COVID-19 Guidance for Guatemala

In March 2020, Guatemala closed its borders due to the onset of COVID-19. As with the entire world, there have been many challenges that have placed additional  pressures on the Guatemalan communities and the organizations that offer support to these populations. Guatemala’s borders are open again, but conditions change depending on the region of the country. Here, we provide you with guidance around travel to and in Guatemala during COVID times.

Circumstances change all the time around COVID and what is true one week is not necessarily the same a few days later. This is an advantage of being based entirely in Guatemala – we can keep you updated with the most current rules and on-the-ground advice. We at Buena Onda and all of our local partners are deeply grateful that you want to volunteer in Guatemala.It is our goal that you remain safe and healthy.

Please feel free to contact us if you have more COVID questions that are not addressed below. You can also visit the official Guatemalan Ministry of Health site at (

Do I need a negative COVID test to get into Guatemala?

You need a negative antigen or PCR test or proof of vaccination (vaccination card) to enter Guatemala. If you arrive in Guatemala without a test or vaccine card, there is a rapid testing center in Guatemala City, available upon arrival.

Airlines have their own rules and you must contact your carrier to find out whether or not you need a negative COVID test to get on the plane.

Do Buena Onda volunteers need to be vaccinated to come to Guatemala?

Buena Onda does not require volunteers to be vaccinated to volunteer in Guatemala. We do abide by the rules and protocols of our local partners, which can include vaccinations or mandatory masks while at the project site. We will address this and any environmental concerns once you are matched with a project.

Do I need to wear a mask when I volunteer?

Current Guatemalan law mandates mask wearing in all public spaces. We also recommend that you wear a mask to reduce any risk of the virus. You may find many communities where masks are not used and, while we still recommend it, it is your decision. If you do see others in the community wearing masks, please make sure to do so as well. This is a matter of respect for the health and well-being of those around you.

What if I experience COVID symptoms in Guatemala?

We are in regular contact with our community partners. They have provided us with information about COVID testing in their area. If you experience symptoms while in Guatemala, the Buena Onda staff and our local contacts will help you arrange for a COVID test.

How easy is it to get tested for COVID in Guatemala?

With our community partners across the country, we keep a current list of testing options. If needed, we can help you locate a test based on your location.

What if I test positive in Guatemala?

If you get COVID, we will help arrange a hotel room for you in Antigua. We are in regular contact with a number of doctors who have cared for COVID patients. Your quarantine will be 10 to 14 days and at your own expense. At the end of your quarantine, you will get tested again by a trained technician. The technician will come to your hotel room.

If further care is needed, we will help organize safe transportation for you to Guatemala City. We maintain a current list of the world-class hospitals that receive COVID patients and we will help you make the needed arrangements.

The most advisable way to avoid COVID is to wear your mask in all public areas, regardless of what others in the community do.

I know there are many protocols and measures in place, but I’m still nervous. Should I come?

There are many factors to consider and we will be making every effort to help keep volunteers healthy, but we cannot guarantee anyone’s health or safety. If you decide you are not ready to volunteer this year, we will be ready for you in 2022!