Volunteer in Chile
Chile is a beautiful country to experience and we highly recommend apply to volunteer here due to the range of projects available. This country is very developed and has enjoyed very good times economically but there is still a need for assistance due to the wide gap which has developed between the rich and poor. There are a range of projects in places like Santiago where you can help improve living standards and really make a difference.
Volunteer Programs in Chile
Find structured, free and low cost volunteer projects in Chile.
Volunteer Organisations in Chile
Guide to Volunteering in Chile
Maybe you are seeking a new challenge, planning a gap year in Chile or you would just like to do something rewarding. Cultural and environmental diversity epitomize Chile, this country is the undisputed South American giant. By volunteering you can spend a longer time in the country gaining new skills, improving your Spanish and meeting new friends from all over the world. Being in Chile and doing more than being a tourist will be a rich cultural experience where you will learn more about the country, culture and people.
This is also a great way to improve your Spanish language skills especially when interacting and working alongside locally employed staff. As a volunteer in this country you will also get to see some spectacular sights including the Andes, glaciers, Pacific coast and cultural towns and cities. The experience of giving service will stay with you forever.
Location of Projects
Our directory includes local projects, NGO's, non-profits and larger organisations who offer placements throughout the country including in:
- Punta Arenas
- Elqui Valley
- Vina del Mar
- Chiloe Island
- San Pedro de Atacama (live and work in the world's driest desert)
- Patagonia (this is one of the most scenic places in the world)
Where you choose to go really comes down to personal preference, the Atacama Desert in the North and Patagonia in the South of the country are both destinations for nature but larger cities like Santiago have long been favourite destinations. If you have a flexible schedule you might like to view our South America volunteer directory for a full list of options in this region.
Types of Projects
When you see images of Chile on tv or even if you visit as a tourist it doesn't really seem there is a need for outside assistance. But Chile is still an improving country which sometimes lacks the funds and numbers on the ground. You wouldn't think it but around 10% of the population of Chile live in poverty and you could work with homeless people, lead awareness initiatives, apply for building / construction projects or work with ill or disabled people.
There are skilled and non-skilled placements available which will be engaging, challenging and rewarding. From building schools, educating youngsters to helping wildlife and environmental conservation - this will be an experience to remember. When helping you usually work from Monday to Friday and have weekends free, in your spare time you might want to join a sightseeing excursion, join adventure water sports like rafting, learn to surf or even join salsa classes.
Helping educate children and people is one of the best ways to improve job prospects and help prevent poverty. There are various teaching placements at schools in cities and more rural areas, you could help at public schools leading lessons or working alongside local teachers. If you are an absolute beginner at teaching don't worry, usually you just need enthusiasm and the willingness to learn on the job. The students will be delighted to have you there and it will be an amazing experience seeing them learn and progress before your eyes.
Wildlife & Conservation Projects
By working on conservation volunteer programs you can get off the tourist trail and really get hands on working to help nature and the environment. Deforestation is a problem and you can help by working in spectacular National Parks and Nature Reserves creating programs, cleaning areas, making signs and awareness campaigns. The Villarrica National Park is a popular tourist destination in both summer and winter, you can experience breathtaking scenery whilst also helping keeping the area pristine. Due to increasing numbers of tourists to places like the Atacama, Easter Island and Patagonia there is a real need for eco tourism awareness and efforts on the ground to protect nature and biodiversity. You could also help provide a future for animals facing extinction by helping rescue and rehabilitate at centers.
There are specific placements where you can help remote indigenous tribes like the Mapuche supporting and helping preserve their culture in the face of modern society. This will provide a fascinating insight into their culture and you will learn why this tribe and many others need help in the face of rapid development and natural habitat loss. There are also other programs where you can help womens rights or work directly with women who suffer as a result of discrimination or abuse at specially set up shelters located throughout the country.
No previous experience is required just the willingness to make a difference, you will be expected to be on time, professional, fun and be able to work in teams. Learning basic Spanish is also highly recommended, this will enable you to interact with locals and people you are volunteering with. Please be aware some projects can be in rural or urban areas. You will not need a visa prior to arriving in Chile.
We highly recommend learning at least some basic Spanish words and getting a phrase book before departing, this will really enhance your experience and make traveling a lot easier. You can combine certain programs with Spanish language courses in Chile, there are classes for all levels and abilities.
Shared volunteer accommodation is offered with other participants as well as home stays with a local family. Each family is carefully selected and they will welcome you into their home. This is a great cultural exchange where you can improve your Spanish and also help the hosts improve their English, local people are very friendly and are well known for their hospitality.
Most organisations will require you to work around 5 days per week, usually around 4-6 hours per day. This can vary depending on the placement, try to be flexible and open minded to changes in schedules. There will be lots of free time for you to take everything in or go sightseeing. In your spare time you might want to organise an excursion, watching a football game or visiting a rodeo show or parade with Chilean cowboys and dancing the night away to the national dance of Chile the cueca is also recommended.
Start Dates & How to Apply
Weekly arrival dates throughout the year but placements must be booked in advance to secure a spot. There are one week placements and longer available. You might want to try to arrange a placement during September as 'Dieciocho' takes place where people celebrate Chilean culture with patriotic celebrations 'Fiestas Patrias'. The festivities usually take place with music and delicious food including empanadas (pasty) and anticuchos (shish kebabs). By using our website you can find structured, cheap and free volunteer opportunities in Chile. Some organisations might require you to pay a participate which includes accommodation, meals, transport and support. You will usually be required to pay for flights to Chile.
Volunteer in Chile for Free
If you are looking to volunteer in Chile for free or for cheap then search our featured organisations where you will find local projects, NGO's and charities.
The following organisations offer low cost and free volunteer opportunities in Chile:
- Patagonia Volunteer - Pay a one off fee for a structured volunteer experience in Patagonia
Ama Torres del Paine
English Opens Doors
Help / Advice
If you need any help arranging a volunteer placement in Chile please get in touch.
Chile Volunteer Reviews
If you have volunteered in Chile and would like to review or share your experience please contact us.