Animal Shelter in Puerto Escondido, Mexico

WHY we need you in Mexico


HOW can you help?

WHAT you can do?

Why Involvement Volunteers International?

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  MIN AGE: 16+

  SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: Criminal background check required


Make a positive difference in the lives of needy cats and dogs in Puerto Escondido. Like many other tourist destinations, the town has lots of stray animals, which causes problems like too many animals, health issues, and a lower quality of life for them.

By taking part in this animal shelter program, you’ll not only play a vital role in improving the well-being of animals but also support the town’s broader efforts to make a safer, more harmonious place for residents and visitors.

Join us in Puerto Escondido and be part of a caring team dedicated to making a difference in the lives of these cats and dogs, and helping Puerto Escondido become more animal-friendly. Your time and dedication will leave a lasting mark on the hearts of these animals and the local community.

Your Tasks

Feeding: Your main job will be providing regular and nutritious meals to the shelter’s cats and dogs. This ensures they get the food they need to stay healthy.

Grooming: You’ll help keep the shelter’s animals clean and healthy by bathing and grooming them. This not only keeps them clean but also helps you bond with the animals.

Cleaning Enclosures: Keeping the animals’ living areas clean and comfy is crucial. You’ll be responsible for cleaning and sanitising enclosures to make sure the cats and dogs have a safe and pleasant environment.

Healthcare Assistance: You’ll be involved in monitoring the health of the animals, looking for signs of illness or discomfort. You might assist the shelter’s staff during medical checkups and treatment to make sure the animals get the care they need.

Walking the Dogs: Daily walks and playtime are vital for the well-being of the dogs. You’ll take them for walks, play, and provide them with social interaction and companionship.

Shelter Renovation: In addition to animal care, you might help with shelter maintenance and improvement projects. This could include tasks like woodwork, cement work, painting, and general renovation work to make the shelter better.

Stray Cat & Dog Rescue: When necessary, you might join rescue missions to bring new animals to the shelter. This could involve finding and safely capturing stray cats and dogs in the community and giving them immediate care and shelter.

Your role is versatile and offers a unique and rewarding experience in Puerto Escondido. Your efforts will directly improve the well-being of these animals and help create a safer and more nurturing environment for them. Whether you’re passionate about animal care, construction, or community outreach, your participation is vital in making a positive impact on the lives of Puerto Escondido’s cats and dogs.


Puerto Escondido, situated on the Pacific coast of Mexico in the state of Oaxaca, is a picturesque seaside town celebrated for its world-class surfing beaches, such as Zicatela Beach, and its laid-back, bohemian atmosphere. This hidden gem offers visitors a taste of authentic Mexican culture, delightful cuisine, and breathtaking sunsets, making it a beloved destination for those seeking a tranquil coastal retreat with a touch of adventure.

Project Tasks

  • To improve the welfare of stray cats and dogs in Puerto Escondido.
  • Contribute to the ongoing improvement and maintenance of the shelter’s infrastructure, including renovation projects such as woodwork and cement work.
  • Create a clean and safe environment within the shelter, promoting hygiene and comfort for the animals.
  • Raise awareness in the local community about responsible pet ownership, the importance of spaying and neutering, and the consequences of animal abandonment. 

Food & Accommodation

You will stay in single gender rooms in a typical hostel setting in Puerto Escondido, with 1-8 people per room. Our local hostel host is enthusiastic about facilitating family-style interactions and cultural exchanges.

You will have a hot shower, fans, western toilet. Wi-Fi is not included by you may find this in nearby restaurants, etc. Laundry can be done by hand or at an extra fee.

You’ll stay in one of two hostels in the downtown area, conveniently located near the heart of Puerto Escondido, a charming beach town known for its friendly local community. While it has gained popularity over the years, it has retained its untouched, rustic charm and is part of one of the more affordable and underrated states in Mexico. Oaxaca is renowned for its exquisite beaches and capital city, making it a favoured destination for eco-tourist backpackers seeking an authentic Mexican experience away from the modern world’s influence.

In Puerto Escondido, there are plenty of beach-related activities to enjoy, with surfing being a major draw that attracts tourists from all over the world during the surf season.

You will get 3 meals a day on weekdays, and 2 on weekends. The food will be traditional Mexican, with plenty of corn tortillas, beans, rice, chili peppers, potatoes, wheat and other grains, and chicken, all of which are vegetarian-friendly. Keep in mind that some local dishes may be spicy!

