Want to get the most out of your vacation?
Discover volunteer opportunities that range from teaching English to rescuing wild animals, explore various options for ecotours, learn about eco-friendly places to stay—and make a difference.
Amy E. Robertson shares how volunteer vacations convert the tourist into the traveler, allowing you to experience a destination and connect with locals in a new way.
Identifying the right experience depends greatly on knowing yourself and your own expectations. Here are a few questions to consider when looking to volunteer.
Learn more about the many options for your international volunteer experience with projects ranging from community development to agriculture to wildlife protection.
Articles on Volunteering
- Volunteer with REMAR Bolivia REMAR Bolivia offers their services freely to anyone in need throughout the country. Learn about volunteer opportunities, costs, requirements, and more.
- Volunteer with Fundación Banco de Alimentos (Food Bank Foundation) Located just outside of Buenos Aires, Fundación Banco de Alimentos serves as a link between food-producing and food-marketing companies, and people with hunger across Greater Buenos Aires.
- Volunteer with ERSLA in Nicaragua Volunteers with Nicaragua’s ERSLA work primarily with community development. All are welcome regardless of their skills and language lessons are available.
- Volunteer with Utila Iguana Conservation Project, Honduras All you need to volunteer with Honduras’s Utila Iguana Conservation Project is a passion for nature. The work includes caring for the iguanas, butterflies, tarantulas, geckos, and other animals at the station, but it can also include teaching, public relations, gardening, maintenance, or ecological research, depending on your skills.
- Volunteer with Endangered Wildlife Trust, Costa Rica Endangered Wildlife Trust is a British nonprofit that owns the Pacuare Nature Reserve, 10.5 square kilometers (2,600 acres) of tropical rainforest on Costa Rica’s northern coast, near Tortuguero.
- Volunteer with Jatun Sacha in Ecuador Jatun Sacha (JS) is a self-sustaining nonprofit organization that owns and maintains five private nature reserves working closely with communities to “promote the conservation of Ecuador’s biodiversity”. Volunteers work eight-hour days and can choose from sites in the Amazonian or Coastal rainforest, Andean forest, or on the Galapagos Islands.
- Volunteer with Associacion Conservacionista de Playa Malena, Panama Panama’s Associacion Conservacionista de Playa Malena is a nonprofit group of community volunteers dedicated to the protection of the beach and its wildlife. While all are welcome, volunteers aren’t accepted outside turtle season, as much of the work focuses on protecting nesting sea turtles during hatching season.
- Volunteer with Conservación Patagonica in Chile Conservación Patagonica’s volunteer program in Chile runs November-April, and volunteers come for three-week stints, camping and backpacking in the field. The work is focused on trail building, ecosystem restoration, and perfect for anyone looking to rough it with purpose.
- Volunteer with Foundation Bolivar Education in Ecuador Foundation Bolivar Education (FBE, Ecuador Volunteers) is a Quito-based organization that facilitates volunteer opportunities all across Ecuador. Their work is focused on community development and the environment, and volunteers have a chance to study Spanish at FBE’s affiliated schools.
- Volunteer with Tambopata Macaw Project in Peru The Tambopata Macaw Project (TMP) is a long-term research project on the ecology and conservation of macaws and parrots in the lowlands of southeastern Peru. Short-term volunteers (12-30 days) are trained to identify all the local parrots by sight and become experts at clay lick monitoring and macaw nest observation with video camera systems.