Voluntary work in Ecuador
Information & guidance about volunteering projects in Ecuador
Ecuador straddles the equator on South America’s west coast, and despite being the smallest Andean nation, Ecuador is the world’s most diverse country with a landscape encompassing the Amazon jungle, Andean highlands and the famous Galápagos Islands. An impressive array of wonders is squeezed into this compact country, meaning voluntary work in Ecuador is abundant and varied. A mixture of cultural splendor, stunning scenery and inspiring wildlife-watching opportunities make Ecuador a fantastic place to volunteer, and you’ll return home with a wealth of stories and probably some new perspectives. Adventure enthusiasts can trek the Andes, or those waiting at the bottom of the mountain can sip locally-grown Arabica coffee, spend hours monkey-watching in sweltering rain-forest or wander the impressive architecture in colonial cities.
Where to volunteer in Ecuador
Being the most diverse country in the world really is a bragging point for Ecuador; the untamed wild jungle in the east becomes thrilling volcanic peaks of the Andes before diving into the coastal regions, and then access the ocean to the famous Galapagos Islands. Voluntary work in Ecuador may seem overwhelming due to the diversity in opportunities and location, but volunteers can use this to their advantage to have a unique experience unlike any other!
The most famous, and therefore most place place for voluntary work in Ecuador is the Galapagos Islands, thanks to the incredible wildlife that can be found in Darwin’s favorite destination. See the Galapagos giant tortoise up close (some of whom are 170 years old!), saying ‘aw’ at a cute little penguin or be amazed by the fur seals. With over 25,000 inhabitants, the wildlife on this island is bound to amaze as you gain an insight into both the island’s animals and an immersive experience into the Ecuador’s vibrant Latin American culture.
If you head further east looking for voluntary work in Ecuador, you will come across Tena; a fantastic destination for jungle-lovers wanting to volunteer in the Amazon. Tena has a friendly population, a gorgeous setting surrounded by jungle-covered hills, and a backpacker vibe, making it a great spot for volunteers to experience the contrasting extremes of strolls through the rainforest to spot sloths and monkeys with blood-pumping adventures including white-water rafting and kayaking.
Quito is the capital city and a great destination for voluntary work in Ecuador, sitting high in the Andean foothills at an altitude of 2,850m, One of the most impressively preserved colonial cities in South America, Quito offers warm and relaxed, traditional Ecuadorian Sierra culture mixed with a vibrant culinary and nightlife scene. Those volunteering in Ecuador’s largest city can visit Mitad del Mundo (The Middle of the World), and have a leg in both hemispheres at once!
Volunteering projects in Ecuador
With the biggest draw arguably being the Galapagos Islands, it comes as no surprise that the largest field of voluntary work in Ecuador is conservation, where volunteers will be surrounded by seas turtles, giant tortoises and a host of other incredible animals. Much of the voluntary work will focus on educating and working with local communities, as you have the unrivalled experience of being in close proximity to the breathtaking nature and wildlife whilst enjoying the immersive, cultural opportunities of Ecuador. Animal welfare placements are also a very popular form of voluntary work in Ecuador, as volunteers work with organizations seeking to protect and rehome illegally-trafficked animals.
Voluntary work in Ecuador also offers the opportunity to work with children, whether teaching dance or music or leading after-school clubs, you’ll get to interact with the younger generations and make friends with the little locals! Teaching English in Ecuador is also a very popular type of volunteer work, and the only requirement is that you are a native English speaker!
Community development projects are another way of undertaking voluntary work in Ecuador; with 14 distinct indigenous populations in Ecuador, there is a range of truly unique placements. Volunteers may focus on preservation of traditional cultures or improving healthcare and education facilities, and is a great opportunity for an eye opening cultural exchange.