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Mexico

 

Mexico is a truly magnificent country where culture mixes with the beautiful landscapes of white sand beaches, rainforest and deserts. It extends from the Gulf of Mexico on the east to the Pacific Ocean on the west; from the border with the United States to the north through the exotic lands on the southern borders with Guatemala and Belize.  Mexican cities consist of everything from modern and crowded metropolises to small colonial towns. The Mexican people are proud of their heritage, largely derived from the Maya and Aztecs and are welcoming and joyful hosts. The official language is Spanish, but in total over 66 indigenous languages are still spoken around the country.

The Yucatan Peninsula is a perfect example of the blend between the development of the nation and the depth of its cultural heritage. Also called the “The Gateway to the Mayan World”, the Yucatan has vast natural and cultural wealth. The capital of this region is the city of Merida, a large colonial city with a unique culture and warm weather throughout the year. Music and dance fill the streets at night. Theaters and art museums abound. Yucatecan culinary specialties will quickly win you over. Ancients pyramids in the region take you back to a past of greatness and you can feel the deep identity that makes Mexico a singular and magical place.

ELI teams with different organizations in Merida and the Yucatan that work on conservation and promotion of their natural and cultural sites. From volunteer work with sea turtles on the coastal islands off the Peninsula, to long term internships in tourism and marketing, you can experience all that Mexico has to offer while giving back to the community.

Volunteer & Internship Programs

Youth Programs

Children

Volunteer in Children’s Homes in the Yucatan

Volunteers can work with an orphanage or at a child welfare organization in the city of Merida or in one of the Mayan Villages around the Yucatán. The children come from a variety of situations including loss of one or both parents, physical and sexual abuse and extreme poverty. Some of these children are in the orphanage on a temporary basis and others stay until they reach the age of 18. The orphanage provides shelter, education and all the child's basic needs.

There are two types of centers, the Casa Cuna receives children from birth to 6 and provides basic care for boys and girls that are being abandoned, neglected or are waiting for adoption. Volunteers will spend time with the children leading activities and games, helping at meal times, and teaching basic skills to the children. Volunteers are welcome to assist with the children's daily activities and with chores around the center. The second type of center is the Casas Hogares for children ages 6-18 where the children are divided into Boys Homes and Girls Homes. The children in this home are looking for shelter and are referred by other organizations or sent by their family when they are unable to take care of them. Volunteer will spend time with the kids, playing games, leading social and cultural activities, teaching, and giving them the attention they need. Participants are welcome to get involved with sports or art activities and act as role models and positive influences for these kids. Please, keep in mind that this position requires a basic to intermediate level of Spanish, especially in the rural areas, where only Spanish and Mayan dialects are spoken. Questions? Click here

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Mayan Communities

Mayan Communities

ELI partners with a variety of grassroots organizations aimed to improve the lives of indigenous communities in the Yucatan Peninsula. Projects try to address social and environmental needs, infrastructure and community education. Volunteers with or without a professional background can participate in a combination of projects during their program.

Eco-Tourism: Tourism is a recent industry in this region, which is enabling families to increase their income and their potential to succeed. Participants join the indigenous community and work together maintaining trails, receiving visitors and promoting activities around the parks.

Education: Volunteers are welcome to participate in educational activities with children and teenagers in order to give them skills that would allow them to thrive inside their communities. Participants can teach English, computers, sports, arts or other skills.The work with children can be combined with other activities inside the community.

Agriculture: Most communities grow their own food in their back yards using sustainable methods of agriculture. Volunteers can assist the community with planting, harvesting and implementing sustainable irrigation systems.

There is an option to work in a Honey Farm located 18 km from Mérida. Volunteers in this project can assist the bee keepers, collecting honey, making soap and helping with the elaboration of marketing materials to promote these artisanal products.

Sustainable Development: Other activities inside the Mayan communities involve the construction of energy efficient stoves, improvement of infrastructure around the community, cultural education and outreach. Questions? Click here

*Accommodations for these programs may vary. Please inquire for details and extra fees.

Internships in Sustainable Development

This is a unique opportunity for students, professionals and experts who want to use their knowledge and skills to help indigenous communities in the western region of the Yucatan. These positions require a minimum commitment of 3 months.

Interns are assigned a project based on their skills and work closely with the host community. Currently these projects are in the areas of Conservation, Community Development and Microfinance.

The main objective is to promote the social, economic and environmental development of rural and indigenous communities, so they can make good use of natural resources and strengthen their culture and social integrity.

