About Rustic Volunteers Mexico

Volunteer in Mexico

A Life-changing, Rewarding and Affordable Mexico Experience!

If you are looking for spectacular beaches, rugged mountains, bustle, noise and poverty, travel to Mexico. It really will be an unforgettable experience.

With Rustic's volunteer programs, you will be able to experience Mexico even more intimately. By spending time with children or helping locals to conserve endangered species, and staying with warm and welcoming host families, you will not only contribute in local community projects meaningful but also immerse in local culture, improve your Spanish and explore fascinating landscapes. This is an experience most tourists simply do not get. In Mexico, a country of friendly people, stunning landscapes, and where people are entrenched in poverty, volunteering is perhaps the best way to discover the country and gain incredible experience.

Begin your Mexican journey by emailing us now. We will be happily to send you more information so you can soon travel to this astonishing country and touch the lives of the disadvantaged.

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Fees and Dates

Start Dates:

All volunteer programs start on the first and third Monday of each month.

If you are tired of expensive volunteer programs but want to make a positive contribution in the world, look no further! Rustic is dedicated to offering high quality, well-organized and meaningful programs at the most affordable price in the United States. We work hard to keep costs as low as possible, focusing on the effectiveness of our projects, the safety of our volunteers and the quality of participant experiences. We currently offer the most competitive price possible in today's market including an application fee (of $299) AND a small weekly fee as follows:

Weeks Children's home Teaching English Special Education Sea turtle conservation
1 Week   $283   $308   $308   $329
2 Weeks   $416   $441   $441   $483
3 Weeks   $549   $574   $574   $637
4 Weeks   $682   $707   $707   $791
5 Weeks   $840   $865   $865   $970
6 Weeks   $973   $998   $998   $1,124
7 Weeks   $1,106   $1,131   $1,131   $1,278
8 Weeks   $1,239   $1,264   $1,264   $1,432
9 Weeks   $1,397   $1,422   $1,422   $1,611
10 Weeks   $1,530   $1,555   $1,555   $1,765
11 Weeks   $1,663   $1,688   $1,688   $1,919
12 Weeks   $1,796   $1,821   $1,821   $2,073
Airport: Puerto Vallarta Manzanillo Manzanillo Puerto Vallarta
Airport
pick-up fee
$50 $50 $50 $110

Mandatory Comprehensive Travel Insurance $3.49/day

  • Program fee covers
    • Accommodation
    • 3 meals a day
    • Donation to project
    • In-country office expenses
    • Field support
    • Project coordination
    • Emergency support
    • Airport welcome
  • Program fee does not cover
    • International flights
    • Passport and visa fees
    • Immunizations
    • Personal food and beverages
    • Entertainment
    • Local transportation
    • Laundry
    • Communication (telephone, internet)
    • Personal items
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Volunteer Programs in Mexico

Work in Orphanage (Manzanillo)

Rustic Volunteer partners with an orphanage in Manzanillo, Mexico, that provides a home, education, love and support for orphaned children or children who have run away from home because of poverty. The orphanage also educates the children by sending them to school and needs staffs and other volunteers to care, love and give educational support to the children. As a volunteer working in the orphanage project, you will have the opportunity to share your love and attention to very-unfortunate children.

The cost of living in Mexico is rising and in response, the orphanage requires any help they can get to nurture the children. Volunteers can help with cooking, serving food to the children, teaching basic education and English and most importantly, giving children the much-needed companionship.

Project/Volunteer's Life

As a volunteer in Mexico for the orphanage project, you will lead creative and valuable English classes for orphans. Depending on your skills and interests, volunteers may also teach other subjects such as health, math and science. Volunteers will also help teachers plan interactive and fun lessons that enhance learning. Volunteers can improve the educational and recreational environment of the orphanage by leading extracurricular activities such as playing sports, teaching games, building furniture, teaching arts and crafts and giving computer lessons. In addition, volunteers lend a hand to the orphanage staff with any administrative task or any other project they may need.

