of scarlet macaws reported by early explorers have been reduced to just 300 birds in the Laguna del Tigre Park. While fairly plentiful even 15 years ago, Baird’s tapirs and jaguars are becoming more and more difficult to see. The giant anteater and the Harpy eagle have not been sighted in recent years and are presumed extinct in the region. This wildlife rescue centre was opened in response to the alarming disappearance of native species from the wild. Initially the centre was built to rehabilitate wild animals that were confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government. The rescue centre is situated on 45 hectares of land on a lake in northern Guatemala and includes a quarantine area, a veterinary hospital, and rehabilitation facilities with a large flight cages and enclosures scattered throughout the jungle.

Internships: This organization accepts volunteers who want to conduct internships or practicums as part of their university studies.  Past interns have taken on specific projects such as the development of ecotourism activities, public relations strategies, inventories of flora and fauna  and sea turtle research.  Please contact AEI for more information. 

Includes: Airport pick up and drop off (at closest airport, you will need to budget an extra flight out of Guatemala City airport), accommodation, meals, on-site training, donation to Placement Partner, AEI Travel Manual, Partner Organization’s volunteer handbook, $10 Credit in our Zazzle store (towards the purchase of recycled water bottles, reusable bags, etc), American and Canadian clients get 50% off at the online AEI IceBreaker store, Emergency support while at Placement, Carbon credits to offset 3 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, Premium Individual Travel Insurance (up to $500, 000 USD in emergency medical coverage), Travel discounts (through automatic membership to a volunteer only travel discount program), 24/7 Travel and emergency assistance, guided trip to Tikal National Park (all accommodation and some meals (1 breakfast and 1 lunch) are provided, clients are required to pay the $25 park fee and for all other meals during their excursion). Are you thinking of fundraising for a portion, or all your fees? Many of our clients have been very successful with their fundraising efforts. To learn more about their successful fundraising projects and see how you can fund raise for your experience, please visit our fundraising page!

Excludes: Flights, Entry visa costs, International and domestic airport taxes, Immunizations and medications. Note: The rabies vaccine is recommended but not required for this Experience however, if volunteers are interested in becoming rabies vaccinated, the average cost is $600- $1000 in North America.

Accommodation: You will be staying on-site in the organization’s volunteer housing. All meals are provided by the Placement Partner. Placements start on weekdays. Do you have questions about safety? We have answers right: here!

Volunteer activities: Volunteers at the rescue center help in feeding and caring for the animals at the center which include parrots, macaws, spider and howler monkeys, margays, ocelots, coatimundis, tayras and kinkajous.  Nearly all of these animals have been seized from smugglers and are very young, needing constant care and attention.  Activities will include preparing food for the animals, serving food to the animals, cleaning enclosures, cleaning food bowls, cleaning equipment and cleaning food preparation areas. Veterinary placements will be organized by Placement Partner and AEI based on the number of animals and species in care at the time of the Experience.

Spanish lessons:  Spanish language ability is not required, but in general, your ability to speak some Spanish will greatly enhance your effectiveness as well as your satisfaction with your experience.  If you don’t already speak Spanish and you plan to volunteer for an extended period, we recommend that you consider spending your first weeks studying in Antigua, a world-renowned Spanish language center and a stunningly beautiful colonial city surrounded by volcanoes.  Contact us to for more information and a recommendation for schools that are not only reasonably priced, but also support local social and environmental causes.

This is an ongoing program with operations every day of the year. There are no specific start or end dates. We work with you and your schedule so you can serve this community and help animals when you are available. Placements start on weekdays and volunteers are asked to arrive on the day they start their experience. Are you nervous about travel and your safety? It's okay, travelling and volunteering can be overwhelming, that is why we exist! To help you travel safe, volunteer smartly and get back home in one piece. To read more about how we help you stay safe, please read our Guide to Safety. Do you have questions about safety in Guatemala, specifically? We have answers right: Guide to Safety in Guatemala!

Classification of Placement: Medical: Entry and Advanced. Standard: Entry and Advanced.

All classifications of volunteers are needed by this Placement partner and we encourage you to apply no matter your skill or experience level. However, if you are looking for a Placement to use your specific skills, the professionals who would be most beneficial to this placement would be volunteers with experience in: veterinary medicine, fundraising, construction and design.

OAVTThis is an official pre-approved OAVT Partnership. All participants are eligible for a minimum of 5 Continuing Education credits.
Trip Cost
length of stay
2 weeks $ 1890
3 weeks $ 2190
4 weeks $ 2490
8 weeks $ 3690
Groups of 5 or more: 10% off individual fees.