Volunteer in Ecuador
Ecuador is a popular destination with international tourists and if you would like to do more than just sightseeing then volunteering is a fantastic option. You will get to integrate into the local culture, work alongside local people and help good causes in places like Quito.
Volunteer Programs in Ecuador
Search structured, free & low cost volunteer opportunities in Ecuador with international organisations, NGO's and local charities.
Location of Projects
There are opportunities in places like:
- Galapagos Islands
- Puerto Lopez
- San Cristobal
View our South America volunteer programs for more options.
Types of Programs
You can find rewarding volunteer opportunities with animals, childcare, community development, conservation, environment, construction, renovation, education, teaching, sports, medical, health & more.
Animal Care & Wildlife Conservation
If you have a passion for nature and animals we really recommend a rain forest or wildlife project where you can help protect beauty spots and rescue / rehabilitate exotic animals. Working as a wildlife conservation volunteer in Ecuador you will be able to identify and track wild animals, support important environmental research in an endangered ecosystem and also raise awareness within local communities.
On some projects you will support a team of dedicated conservation experts and scientists, as they monitor wildlife, collect data and build a management strategy for the ecosystem. There are animal rescue centre programs where you can help a unique animal reserve and rehabilitation centre, helping taking care of animals. You can get your hands on feeding and helping caymans and other exotic animals, join a crew in the Tropical region of Ecuador for a memorable experience.
You can help change the lives of local communities and disadvantaged youth. By applying you will be able to make a real lasting contribution to the lives of people. Popular options including joining building and construction initiatives. Other projects can include helping at community centres.
Childcare & Orphanage Work
Work in some of the poorest areas of Ecudor and help to make a difference to the local community; you can get involved with a range of activities such as outreach, community service and school support at one of two projects. Choose from day care centres. The first provides a safe haven for the children of parents who work at the city dump. As a volunteer you’ll organise educational lessons, plus arts and crafts, music and games, and get involved with feeding and care.
The second centre offers education services to underprivileged children from marginalised areas. You’ll play an active role in teaching and homework supervision, with key topics including English reading and writing, music, painting and art. If you choose to stay for 8 weeks or more, you will also have the opportunity to help out at the street children project, working with youngsters who have no one to care for them while their parents go out to work. You can help out with community service, education, psychology and more at local clinics.
Educational & Teaching
On teaching projects in Ecuador you can work with children ranging from 3 to 18 in schools and community centres. You could help lead English, computer science, sports, music and art classes. The projects aim to give children a fun learning environment heping them in daily life and improve future prospects. This is a great way to become immersed in the local community, you may well find it hard to say goodbye as you will become attached. You are encouraged to use your imagination and enthusiasm to make learning fun and interesting for the children, and arts, crafts and games can really stimulate the pupils.
Medical & Health Volunteering
There are medical projects which have been designed with a strong focus on learning, giving and providing you with hands-on involvement in the field of medicine and healthcare. Local Ecuadorian people benefit greatly from the support of international volunteers and there are skilled / un-skilled projects are available. So whether you are a student/graduate seeking experience or if you work in this industry and would like to help abroad these placements will appeal to you.
You can help assists local staff at hospitals in places Quito, Ambato, Manglaralto, Santa Elena and Baeza. The amount of responsibility you’ll be given will depend on your skills and experience. Usually you start by shadowing the doctors and nurses, and will be taught basic skills such as how to take vital signs, changing dressings, taking blood and giving injections. However there will be time when you'll be asked to help with hospital admin, stocking and preparing medical supplies.
Summer Volunteer Programs
International volunteers are required to spend time working alongside locally Ecuadorian staff at summer camps. These are an amazing cultural exchange program opportunity where you can lead educational lessons and get involved in fun sporting activities. Activities include teaching English, trekking, horse riding and being creative by making new classes. You will not need any previous experience but you will need lots of energy and patience. You will be able to help campers with their English skills whilst helping locally employed staff. There will be plenty of free time off from camp to explore the local region and see more of Ecuador.
Anyone can apply as long as you are eligible for a tourist visa, programs are open to people traveling solo, school groups, couples and you can go with friends. If you choose to volunteer in a group of two or more you might be able to get discounts on trips. You will need to be aged 18 and over and in good health. No previous experience is required but basic Spanish language is desired, we recommend learning on arrival or buying a phrase book which will allow you to communicate better. A positive, flexible and out-going attitude will also be appreciated. Some projects can be really hands on and challenging so don't expect this to be an easy experience.
Placements start every month throughout the year and international participants are always needed. Summer volunteering trips and group projects are popular but you will need to book in advance to secure a spot.
How to Apply
Search organisations like NGO's, sending agencies and local grass roots projects. Some agencies will require you to pay a fee to participate this usually includes placements, training, transfers, meals, accommodation and in-country support. You can stay for as little as a week to over 6 months depending on your availability. Most organisations look for individuals who are able to commit for a minimum period of one month, the longer you volunteer the better though as it takes a while to get used to surroundings. Some people stay for over a year!
Volunteer in Ecuador for Free
There are lots of free and cheap volunteer opportunities in Ecuador but you will need to be independent and arrange everything by yourself. Some local charities and NGO's offer no fee placements but you might be required to pay a donation which usually goes towards the running of projects which have little or no funding. Recommended organisations include:
- Fundacion Arte del Mundo offer free volunteer placements to energetic and committed volunteers where you can help children and communities in Baños de Agua Santa. You will need to pay for accommodation for the duration of your stay.
Help & Advice
If you need any help arranging a volunteer placement in Ecuador please get in touch. Please note if you choose a destination away from a big city a lot programs are located in remote locations and living conditions might not be what you are used to - so be aware of this.
Reviews & Testimonials
If you have ever volunteered in Ecuador and would like to write about your experience, review an organisation or share any recommendations please contact us.