Toucan on a tree

Your trip at a glance


  • Combat illegal animal trade and protect endan­gered species
  • Support the rehabil­i­ta­tion of the animals by feeding them, keeping their enclo­sures clean and maintained, and much more
  • Educate yourself about exotic animals such as spider monkeys, jaguars, armadillos, and more
  • Enjoy the beauty of the heart of the Mayan Biosphere Reserve
  • Discover the impres­sive area of Peten with Lake Itza



Plan your trip

  • Included in the programme fee
    • Placement in the programme
    • Assistance with travel arrangements
    • Assistance with selecting travel insurance
    • Assistance with booking flights
    • Risk coverage certificate

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Meghan, your travel expert for Guatemala

Don't hesitate to contact me if you would like to learn more about this journey! I answer all of your questions and assist you before, during and after your adventure abroad.


Protection of wild animals in Petén

Get involved in the protection of endangered wildlife in Guatemala and experience a tropical adventure in the service of species conservation!


Travel­ling to Petén

Arriving in Guatemala, you will fly to La Aurora Airport in Guatemala City. From there, you take a bus or airplane to the town of Flores in Petén. A staff member will be waiting for you at the airport or bus station in Flores and together you will travel by boat (15 minutes) across the lake to the rescue centre.

Here you can familiarise yourself with the area and get to know the team before being given a tour of the site.


Activ­i­ties as a volunteer

As a volunteer in the project, you will feed and care for rescued animals, including parrots, turtles, hawks, macaws, smaller crocodiles, small mammals, deer, foxes, and many more.

Additionally, you'll clean and maintain enclosures and assist with various tasks around the centre ranging from fixing cages to accompanying the armadillos for a walk as they scavenge the earth for insects and regain their ability to search for food.


Depending on your experience and length of time at the centre, you may have the chance to aid in quarantine and rehabilitation efforts. Minor construction work, maintenance, and activities to raise awareness of environmental issues are part of the volunteer experience in the project. Individual projects, such as exhibit development or behavioural studies are encouraged.

Note: There will be no direct animal interaction. Moreover, work schedules vary according to animal rhythms.


Accom­mo­da­tion at the project

The accommodation consists of dormitory rooms for up to four people with comfortable wooden bunk beds and communal bathrooms and showers. A separate area (rancho) serves as a kitchen and dining area, and a private dock on the lake, perfect for jumping in for a swim, along with a well-stocked game room are inviting places to spend your free time.

You will be joining a strong community of staff, interns, and volunteers all joined together for the same goal. At the reserve, everyone works together to keep communal areas clean and maintain a calm environment, free of excessive noise or disruption that may negatively affect the animals.


Process of rewilding animals

At the project, animals undergo five crucial stages towards rehabilitation and eventual release, provided they aren't overly accustomed to human interaction:

1. Quarantine: Animals are screened for viruses and diseases, while volunteers prepare their food and maintain their enclosures.

2. Maintenance: Volunteers continue to prepare the animal’s food. This stage gives the animals the time and space to stabilize and consistently get healthier and stronger.


3. Pre-rehabilitation: Animals transition to larger enclosures, offering them more space to roam and explore, with continued volunteer support. Another step towards a successful reintroduction into the wild.

4. Rehabilitation: Animals move to expansive forest enclosures, where they live without direct human contact, overseen solely by project staff. At this point they are introduced to other members of their species in order for staff to observe the formation of social bonds which are crucial for their survival in the wild.


5. Release: Throughout the year, two to six releases occur, which is a huge highlight for staff and volunteers alike. For on-site releases, all volunteers are welcome to witness this moment, marking the start of the animal’s regained freedom.

Additionally, aspiring veterinarians have the opportunity to join the project as an intern, gaining invaluable experience in wildlife rehabilitation.


Leisure and catering

Enjoy your free time swimming in the lake, visiting the education centre, playing games in the library, practising Spanish with the team, or going on excursions to nearby villages such as El Arrozal, San Miguel, or the famous Flores, which is only ten minutes away by boat. You will work every day, but the team is quite flexible to arrange some days off when your shifts get covered by others.

Meals are provided by an on-site chef with three tasty and healthy local dishes a day, including vegetarian options.

FAQ – Learn more about this trip

  • natucate-reiseort-guatemala-peten-jaguar
    1. Petén

    Located in northern Guatemala, the Petén region offers a compelling blend of history, culture, and natural wonders. At its core lies the ancient Maya ruins of Tikal National Park, showcasing towering pyramids and intricate carvings. But beyond its archaeological significance, Petén is a biodiversity hotspot, boasting lush jungles teeming with wildlife. From vibrant toucans and elusive jaguars to playful howler monkeys, the region is a haven for nature enthusiasts.

    Visitors can explore dense rainforests on immersive treks, kayak along winding rivers, or simply unwind amidst pristine lakes and waterfalls. Flores, the bustling city perched on Lake Petén Itzá, serves as a gateway to this natural paradise. Here, travelers can delve into vibrant markets, savor authentic cuisine, and admire breathtaking sunsets over the shimmering waters. Petén beckons adventurers to uncover its secrets and marvel at its stunning biodiversity.

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Background on the project

The wildlife rescue centre is located on a forested 45-hectare protected area on the shores of Lake Petén Itza. Here volunteers can work up close with beautiful and endangered tropical animals such as macaws, parrots, kinkajous, spider and howler monkeys, peccaries, coatis, margays, and jaguars.

With the intake of 400-600 animals of more than 40 species annually, the rescue centre in Petén relies heavily on the dedicated support of its volunteers to keep operations running smoothly and the animals properly cared for. A strict 'no touching' policy towards all animals is strictly enforced to ensure that the animals remain wild and can be successfully released later. The health and rehabilitation of the animals is a top priority, and all volunteers are expected to do their part and work together as a team. This means getting an early start each day to be sure that the animals are fed and attended to.

The project staff recognizes the incredible contribution that volunteers make to supporting rescued animal welfare through their daily work, but also through their unique perspectives and ideas for growth. Therefore, volunteers are encouraged to create their individual projects, such as developing exhibits and trails, observing animal behaviour at the centre, and running educational activities in neighbouring schools. The team on-site will be happy to help you put your ideas into practice - all for the benefit of wildlife.


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