Welcome to Guatemala!

It’s time to get abroad! 

Join our Eco Education programme in Guatemala to take the first steps into a career in the environmental sector. Along the way, experience a fascinating new culture and language(s), and gain valuable qualifications and skills.

We are delighted to invite you to join us in Guatemala on a 12-week placement involving permaculture design training and qualification, ecotechnology internships, a certificate in climate change and environmental awareness, lectures in Guatelaman history and culture, homestay with a Mayan family, intensive Spanish lessons, excursions, and volunteering placements!

This placement is intended to help you to launch a career in this fascinating sector, and it’s all funded – that includes flights, accommodation, language lessons, an internationally recognised permaculture design qualification!

Further info on how the progamme works: This is a new Gotoco programme launching in November 2022,  funded by the Turing Scheme. It will take place on/around Lake Atitlán, which is in a volcanic crater in the Guatemalan Highlands in Central America.

The programme combines permaculture design training and certification, sustainable technology internships, volunteering, guest lectures in Guatemalan culture and history, intensive Spanish lessons, homestay with a Mayan family, volunteering projects, and excursions.

The programme will start with a 2 week training period at the Mesoamerican Institute of Permaculture (IMAP). After receiving your Permaculture Design Certificate, you will then spend 2 weeks with a Mayan host family while receiving daily Spanish lessons and studying for your Level 2 Certificate in Climate Change and Environmental Awareness.

After this, you will go to Green New World to learn hands-on skills in ecotechnology. You will take a 3-week internship in either regenerative landscape design or ecological coffee processing – along with 1-day introductory courses in topics such as photovoltaic system design and sustainable building. Applicants with the appropriate STEM background (A-Level and above) can take a 2-month internship in rainwater catchment or greywater filtration system design.

You will spend the remaining time on the programme using your new and preexisting skills volunteering on a local project that needs your help (this could be landscaping, construction, farming, teaching, gardening, photography, marketing, etc).

Costs for flights, accommodation, food, in-country transport, qualifications, and excursions will be covered by Gotoco. 



What do you get?

This Guatemala eco education programme is your launchpad for a global and impactful career. On the programme, you will receive:

  • Full funding to cover your flights, weekday meals, and accommodation.
  • An internationally recognised Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC)
  • 2 weeks of intensive Spanish lessons
  • A Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Climate Change and Environmental Awareness
  • A hands-on internship in ecotechnology (either regenerative landscape design, ecological coffee processing, or appropriate technology)
  • Personal and community support, including 24/7 support for emergencies.
  • A wide range of volunteering placement opportunities
  • Lectures in Guatemalan history and culture from local experts
  • Excursions to places of interest around Lake Atitlan
  • Support for anyone that wishes to transition into local career pathways.
    How do you apply?


To apply you need to:

  • Be UK-linked. E.g. UK citizens, UK nationals, UK work/student visa holders.
  • Be at least 19 years old (we don’t accept under 18s, if you are 18 then case-by-case we will consider you, but you’d need to be willing to self-fund a £399 qualification)
  • Be an advanced/native English speaker.
  • Be available and excited to travel to Guatemala.
  • A background in environmental work/education/activism is a bonus, but not required.

This programme is ideal for recent graduates from UK universities and colleges, but is open to anyone, including mid-career changers! There is extra support available for applicants from widening participation backgrounds, including all funding you may need to make this happen. You will be able to indicate if this applies to you on your application form. 

*We are keen to welcome candidates with ‘non-traditional’ educational backgrounds (e.g university certainly isn’t required, this is an FE sector opportunity).


Upcoming intakes:
We run intakes most months! Scroll down and you can put down a deposit for one of those. 


*Cover photo by Mathijs Beks on Unsplash

You can apply right now, just login!. If you don’t have an account yet, you can apply now on this page!


A few FAQ

More and more, we recognize the need to become agents of change and reduce the impact of the current global economic model, which destroys our environment and oppresses our  society. How exactly do we achieve this?

Permaculture asks this question and gives a guide to imitate the patterns and relationships found in nature. The philosophy proposes a path towards a more conscious life, a more efficient way of designing our homes, our food sources, our place in the natural world, and much more. Permaculture aims not only to protect the environment, but also to use its riches to sustain future generations.




Being a PDC-certified designer is a big step towards making a difference!


Guatemala is a multicultural society, with just under half of the population belonging to indigenous groups. The largest of these groups is ‘Maya’, which has 22 subgroups. ‘Mayan’ refers to the peoples and languages of these groups.

In Lake Atitlán, 90% of the population is Mayan. To the north of the lake, the population is predominately Kaqchiquel. To the south, the population is predominately Tzutujil

There is no maximum age limit, but you must be at least 19 years old by your programme start date.


No. We are keen to make opportunities available to whomsoever is interested! So please apply. We do focus our recruitment efforts at universities but that is primarily because students are always excited about joining these sorts of initiatives.

We are very happy to consider applications from those without a university background or those that have graduated already. The minimum age limit is 19, and there is no maximum age limit.

We have no additional requirements other than that you be open to an adventure and excited about permaculture, ecotechnology, and experiencing Guatemala.

I am not British, can I apply? Do you have native English level requirements? Is
this open to people from all countries and nationalities?

Yes, of course. We only require that you speak advanced-level English and that you have been normally resident in the UK or EU for the past 3 years.


You can apply anytime, but the sooner you apply the better because we make offers on a rolling basis. There is no cut-off point for applications. However, if you want to be sure of a place, it is best to apply right now.


Please fill out an application form anyway – we can look into arranging alternative activities for you during the 2-week Spanish lesson period.

British citizens do not require a visa to travel to Guatemala, and can remain there for up to 90 days visa-free (which is under the programme length). If you do not have British citizenship, please check your country’s government guidance on travel to Guatemala. 

Most Gotoco programmes are in TEFL Teaching English, thus this is a unique programme. Some of our standard FAQ (here) won’t apply to this programme, so please use this page as the source of all programme knowledge. You may find the more general FAQs on the link just above to be somewhat useful, but if this page contradicts them then please err on the side of using info’ from this page. You can always contact us if you have queries.

You won’t be living in a jungle hut, but this land is rich in fauna…biodiversity is one of the perks of participating here.

During this placement, you may see snakes, spiders, scorpions etc.

A Gotoco founder removed scorpions 2x in 24hours from his accommodation block..

Fauna risks are well managed, and experiencing nature is one of the joys of a programme of this kind in ‘the tropics’.

But just a warning, if  you are more than reasonably scared of creepy crawlies, then this might not be the best programme choice for you.