Volunteer in Colombia
Colombia is humming with a rapidly developing economy, modern cosmopolitan cities, gorgeous Caribbean beaches, the luscious Amazon rainforest, quaint and charming colonial villages, buzzing night-life, and much more. Search short and long term volunteer programs including free and low cost opportunities in places like Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena and in more rural towns and villages.
Volunteer Programs in Colombia
Search structured, free and low cost volunteer opportunities in Colombia where you can help communities, the environment and wildlife in places like Bogata, Medellin and Cartegena
Guide to Volunteering in Colombia
Colombia es pasión, Colombia es progresión! It only takes a few glances upon the warm, smiling faces of Colombia’s 44,000,000 citizens to understand the pride felt by Colombians for their country today. Following nearly forty years of insecurity, Colombia has emerged in the last decade into a leading Latin America country. Medellin itself is now considered one of the safest cities in Latin America. The only risk is wanting to stay!
Colombia is one of the real up and coming places to volunteer abroad and is now very safe to visit. Colombia was in the news in the 1980's and 1990's because of various drug and social problems which really didn't help its image as a tourist destination but in the last decade that has all changed. There has been large scale investment into Colombia in recent years and the security situation has improved dramatically. This country also has impressive beaches, great cuisine and a lively nightlife. There is something for everyone and compared to other countries to volunteer in South America you will find Colombia very safe. It is also a lot less touristy compared to other countries in this continent but this is a good thing as there are lots of opportunities to get off the beaten track.
Please don't be put off by negative stories in the past. You can immerse yourself in the culture of the county and do more than just sightseeing by applying to volunteer. When you fly into Colombia you will be able to feel the warmth of the local people and if you speak basic Spanish this can really make your experience volunteering here more enjoyable (view our Spanish language courses in Colombia). One of the benefits of spending time working in Colombia is being able to see both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, visit both and see which is your favourite. There are now currently global advertising campaigns promoting Colombia all around the world and millions of people visit every year, so what are you waiting for, apply to volunteer - you won't regret it!
Colombia Fast Facts
- Country Profile
- Population: 44.2 million
- Religion: 90% Roman Catholic, 10% Other
- Language: Spanish
- Poverty Line: 47% of people live below the poverty line
Despite Colombia’s newfound levels of peace and prosperity, Colombia still bears many scars from the past. Nearly 10% of Colombia’s population has been displaced due to the many years of armed conflict, making it the country with the second highest level of internal displacement in the world. In addition to displacement, one in every three Colombians has in some way been negatively affected by the armed conflict. Colombia also suffers from great wealth disparity, leaving much of the country in poverty. In fact, one fifth of the population lives on less than two dollars per day, and nearly half of the Colombian work force derives income from the small scale informal economy, working as street vendors and garbage recyclers.
Location of Projects
A lot of projects can be found in the capital Bogota which is a huge city with lots of places to see and things to do. Other popular locations include Medellin and Cartagena - both have history, culture and lots of activities to keep you entertained. You could also be helping in surrounding towns or even in more rural areas where help is needed to assist people living in poverty or in shanty towns. Both Cartagena and Bogota are popular choices for internationals due to the tourist attractions, nightlife and culture. If you like coffee or being in the great outdoors we recommend you research Medellin where there are agricultural projects available. Bogota and the other large cities in the country are now safe places to explore but always ask for advice from local people as like every city there are places where you should / shouldn't visit.
Volunteer in Medellin
Medellin is where a lot of programs can be joined. This city has a turbulent history. It was infamous for being home to Pablo Escobar & Colombian drug cartels while it has made an impressive comeback as a city, sadly, the media has yet to catch up on modern Medellin. In fact, Medellin is now considered one of the safest cities in Latin America. As a responsible organization, if we couldn’t ensure a reasonable level of safety, we wouldn’t be operating in Medellin. Most likely you will stay in El Poblado. It is the safest area in town, yet not too expensive. It is very accessible with public transit, and amenities such as shopping and cybercafes are nearby. Your accommodations will be very clean, and your room will have basic furniture such as a closet, desk, and bed. Medellin has a cool tropical climate that seems spring-like year round. Average high temperature: 27.8 degrees celsius or 82 degrees fahrenheit. Average low temperature: 16.1 degrees celsius or 61 degrees fahrenheit.
Community Developing Programs in Colombia
Colombia has seen dramatic improvement in recent years but there is still visible poverty in the country. There are approximately 35% of people living below the poverty line and you can play a role in improving life for the poorest members of society. Popular options include joining group building and construction projects where you can help communities especially in rural areas. There are also options to help homeless people by working in community centers cooking food and helping people in need. On these programs you will get to share your ideas and learn new skills
Wildlife & Conservation Projects in Colombia
Approximately 10% of the world’s species are found in Colombia, boasting more endemic species than any other country on the planet. This country has a beautiful natural environmental and there are options to work in places like the Andes and the stunning Amazon rainforest. These placements are perfect if you are looking to experience life outdoors and you can play a role in help local organisations which fight illegal logging and poaching. Some NGO's aim to help sustainable tourism and the environment through awareness and eco tourism. You can also join marine conservation projects where you will get to go scuba diving and help protect marine animals like sea turtles.
Fair Trade Placements in Colombia
Volunteer in Colombia and market Fair Trade Gold to the world as a Fair Trade Gold & Metals Intern. The Choco Bioregion is a world reservoir of biodiversity which runs from Panama to Ecuador, and from the Pacific Ocean to the Andean mountain range. Our partner, ARM, has a two-fold mission which is: to communicate the natural wealth of this bio-diverse hotspot, and to create awareness about increased poverty levels and marginalization of its inhabitants. Based in Medellin, ARM is devoted to the sustainable use of natural resources and the life quality enhancement of the people of the Bio-geographic Choco region.
For over ten years, our partner has been working in 3 main areas which include:
- Fair and Green markets
- Communication and environmental education
- Capacity Building
ARM produces gold and platinum, both raw and refined, which is extracted under the strictest socially and environmentally responsible rules. Profits generated are invested into development initiatives in local mining communities. Metals are sold under the Oro Verde brand.
Description of Activities:
- Conduct market research
- Develop marketing campaign in consultation with local staff
- Identify new clients for the Oro Verde metals
- Assist Commercial Executive in the commercialization of ARM’s service portfolio
- Assist Commercial Executive in developing Oro Verde's marketing strategy
How to Apply
Search our featured projects or contact local NGO;s, charities and organisations - there are start dates start dates throughout the year and you can apply in advance to join a program through our website in the next 2 years. If you are worried about safety or would like everything planning for you then a group program through an international organisation is a good option. They will always be help available in country and via telephone if there are any emergencies.
Volunteer in Colombia for Free
You can choose from free and low cost projects which are available through local NGO's and charities but you can also apply through an international sending agency which will be a more structured experience.
How will I manage if I don’t speak Spanish?
You will learn. In a very short amount of time you will learn the basics for getting around the city, buying your own food and taking your transport. Your exchange manager will assist you with this, and you will find you will build your confidence in speaking the basics of Spanish that you need in a short amount of time.
Colombia Volunteer Reviews
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