Please be prepared for tropical climate and hot weather year around in Mexico. Working in the orphanage, you must dress conservatively and not wear shorts, sleeveless shirts or short skirts. While you are with children, tattoos must be covered and any piercing other than earrings must be removed.

Skills and Qualification

There are no specific skills or requirements to volunteer in Rustic Volunteer’s Mexico orphanage project. Basic to intermediate Spanish skills are advantageous, but not mandatory. You can enroll in our Spanish class if you want to improve the language while also volunteering. Volunteers should be flexible, patient, caring, respectful and passionate about children.

Teaching English (in and around Melaque)

If you have a good command of the English language in Mexico it opens up many opportunities like in commerce and tourism. The English language is part of the course from primary schools in Mexico. Being close to the US and with a lot of American culture like the music and the movies becoming very popular, many young Mexicans are also attracted to learn English language. Yet in poorer areas, where schools are often resource poor and unable to hold on to qualified teachers, the young children struggle to improve English. But the parents and teachers put the children under a lot of pressure. Rustic Volunteer invites volunteers to help children excel educationally and professionally by teaching English skills. As a volunteer in Mexico teaching English and working in schools, you can change the futures for your students while at the same time explore the endless beauty of Mexico.

School will remain closed in the dates mentioned below:

In the summer vacation, volunteers can teach students in privately run classes.

  • March 24 – April 06
  • July 04 – September 16
  • December 20 – January 06
Project/Volunteer's Life

As a volunteer in teaching English project in Mexico, you will provide effective, practical help with spoken English to very eager students. You will work as assistant to local teacher in a primary school or a technical school to help students improve their English. Your schedule can vary according to the season. You can also work in lesson planning and bring in your own methods and experience in the project. You can also choose to teach teenage students in the tourism college. The tourism students need to have very good English to have a very successful career and you can help them a lot by teaching them conversational English holding debates and discussions.

Skills and Qualification

The teaching project is a great way to explore Mexico while also immersing in local culture. You do not need to have any prior experience to volunteer in the project. But you must be fluent English speaker, although not necessarily a native English speaker. Volunteers should be flexible, patient, caring, respectful and passionate about children. Basic to intermediate Spanish skills are advantageous, but not mandatory. You can enroll in our Spanish class if you want to improve the language while also volunteering.

Special Education (Barra de Navidad)

Work with children with mental and physical disabilities while exploring Mexican culture and wonderful local landscape.

The special children project is located in the town Barra de Navidad. It is very close to wonderful beaches and is very rural, where most of the host families enjoy very traditional Mexican lifestyle. The school where the disable children come to study is the only one in the region, and because of this the children come from far away to study. The school is supported by Mexican government but the funding received from the government isn’t enough for the school to pursue all its programs. For this reason, the staffs and the parents of the children have come together to form a close relationship and are trying to promote programs that will help disable children. The support the school will receive from volunteers will be vital to help the children as they can receive better care, attention and they will also feel motivated by the presence of an international volunteer.

Project/Volunteer's Life

The disabilities of the children include autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and deafness. Some of the specialist activities the school runs are speech therapy, physical therapy and psychology. Our volunteers can become involved in these activities as well as planning and execution of fundraising. You can also teach English or other subjects. The pre-school children need most support because of their age, and volunteers will also be needed most in primary level.

Skills and Qualification

Volunteers in the project must be comfortable working with children with disabilities. This is a very hands-on project so volunteers must show lot of compassion, tolerance and work with the staffs to successfully complete the program. A basic level of Spanish is preferred for this placement. If you do not have any Spanish, you can enroll in our Spanish class.

Sea Turtle Conservation (Campamento Majahaus)

Be part of a movement to conserve sea turtles that have swum in the ocean for over 100 million years but now face extinction because of over exploitation. Stay and work on the beach and help local staff meet project’s goals.