Participants must have an intermediate to advanced level of Spanish, be flexible, and respect the needs of the local community. Questions? Click here

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Tourism

Tourism

Tourism Development

The Yucatan is a magical place where ancient Mayan culture mixes with modern technology and commerce. ELI works with local government organizations to provide unique internship opportunities where interns learn about the many different aspects of the tourism industry in Mexico. Interns work in a wide variety of arenas, from helping to develop new forms of tourism to working in public relations in the community, and more. Participants can choose from positions in the fields of Marketing, Ecotourism, Tourist Operations and Public Relations. These internships require a background in tourism, marketing, finance or related fields.

Interns in this program must have an intermediate level of Spanish, and commit to at least 6 months. Questions? Click here

Hospitality

For participants seeking experience on the field of hospitality, ELI has oportunities working with big hotels in Mérida, where interns can learn about the work on a five stars hotel, managing high end pasengers and  big groups of tourists. Questions? Click here

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Conservation

Conservation

Sea Turtle Conservation

Most species of sea turtles around the world are now considered endangered; many of them accidentally caught in fishing nets or poached for their meat or shells. Preserving the sea turtle population is vital in maintaining the natural equilibrium and biological diversity in Caribbean waters. ELI works with organizations in different centers around the Yucatan Peninsula that the sea turtles frequent during their nesting season from April to September and May to October. Placements take place in camps on beaches outside the city of Merida. Volunteers share basic cabins with other participants and sleep in hammocks. Participants on this project have the chance to go on night rounds to find nesting sites, work with the community to promote awareness of this issue, and collect data about progress on this project.

Volunteers for this program do not need to speak Spanish, but must be comfortable in a primarily Spanish speaking environment. Participants must be in good physical condition. Questions? Click here

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Group Trips

Group Trips

Take a break to volunteer in a Mayan community in the heart of the Yucatan. The people of the village of Yaxunah welcome volunteers as they attempt to better their community while protecting the environment.

Volunteers work on conservation and community development projects in the area. Projects include trail building and maintenance, efficient and clean wood stove construction, and cultural and recreational programs with local youth.

Cost

1 Week = $650
2 Weeks = $750

**There will also be an additional $100 nonrefundable application fee for each participant.

What’s Included Welcome at airport and transportation to Yaxunah

  • Orientation and Introduction to Mexico
  • Accommodations with a host family(private room and 3 meals per day)
  • On-Call support through the duration of the project
  • Bilingual In-Country Coordinator and Staff
  • Travel assistance for weekend trips and local sight-seeing

 

What’s Not Included

  • Airfare
  • Airport/Exit Taxes
  • Health and Accident Insurance
  • Personal Expenses(including weekend trips and local site sight-seeing)
  • Daily transportation to and from volunteer project

Questions? Click here

Cost & Details

Cost

Length of Program Youth Programs Other Programs
2 Weeks US$490 US$840
3 Weeks US$590 US$940
4 Weeks US$690 US$1040
5 Weeks US$790 US$1140
6 Weeks US$890 US$1240
7 Weeks US$990 US$1340
8 Weeks US$1090 US$1440
9 Weeks US$1190 US$1540
10 Weeks US$1290 US$1640
11 Weeks US$1390 US$1740
12 Weeks US$1490 US$1840

 

Application Fee: $200
The application fee is a separate administrative charge for all programs. It does not apply to the program fee. (Please see our application fee refund policy here)

The Mexico Programs can last up to 6 months. Each additional two weeks costs $200.

Spanish Classes may be arranged

Credit card payments: Payment by credit card will be assessed a 3.5% surcharge. This is the fee that we will be charged for the transaction. Contact us about alternative forms of payment.

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

What's Included/What's Not

Program Includes:

*Airport Pickup in Mérida
*Orientation tour of city
*Volunteer Placement
*Accommodation With a Host Family
*Breakfast and Dinner Each Day
*24/7 In-country support

Program Does Not Include:

*Round-trip Airfare
*Required Travel and Medical Insurance

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Accommodations

Accommodations

Volunteers in Mexico stay with local host families. ELI believes that this is the best way to fully immerse oneself in another culture and get the most from an international experience. All families are carefully screened and are well-respected members of the community. Participants will have either a private or shared bedroom. Bathrooms are shared with the host family. Volunteers will be provided with breakfast and dinner daily.

For participants in Mayan Communities, there is a supplemental fee of $50 per month for extra meals, since there are no markets in the villages.

Start Dates

Arrival Dates

Arrival dates are flexible except that no arrivals will be scheduled for Easter week or Christmas.

Notes & Useful Links

Notes & Useful Links

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is not included in the program fee. We prefer to let participants decide what kind of coverage they need.

Notes

All prices are listed in US Dollars. The program fees reflect the costs ELI faces when setting up a program. We work hard to keep our costs as low as possible. ELI is a registered 501(c)3 non profit. US taxpayers may be able to deduct some or all of the program fees. If you are outside the US and wondering what these costs translate to in your currency, click here for an online conversion tool that will give you the approximate current exchange rate.

 

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