FAQ Mexico

Why Choose Mexico

Mexico is a large Latin American country offering visitors many things. It has stunningly diverse landscape which comprises of deserts, sweltering coastal areas, snow covered volcanoes, high plateau and magnificent Mayan ruins. The food, the culture and the history of the Mexico are also equally fascinating. Mexico is also largely a poor country despite impressive economic growth recently. There are many communities where government programs do not reach or is not effective. In these communities, our volunteers can do a great job by helping the local staffs reach their project work. You will make a lasting one of contribution.

Is Mexico Safe?

Violence is particularly bad in the northern region of Mexico bordering the US. We do not advice our volunteers to travel to these regions. In Mexico city, the crime rate is not that bad but still quite high. In the small towns of the Pacific Coasts, in the regions of Jelisco and Colima, there is very little crime and it is a very safe place to stay. The communities are also very close knit.

What is the program duration?

Our volunteer programs start on Mondays of each month and run for 1 to 12 weeks. Please arrive on Sunday to begin your program form the next day. Because of the increasing volume of applications, participants are requested to apply at least two to three months in advance.

What age do I have to be a volunteer?

You must be at least 18 years old to be a volunteer and you should be in good health; there is no upper age limit.

Do I have to speak a foreign language?

If you speak some Spanish you will make your stay more meaningful. If you do not speak any Spanish, we would recommend you to learn few words before you arrive. We also arrange for Spanish classes you can take while volunteering.

Why should I pay a registration fee?

The registration fee is required to help run the organization (office space, computers, Internet, supplies and staffer salaries). New Hope Volunteer maintains one central office at Kathmandu and a field office at Chitwan. It has international office in the US to run the coordinated program. Part of the fee goes to maintaining these offices. Furthermore, we have been running school construction and renovation project in Chitwan to offer more schooling opportunities for children of Nepal. We are also developing some conservation projects. The remaining money of the program directly goes to support these programs.

Are MasterCard, Visa and other cards accepted?

Mexico uses Peso although US Dollars is also widely used. You can bring cash and most credit cards are accepted in Mexico. ATM’s are widely available and volunteers will have no problem taking out money if they find they need more. Be aware that your home bank probably applies international use charges as well as the charges for using a different company’s ATM. It is wise to check with your bank ahead of time to confirm that your card will work overseas. Debit cards and credit cards are becoming more widely accepted at major stores; however, they are still not accepted as widely as in the States.

Do I need travel insurance?

As with any overseas traveling, health insurance is recommended. Please obtain necessary health and travel insurance before coming to Mexico. New Hope also offers very accommodation but comprehensive insurance policy. For details on this, please visit: http://www.newhopevolunteers.org/travel_insurance_policy.php

What should I bring for myself?

Most daily use items are available in Mexico at a reasonable price. However, we suggest volunteers pack the following things:

  • Camera 
  • Mobile phone NOTE: only bring cell phones that have multi-national coverage. You cannot switch to a new SIM card here, as the local phone system requires resident status and a receipt for your phone purchase. 
  • Sleeping bag-only necessary if you wish to actually camp-out 
  • Mosquito and insect repellents
  • Sunscreen, SPFs
  • Work gloves (if joining conservation or farming project)
  • Books about Mexico
  • Map of Mexico
  • Toilet paper
  • Sheets
  • Pillow
  • Soap
  • Toothbrush/paste
  • Toiletries
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Sunglasses
  • Shoes/boots (for work and travel)
  • Towel
  • Hot weather clothing, but conservative
  • Jeans, pants or skirts
  • Swimsuit
  • Long-sleeve shirt and jacket for cooler areas
  • Jeans or pants or skirts for Mexico City
  • Raingear, especially during the rainy season

Will there be someone to pick me up from airport?

One of our representatives will be waiting for you at the airport, holding a sign with your name on it. Please do not forget to send your detailed flight itinerary in advance. You must arrive at Manzanillo Playa de Oro International Airport (ZLO), Manzanillo, Mexico. Our staff will pick you up from the airport and drive you to your project location, 20 minutes away.
Volunteers also have the options of arriving at Puerto Vallarta (4 hours from project site) or Guadalarjara (5 hours). There won’t be any airport pickup of these places but volunteers can take a taxi and drive to our project site. You will have the address of our office prior to leaving for Mexico.

How much extra money do I need?

We manage food and accommodation for volunteers from the first to last day of program so there will not be need of more money for the basics. In general, things in Mexico are quite cheaper. You may need some extra money if you plan to take part in activities outside your program or if you just want to buy some souvenirs.

Will I have communications access?

This all depends on your placement. Almost all placements will have access to a post office. If you are in a city placement, you can have phone and e-mail access. However, this information will all be given to you before your departure to Mexico.

Can I bring my cell phone from my home country?

Please bring your cell phone but ask your network provider if your phone works with other sim cards from outside your country. You can use most mobile handsets with a local SIM card in Mexico.

Can I work and travel with other volunteers?

We allow people to come with a friend or even in a large group. You sometimes may be placed in different location situated within 1-2 miles. We can place any volunteer near another volunteer already working in the field. Please note that volunteers of the opposite sex are not allowed to stay in same room unless they are a married couple.

Is it possible to change placement if I get dissatisfied?

New Hope Volunteer will seriously consider the request of volunteer for the change of placement to meet the expectation of volunteers. We cannot change the position without genuine reasons.

What about vaccinations and medication?

We recommend volunteers to get vaccination shots before volunteering in Mexico. For a list of what vaccination to get, and what medications to carry, please visit Center for Disease Control's website (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/mexico.htm ).

Are New Hope Volunteer programs only for International volunteers?

We mobilize national volunteers along with international volunteer as their counterparts.

What about visas?

Please get a visa before traveling to Mexico and you will avoid all hassle at the local airport. For details on how to get a Mexico visa, please contact your nearest Mexican embassy or consulate.

Where is the arrival and departure point?

You will need to arrive at Manzanillo Playa de Oro International Airport (ZLO), Manzanillo, Mexico.. You can leave from the same airport also.

Emergency Contact

You have three parties available to you 24/7 in case of emergency, health-related or otherwise: New Hope Volunteer staffers, your host family, and your program supervisor. Make sure to have contact information for all three parties before you arrive. If you cannot find our representative at airport or if your flight details change, please call our coordinator immediately and you will be told what to do.

What are the characteristics of good volunteer?

If you have attributes like independence, patience, a sense of humor, tolerance willingness, flexibility, self-motivation and open-mindedness, you get the most out of your stay in Mexico.

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