General Information for ARCAS Volunteers

Volunteer for ARCAS: The Big Picture

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.

At the Wildlife Rescue Center in Peten, volunteers help in feeding and caring for rescued wildlife including scarlet macaws, red-fronted parrots, spider and howler monkeys, jaguars and coatimundis. At the Sea Turtle program in Hawaii on the Pacific coast of Guatemala, volunteers also help in carrying for rescued wildlife, in addition help in conducting nightly beach patrols in search of nesting olive ridley sea turtles, managing the Hawaii Hatchery, taking research data and assisting in educational and community projects.
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.

Below you will find information about volunteering with ARCAS.

For the latest volunteer information, especially regarding prices, transportation and new projects, please contact us directly at [email protected].
You should also pick up a travel guide about Guatemala before you come.

Here are some common frequently asked questions we hear:

1How can I join ARCAS as a volunteer? How do I reserve a spot?
Send us an email at [email protected] and we’ll send you the latest information. Although not required, reservations are recommended, especially during our peak months when we often fill up.

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 Reserva offers a reservation, and for the Peten project airport pick-up.
3) 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.

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 in cash in quetzals or US dollars at the project site. (Plan Reserva and Plan completo need to be made beforehand)

Please contact us at [email protected]

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.
2What about Guatemalan money?"
When you first arrive in Guatemala, if you are traveling by air, you should change @$200 at the banks in the airport. 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 are banks and ATMS in Monterrico 7kms away.
There is cell phone coverage throughout Guatemala. Both Hawaii and Peten have internet cafes nearby. You can either bring an internationally activated phone, or buy a phone card / sim card once you arrive in Guatemala.
4I 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.

Plus you can read about other volunteers´ experiences on the testimonial page or become a fan in the ARCAS Facebook Fan Page!.

“I want to sign up!” Great, just send us an e-mail to [email protected]

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