Projects Abroad | Veterinary Medicine

Guatemala: Veterinary Professional Placement

Flores, Guatemala


Location: Flores, Guatemala

Duration: Minimum 2 weeks, maximum 6 months commitment

Start Dates: 2022

May 9th, May 30th and July 24th

Cost: $1,750 for initial 2 weeks course + $200 for any additional weeks  – see ‘Costs’ tab for further details


  • Work alongside veterinary and support staff, treating and rehabilitating many different species in this amazing location.
  • Flexible placement, tailored according to your interests and abilities.
  • Opportunity for individual research, investigation & dissertation research.
  • Serious veterinary internship ideal for students of veterinary science, biology & zoology
Costs Explained


The veterinary internships are available as 2-week placements with the option to add extra weeks as a volunteer. Depending on the length of your placement, you will take part in various procedures, lectures and daily veterinary activities around the centre, as well as a few outings to sights in the nearby area.

Students on a 2-week placement will be able to take part in the following activities;

  • 6 hours of lecture time focusing on primates, psittacines & reptiles.
  • 5 hours of necropsy review of documented past cases.
  • 4 hours of practice, capture and management of primates, psittacines and reptiles.
  • Obtaining and processing of blood samples and faecal matters of 6 species; primates, psitacines, reptiles, deer, coatimundi & one other, discussion and administration of needed treatment, and follow up.
  • Participation in necropsies and administration of various veterinary treatments (surgery assistance and type of treatment depending on cases)
  • Routine work with the animals and enclosures (cleaning, feeding, maintenance)
  • Potential work with infant animals (case dependent)
  • Possible additional work in Petencito zoo (1 day a week)

Veterinary curricula may vary in the order of material presentation and sometimes staff may assume you have knowledge of a subject to which you have not yet been introduced. This is especially true for first, second and third-year students. Don’t be afraid to admit inexperience. Remember, it’s better to admit inexperience than injure a patient!

Daily Life

In addition to your Internship duties, a typical day on the project involves the following activities;

6:30 Animal Husbandry and Care
8:00 Breakfast
9:00-11:00 Chores around the Center
11:00 Animal Husbandry
12:00 Finish up Chores
1:00 Lunch
2:00 Animal Husbandry
3:00 Individual projects, Relaxing, Trips to Flores, Swimming, Hiking.
6:00 Dinner & socializing

Much of the work that takes place at the Rescue Centre is in the maintenance and pre-rehabilitation areas; although in special cases they will help in the quarantine, clinic and rehabilitation cages. For long term volunteers or with advanced knowledge in animal care, there may be opportunities to feed baby birds like Parrots, woodpeckers, toucans and many other species.

When an animal requires it and the staff indicates it, some species like baby howler monkeys, baby anteaters and baby carnivores may need more attention, closer care and even hand feeding. This is where some long term volunteers can be taken in consideration for this responsibility.
The rescue center is equipped with a fully functional veterinary clinic where recently received animals receive immediate attention, special diets and treatments.

In addition to the regular daily feeding and care of the animals, we usually have special on-going activities in which you can participate. These activities include:

  • Construction of cages or extra buildings.
  • Gathering of wild foods for the animals.
  • Giving tours and creating educational exhibits at Kinkajou Kingdom.
  • Participating in additional environmental education activities and community projects
  • “Enrichment” of cages and enclosures by adding toys, perches and other stimuli that help the animal in their rehabilitation process.

Depending on your experience and skills, you may also be asked to help in veterinary medical treatment and surgeries as well as in the periodic blood and feces samples we must take to monitor the health of the animals.

Perhaps the most satisfying work at the centre are the animal releases which we carry out 2-6 times per year. Volunteers may assist in these releases depending on time and space availability if the release is off site. All volunteers are able to participate in onsite releases.

The number of animals at the centre varies depending on the time of year (breeding/trafficking season is April-July) however there is constant work all year round for volunteers working in the enclosures with the animals. The amount of work varies depending on how many volunteers are at the centre, however when we have more volunteers we take advantage of any down times we have to do maintenance, or small project work to improve the centre.

In addition, you are encouraged to develop their own individual projects. If you see potential for such a special project, let us know and we will work with you to translate that idea into practice. In the past, volunteers have taken on projects such as developing interpretive exhibits and trails, studying the behaviours of animals in the centre and conducting educational activities in neighbouring schools. It’s great to have ideas, but sometimes the difficult part is translating those ideas into practice.

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Travel & Accom.

You will be met at the local airport (connecting in Guatemala City international airport) where you will be taken to the Project HQ.

You will live at the Centre in a spacious two-story wooden building situated in a beautiful tropical forest with comfortable wooden bunk beds, “western” shower and toilet facilities and US-style 110 electricity. Volunteers eat and socialize at a separate spacious kitchen/dining room rancho and enjoy a very nice floating dock for late afternoon swims. There is a laundry service at an additional cost available at the Centre. You can get online in the nearby town of Flores, usually visited on weekends.

Fundraising Help

Additional Info.

