View down a street of a church tower in historic Cartagena, Colombia.

Colonial style buildings in historic Cartagena, Colombia. Photo © javarman javarman/123rf.

La Boquilla is a small town 15 minutes outside the beautiful colonial city of Cartagena. Its Casa de Cultura (cultural center) seeks volunteers to teach English to locals working in tourism or related fields.

Volunteers are encouraged to bring their ideas for children’s arts and crafts projects to the Casa de Cultura.The Casa de Cultura’s mission is to “enhance cultural and educational knowledge within our community,” and it offers English classes (2:30pm-4pm Monday-Friday) to children and adults. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their ideas for children’s arts and crafts projects to the Casa de Cultura. There are sometimes other activities related to the center’s programs to which volunteers can lend a hand. Training is usually provided by previous volunteers.

Beaches and mangrove forests are just a short walk from the Casa de Cultura. There is frequent and cheap bus service between La Boquilla and Cartagena, Colombia’s fifth-largest city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with stunning colonial architecture that includes ornate government buildings and colorful cobblestone streets.

La Boquilla is a poor community but it’s very safe, and volunteers can move around freely even at night.

Casa de Cultura de la Boquilla

Cartagena, Colombia
tel. 57/318-237-9574

Application Process: Send an email to apply. Individual volunteers must be 18 or older and should have finished high school. Families with children may be considered.

Cost: None. Volunteers are responsible for their own expenses.

Placement Length: There is a minimum placement of two weeks.

Language Requirements: Basic Spanish is required.

Housing: Casa de Cultura de La Boquilla encourages homestays (US$14/night), which provide the volunteer with greater contact with the local community and the community with an additional source of income. Hotels and furnished apartments (US$30-35/night per person) can also be arranged.

Operating Since: December 2012

Number of Volunteers: Three in December 2012 and three in January 2013.

Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Volunteer Vacations in Latin America.