General Information for ARCAS Volunteers
ARCAS and the wild animals it protects benefit from the support of over 500 volunteers per year both at the Rescue Center in Petén as well as the Sea Turtle and Mangrove Program in Hawaii. Volunteers contribute technical expertise as well as contribute to the financial self-sufficiency of ARCAS’s conservation efforts while they gain valuable work experience and an insight into Guatemalan culture.
Being a non-profit, voluntary organization, ARCAS doesn’t have the resources of a larger organization and volunteers are expected to be fairly independent and self-sufficient and cover their own personal needs in terms of visas, special diets, medications and communications with loved ones back home. ARCAS cannot take responsibility for any accidents or illnesses that may occur while volunteering and volunteers are required to sign a waiver of responsibility.
Below you will find information about volunteering with ARCAS. Please bear in mind however, that this information is an abridged version of the ARCAS Volunteer Guidebook may not be up-to-date.For the latest volunteer information, especially regarding prices, transportation and new projects, please contact us directly at
For up-to-date information regarding volunteering, especially regarding prices, transportation and new projects, please contact us directly at
You should also pick up a great travel guide about Guatemala before you come.
Here are some common frequently asked questions we hear:
"How can I join ARCAS as a volunteer. How do I reserve a spot?"
See below for links and info on our Volunteer Fees and Reservations.
Volunteer fees are used to support ARCAS’s wildlife conservation efforts. Although not required, reservations are recommended, especially during our peak months when we often fill up. Send us an email and we can tell you more! at
ARCAS offers three plans for volunteers:
1) Plan Mochilero is for experienced travelers who speak some Spanish and prefer to arrive at the project site on their own with no reservation.
2) Plan Completo is for less experienced travelers who
don´t speak Spanish. For an additional deposit, volunteers are guaranteed a reservation, picked up at the airport and offered additional services depending on the project they are going to.
3) Plan Reserva offers just a reservation, and for the Peten project, airport pick-up. Please contact us at
When you arrive at the project site, you will be asked to register and sign a waiver form. Please bring with you a copy of the picture page of your passport.
Other than the Plan Completo deposit, you can make your volunteer payment for the following weeks in cash in quetzals or US dollars at the project site.
If you want to get in touch directly with the staff at the projects to see what current conditions are give them a call at the telephone numbers at Contact Us.Please contact us at
for more information.
"What about Guatemalan money?"
Here are some ideas.
When you first arrive in Guatemala, if you are traveling by air, you should change $200-$300 at the banks at the exchange booths at “La Aurora” airport. You can either bring an internationally activated phone, or buy a phone card / sim card once you arrive in Guatemala (these are not for sale inside the airport). Flores airport does not have bank facilities or a payphone.
Banks and ATM machines are all over Guatemala now, so it’s a good idea to rely on debit and credit cards and carry as little cash as possible. In Petén, there are banking facilities in Flores 10 minutes away from the Rescue Center where you can make ATM withdrawals and cash TCs. For the Hawaii project, there is a bank in Monterrico 7kms away from the Hawaii Parque and there are ATMs that work sporadically.
"I have language concerns because I don't speak Spanish! Can ARCAS help me learn?"
Spanish is a beautiful language and your ARCAS experience will be greatly enhanced if you can communicate in the local language. Although not required, volunteers who plan to come to Guatemala for an extended period of time are encouraged to spend the first few weeks learning Spanish at one of the many language schools in the beautiful colonial city of Antigua.
The standard study program is @ $200 per week for a homestay, food and 4-6 hours/day of 1-on-1 instruction, $125 per week for instruction with no homestay. There are close to 50 language schools in Antigua most of which offer similar courses, however we recommend the following two schools that support social and environmental causes such as ARCAS:
APPE 1C oriente #15, Tel: 7832-2552, E-mail:
. Ask for Lilian Santizo and tell her that we sent you and she'll give you a discount;
Responsible Travel with guaranteed authentic experiences - 1a Calle Poniente #9 (entrance facing La Merced church), Antigua, Telefax 7832-9017, E-mail:
. Ask for Elke!
If you are planning on volunteering at the Hawaii Project, there is a Spanish school in Monterrico 7 kms away (
) and volunteers often make daily commutes for classes. There are also a number of Spanish schools in Quetzaltenango and near Flores. Check out www.volunteerPeten.org and www.ecomaya.com for more info.
"I want to know more about ARCAS volunteering"
The ARCAS Volunteer Handbook is a super resource and will give you a lot more specific information about what you expect when you come to volunteer with us. Get it here: ARCAS Volunteer Handbook.
Plus you read about other volunteers experiences in our testimonial page or become a fan in the ARCAS Fan Page, and talk to the community!.
"OK, I want to sign up with ARCAS"
Wonderful. Here is the Volunteer Registration Form!
Fill out this Volunteer Registration Form and get ready for an experience you will never forget. Make a difference to the indigenous wildlife of Guatemala by giving them the care, protection, support they need to survive. It does not get much better than that!
"I have some specific questions about volunteering with ARCAS."
No problem. You can reach us on the ARCAS Contact Page or email us at