Ecuador’s stunning diversity of landscapes and cultures belies its relatively small size. From dense jungles to Andean highlands to the renowned biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador contains tremendous natural resources, and its culture reflects a combination of indigenous, African, and European influences.
Despite these assets, many Ecuadorians still live in poverty, and the country struggles to protect its natural resources. World Endeavors volunteers in Ecuador support efforts by nonprofit and government organizations to strengthen education, social programs, and environmental efforts.
Quito is the capital of Ecuador and the country’s second largest city. Nestled amongst the snowy peaks of the Andes and situated between Pichincha Volcano and the Machángara River Canyon, the city flaunts beautiful panoramas and breathtaking views in every direction. Ecuadorian history comes alive in Quito; the city is a wonderful mix of colonial and modern architecture, and its historical center has been distinguished as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Culture is another aspect Quito isn’t lacking. The city hosts a variety of museums, festivals, art galleries, shops, restaurants, and cafés for its lively and engaged population. Visitors to Quito are fortunate to have a variety of outdoor opportunities at their fingertips—from hiking in the Andes surrounding the city, to paragliding from a volcanic peak, to going on archeological and birdwatching tours, the area has something for everyone, ranging from the cautious to the most adventuresome explorer.
Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older, though exceptions to this age requirement may be made on a case-by-case basis. Successful volunteers are hardworking, flexible, and open to truly immersing themselves in the culture. Keep in mind that all countries have different visa restrictions for varying types of passports.
"Every time I travel and see another area of this magnificent world that we live in, I carry with me an even greater sense of connectedness. We are all one people. We have different customs, beliefs and opinions but together that is what makes us great. We are not all separate lives, living in separate countries…we are all contributing and living in harmony with one another. We must all learn to work with each other and begin to see the beauty in all of us."
- Gaye, Volunteer in Ecuador
World Endeavors volunteers in Ecuador live and work in the capital city of Quito, within or nearby the communities they assist.
World Endeavors volunteers in Ecuador can contribute to the following projects:
Volunteers work with children who have lost their parents or whose parents are unable to care for them, as well as at-risk and homeless children and teens. Minimum duration of 4 weeks
World Endeavors Community Development volunteers in Ecuador work to strengthen their host community by addressing some of its most pressing needs and sharing their skills and compassion with the people they meet.
This project is located in the Andes and has a minimum duration of 3 weeks.
Volunteers may help teachers prepare and present lessons, tutor students to supplement class work, and provide one-on-one homework assistance.
World Endeavors Eldercare volunteers help in care facilities and other locations including senior centers, spending time with residents and assisting staff.
Environmental Conservation volunteers can choose from the following projects in Ecuador:
Galapagos Environmental Program
As the population of the Galapagos Islands increases, the variety of products being imported to the islands to sustain the inhabitants has brought with it invasive insects and plants that threaten the local flora and fauna of this delicate natural environment. Join local and international participants working to eradicate aggressive introduced plants - like Mora, Guayaba and Superroza - help with reforestation of native and endemic plants, and support the La Soledad community in recovering the natural habitat of San Cristobal Island. Other tasks may include working in the nursery sowing endemic, native plants, fruits and vegetables, working on community support projects like painting schools and cleaning beaches, supporting in the educational center by teaching English, computer skills or arranging sports activities, and feeding turtles.
Participants live in a shared house 5 minutes from the port.
There is an additional fee for this project - please contact World Endeavors for details.
Cloud Forest Nature Reserve
Join the team at a nature reserve in the cloud forest working to combat deforestation, restore degraded areas and carry out sustainable activities to enable a better way of life for the inhabitants of the cloud forest. Living on the reserve are 287 species of birds, 40 species of mammals, and 63 genera of butterflies. The work that we do at the reserve is extremely important in terms of preserving the biodiversity of the cloud forest and protecting local watersheds. Our work focuses on protecting existing forests through reforestation, monitoring human activity and its impact, and conducting environmental education. The reserve strives to become a model of integrated farming where agricultural practices complement our primary objective of preserving the natural forest. Combining conservation and agriculture enables us to sustain the reserve and promote economic activities that are environmentally friendly and beneficial for the local people.
Activities can include:
- Organic Agriculture: maintaining vegetable gardens and banana fields, sugarcane, coffee and citruses, producing organic fertilizers from animal and crop byproducts, composting, and producing organic pesticides
- Forestry Program and Sustainable Wood Production: seed collection, nursery maintenance, trail maintenance, tree care, reforestation
- Alternative Animal Care: help care for and feed the livestock raised on the reserve, build coops, collect eggs, plant crops, manage pasture rotations, and contruct fences
- Bio-Food Production: make various products by using elements from the reserve such as homemade cheese, butter, yogurt, chocolate, coffee, pasta, bread, pizza, dried fruits, jam, ice cream and vinegar
- Eco-Construction: construction with bamboo and wood, creating and maintaining informative signs throughout the reserve, recycling materials, assisting with upkeep of previous projects
- Educational Program: maintain trails and the medicinal garden, lead and host visitors and prepare educational materials
Located in the Western range of the Andes at an altitude of 1,100-2,040 meters above sea level, the 814 hectare nature reserve is home to white-fronted capuchin monkeys, tayras, agoutis, pacas, peccaries, Andean cock-of-the-rocks, wattled guans, pale-mandibled aracaris, crimson-rumped toucanets, lineated woodpeckers, dark-backed wood quails, purple-bibbed whitetips, empress brilliants, violet-tailed sylphs, toucan barbets, plate-billed mountain toucans, Choco toucans, and black-chinned mountain tanagers.
