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.
Ecotourism in Brazil
- Cruise the Amazon on a Riverboat Trip An alternative to staying put in a jungle lodge is to choose a riverboat as your headquarters, which will allow you to cover far more territory. Michael Sommers shares the various options for cruising the Amazon, from luxury ships with plasma TVs and champagne to local boats that are geared more for transport than tourism.
- From Manaus into the Amazon Rain Forest From Manaus, you can get a taste of the rain forest with day trips, but a longer tour or excursion is better if you want to get away from civilization, experience “virgin” forest, and see some wildlife.
- Poconé and Porto Jofre: The Rodovia Transpantaneira The Pantanal itself begins as you continue south from Poconé along the Rodovia Transpantaneira. Watering holes along the rodovia attract a wealth of wildlife, making the journey into a fantastic safari.
Other Ecotourism and Volunteering Articles
- Colombia’s Mythical Parque Nacional Natural Isla Gorgona A visit to the Parque Nacional Natural Isla Gorgona is an unforgettable one, no matter the time of year. Learn more about this prison island turned national park.
- Costa Rica’s Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge In addition to beaches where sea turtles lay their eggs, the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge also protects rare swamp habitats, including the only mangrove forest on Costa Rica’s Caribbean shores.
- Visiting Playa Matapalo on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast Plan a visit to Playa Matapalo, a beautiful gray-sand beach on the Pacific coast, and the nearby Refugio de Vida Silvestre Ecológico Portalón.
- Visiting Puerto Viejo on Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast Puerto Viejo is one of the most happenin’ spots in Costa Rica. Use this guide to plan a trip to the low-key coastal area that’s become a mecca for surfers, backpackers, and the counterculture crowd.
- Ecoutourism Treks in Guatemala Community tourism initiatives, whereby local Maya guides take travelers to seldom-seen locales in Guatemala’s rugged countryside, make for some extraordinary cross-cultural opportunities. Here are some recommendations for where to start your trek.
- Tárcoles, Costa Rica: Crocodile Safaris, Birding Tours, and More Tárcoles offers many recreation options and wildlife viewing opportunities. Take a zipline tour of the jungle canopy, enjoy a thrilling crocodile safari in the estuary, or keep an eye out for the more than 400 species of birds that inhabit the area. In addition to sharing tour information, author Christopher P. Baker recommends where to ...
- Manatee-Watching in Fort Myers Spend a little time on the Orange and Caloosahatchee Rivers, and chances are you’ll see a West Indian manatee. Here’s where to go to learn more about manatees and hopefully spot one of these wonderful creatures.
- Boating, Sailing & Fishing Off Ambergris Caye Explore the Caribbean the way it was meant to be traveled: by sea. Here are the top boat tours and operators for those seeking to fish, snorkel, dive, or simply enjoy being out on the ocean.
- Volunteer Opportunities and NGOs in Ollantaytambo Want a different sort of vacation? Learn more about several NGOs in Ollantaytambo that are worth contacting if you’re looking for volunteer and homestay opportunities.
- San Isidro de El General in South-Central Costa Rica San Isidro is an agricultural market town, gateway to Parque Nacional Chirripó and Dominical, and a base for white-water rafting. Read more about nature reserves, festivals, and volunteer opportunities in the area.