This project takes volunteers to the beaches of Mexico’s Pacific Coast where sea turtles have always come offshore to lay eggs, and from where millions of them return to the ocean after being hatched. But lately due to human activities, like stealing eggs and killing turtles on the scale not seen before, every year less and less turtles are coming offshore to lay eggs. Sea turtles are fascinating, charismatic, and highly visible marine species and among the most highly migratory animals on Earth. Six of the seven sea turtle species are categorized as endangered and they include loggerheads, leatherbacks, hawksbills, olive ridleys, Kemp's ridleys and green sea turtles. Our volunteers will most encounter olive ridley turtles during the project. The olive ridley turtles are increasingly threatened by trawling and coastal development. Until the 1970s there were major slaughterhouses in Mexico where olive Ridleys were processed for leather and meat.

Project/Volunteer's Life

The turtle nesting season starts at June and picks up at August. Until February, volunteers will have plenty of work to do as it is the busiest season. This is a very hands-on project. Volunteers will stay on site and work closely with locals. The area where you will work has a 10km stretch of beach. Your responsibilities include day and night patrols and monitoring nesting activities. The eggs found will be collected, counted and taken to a safe location. During the day, you will also clean the hatchery and also ensure any hatchlings are tramped. You will also be part of awareness, education and monitoring other wildlife in the area.

Skills and Qualification

This project is ideal for volunteers wanting a taste of conservation work, or students of marine conservation. You do not need any prior experience or training to volunteer in the project. However, a basic level of Spanish will help your assimilate with the locals and avoid any misunderstanding during the project.

Meals/Accommodations

Rustic Volunteer arranges volunteer meals, accommodations and strong field support for the duration of projects and optional travel packages. In Mexico, our volunteers will stay with a host family. Our host families are all well screened and will provide you with a safe and secure place to stay. Staying with a host family is also a wonderful way to immerse in local culture and practice Spanish.

You will also receive 3 local meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) with the host family. The meals will be hygienically prepared. Breakfast will usually consist of eggs/tortillas, fruit/yogurt or cereal and fruit, while lunch and dinner can be of various versions of a meat/chicken dish, served often with rice and beans or salad/other vegetables. Fish and shrimp are also popular with some families.

Rustic offers unparalleled field support to volunteers to ensure a safe and rewarding experience. There are many layers of support for you. The most important support comes from our country coordinator/field staff. The secondary support comes from the host project staff and members your project staff at the orphanage. Volunteers will have access to our country coordinator's mobile number and they are available 24/7. Throughout the volunteer project, our local staff stays in contact with volunteers either with face-to-face visits or via email/telephone. Our field staff will visit regularly (every 2-4 weeks) to make sure things are going well and as planned. However, if placement is far from our local offices, staff members will stay in touch via email/ phone. Volunteers are also welcome to stop in the offices at any time.

Specific details regarding accommodations, food and contact details for our local coordinator will be provided in personalized volunteer placement documentation prior to arrival.

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Project Locations:

Manzanillo is a large town on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. The town is known for world famous beaches, festivals with lots of local flavor and fabulous outdoor activities. There are also lots of places to eat out, stay and lots of things to do in the town, including visiting beaches, fishing or exploring deep sea volcano. Manzanillo is also a busy seaport attracting cargo ship, pleasure cruses and naval ships.

Major FAQs - Mexico

  • Application Process
  • Please read Rustic Volunteer's 5-step application

    • There are two options for applying to volunteer in Brazil through our program. You can apply online or you can download an application, fill it out and mail it in to us. You will need to submit your application with a $200 application fee. This fee is required to make an application valid.
    • Once we get your application, we will immediately send it to Brazil for processing. They go over your application carefully and find the best project possible for you. The decisions for room and food are made at this time. Arrangement for room and food depends on the location of the project. The vast majority of our volunteers stay in full immersion home stays, though some orphanage projects are residential.
    • Once we get the details of your placements, we pass it on to you with a final invoice. Your final payment is due six weeks before your start date and in expedited cases, as soon as possible. The placement details have local contact information to use for contacts on your visa application or to get in touch with the local staff and host family.
    • Preparation for trips should include reading about Brazil, immunization, travel visa (entry permit) and booking airfare. If you face any problems, our Program Manager is always available for assistance.
    • Once you purchase your ticket, send your flight information to our US office by fax or by email. Your flight information will be forwarded to the Brazil staff who will arrange an airport pickup.