All meals will be provided at the mentioned accommodation. Every day of the program, three full meals will be provided, beginning with breakfast at 8am, lunch at 12pm, and dinner at 6 p.m. On weekends, there are two meals available: brunch at 10 a.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. Food consists primarily of traditional local dishes prepared and served at the accommodation or in the surrounding area. Meals will be served based on your dietary requirements, but you must notify us in advance.


All prices in USD
  • 1 Week - $481
  • 2 Weeks - $762
  • 3 Weeks - $1143
  • 1 Month - $1524
  • 2 Months - $3049
  • 3 Months - $4574
Vol house
What's Included
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Airport Pickup
  • Local Transportation
  • 1 Day Orientation
  • 24/7 In-Country Support
  • Project Materials & Equipment
  • Pre-departure Expert Advice
  • Preperation Tools & Checklists
  • Certificate of Completion


If you love animals and have a passion to help then yes! A desire to learn about the community and interact with the locals is also needed, to help with education in the community on animal care. 

  • Accommodation
  • 3 meals p/day & 2 p/day at weekends
  • Arrival airport transfer (Sat/Sun arrivals)
  • Filtered drinking water, coffee & tea
  • 1 day orientation
  • Daily transportation to project
  • In country 24/7 support & emergency assistance
  • Fundraising support
  • University course credits (where applicable)
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Airfares
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tours, Souvenirs & spending money

Programs begin every Monday, and volunteers are required to arrive the day prior, for orientation before the project. Your accommodation on the Sunday is included in the program fees.

A free airport pickup is included when arriving to Puerto Escondido International Airport (PXM) on Sunday from 8am to 5pm.

If you arrive outside the pickup times, you can book a private transfer for an extra fee.

If you want to book any extra nights before or after your program, you can do this for an extra fee.

Alternatively, if arriving early you could wait at the arrival’s terminal for the pickup time, book accommodation at the airport and meet us during the pickup times or make your own way to the project (we will advise on how to do this).

From the airport to your accommodation it takes around 10 mins by taxi. 


  • Introduction meeting, House rules, Setting Expectations, Health and Safety Advice and handling of documents.
  • Mexican Do’s and Don’ts, Mexican Culture Lessons and basic survival Spanish/Mayan Language Lessons.
  • Tour around the compound and local area; where to find local shops, and arrange a sim-card if necessary.
  • Lunch
  • Project Preparation and Project Sites Visitation or Cooking Lessons.
  • Typical welcome dinner with your host family.
  • Dinner

Tuesday to Friday

  • Breakfast
  • Proceed to the animal shelter.
  • Receive instructions for the day’s activities from our onsite coordinator.
  • Engage in various activities as described in “You’re Role – General Information”.
  • Lunch
  • Return to the shelter to continue with your assigned duties.
  • Participate in ongoing tasks and projects aimed at improving the shelter’s facilities and the well-being of its residents.
  • Dinner

***Please note that the daily schedule may vary to accommodate specific pressing animal care needs, educational workshops, weather conditions, local conditions or other unforeseen circumstances.*** 

Explore the ancient ruins: Mexico is home to many ancient ruins, including the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and the Aztec ruins of Teotihuacan. These sites offer a glimpse into the country’s rich history and culture.

Relax on the beaches: Mexico has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, including the popular resort towns of Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, and Puerto Vallarta.

Experience the local cuisine: Mexican cuisine is world-renowned, and there’s no better place to experience it than in Mexico. From street tacos to fine dining, there’s something for every taste and budget.

Visit colonial cities: Mexico has many charming colonial cities, such as San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato, that offer a glimpse into the country’s Spanish colonial past.

Attend cultural festivals: Mexico has many vibrant cultural festivals throughout the year, such as Dia de los Muertos, which celebrate the country’s rich cultural heritage.

Explore natural wonders: Mexico has many natural wonders, such as the Copper Canyon and the Cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula, that are worth exploring.

Take a boat tour to see whales and dolphins: Mexico’s coastlines are home to a variety of marine life, including whales and dolphins. Take a boat tour to see these majestic creatures up close.

Go on a hot air balloon ride: See the stunning landscape of Mexico from a new perspective by taking a hot air balloon ride over the countryside. This is a unique way to experience the natural beauty of Mexico.

Explore the art scene: Mexico has a thriving art scene, with many museums and galleries showcasing both traditional and contemporary Mexican art. The Frida Kahlo Museum and the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City are must-sees for art lovers.

Visit the monarch butterfly sanctuaries: Every winter, millions of monarch butterflies migrate to Mexico’s forests to escape the colder climate up north. Visit the sanctuaries in Michoacán to witness this incredible natural phenomenon.