Participants live in a shared house with 3 meals per day provided.
There is an additional fee for this project - please contact World Endeavors for details.
World Endeavors volunteers in health education help to increase public knowledge about diseases and their prevention.
World Endeavors Healthcare volunteers in Ecuador help at health clinics serving the local community. Opportunities to gain experience in Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy are also available.
Volunteers help teachers in the classroom and work with students one-on-one, doing individual tutoring and helping students with class assignments.
Organic Farm and Eco-lodge
Learn all about agriculture and rural life through hands-on experience working directly with local Ecuadorian farmers. Join the team and lend a hand with planting, transplanting, weeding, harvesting, pest control and prevention, composting, permaculture, recycling organic waste, and animal care - all while learning about and applying organic farming principles. You may also do some carpentry and other construction, translating, community outreach, infrastructure development and maintenance of paths and gardens. Participants also play an important role in the farm's community development efforts through the environmental school.
The farm is nestled in a small valley on the coast of Ecuador. It's named one of the 13 best examples of responsible tourism on Earth, and one of National Georgraphic Travel's eight favorite places to stay in Ecuador. It is an internationally recognized example of sustainable land management through permaculture design and agroecology. The 9.5 hectare property is an oasis of food forests, extensive vegetable gardens, pastures, agroforestry areas, and is a model of alternative energy and rotational animal raising areas with pigs, guinea pigs, chickens, ducks, dogs, cats, composting worms, cows and horses.
Participants with experience in the following areas are always welcome and encouraged to apply: permaculture and farming techniques, teaching English, teaching arts and crafts, computer and technical know-how, building and carpentry, beekeeping, photography, social media and communications, hospitality and ecotourism, PR, fundraising.
A minimum duration of 4 weeks is recommended. There is an additional fee for this project - please contact World Endeavors for details.
Volunteers often assist with English classes, helping Ecuadorian children learn language skills that will be a valuable asset later on in their lives.
Animal Rescue Center in the Amazon
Join our wildlife protection and rehabiliation program, working with exotic animals in the Amazon jungle! We rescue and rehabilitate wild animals that have lived in unsuitable environments or that have been victims of animal trafficking or mistreatment. The most commonly trafficked animals are primates, birds and reptiles. The project works in close collaboration with the Environmental Police (UPMA) and the Ministry of Environment. Working alongside local Ecuadorian conservationists, participants help with the daily feedings of the animals, collecting food in their natural habitat, preparing the food, cleaning the cages, constructing or repairing cages, and working hand-in-hand with the veterinarian in charge of the center. Participants also help clear the hiking trails and walking paths around the center.
This project is 5 hours by bus from Quito. Participants live on-site in a shared house with 3 meals per day provided. Bedrooms and bathrooms are shared with other participants of the same gender.
*Please note there is an additional fee for this project. Contact World Endeavors for details.
Volunteers stay with host families, where they share space, build relationships, practice language, and learn about traditional culture, food, home rituals, and customs. Host families are welcoming and friendly, usually middle class, and are hand-picked by the World Endeavors team to ensure that placements provide a safe and positive environment for the volunteer. Housing accommodations are modest, safe, and clean, but may differ from Western norms in terms of space or amenities.
The World Endeavors Volunteer in Ecuador program is flexible in duration and can be tailored to last between 2 to 12 weeks. If you have the time, we recommend a stay of at least 4 weeks. Admissions are rolling, and World Endeavors volunteers can choose when they would like to start their program. Due to holidays, traditional vacation schedules, and seasonal work availability, there might be better times than others to volunteer at a specific location or in a specific project.
When you are ready to start planning your volunteer trip to Ecuador, contact us. Our experienced advisors will help you sort through any timing considerations unique to your destination or your volunteer project.
Please wait until after you are accepted into the program and you have received the confirmed arrival and departure dates before you book your flight.
*Please note there is an additional fee for Environmental and Wildlife Conservation projects. Contact World Endeavors for details.
|Program Name||First Week||Each Additional Week|
|Volunteer In Ecuador||$1,790||$300|
- Program Advisor: dedicated, experienced, and accessible for one-on-one guidance
- Local Onsite Coordinator with 24/7 availability; pre and post arrival orientation
- Visa guidance and support
- Comprehensive travel medical insurance
- Travel Protection with 24/7 Emergency Travel Assistance
- Re-entry Support
- Airport reception
- Home stay accommodations
- 2 meals per day provided
OTHER BUDGET CONSIDERATIONS
- Round-trip airfare to Ecuador
- Additional meals
- Visa expenses
- Optional trips and excursions
- Daily transportation
- Personal expenses
Congratulations on your decision to embark on a life-changing experience abroad! We look forward to working with you to make your trip a memorable, meaningful one. We can accommodate applications received 4 weeks prior to the intended start date up to a year in advance. If your intended start date is less than 4 weeks away, contact World Endeavors for more information.