Each year, hundreds of thousands of visitors from all around the world flock to Playa del Carmen on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula to soak up the sun on its perfect beaches and crystal azure waters. But few have the opportunity to see a more authentic Playa del Carmen that is not only defined by its palm trees and swim-up bars.
This volunteer program is operated by Global Vision International and provides animal lovers and would-be veterinarians the opportunity to give back to one of the region’s most popular tourist destinations. Getting hands-on experience in local clinics, you will assist local veterinarians in spaying and neutering cats and dogs, and in raising general awareness of pet-care practices and population control throughout Playa del Carmen. There may also be the opportunity to help with fundraising and in assisting with humanitarian treatment of animals in the area’s hotels.
Volunteers stay in shared accommodation, and can participate anywhere from eight days to eight weeks or more—so surprising flexible! GVI provides 24-hour support, all necessary project equipment, and materials and training by local staff. Anyone who is staying longer than two months can also do an extra 80 or 120 hours of Spanish lessons. And though this is more or less a working vacation, there’s plenty of spare time for fun—with scuba diving and snorkelling, visiting Mayan sites or just relaxing Caribbean beach-side all possible.
Participants are asked to provide details of any relevant experience they have so their skills may be put to best use. Overall, this might actually be an ideal option for some people to do before or after a longer vacation or trip.
Not everyone who visits the Yucatan Peninsula has the opportunity to give back to the local community—this program permits participants to head home knowing they had a great travel experience and made a genuine difference!
GLOBAL VISION INTERNATIONAL
- Phone: 888.653.6028
- Length/Departs: 8 days/year-round
- Accommodation: Shared
- Price: from US$1,608
- Difficulty: Easy if you have the right attitude and a giving nature
- By Simon Vaughan, Senior Editor/Special Travel Advisor for Outpost Travel Media