Volunteer work doesn’t have to be serving food in soup kitchens or pulling out weeds in a messy lawn. Stray away from the norm and volunteer abroad in paradise; you’ll have the chance to island hop and scuba dive with sea-turtles into the depths of the ocean, all while making a positive impact on communities in need. Not only will you be diving into the sea, but you will also have the chance to dive deeper into the St. Kitts and Nevis’ culture, known for its unique re-birth of music (using a steel pan to make music is a major thing here), and vast array of flavorful foods. What’s not to like about volunteering in St. Kitts and Nevis?
Though small, it’s mighty. St. Kitts and Nevis holds volunteer opportunities in all of its regions, but some of the most popular cities to volunteer in St. Kitts and Nevis include Basseterre and Fig Tree.
Why not volunteer at a place where you can swim in the water and drink it? Basseterre’s sea water is distilled and purified to be one of the purest drinking waters in the world. Not only is their seawater drinkable, but the animals and creatures that live within these waters are highly protected, especially at Cades Bay or New Castle marine parks. If you have a passion for marine life conservation or have a heart for all living beings in the sea, land, and sky (programs in Basseterre are indeed looking for volunteers to help with their beloved rainbow parrots), then this might be the perfect volunteer destination for you.
Even though this island northeast of the Caribbean is small in size, it makes up for it by housing over 30 white-sand beaches. Many people flock from all over the globe to Fig Tree to vacation, relocate, party, and enjoy the beautiful sunny weather. After you’ve had a long day of saving the ocean, be prepared to come with an empty stomach and a hearty appetite to let the flavors and spices of jerk, roast pork, and pepper pot explode in your mouth.
Volunteering in St. Kitts & Nevis
Spend your days abroad becoming a certified diver, call the rainforest your home by living in cool eco-lodges as you volunteer, or become the next parrot whisperer (no, this isn’t a typo). St. Kitts and Nevis is home to over 63 different species of butterflies and over 140 different species of birds, giving you a range of experiences and wonder to explore. Although, the most popular and common volunteer opportunities in the Caribbean are water-related. With the waters as clear as glass and as blue as the skies above it, why would anyone want to be anywhere else?
If you have a passion for diving, marine life, or if you just enjoy being in the water, then becoming a certified diver may be your calling. Certified divers will get to island hop regularly. You will also have the opportunity to clean debris from underwater to help protect the marine life that inhabits the area, and learn how to dive at night; get your nightvision goggles ready! Not only will you get a hands-on experience with sea-turtle conservation, but you’ll also get to be a part of the behind the scenes work by discussion issues and possible solutions in relation to the creation and management of marine reserves. You will be exploring and venturing amongst a rainbow of coral reefs, tropical fish, and even ancient remains of a shipwreck.
Even though the majority of the volunteering will be done out at sea, you will also get the chance to spend some time on land exploring mysterious and lush rainforests. Since Nevis houses so many different animals, there is plenty of opportunity for you to volunteer with them by care-taking or building habitats. If you’ve got a passion for parrots or birds-alike, then volunteering as a parrot keeper will seem like a dream. Volunteers will take part in monitoring and feeding the birds, building and improving aviaries, and you’ll even get the experience the exciting release of a captive bird back into the wild (cue the song I Believe I Can Fly).
Costs & Affordability
The cost of living in St. Kitts and Nevis ranges depending on where you are placed, but overall, it is likely a lot cheaper to reside than in your home country. The cost of products and goods generally range from $0.82 to $0.50 for every $1.00. However, since St. Kitts and Nevis has been and still is a rising tourist and vacation spot, stray away from the tourists traps on the islands, and of course, the island resorts.
Volunteer programs in St. Kitts and Nevis will usually provide volunteers with accommodation, daily meals, and a few activities. Occasionally, organizations will offer optional excursions for you to enjoy in your free time, so don’t forget to save up some extra spending money for those!
Accommodation & Visas
Since volunteer opportunities in St. Kitts and Nevis are mainly water-based, there will be a lot of travel and hopping from place to place. Therefore, depending on the program you choose, the program will inform you of the different accommodation options that are available.
You are required to have a visa in order to volunteer in St. Kitts and Nevis for any given amount of time. Applying for a visa will, of course, be a process and take time. Refer to GoAbroad's Embassy Directory for more information and you’ll be swimming with the fishies in no time!
Benefits & Challenges
Hopefully reading this guide has gotten you super pumped to volunteer abroad in St. Kitts and Nevis, so pumped that you’re practically halfway through the visa process and throwing sunblock and a swimsuit into your pack as you read! However, as with any foreign country, you’ll likely come across some roadblocks and challenges that you should be aware of.
The climate in St. Kitts and Nevis has been a little neurotic lately, due in large part to the rise in global sea levels. This results in the occasional hurricane, and periods of extreme dryness followed by heavy rainfall. Take the proper precautions and be sure to pack accordingly in case of a weather emergency.
In addition to packing your rain jacket, don’t forget to pack some bug spray! St. Kitts and Nevis is considered tropical, so bugs of all shapes and sizes are apparent, especially mosquitoes. If you don’t want to spend the entire day slapping yourself and looking like a crazy person, stock up on that bug spray and maybe invest in a mosquito net to protect yourself when you sleep.
As for the pros of traveling to these lovely islands, need I say more? The Caribbean is known for its many white-sand beaches, laidback style, beachy vibes, and sun-kissed turquoise waters. As one of the most ideal places to retire and vacation, St. Kitts and Nevis is the perfect place to acquire a relaxed lifestyle and hide away from the overpopulated and modern cities, while also doing some good for others.
Take a plunge and dive deep into to the waters of St. Kitts and Nevis through volunteering. Not only will you have the opportunity to actually live in a picture-perfect postcard destination, but you’ll also generate a large impact in the still-developing community. Protect the wildlife and marine life that want to continue to call the sweet harmony of sea and sun their home sweet home, and volunteer abroad!