Hello. I am a single female hoping to travel and do some volunteer work in Central America, nothing too vigorous. Anyway, some agencies cost a lot of money to volunteer. If anyone knows of a reputable agency and affordable one where I can volunteer short term, that would be helpful.
Also, I am concerned about safety and traveling alone with public transportation from one country to the next although I speak some Spanish. Is it advisable?
Any advice would be helpful.
Personally, I would skip the agency, pick a starting country, find a place to volunteer, and make travel and accomodation arrangements on my own. Try looking on idealist dot com or daveseslcafe dot com for places that need volunteers. Once you make a connection with a group they can help you to get settled. Spend a few weeks volunteering and building up your spanish and then start travelling. By then you may have made friends with other travelers and will not have to do it alone. I have taken a lot of bus rides alone in South America and while it has (most) always been fine, sometimes it is not worth giving yourself anxiety attacks if you're not comfortable with it. There are lots of travelers following the same routes and if you stay in hostels you'll meet them.
Hope that helps.
For instance, try googling Trama Textiles in Guatemala. They have volunteer positions with no fees and you'd actually be supporting a local initiative. Xela is a nice town too and there would be lots of opportunities to practice your spanish and aclimatise yourself to the culture, lifestyle, and transportation!