Volunteer Abroad in Ecuador

A Guide To

Volunteering Abroad in Ecuador

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334 Volunteer Abroad Programs in Ecuador

Affordable Volunteering in Ecuador: Fees from USD270!

International Volunteer HQ offers volunteer programs in the pioneering ‘World Cultural Heritage Site’ of Quito. Participants can make the highly cultural location their temporary home while working on Street Children, School Support, Kindergarten, Teaching English and Administration Support projects.

Volunteer in Ecuador
Make a REAL difference in Ecuador with Love Volunteers!

Over the years, thousands of volunteers have trusted Love Volunteers for travel abroad that provides cultural immersion alongside the chance to help those in real need. Join us now for a safe, fun, and sustainable volunteer program in Ecuador for a truly memorable experience abroad! Check out our programs!

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ELI Abroad – A Wealth of Volunteer Opportunities!

As an ELI Abroad volunteer, you can explore Ecuador’s amazing beaches, mountains and historic towns while working with our many partnering organizations. Teach or volunteer in human rights, health clinics, animal rescue or conservation. Ask us about a custom placement just for you. An unforgettable Ecuador adventure is just a click away.

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Performing Arts Abroad

With a number of Performing Arts Abroad programs to choose from, volunteers will make a difference in the lives of locals, by sharing their commitment to theater, music, and dance. In addition to contributing their own capabilities, volunteers will also experience Ecuador's culture and develop an understanding of the Ecuadorian way of life.

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Volunteer in Cotopaxi, Ecuador!

Make a positive impact in Ecuador through this international volunteering program offered by Amigos de las Américas. Cotopaxi is located in the Andean region of Ecuador and is known as "the city closest to Heaven" because of its altitude. It was also named after the snow-capped Volcano Cotopaxi, which reaches nearly 20,000 feet. Participants in this program will collaborate with local youth ...

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Gorgeous Ecuador: Volunteering and Memories for Life

Join our service learning programs in Ecuador and immerse yourself in an unforgettable experience of multicultural exchange, positive impact, and global awareness. In the Galapagos, the Amazon, or Quito, your efforts will help our grassroots projects achieve their goals of improving the quality of life in a community through animal care programs, EFL teaching, conservation, and social development.

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Environmental Volunteer Programs in Ecuador

Global Volunteer Network offers volunteering opportunities in Quito, Ecuador. Volunteers have the chance to give back and develop a better understanding of the culture and lives of locals. Participants worldwide, aged 18 and above, can work with animals, help conserve nature, and educate the community.

Tutor or Volunteer Abroad in Ecuador with GeoVisions

Become a Red Cross volunteer in Ecuador with GeoVisions and learn how to perform basic medical procedures. Volunteers must have some medical experience and proficiency in the Spanish language. Participants may be asked to assist with first aid procedures like treating wounds, doing tests, and work in the rehabilitation clinic. The program includes a walking tour of the capital city of Quito, ho...

Volunteer in Ecuador with the Ecuador Specialists!

With over 15 programs offered by EcuaExplora in Ecuador, participants have multiple opportunities to have a meaningful volunteer experience. Volunteers can opt to partake in programs concerning youth mentoring, agroforestry with farmers, or health and daycare services. Programs are offered throughout the year.

Volunteering Programs with Projects Abroad

Spend time engaging in volunteering projects on the island of San Cristobal in the Galapagos Islands with Projects Abroad in Ecuador. International participants can experience both the unique natural landscape of the country as well as the welcoming local people. This program offers a wide array of volunteer options, including Environmental Studies, Teaching English, and Sports.

Volunteer Programs in Ecuador for Ages 16 and Up

Gain a deeper comprehension of the culture, people, and history of Ecuador by taking part in one of eight volunteer placements provided by Volunteering Solutions. Volunteers may decide to engage in a health care program, work in an animal rescue center, or immerse themselves in a teaching placement.

Volunteer and Travel in Ecuador with Kaya

Live in rural or urban Ecuador and volunteer with Kaya Responsible Travel. With over 20 volunteer projects available across multiple fields, including performing arts, medicine, and turtle conservation, anyone can find a placement that suits them with Kaya. Volunteer programs also provide the chance to learn Spanish too!

Affordable Volunteer Abroad Programs: from USD180

Volunteer in Ecuador with CrossContinental and help in agriculture, community work, play with orphans, and assist in HIV Awareness programs. Placements are available in many cities, including Ambato, Ibarra, and Otavalo. Programs are available throughout the year with flexible start dates.

Volunteer in Ecuador with COINED International

We have many opportunities in Care and Education. For example, you can promote art and culture in a gallery in Quito or help street children seek a better future. All our volunteer programs are located in the capital city, Quito. While expanding your vision and understanding of the world, you will also help make a difference in the lifes of the people in the community.

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Volunteering Abroad in Ecuador

Those who volunteer in Ecuador will discover a country of multi-faceted landscapes and an impressively vibrant culture. Volunteering in Ecuador providers international volunteers with the opportunity to expand their language skills while experiencing a varity of service projects and communities. From urban neighborhoods throughout Quito to the tropical paradise of the Galapagos Islands to rural areas where simple living is the norm, volunteers will have a well-rounded volunteer abroad experience in Ecuador.

Geography & Demographics

Ecuador uniquely straddles the equator, which means it is technically in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Bordering Colombia, Peru, and the Pacific Ocean, Ecuador has access to a variety of geographical landscapes and locations. Those who volunteer in Ecuador will have the chance to explore a little of everything by visiting the nation's three main geographical regions: coasts, highlands (dominated by the Andes), and the Amazon, all of which provide volunteer opportunities.

