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Volunteer in Guatemala for Free: Contribute to Guatemalan education

In Guatemala we are located in Santiago Atitlán, one of the many villages around lake Atitlán (4h drive from Guatemala City and not far from Antigua). 

Surrounded by volcanoes and coffee plantations, Santiago is a Mayan Indigenous village with around 60,000 inhabitants. It is one of the most authentic villages in the area where tourism hasn’t transformed the village much. Art is lived throughout the village through weaving, embroidery, murals and painters all around.

Santiago Atitlán

What does volunteering in Guatemala with One, Two.. Tree! is about?

In Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala, we have an agreement with the Ministry of Education to provide children in primary school with a basic level of English. We currently teach English in five public schools and in our very own learning centre to around 450 children, 50 teenagers and various adult groups across the town.

Check out our blog to read the latest updates!

Why volunteering in Guatemala with One, Two… Tree! ?

Tourism is growing rapidly in Central America and Santiago Atitlán is surrounded by several increasingly-popular villages. Across the community, there is an ever-growing desire to learn English as a way to benefit from tourism and enrich future opportunities by broadening studies and creating access to a wider range of jobs.

Here you can have a sneak peek of all the wonders of Lake Atitlán.

What makes volunteering with One, Two… Tree! different?

At One, Two… Tree! we are all volunteers, not employees. It is a project made by people from all around the world who want to share and connect with others.

We count with an amazing team of enthusiastic volunteers, local and foreign, who bring every day their talents and passions not only to teach English, but to contribute each in their own and unique way to create a volunteering platform from which to inspire collaboration and citizen participation in an increasingly connected and globalized world.

Through the years we have bonded with other local projects from the town, working together to strengthen the impact and reach of our organisations. You will able to collaborate with them too if that was something of interest. We leave here some of the organisations we collaborate with:


Moreover, this is a unique opportunity to learn and master new skills and discover all your potential while contributing to something bigger than yourself. Whatever your background, we are keen to listen to your ideas. There is nothing we like more than proactivity, enthusiasm and optimism to make the world a better place for everyone.

Volunteering with One, Two… Tree! is FREE, our volunteers only pay for their own expenses which go directly to the local families and businesses volunteers interact with.

Volunteer in Guatemala for Free: Requirements

  • Being +18 years old
  • The ideal length of stay is between 3 to 6 months, as it provides much-needed continuity for the students. We will also consider applicants who can only stay for six weeks to 3 months; however, please note that 6 weeks is an absolute minimum, and we will give priority to volunteers who plan to stay longer.
  • Good level of English: speaking and writing 
  • Basic level of Spanish (speaking) and a positive attitude to keep learning and practicing while being here
  • Some previous teaching or volunteering experience is a plus
  • Proactive, creative, flexible, and self-motivated minds
  • Passion for education, openness to new cultures, and a drive to learn new skills
  • An understanding that you will learn more than you teach during your time here
  • Full of energy and enthusiasm to make a difference
  • When choosing the period to come, please take into account that holidays in Central America go from mid-November to early February.
  • Volunteers must get their own travel insurance.
  • A Criminal Background Check Report (since you’ll be working with children)


Volunteers should be open-minded, enthusiastic, flexible, and prepared to face challenges. It’s important to remember that in most cases you’ll be engaged with children from the age of 8 to 12 years old (approx.), so you’ll have to be patient while dealing with them, handle them with utmost love & care, and try to make a difference in their lives in the most beautiful manner.

We are also teaching adults up to 68 being our current eldest student! This requires flexibility to adapt to different ways of learning and styles, skills that are more than ever on the rise for any job in this fast-changing world.

Free volunteering in Guatemala with One, Two… Tree!: How to get started?

We are always looking for passionate and proactive volunteers, full of energy and enthusiasm to make a difference.

Do you have a passion for education, openness to new cultures, and a drive to learn new skills? Do you have experience teaching, tutoring, or engaging with children and have a fluent level of English?

Would you like to be part of a proactive and supportive team where your ideas and thoughts will be heard and important in the day-to-day of the project?

You can either send us an email at, complete the form on this website, or contact us through InstagramFacebook or LinkedIn.

We can’t wait to meet you!

What to expect from our volunteer English teaching program?

Volunteers receive instructions and academic materials upon their arrival. These materials are standard throughout our organisation.  All this work is organised and managed on the ground by our team of coordinators: Candy, Nina and Toño. Candy will help you organise your arrival and accommodation, Nina will train you up and provide you with your teaching schedule and materials while Toño will be the point of contact with the schools and learning centre.

