Location: Flores, Guatemala
Duration: Minimum 1 week, maximum 6 months commitment
Start Dates: Project is on-going, and you can join at any time, depending upon availability
Cost: $575 / £485 for the 1st week, $175 / £115 for each week thereafter - see 'Costs' tab for further details
- Work alongside scientists and biologists treating and rehabilitating many different species
- Flexible placement, tailored according to your interests and abilities
- Opportunity for individual research and investigation
- Keywords: wildlife rehabilitation, biology, zoology, dissertation research, internships
Animal lovers, conservationists and scientific researchers alike are invited to this special sanctuary in the remote northern region of Guatemala. The centre is situated on 45 hectares of forested land in the Mayan Biosphere Reserve, and is home to a number of species including Parrots, Macaws, Spider and Howler monkeys, Margays, Ocelots, Coatimundis, Taras and Kinkajous.
Nearly all of these animals have been seized from smugglers and are very young, needing constant care and attention. As you help these animals rehabilitate back into the wild you will get very close to some of the most unique species on the planet. In addition to feeding and caring for the animals there are opportunities for research at the centre, ensuring that your time at the Centre is tailored to your personal and career goals
A typical day on the project involves the following activities;
6:30 Animal Husbandry and Care
9:00-11:00 Chores around the Center
11:00 Animal Husbandry
12:00 Finish up Chores
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, volunteers 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.
Wildlife vet medicine: We also runs a vet program of two week courses aimed at vet and vet tech students from around the world. Differing from the usual volunteer program, the students have lectures, discussions on past cases, necropsies, lab work and hands on experience of the management of parrots, primates and reptiles. Each course is different as we also receive new cases on a day by day basis which makes it a very accurate experience of the life of a wildlife vet.
The teaching staff are wonderful at teaching students of all levels and imparting some of the knowledge that they have learned in the many years at the Rescue Centre.
For more information you can check out the Veterinary Internship project page.
Research Projects: Specific research projects will need prior approval of project directors and will depend on experience and staff availability. Past projects have involved faecal sampling and parasite monitoring of primates, enrichment programs, water quality and others.
Travel & Accommodation
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. You will all eat and socialize at a separate spacious kitchen/dining room rancho and enjoy a very nice floating dock for late afternoon swims. There is no internet service available at the Centre, however you can easily get online in the nearby town, a short boat rode away.
Internships are arranged on an individual basis. Candidates should initially send us a short essay explaining their personal motivation for participating in the program, their work plan and a CV (curriculum vitae). Minimum stay for internships is three months and applicants should be able to speak at least some Spanish.
- No minimum or maximum age
- Minimum 1 week commitment (3 months for internship)
- Full travel & medical insurance
- Necessary vaccinations
- Necessary flights & visas
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.
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 $25 USD- 100+, and some combine with activities like bird watching, hiking, camping or doing your tour on the back of a mule!
Visit Lake Atitlan and Its Volcanoes
Lake Atitlan is one of the prettiest places to see in Guatemala. Magnificent views of the volcanoes that surround it set it apart from any other lake in the world. Surrounding the lake are charming little villages where the indigenous culture is still alive. People dressed in the vibrant traditional garb can be found selling crafts and goods to tourists. You can either stay in one of the cozy little towns, take a day trip, or hike to the top of a volcano and get a view of Atitlan from above.
Most people prefer Antigua to any other city in Guatemala. It’s charming architecture and vibrant colored buildings really please the eye. Enjoy visiting the Spanish-Baroque style churches, cathedrals and plazas that still stand from the 16th century. Travelers not only enjoy the beauty of the town, but the location is quite convenient for day trips. Antigua is oftentimes the jump-off point for Lake Atitlan tours, coffee tours, and volcano hiking.
|$ USD||£ GBP*|
|Total Fees for 1st week||$575||£485|
* Currency conversions are approximate.
** All payments incur a 5% bank transfer fee.
*** $250 admin fee for the first week
Project Fee includes all food, accommodation, airport pickup, orientation, in-country support and project activities.
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.
Placement Support Package
For your trip, we will help you organise and plan everything you will need from start to finish. Our coordinators know each project & country like the back of their hand, and will be able to offer personalised advice to ensure your trip is well-planned & executed to perfection.
This includes one-to-one assistance planning and booking;
- Pre-departure Support - Flights, Visas, Vaccinations, Insurance, Essential Items and anything else you will need before you set off.
- Ongoing In-country Support - whilst you are on the project you can Contact us at any time with any questions or concerns and we will do whatever we can to help.
- 24/7 Emergency Support - a phone number that you or your family can ring at any time, night or day in case of emergency.
Our Placement Support Package costs £249 / $349 / €295 per person, and can be purchased once you are ready to confirm your place.