The large majority of Ecuadorians, over 80 percent, practice Roman Catholicism and most Ecuadorians are a mix of European and American Indian descent, with 98 percent of the population speaking Spanish. 

Volunteering in Ecuador

There is a huge variety of volunteer work in Ecuador available, it is all about what type of volunteer experience you desire. Also, since there are ample volunteering opportunities in Ecuador, if after starting in one placement you feel compelled to try another, it is typically easy to change to a new project area.

If it’s your first time volunteering abroad, it might be smart to work through an English-speaking organization with offices around the world that provide support to independent and local projects. This will give you a volunteer placement in Ecuador that is accustomed to taking in large numbers of international volunteers, as well as an idea of the scope of opportunities available. If you choose to arrange your international volunteer experience through a provider it will make your fees higher but also provides a great support system which can be priceless if you are a first timer. 

The experience you have as a volunteer in Ecuador will vary greatly depending on where you choose to work and what your interests are. If you are looking for an experience that will surround you with people from all over the globe, look into the volunteer programs in Ecuador's major cities. Placements are common in the cities of Guayquil and Quito, for example. But placements are available across the country.

Providing basic medical care on the coast, teaching English in the Andes, or working with street kids in the poorest neighborhoods of Quito are just some of the many volunteer opportunities available in Ecuador. Organizations that work with kids are very understaffed so it easy to find a volunteer program in Ecuador working with children. One perk is that positions that involve working with children typically allow a lot of room for creativity to tailor the program to your skills. Most allow volunteers to suggest ideas for improvements and new activities, such as martial arts, dance lessons, or art classes.

International non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, in Quito need support from English speakers and quiet wildlife reserves in the Amazon need volunteers to feed monkeys and parrots and contribute to conservation efforts. NGOs often allow volunteers to undertake their own individual projects for in their free time as well to help the organization develop.

Volunteers can also choose to live and work at a farm or hacienda, in the countryside herding llamas, and rural areas are particularly affordable with many haciendas offering room and board in exchange for work. Volunteering in Ecuador at a hacienda (typically at a countryside hotel and restaurant) or for an NGO in Quito, will be more of an immersive, solo experience, so it is definitely something best pursued by those who speak at least intermediate Spanish.

Life in Ecuador

Ecuadorian cuisine varies depending on the region, but most meals start off with soup and are followed by pork, chicken, or even cuy, which means Guinea pig and is a local favorite. Expect a lot of rice and bread no matter where you are and seafood is very popular on the coast.

Although there is definitely a lot of American media influence, expect a culture that is relatively socially conservative, when compared to North America. Locals almost always receive foreigners very well but be prepared for some ogling and the occasional cat-call to females. There is still a very visible indigenous population, particularly in marketplaces, who speak Quechua and dress in the traditional bright clothing so volunteers won’t have to travel far to see the roots of Ecuador’s people. Depending on when you go, expect to enjoy frequent festivals such as Carnival and Semana Santa, that combine religious tradition with local indigenous customs. Plus, witness an intense passion for their favorite sport, soccer.

Ecuador is very affordable overall, except for major tourism hot-spots like the Galapagos Islands. Public transportation, taxis, and non-American products are all relatively inexpensive, but foreigners are often charged higher rates. Be prepared to ask cabs for the fee before you get in the car, and to bargain down the price for clothes and any souvenirs you want to buy. Hanging out with Ecuadorians is also a great way to avoid paying more than you should.

Accommodations

Housing in Ecuador is very inexpensive. Staying in a homestay with a local family is an excellent way to work on your Spanish, have traditional Ecuadorian meals provided, and gain a more immersive cultural experience. The majority of volunteer programs in Ecuador have a homestay option. If you would rather live with other international students, some programs provide housing for volunteers. This allows you to live with your co workers, regardless if you decide to volunteer in Quito or a village in the Amazon.

If neither of these options sound like what you are looking for, it is possible organize housing separately from your volunteer work in Ecuador. Some individuals who volunteer in Ecuador set up accommodations through organizations such as Couch Surfers and the South American Explorer Club. They are straightforward, easy to arrange, and a great way to meet new people.

Benefits & Challenges

Travel. On time off, Ecuador provides endless possibilities for travel to varying landscapes. Travel by public transport is very inexpensive and, especially in Quito, relatively well-organized. It is possible to go from the Andes Mountains, to the Amazon Rainforest, to the sunny coast in only a matter of hours. Those who volunteer in Ecuador can spend their free time ziplining through the jungle, hiking around the capital city of Quito, or enjoying themselves in the sand and waves of the Pacific Ocean. 

For those volunteering in Ecuador with a limited budget, there are bargain options everywhere, including islands off the coast, which have been dubbed “The Poor Man’s Galapagos.” They have most of the animals that the actual Galapagos Islands have but with a much lower price tag.

Language. Spanish is an extremely useful language to learn and lessons are widely available and highly affordable. Ecuadorian Spanish is relatively slow compared to other countries in South America and it has few irregularities, making it a great place to learn (although it does get faster on the coast). If you’re a complete beginner in Spanish, sticking to volunteering in major cities where most people speak a bit of English can make your stay and transition easier. It is still a good idea to learn a few basic phrases in Spanish before you begin your volunteer program in Ecuador.

Expectations & Impact. Like any other endeavor, it’s important to have reasonable expectations. Unless you are a trained professional working in your field, your contribution as a volunteer in Ecuador may seem modest, but that is not truly the case. The personal nature of volunteer work in Ecuador and diversity of projects are priceless. Many volunteers have undergraduate degrees or are in pursuit of one but spend your days working construction. Don’t underestimate your importance! Volunteerism is needed everywhere for all types of volunteer projects in Ecuador.

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