The average workload is 16 hours per week (with some additional time to prepare for each lesson). The workload will be divided between public schools and our Learning Centre. We will ask you for help on additional tasks such as organising events, showing other volunteers around, and other tasks aimed at improving our program. Please feel free to bring suggestions, we love them!

Wondering what the day of an English teacher volunteer is like? Have a look at this blog post!



Volunteers are expected to pay for their accommodation however, the price is very affordable. We suggest staying with host families from Santiago Atitlán. There are no additional costs asked by One, Two… Tree! and all your costs are paid directly to the host family.

With the host family, you will get a room, shower, and internet whilst with some families, it is possible to ask for cooked meals to be provided too. We will share the information about each host family during the interview process as well as our tips on living in Santiago.

Your host family will give you a warm welcome and you will have a wonderful stay during your time with them. Staying with a family allows you to get a truly local experience of the culture and traditions of the country and local community.

The usual accommodation costs range from 100$ (USD) to 300$ (USD) a month based on your preferences for privacy, meals, etc... We can arrange for someone to pick you up at Guatemala City airport for an additional cost or we can share the other options to reach Santiago Atitlán with you.


What do we offer?

This will be an opportunity for you to immerse yourself into the Guatemalan culture, make new friends and learn more than you give in the end. Get a chance to directly engage with locals and meet passionate volunteers from across the globe!

You will have a support network while being here, feeling part of a family, with access to a wide range of activities to explore the area, experience the local culture, and meet new people and community projects. This will be a great experience too to master your Spanish and English as you will be working bilingually all day long.

You will improve your teamwork, collaboration, and creative problem-solving skills as well as any other professional skill you would like to hone while staying here. We love proactivity and self-development and will make sure to offer you opportunities to help you in your self and professional development journey.

We offer recommendation letters, volunteer certificates, and LinkedIn recommendations for all who volunteer with us. If you are staying for a long period of time (i.e. three months or more), we will be happy to convert this volunteering opportunity into an internship so that you can play a more active role in the running of the project, and get hands-on experience in the admin, fundraising or recruitment areas of a non-profit. We are also open to working with universities regarding college credits.

Check our project memorandum to know more about our project, including info about the locations, English methods, accommodation costs, and other useful information!

Memorandum Guatemala

Our volunteers and students in Guatemala talk about us!

Would you like to meet some of our volunteers and students? Here is our last blog post of 2022 where we review our work through the year and gather some interviews of our volunteers.

Don’t miss the video in it, it made our volunteers and students proud to reflect on the achievements, and a little emotional too!

Other programs to Volunteer in Central America for free

If you are interested in volunteering in Central America specifically, here are some resources that may be helpful for you:

We receive many applications through Volunteer World. Browse available opportunities in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua or Costa Rica. Even though Mexico would tecnically be North America, we encourage you to include it within your search!

Volunteer Latin America links you directly to many volunteer opportunities across Latin America.

If you are interested in working specifically with nonprofits in Guatemala, “El Directorio de Guatemala” is a directory of nonprofits in Guatemala, most of whom have volunteer opportunities:

Lastly if you would like to volunteer with any of the projects we collaborate with based in Santiago Atitlán let us know and we can put you in touch.


Can you volunteer abroad without a visa?

To volunteer abroad you will need a tourist visa. Please check this website to understand the requirements of Guatemalan government regarding tourist visas.

Do volunteers need work visa?

In most countries, unless engaging professionally with an NGO, you will volunteer as a tourist and your visa requirements will be those asked for tourists from your country of nationality.

Can you get paid to volunteer abroad?

This depends on the program. Generally, volunteer work means working without monetary compensation. There are other non-monetary types of compensation involved with volunteering, such as gaining human connection, feeling useful to others, enriching your view of the world, gaining life experience, becoming confident with public speaking, making new friends, and many more.

Most projects will cover the cost of teaching supplies and traveling such as public transportation if needed to reach a remote community. Some projects might offer food and accommodation as compensation, but this generally requires a long-term commitment and specific background to support the project like teaching training or prior experience.

Can a non US citizen volunteer?

Yes. You will need to check the visa requirements for tourists from your country of nationality.

Volunteer Application Form

If you want to volunteer with us, please complete our Volunteer Application Form. We will reach out to you soon about the next steps!


Apply Now