Have you ever wondered what you can do to help the people who live in the places where you vacation? Maybe while visiting non-tourist areas you have noticed that some of the locals could use some support. Of course you want your vacation to be relaxing and fun, but you can make it meaningful too. Here are some organizations in Cancun, Cozumel and Isla Mujeres that need a helping hand.

Give a Toy, Get a Smile

This non-profit organization was started by expats and is modeled after the “Toys for Tots” program. Their goal is to improve the lives of less fortunate children in Cancun. The items they request (mostly toys and school supplies) and the drop-off points are well explained on their website and you can also read about your donations being distributed to the overjoyed niños there. If this doesn’t warm your heart, nothing will!

La Cuidad de Alegria

“The City of Joy” is just that, a small city or complex of homes and centers which care for the disadvantaged and vulnerable. They help more than 20,000 impoverished and underprivileged   people each year. They are located on the outskirts of Cancun. Their website features a great video (be warned it might bring tears to your eyes) which explains all of their programs and you can also find out how to donate, or even volunteer there.

Little Yellow School House

You may shed a few tears when you view their PowerPoint movie presentation. This is the only school for children with special needs and learning disabilities on Isla Mujeres, a small island off the coast of Cancun, and it depends solely on donations. They are only open 4 hours a day due to lack of funding. Admission for the children is free. This part of their mission statement says it all…everyone deserves a childhood, even if they appear to be different.

La Casita

“The Little House” reaches out to victims of extreme abuse and exploitation. They provide full time education, all basic health services, legal protection and a nurturing caring home to over 100 children and young girls. They are also actively involved in trying to change state laws to toughen sentences for offenses such as molestation, rape, exploitation and corruption of minors. On their website you will find the various ways to donate and a list of the basic needs of La Casita. There are videos here too, so once again, get the tissue out.

Share With Martin

Actually a dive shop on Cozumel, an island off the coast of Playa del Carmen, Dive with Martin will give you one free tank dive in exchange for one grocery size bag of clean gently used or new clothes. They lost their fearless leader Martin a few years back, but this small business is still going strong. The clothes and shoes will go to needy families on Cozumel.


As you can see, even if you don’t want to spend your entire stay giving back, a little effort can go a long way and can add a special touch to your vacation. Stay tuned for our post on how to help stray and rescued animals in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya.


About the Author

Kristin Busse is currently a travel writer but has worked in many different industries. She lives in Cancun, Mexico and plans to use her diverse experiences to write about the Yucatan Peninsula from her unique perspective.


Writter Bio

Yucatan Holidays


4 Responses to “Donate, Volunteer, Give Back while Vacationing in Mexico”

  1. Kristin Busse

    Thanks for your comment Cancun Gal! I hope a lot of people consider doing some of these things when they come to visit us.

  2. TravelDesigned

    GREAT list! …. and remember you can also help by taking a bag with you when you go for a walk on the beach. You can pick up trash that has washed ashore or been left behind by BONEHEADS!

  3. Kristin Busse

    You are absolutely right! Thanks for the great suggestion. I even pick up trash on my street.

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