In general, interns are expected to become a willing part of the Rescue Centre team and to take an integral part in the day-to-day operations of the Centre. We also expect that, barring physical limitations, all interns take an equal part in performing some of the tasks at the Centre regardless of background, training or educational level.

It is important to remember that your stay at the Rescue Centre will involve more than veterinary work. You will be expected to perform the same types of chores as other interns, including cleaning cages, manual labour and kitchen work. In addition to the regular daily feeding and care of the animals, there are usually special on-going activities in which you can participate, including:

  • Construction of cages or extra buildings
  • Trail maintenance
  • Research into the wild diets of the animals

At times there is a lot of work, especially during the breeding season (June-August) when we receive the majority of our seized animals. The Centre receives between 450 and 700 animals each year, meaning there is always work to do! We ask for your understanding and cooperation in these matters.

In addition, interns are encouraged to develop their own individual special projects. If you see potential for such a special project, let us know and we will work with you to translate that idea into practice. There are lots of great ideas out there; the difficult part is putting them into practice. In the past, interns have taken on projects such as developing interpretive trails, studying the behaviours of some of the animals in the Centre, designing and painting signs and murals, but this would require an extended stay at the project.

In your free time you can take advantage of the beautiful surroundings by taking hikes, swimming, or simply taking a well-deserved siesta in the shade.

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Internships are arranged on an individual basis. You should send us a short essay explaining you personal motivation for participating in the program, work plan and a CV.

  • No minimum or maximum age
  • You must be be studying or have relevant experience / qualifications in veterinary science
  • Minimum 2 weeks commitment
  • Basic – Intermediate Spanish
  • Full travel & medical insurance
  • Necessary vaccinations including rabies, tetanus and hepatitis.
  • Necessary flights & visas

Extra Activities

If you’re traveling to Guatemala, no need to look further- this list has you covered. We have narrowed down the Top 5 Must-See parts of this beautiful tropical country. You cannot miss the ancient ruins of Tikal National Park, or the Volcanoes of Lake Atitlan. Read on to find out the adventures that await you in Central America.

Tikal National Park

You do not have to be an archaeologist to appreciate the wonder that is Tikal. This entire park encompasses one of the Maya civilization’s most major sites. Famous for the towering Temple IV and the sprawling Great Plaza, this park is a must-see in Guatemala. The entire park is surrounded by lush jungle and wildlife, so you feel as though you are in a different world. Step into your own personal Indiana Jones movie at Tikal.

Semuc Champey

This excursion is for the more able-bodied traveler, but Semuc Champey is great if you can make it there. Located in central Guatemala, this is a breathtaking gathering of limestone bridges, a river, and pools of aqua-marine water. Spend all day bathing in the cool, clear water or tube down the river. You can even explore caves by candlelight at night if you go with a tour and are up for an adventure!

Take a Coffee Tour

If you’re a coffee drinker, there is a good chance you’ve had a cup from Guatemala. If not, you still would have a great time exploring the coffee plantations in this country. Learn how coffee is grown, and walk around giant fields of the world’s favorite bean. Prices range from $25 USD- 100+, and some combine with activities like bird watching, hiking, camping or doing your tour on the back of a mule!

Visit Lake Atitlan and Its Volcanoes

Lake Atitlan is one of the prettiest places to see in Guatemala. Magnificent views of the volcanoes that surround it set it apart from any other lake in the world. Surrounding the lake are charming little villages where the indigenous culture is still alive. People dressed in the vibrant traditional garb can be found selling crafts and goods to tourists. You can either stay in one of the cozy little towns, take a day trip, or hike to the top of a volcano and get a view of Atitlan from above.


Most people prefer Antigua to any other city in Guatemala. It’s charming architecture and vibrant colored buildings really please the eye. Enjoy visiting the Spanish-Baroque style churches, cathedrals and plazas that still stand from the 16th century. Travelers not only enjoy the beauty of the town, but the location is quite convenient for day trips. Antigua is oftentimes the jump-off point for Lake Atitlan tours, coffee tours, and volcano hiking.


Total Fees – initial 2 weeks $1750
Additional weeks $200

* Currency conversions are approximate.
** All payments incur a 5% bank transfer fee.
*** Admin fee of $250 included in the total price.

What’s Included:

Project Fee includes all food, accommodation, airport pickup and drop-off (local airport), orientation, in-country support and project activities as well a two-day overnight trip to the Mayan Tikal Temples (excluding the park entrance fee).

What’s Not included:

Flights, insurance, visas (if applicable) and vaccinations.

Full assistance will be provided in getting all these arranged if you choose our Premium Support.

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We understand there’s a great deal to plan and organise for your trip. When booking a Placement, many of our participants choose to purchase our Premium Support Upgrade to benefit from the expertise, knowledge and experience of our Project Coordinators.

We can provide the personal advice you need to ensure your trip is organised with excellence and planned with efficiency; ensuring the very best experience possible. Read more about how we can help you.

Note: Map coordinates are approximate