    Now, once you purchase your ticket, send your flight information to our US office by fax or by email. Your flight information will be forwarded to the Mexico staff who will arrange an airport pickup.

  • Arrival Information
  • Arrival Point:

    Manzanillo Playa de Oro International Airport (ZLO), Manzanillo, Mexico

    Airport Pick-up

    Upon the receipt of your flight information, our in-country coordinator or other project staff will greet the volunteers in the airport and take you to your project site. The address and telephone number of the local contact hotel will be given before departure just in case volunteers miss our representative in the airport. Please make sure to e-mail your flight information to both the USA office and the local in-country coordinator's office.

    Departure Point:

    Manzanillo Playa de Oro International Airport (ZLO), Manzanillo, Mexico

    Airport Drop:

    Available upon request. Most are very familiar and comfortable with their stay and have great ease taking their own taxi or bus back to the airport.

    Internal Transportation:

    Rustic Volunteer manages one-way transportation to project. Volunteers will be responsible for their own personal and return travel. We do not cover daily transportation from host family to the project. Volunteers will be responsible for their personal and return travel. Our program is designed to save you the volunteer as much as possible.

    Start Dates:

    1st and 3rd Monday of each month

    Arrival Before Start Date:

    Rustic Volunteers/Travelers coming to Mexico are advised to arrive one day before their program start date. If you arrive more than one day early or stay after the program, you will be responsible for your room and food expenses.

    Working Hours:

    30- 40 hours per week

  • Visa
  • Rustic strongly suggest that all volunteers apply for a tourist visa, in a timely manner before departing for Mexico. If you are coming from the United States, a visa is not required. Please call our office or contact the local Mexico embassy to learn more about visa, visa fees, and visa extensions. Getting your tourist visa is your responsibility.

  • Health & Safety
  • Mexico has modern and advanced medical care available. Please be informed about the risks of international travel and possible concerns of Mexico.

    Here are some recommended sites: WHO website for international travelers ( http://www.who.int/csr/ihr/en/ )

    General Health Tips for volunteer in Mexico:

    • Buy bottled water from respectable outlets to guard against stomach upsets. Make sure that the seal of the bottle is intact as it is not uncommon for local street merchants to sell tap water in resealed bottles.
    • The most common health complaint in any developing nation is upset stomach/diarrhea/vomiting. In many cases the illness may be attributed merely to a change in diet, but occasional cases of food poisoning can occur, whereby the symptoms occur very quickly, severely and explosively. These are seldom serious or extended illnesses, but medical treatment should be sought if it occurs.
    • Avoid eating food from roadside stalls. Don't eat unpeeled fruits or fruits that have already been cut by unknown handlers on the street. If you are forced to eat food at some place that you have doubts about, make sure the food is served hot.
    • If you require any prescription drugs bring enough for the duration of the trip. They will need to be carried in their original prescription bottle and the prescription must be in your name.

    It is advisable that you carry a small health kit which should include remedy for upset stomachs, some antiseptic cream, hydration powder, deet mosquito repellant, sun block, band aids, etc.

  • Vaccination
  • We recommend all volunteer/participants visit the Center for Disease Control's website (www.cdc.gov ) for traveler's health recommendations. Your travel doctor will be knowledgeable about current epidemics and should be consulted.

    Recommended Vaccinations and Preventive Medications

    The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to Mexico. Discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need.

    • Routine: Recommended if you are not up-to-date with routine shots, such as measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, poliovirus vaccine, etc.
    • Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG). Transmission of hepatitis A virus can occur through direct person-to-person contact; through exposure to contaminated water, ice, or shellfish harvested in contaminated water; or from fruits, vegetables, or other foods that are eaten uncooked and that were contaminated during harvesting or subsequent handling.
    • Hepatitis B , especially if you might be exposed to blood or body fluids (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11-12 years who did not receive the series as infants.
    • Malaria: if you are traveling to a malaria-risk area in this region, see your health care provider for a prescription anti-malarial drug. For details concerning risk and preventive medications.
    • Rabies if you experience extensive unprotected outdoor exposure in rural areas, such as might occur during camping, hiking, or bicycling, or engaging in certain occupational activities.
    • Typhoid  vaccine. Typhoid fever can be contracted through contaminated drinking water or food, or by eating food or drinking beverages that have been handled by a person who is infected. Large outbreaks are most often related to fecal contamination of water supplies or foods sold by street vendors

