Top Destinations in South America for Food-Loving Volunteers
If you’re an altruistic foodie, you’re probably looking for the perfect destination to volunteer - somewhere with incredible opportunities to make a difference where you can still enjoy delicious food! South America offers the perfect combination. Volunteer programs on this continent are abound - in everything from conservation to teaching to childcare. It’s also known as a destination for exotic tropical cuisine and traditional indigenous fare, as well as a growing crop of gourmet and upscale restaurants. If you choose to volunteer in South America, you’ll be giving back to the world and treating yourself to an epic foodie adventure. These are the top four countries for food-lovers to volunteer in South America.
South America is known for its exotic produce, and if you spend time volunteering in Ecuador, you’re bound to enjoy some of the continent’s best treats. After a long day teaching children in an Ecuadorian school or helping sea turtles on their way, cool off with some of the most delicious fresh fruit and juices you’ll ever try. On any street in Quito you’ll find vendors selling fresh pineapple, mango, and guava. True foodies will want to experiment with even more exotic offerings, like guanabana, which tastes like a mix between strawberry, pineapple, and coconut. If your students are particularly well behaved and deserve a treat, bring them maracuyá (passionfruit) juice!
If you love to cook your own gourmet meals, consider volunteering on a farm in Chile. The countryside is full of vineyards and orchards producing a bounty of olives, limes, papaya, and everything else you can imagine. See the food travel from farm to table as you work the fields, harvest the crops, and then whip up delicious meals in the kitchen. If you’re lucky, you’ll even learn the recipes for Chilean specialties like chupe, a creamy seafood stew. Volunteer in Chile and you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor while giving back by providing fresh fruits and veggies to the community.
There are countless opportunities to volunteer abroad in Brazil, and the gourmet food offerings in this country are just as diverse. Spend a week, month, or even a year volunteering as a soccer coach or construction worker and you’ll never run out of new cuisines and unique restaurants to try. Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in particular are known for their growing crop of upscale restaurants, serving traditional Brazilian delicacies as well as European, African, and even Japanese cuisine. If you’re a volunteer who loves to party, you can even help to organize the epic Carnival festival, where delicious Brazilian street food and exotic drinks abound!
The most adventurous of volunteers will find the perfect volunteer projects in Peru. Your stay will be filled with challenges and thrills, and you’ll leave with countless memories and funny photos from your travel adventures. Between shifts volunteering at the local hospital or orphanage you’ll find the time to raft through the Amazon and trek to Machu Picchu. If these activities don’t intimidate you, you’ll certainly welcome some of Peru’s most unusual (but delicious!) specialties. Try the national dish, ceviche - a tangy and refreshing dish of fresh seafood marinated in lime juice, chili, and spices. Or, indulge in cuy, barbequed guinea pig - Peruvians have been enjoying this delicacy for over four thousand years!
Is your mouth already watering for these specialties? If you’re looking for an opportunity to give back and enjoy exotic gourmet foods, consider volunteering in South America for an incredible experience.