Volunteer at Hospitalito Atitlán for a Life-Changing Experience

Dra. Maria Mateo, a Family Medicine residente from Basque Country, explains daily foot care for patients in the diabetes club

Hospitalito Atitlán is a small private nonprofit hospital serving 75,000 Maya living on the southern shore of beautiful Lake Atitlán in the Guatemalan highlands. The Hospitalito provides inpatient and outpatient services at our modern facility with an emphasis on women and children. The Hospitalito offers the only 24/7 emergency and surgical obstetric care within a two-hour radius. Staff also provides services to residents of outlying areas at community outreach clinics and home visits. Most of our patients have limited income. Their care is subsidized by donor support.

Make a Difference

From the very beginning, volunteers have worked alongside the medical staff and citizens of Santiago Atitlán.  COVID-19 restrictions allow entry with two vaccinations or a negative Antigen test 72 hours before departure. Medical volunteer application process.

Pediatrician Dr. Lon Dubey from San Diego CA saw children in rural clinics

Experience Natural Beauty, Springtime Weather & Maya Culture

Bring your family: Guatemala is a great place for children —they can immerse themselves in a different culture and learn to speak Spanish! The Hospitalito can provide contacts of baby-sitters and help coordinate enrichment programs for children of short-term volunteers. Long-term volunteers with children can take advantage of several bilingual English/Spanish primary school in Santiago Atitlán or a high school across the lake in Panajachel.

Guatemala is the home of Maya civilization: For six centuries, the Maya built vast cities, immense temples and looming pyramids, recording their history in hieroglyphs on stone monuments on pottery, and in bark books. The history of this great society lives in the Guatemalan rainforests, a UNESCO World Cultural Site. Its culture lives in its descendants, who make up a majority of Guatemala’s citizens.

Physical Beauty & Biodiversity: Guatemala hosts incredible physical beauty and one of the largest biological diversities in the world. It includes 18 ecosystems, over 300 microclimates, and more than 37 volcanoes, several of which are still active. Some 15 percent of the nation is part of the biosphere with large areas that are legally protected. Guatemala is a UNESCO World Natural Reserve.

Santiago Atitlán offers a microcosm of Guatemala’s natural and cultural legacy: The town is located on beautiful Lake Atitlán, nestled between three volcanoes. The scenery is breathtaking, and 98% indigenous cities Maya culture is evident in language, clothing, cuisine and customs.

Do You Treat Spanish-Speaking Patients? The Hospitalito’s 26-credit CME/CNE Spanish & Cultural Immersion Course will not only improve your medical Spanish, but also provide exposure to the culture and customs in a Central American community. Credits are provided by Penn Medicine. The course is perfect for doctors, nurses and physician assistants who have mastered basic Spanish communication and would like to immerse themselves in the language in a Maya culture setting.

Make a Donation: Whether you can take time to volunteer or not, please consider making a donation. In 2018, the Hospitalito spent over $205,000 on free and discounted care for our patients who otherwise could not afford services. When an emergency room visit costs $10 and the average cost of a C-Section is $500, this amounts to thousands of patients helped in a year. This is only possible with your support.