Land of the Mayans. Top notch tacos. 9,330 kilometers of coastline. An abundance of ruins to explore.
A pretty stacked list that all add up to one hell of a volunteer abroad experience, but don’t just take our word for it. We went straight to the experts themselves, Mexico volunteers from both our community and diving projects, and asked them to tell us what made their experience so darn memorable and life changing.
We talked to Susie Walker, who joined us in Playa del Carmen as a Community Development Internship. We also chatted with Thomas Brangs who is currently finishing his Marine Conservation and PADI Divemaster Internship in Pez Maya. Below are some of their most enthusiastic responses.
1. Some of the World’s Best Diving
The Yucatan’s coast is home to the world’s second largest barrier reef and thus some of the planet’s most incredible underwater spectacles. From wall diving in Cozumel to exploring the underground cave system of the region’s cenotes, the area is rife with extraordinary marine experiences.
Photo by Chelsea Wilcox
“I don’t exaggerate when I say that the diving in Casa Cenote was incredible. It was hands down one of my best diving experiences to date during my 9 weeks here in Mexico.”
2. A Refreshing Pace of Life
They call it Mexican time and volunteer’s will quickly catch on to the countries different relationship to how hours pass by.
“Coming from the UK, life is fast, prompt with a high expectation of instant results. In Mexico, you really learn to relax and end up less stressed about the silly small stuff that does not matter anyway. Volunteering abroad in Mexico really changed my perspective.”
3. Food so Good it Might Make you Cry
Photo by Chelsea Wilcox
If the spice doesn’t get you than the complex flavors of Mexico’s cuisine absolutely will. Delicacies in the Yucatan can be found anywhere from restaurants set up in caves to street-side taco stands. Make sure to indulge in panuchos, tamales, and cochinita pibil.
4. A Chance to Immerse Yourself in the Spanish Language
With over 500 million speakers, Spanish is the world’s third most common language. Volunteering abroad is an excellent way to gain speaking skills and practice them. While volunteering it is also possible to take Spanish language classes and then embrace the streets of Mexico as your linguistic playground.
“One of the primary reasons I chose Mexico as my volunteering destination was to learn another language. I knew absolutely no Spanish before arriving, taking classes gave me the skills needed to communicate both with the staff and the kids on project!”
5. That Caribbean Sea
“Not going to lie – living on the Caribbean coast is a big plus – project life can be intense so being able to literally walk out your front door and get a bus to the beach in 10 minutes is amazing.”
The Yucatan is famous as a travel destination in big part because of its incredible coastline. As a volunteer, the sea will be an integral component of your experience. Refreshing post teaching dips, morning sunrises, and weekend beach hopping excursions.
6. A Rich History to Explore
The Yucatan is Mayan territory, one of ancient America’s most advanced indigenous cultures. Today remnants of the thriving past still exist, a land where ruins abound and mystical creation stories still influence current belief. Volunteers can spend their free time bouncing from Chichen Itza to Tulum to Coba unearthing the vibrant past of the region.
A pretty tantalizing list of reasons to consider Mexico as your volunteering abroad location. For more insight from our fantastic volunteers have a look through some of their personal blog posts which shed even more light on what it’s like to volunteer in stunning sunny Mexico.
Explore the happy sights and sounds of Mexico and other incredible locations with one of GVI’s international, award-winning volunteering abroad programs and internships! Choose from over 150 community development, animal care, teaching, women’s empowerment and conservation projects worldwide!