Sometimes, how long you’re planning to stay in a particular country changes — especially when that country is as awesome as Guatemala. When you’re looking for work while traveling, there are a few jobs that are pretty much designed for travelers.
If you’re traveling slowly through Guatemala and are looking for some extra income, don’t stress! There are many different types of jobs available for travelers in Guatemala. Here’s a look at the top five.
1. Hostel Work (Front desk, room cleaning)
Hostels in Guatemala and elsewhere often need people to help with maintenance and other odd jobs. They may offer room and board as compensation, cash, or a combination of both, though it’s probably more likely that they’ll let you stay and eat for free in exchange for work.
Shops in areas that are popular with tourists (like Antigua) sometimes like to hire travelers and may pay under the table, especially if they need English-speakers. Like any other country, different places will care about different levels of experience. GGG Founder Kelly spent three months working in a hostel/ pool bar in Dunedin, New Zealand. She loved it!
In Guatemala, the more Spanish you know, the better. Even still, a surprising amount of bars often need help. If you have bartending experience you may have a foot in the door, but even if you have basic knowledge and a great personality, some places will start you off on a crowded ladies’ night or other events when they need bodies and you can advance while gaining experience on several levels.
If you are physically capable and have some experience you may even be able to get a position with a construction company. Working on a construction site outside of Antigua, a fellow volunteer was offered a paid job by our foreman for however long he wanted. There is often renovation work in the cities and sometimes developments on the outskirts with similar and additional work in more rural areas. I would recommend asking volunteer programs or schools in your city that may have connections with foremen and their companies if you are interested in pursuing this option.
4. Teaching English
Teaching English is something many schools like to hire native English-speakers to do. It’s more costly initially, but getting certified in a TEFL/TESOL course can be a big advantage. Many schools run these courses in intensive four-week periods, but they are also available online if you would prefer to be certified before arriving.
Shop around, as Guatemala has many of these schools and prices can range from under $500 to $5,000. As you would be working during school hours, this leaves plenty of time and weekends for exploring, and a high demand for English tutors in some areas gives the opportunity for even more earnings. It all depends on your motivation!
5. Farm Work
If you’re into working outdoors, there are some seriously cool opportunities to WWOOF in Guatemala. WWOOFing stands for Worldwide Working On Organic Farming, and essentially, you’ll be trading work outdoors for room and board, and sometimes food. If you’re interested in WWOOFing, be sure to find out what is offered clearly upfront. While this is an absolutely awesome way to travel the world, some experiences are going to be easier or harder than others. For example, we’ve worked on a farm that had us stringing bracelets and jewelry together, and other farms that want you to clean out horse pens, feed animals, etc.
Bottom line, there are a ton of opportunities to work abroad — especially in Guatemala. If you find that you need some extra cash to keep funding your travels, you’re going to need to slow down the speed at which you travel. Plan on spending at least a few months in one place and start asking around!
The local coffee shop may have fliers, check online on sites like Craigslist, ask your hotel or hostel staff for ideas on where you can pickup work. Opportunities abound for the curious and the brave!