    The best prevention of mosquito born diseases is long-sleeves and pants (especially in the early evening) in addition to using insect repellants. There are some areas where malaria is a risk in Mexico, and there are other mosquito-carried/transmitted diseases, such as dengue, that are just as bad and there is no vaccine, just prevention through clothing and repellent.

  • Money Matter
  • ATM's are widely available and volunteers will easily be able to withdraw money. You will probably be charged an international banking fee or surcharge. The US Dollar is also widely accepted. Make sure you inform your bank that you will be in Mexico so there are no problems with security while you are there.

  • Field Support and Supervision
  • How does Rustic Volunteer help me when I am in the field? How can I maintain communication? Does Rustic Volunteer visit volunteers?

    Once the volunteer program starts, our local staff members stay in touch with volunteers. We visit our volunteers every 2 weeks (if possible) and you are always welcome at the office. We recommend that the volunteers stop by the office once a week if they are in the local area just to let us know how they are doing with their home stay and project. Many minor issues can be overcome through a little communication long before they become major issues - ensuring that your trip is exactly what you had hoped for. Your project will have local staff members as well, though not our own. If your project is very far, then our local staff maintains communication by either email and/or phone. We are available to you at the office, by email, and by phone for your entire trip. It is our job to make sure that you are safe and healthy.

  • Communication
  • Volunteers working staying Manzanillo, Barra dea Navidad and Melaque will have access to internet. There will be cyber cafes around and some host families will have wifi facility also. In the turtle project, there won't be any internet. The volunteers there will need to travel to Barra de Navidad to use internet.

  • Climate of Mexico
  • Tropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November).

  • Materials to Bring
  • Passport and Documents

    Volunteers should hold a valid passport and necessary documents while traveling in Mexico. Please carry photocopies of your passport and travelers checks while in Mexico, to make replacement easy if they are lost. Medicine If you are under medication, please do not forget to pack enough medicine for your entire trip; your brands of medicines may not be available in Mexico.

    Footwear

    Normal leather shoes or tennis shoes, which can be brushed off or wiped off, are appropriate for working in the placements. You will want light comfortable footwear for evening walks and other leisure activities.

    Clothes

    T-shirts, jeans, and shorts are common. If you are coming to the coast of Mexico please bring your bathing suit.

    Please note that while it may get quite warm during the day, it will get pretty chilly after dark, and you may need a sweater.

    Medical Kit

    It is always useful to carry a small personal medical kit. This should include: plasters (Band-Aids), personal medication to last the duration of the program, fungicidal foot powder/cream, antiseptic cream, mild painkiller (aspirin), tweezers, scissors etc.

    Insect Repellent

    Do not forget to bring insect repellent, and use it often to reduce the possibility of mosquito-borne illness, if you are traveling in the jungle find a repellant with DEET, the more the better, you can pick it up from a local sporting goods store like REI.

    Other

    Pack a camera, film and maybe a personal stereo. You may wish to bring a diary, pens and pencils, and a book to read on the plane. Bring a raincoat during the rainy season. If you are volunteering in turtle conservation project, please go to the project place to view the list of items you will need to bring.

  • Gift for host family and project
  • What gifts should I bring for my project and/or host family?

    It is a common courtesy to bring a small gift for the staff that will be hosting you. You are not required to do so, but if you choose to bring something it can be pretty simple. We suggest a box of chocolates, a t-shirt with a hometown/country logo, or pictures of your family and local post cards. If you want to bring gifts for your project and if you are working for an orphanage or a school, please bring pencils, pens and paper, art supplies like markers and construction paper pads, as well as games for the children to enjoy. Remember that every child will need these items so you may wish to bring enough for a number of children.

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