Maximo Nivel offers volunteer trips, Spanish language learning programs, and teaching opportunities to students, volunteers, families, and other travelers to Latin America. Founded in 2003, its mission is to enable people to experience the world through education, adventure, and cultural travel. To date, 25,000 individuals have visited and volunteered in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru with Maximo Nivel, taking part in high-quality, safe, and affordable programs. Check out their options for solo or family volunteer vacations.
Take your family on an adventure (or two) through Latin America, and have the time of your lives ziplining through the jungle, hiking a volcano, exploring Machu Picchu, or learning to surf! When you sign up for Maximo Nivel’s Mini Adventure program, you’ll spend six days traveling and exploring some of the best spots in Costa Rica, Guatemala, or Peru. Make this trip the focus of your journey abroad, or add it before or after a volunteer program. The Mini Adventure can be a better alternative to typical tourism itineraries, because it places you at must-see sights with cultural immersion, making it the perfect mix of service and dream beach vacation. All trips include housing and food with a family-stay. Private rooms and apartments are also available. You can even add additional Mini Adventures. Here are some examples:
- The 6-Day Beach & Jungle Adventure in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica: Includes a visit to Manuel Antonio National Park, rainmaker jungle tour, canopy zipline, whitewater rafting, and Nauyaca Waterfall hike
- The 6-Day Mini Adventure in Guatemala: Includes volcano Pacaya hike, 3 days/2 nights on the beach (surf lessons included), 2 days/1 night in Tikal (airfare to Tikal included), and zip-line tour
- The 6-Day Mini Adventure in Peru, including Cusco city tour, Sacred Valley tour, Moray Ruins, 2 days/1 night tour of Machu Picchu, and Lake Titicaca & Puno tour
Learn more and sign up for a Mini Adventure!
Here’s an interesting, educational suggestion for a family volunteer vacation: travel together, but sign up for different programs in San Jose, Costa Rica. Maximo Nivel offers a teen Summer Spanish Camp that is a unique combination of education, community service, sports, and tourism. Spanish Camp is designed for students ages 13 to 18 and helps youth develop a better sense of the world and grow into global citizens. Teens stay with host families during camp, attending Spanish school from 9:00 a.m. to noon, then have catered lunch at the school. Afternoons are spent on electives and evenings on cultural activities and tours. While your child is attending camp, you can participate in your own volunteer project. Then, when the week is up, you can rejoin and share notes on your Costa Rican adventure. Spanish camp fees begin at $1,095 for one week. Learn more here: Spanish Camp for Teens
Work with your hands and see the impact you’re having with Maximo Nivel’s Construction Site program in Costa Rica. This volunteer placement puts you onsite building or repairing homes, or adding classrooms to schools. Volunteer alongside local workers to make a difference for communities in need. This is physical labor and tasks include digging, mixing cement, carrying bricks, preparing adobe, painting, plastering, and other projects based upon the season and project needs. Work Monday through Friday, around four hours per day, and expect to get dirty. Depending on the project, your program fee starts from just $595 for your first week abroad. Click here to learn more: Construction Site Volunteering
Travel to Cusco for an authentic Peruvian experience, living and working with indigenous communities on the Andean Cultural Immersion program with Maximo Nivel. This amazing opportunity promotes cross-cultural exchange and allows you to expand your horizons. This is the land of the Incas, who considered the “Sacred Valley” the navel of the world.
Your placement brings to the rural Andes, volunteering with agricultural projects, tending to livestock, constructing and renovating buildings, and teaching children in a village classroom. You’ll live in a small, Quechua-speaking community, learning about the longstanding native way of life. Try your hand at weaving the colorful textiles, and learn a few words of the Quechua language.
This placement is a minimum of one week, and you’ll work four to six hours per day, Monday through Friday. You should be healthy and physically fit for this demanding program, and be ready to do any task.
While in Peru, visit the ruins of the ancient Andean people and the colonial architecture of the conquering Spanish. Hike the trail to the breathtaking archaeological site of Machu Picchu.
Spanish language skills are not required, but online lessons can prepare you for your South American journey. Maximo Nivel offers online Spanish classes via Skype with in-country teachers. Beginner through advanced lessons is available. Learn more about online Spanish lessons here, and about the Andean Immersion Experience here!
Your family can help to preserve Lake Atitlan, one of Guatemala’s most treasured natural resources, when you volunteer on a conservation program with Maximo Nivel. This program gives you the amazing opportunity to work with the community, raising awareness of sustainable efforts and sharing conservation practices to protect Lake Atitlan, Central America’s deepest lake.
As a popular tourist destination, the area is increasingly affected by pollution and is a contaminated supply of drinking water. Your job as a volunteer will be to work with an NGO to teach the community about proper waste management, environmental management, and improving the ecological conditions of the lake. You also can help with restoring the hillsides that are succumbing to deforestation and assist with recycling, seasonal clean-up, and much more.
Tasks you and your family can assist with, depending upon current needs, conditions at the lake, and your Spanish language skills, include:
- Education outreach – teach residents about recycling, water conservation, proper garbage removal, and ways to decrease pollution
- Natural resource management – help with reforestation and soil fertilization on the slopes and ridges
- Environmental cleanup – assist with tasks such as water filtration, waste management, and seasonal clean-up
You’ll work in split shifts of four to six hours per day, Monday through Friday, for a minimum of one week. You should be willing to take on various tasks based on season and project needs and be healthy and physically prepared to do manual labor. Click here to learn more and to register!