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Maximo Nivel

Lake Conservation

Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala show on map

Agency | Maximo Nivel

Help preserve Lake Atitlan’s natural resources by raising awareness and educating the local population on the proper use of the lake and surrounding water basin.

Volunteers work with a private, non-governmental organization founded to help preserve Lake Atitlán's natural resources by raising awareness and educating the population on the proper use of the lake and its basin. It runs three main programs:

Environmental Education: The education program focuses on the themes of recycling, proper trash disposal, water conservation, and pollution in the school system and targeting local populations.

Natural Resources Management: This program is dedicated to restoring the surrounding hillsides of Lake Atitlán through reforestation and increased soil fertilization. The project produces its own natural fertilizer using worm castings. 

Environmental Cleanup: The cleanup program is multifaceted and focuses on water filtration, recycling, waste management, and seasonal area clean-up.

The program begins with 2 days in Antigua where volunteers receive orientation at the Máximo Nivel office. During the orientation they are provided with more information about Guatemala and the project. The project site is about 3 hours from La Antigua. Máximo Nivel organizes the transportation to the project site at Lake Atitlán.

Once arrived at Lake Atitlán, volunteers assist the environmental educators and/or conservation workers who are involved in managing the lake conservation activities.

Possible volunteer duties include:

  • Educational programs in local schools – some Spanish required
  • Educational discussions with indigenous women in the small towns – some Spanish required
  • Planning and organizing fund-raising events
  • Cleanup campaigns around the shore. This is seasonal and typically during Holy Week and the week between Christmas and New Years
  • Reforestation – between May and August
  • Construction or installation of water filters
  • Teaching English to the local communities
  • Working at the solid waste treatment plant (recycling plant)

Typical day

Working hours vary according to the needs of the project, but volunteers can expect to work 6-8 hours per day, Monday to Friday. Working hours are split into shifts, morning and afternoon. The day’s schedule may vary according to the project’s needs.

Details on Arrival

Projects start every Monday, all year round. Volunteers arrive on Saturday and spend the first couple of days in La Antigua, where they receive the orientation. In La Antigua, they stay in a local family with a shared room and breakfast and dinner included. In Santiago Atitlán they are also housed in a traditional family-stay which includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week.

Free-time activities

There is plenty to see and do around Lake Atitlán. Volunteers have the weekends off and potentially Friday afternoons as well. 

Nearby towns they can visit include: San Pedro La Laguna, San Marcos, and Panajachel. These towns host a variety of restaurants, night clubs and bars. They need to take a boat to reach them and stay overnight as boats stop running around 6 pm. 

In La Antigua, there are several cultural events, tours and treks, and markets to explore. As well, our local staff always posts a monthly events calendar to let volunteers know of the activities going on around Máximo. 

Just outside of La Antigua, there is even more to explore including nearby coffee farms, volcanoes, and both Mayan and colonial ruins. Further outside the area, participants can visit beautiful Lake Atitlán, Semuc Champey, and the famous Tikal archaeological site. Our staff are experts on Guatemala and can answer any questions clients have. Tours and trips can also easily be booked through our on-site travel partner.

Water Sports

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 17 years old on the program start date.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Health Declaration
Criminal Background Check
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Suitable for


Included Services

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Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Maximo Nivel cancels your trip
Resolution Support
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Maximo Nivel.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
Maximo Nivel (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
Prepare yourself and become a confident and well informed traveler. Global Travel Academy takes you on a journey before you leave home, helping you to become one of the world's greatest travelers. Our trusted partner for online learning offers courses in "International Volunteering", "Travel Health & Safety" and "Travel Safety Abroad".

On-site services

Services by Maximo Nivel

Our program fees include:

  • Airport pick-up
  • Host family accommodations (shared room)
  • Breakfast and dinner in Antigua and full board at the project site, 7 days/week
  • 3-4 hours/day volunteer work
  • Program and safety orientation
  • Walking tour
  • Official certificate of volunteer service
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Emergency contact number 24/7
  • Program management

Airport Pickup at La Aurora International Airport

Airport pick up in Guatemala City and public bus and boat transportation to and from the project and La Antigua at the beginning and end of the program is included. Once at the project, daily travel time will vary depending on the assignment, but volunteers should be prepared to travel up to 45 minutes a day.


For the first couple days volunteers stay in La Antigua to receive the orientation. In La Antigua they stay in a traditional family-stay with a shared room and breakfast and dinner included. In Santiago Atitlán, they will also stay in a traditional family-stay which includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week.

Guest Family
Food & Beverages

The first 2 days in La Antigua volunteers have 2 meals included (breakfast and dinner), while in Santiago Atitlán they have full board with 3 meals/day.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is La Aurora International Airport (GUA) in Guatemala City. We assist you to find cheap flights to Guatemala.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Guatemala provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Guatemala you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Guatemala.
Costs (Prices in USD)
1 week (min. stay)
2 weeks
2 weeks
3 weeks
3 weeks
4 weeks
4 weeks
8 weeks
8 weeks
16 weeks
16 weeks
50 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in Santiago Atitlán/Guatemala between 1 week and 50 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Maximo Nivel will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Guatemala.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Maximo Nivel during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
  Americas Central America Guatemala  Santiago Atitlán, Santiago Atitlán

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