Go on a jungle adventure: Mexico is home to some of the most biodiverse jungles in the world, offering opportunities for hiking, zip-lining, and wildlife spotting. The jungles of Chiapas and the Yucatan Peninsula are particularly popular for outdoor activities. 

Additional Requirements

  • Older participants are required to have a medical clearance while participants below 18 years old might need a signed parental consent.
  • Have completed or recommended the following vaccines: Rabies, Polio, Hepatitis A, Diphtheria/Tetanus, Typhoid, Malaria, Hepatitis B, and Tuberculosis.

Additional Equipment

In addition to your passion and dedication, participants in the Animal Shelter Program in Puerto Escondido, Mexico should bring certain equipment and items to ensure they can effectively contribute to the program and the well-being of the shelter’s animals. Here’s a list of recommended items to bring:

  • Comfortable Clothing: Bring clothing suitable for the warm coastal climate, including lightweight and breathable materials. Since you’ll be involved in various tasks, choose clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty or wet.
  • Closed-Toe Shoes: Sturdy, closed-toe shoes are essential for your safety while working in the shelter. Comfortable and durable footwear will make it easier to walk dogs and perform other tasks.
  • Gloves: Work gloves can protect your hands during activities like cleaning enclosures and assisting with renovation projects.
  • Sun Protection: Don’t forget sun protection items like a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to shield yourself from the strong Mexican sun.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Staying hydrated is crucial in the warm climate. Bring a reusable water bottle to ensure you have access to clean drinking water throughout the day.
  • Backpack or Tote Bag: A small backpack or tote bag can be handy for carrying your personal items, water bottle, and any essentials you might need during your day at the shelter.
  • Basic First Aid Kit & Personal Medication: It’s a good idea to carry a basic first aid kit with items like adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, and any personal medications you may need.
  • Safety Glasses: For added eye protection during activities on shelter renovations.
  • Personal Hygiene Items: Include items like hand sanitizerwet wipes, and tissues for maintaining personal hygiene, especially when working with animals.
  • Mask: As part of our commitment to safety, please bring a mask with you. While outdoor activities are the focus of our program, there may be times when it’s necessary
  • Notebook and Pen: You may want to jot down notes, observations, or useful information during your experience.

For information on holidays and any programs affected, please see the following link: 

MX – Holidays – All Programs

Mexico is a fascinating country located in the southern part of North America. It has a rich cultural heritage, beautiful landscapes, and a vibrant and diverse population. Mexico is known for its iconic landmarks such as the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan, the beautiful beaches of Cancun, and the impressive Mayan and Aztec architecture found throughout the country.

Mexico’s culture is a unique blend of indigenous, European, and African influences, making it a fascinating destination for travelers interested in history, art, and culture. The country is also renowned for its delicious cuisine, including dishes such as tacos, enchiladas, and guacamole. Visitors can explore the vibrant cities, picturesque towns, and natural wonders that Mexico has to offer, from the bustling streets of Mexico City to the tranquil beaches of Tulum. With its rich history, diverse culture, and stunning landscapes, Mexico is a destination that has something to offer for everyone.   

Mexico has a diverse climate due to its large size and varied topography. The climate in Mexico ranges from tropical to desert, with the temperature and rainfall patterns varying depending on the region.

In general, Mexico’s climate is characterized by two seasons: a wet season and a dry season. The wet season typically runs from May to October and brings heavy rainfall, particularly in the southern and eastern regions of the country. The dry season runs from November to April and is characterized by sunny and dry weather, with cooler temperatures in the northern regions of the country.

The coastal areas of Mexico, particularly on the Pacific side, are known for their hot and humid climate, with temperatures averaging between 25-30°C (77-86°F) year-round. Inland areas are generally cooler, with the central highlands experiencing a temperate climate with cooler temperatures and occasional frosts during the winter months. The northern regions of Mexico, including the Baja California peninsula and the Sonoran Desert, have a desert climate with hot summers and mild winters. 

The country’s culture is famous for its colourful art, music, and cuisine, as well as its vibrant traditions and festivals.

One of the most significant aspects of Mexican culture is its art. From the ancient Mayan and Aztec art to the contemporary works of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Mexican art is renowned for its vibrant colours, bold designs, and powerful symbolism. Mexican music is also an essential part of the country’s cultural identity, with styles ranging from mariachi and ranchera to salsa and cumbia. The country’s rich cultural heritage is celebrated through its festivals and traditions, such as Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a holiday that honours deceased loved ones through colourful altars, food, and music. 

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