FAQ Category: Before you apply

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Are there visa requirements for long-term stays?

You will have 90 days in Guatemala starting with the day of your arrival. If you plan on staying longer, you will need to visit the immigration office in Guatemala City, where you can pay $10 and get an extension of an additional 90 days. After your first 180 days, you must leave the country for two nights, after which you can start the process again.

How do I know I’ve been accepted?

You will receive an acceptance and confirmation letter from the Hospitalito. Please note that you must have this letter before coming to Guatemala. We are not able to accommodate volunteers who show up without making prior arrangements, nor are we able to allow clinicians to work in the hospital if they have not been accepted or had their work dates confirmed. All accepted volunteers are required to read the Hospitalito Atitlán Volunteer Orientation Manual prior to their arrival in Santiago Atitlán. A digital copy will be sent to you with your acceptance letter. After reading it, please sign your confirmation letter, scan it, and return it to us via email

Where will I live?

Once you have been accepted, the medical volunteer coordinator will send information on housing. The Hospitalito has neither staff nor resources to make volunteer housing arrangements, but we do provide housing descriptions and landlord contact information to make the process easier.

How does the Hospitalito support volunteers?

We consider volunteers an essential pillar of the Hospitalito’s sustainability. We try to make their transition to Guatemala as seamless as possible by providing orientation and assistance with housing and transportation. We are unable to provide financial support to short-term volunteers, however a small stipend may be available for long-term volunteers (six months or more).

What type of clinician makes the best Hospitalito Atitlán volunteer?

Flexible, open and friendly clinicians are the best! Hospitalito Atitlán has a very collegial work environment. Volunteers should be prepared to be addressed by their first names or by doctor/doctora + their first name regardless of their experience or status in their home countries. Being comfortable with this level of informality is essential to a good volunteer experience. Clinicians who are licensed to dispense medicines are the most valuable to the hospital — especially those with experience in family medicine, obstetric and gynecological medicine, midwifery, emergency medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine and urgent care. Hospitalito Atitlán provides the only 24-hour healthcare within a two-hour radius. Volunteers should be prepared to treat a wide range of conditions. Learn more

What if I have an issue/concern?

If you have any issues or concerns, please speak with Jacinto Garcia. Our nurses, like those a world over, are a rich resource when challenging medical or cultural issues arise. Please consult them regularly.

Will I be working under supervision?

The Hospitalito’s Medical Director and is responsible for all medical volunteers. We expect you to work independently and the medical director will not interfere with your work unless he has cultural or medical concerns. If so, he will share them with you with kindness and patience. His word is final on all issues related to the hospital. He is available by phone and will come into the hospital, during off hours, if needed.

What is my legal status? Do I need malpractice insurance?

The concept of malpractice and malpractice insurance does not exist in Guatemala. However, gross/criminal negligence is not without consequences. With this exception, you can practice medicine in Guatemala in legal peace. You will not have to purchase insurance or consider third party payment issues.

Is there any financial assistance?

Long-term medical volunteers (six months or more) may be eligible for a housing stipend. Volunteers spending a year or more with the Hospitalito may: • Also qualify for an “economic hardship” deferment from their student loan provider. Check to see if your lender provides a deferment for those volunteering and receiving a stipend. • Request that family and friends support their volunteer stint by making tax-deductible gifts via Amigos Hospitalito Atitlán