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Live, Work & Travel in Latin America


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Gap Year & Voluntary Work in Latin America Continued...

Unpaid Positions & Adventure

Iko Poran - A Brazilian international volunteer organization. Iko Poran means "Alright" in the Mbya dialect of the South American Guarani Indians.

IMAC Spanish Language School in Mexico - Spanish in Mexico. On their website you will find a description of daily activities to make learning Spanish a unique experience. Also included with your Spanish programme fee is a free volunteer placement.

Inka Magik - Volunteers sought for a teaching programme in schools across Peru. Also sought are representatives to promote their projects in their university or work place.

Internships Colombia - Provides internships and jobs for international students and recent graduates in Medellín and Bogotá.

Inti Rumakumaq Wasin - Requires volunteers to help take care of street kids in Cusco. The only requirements are to love the children and a wish to support them in some way to improve their lives.

Inti Wara Yassi - This organisation runs a wildlife refuge in Bolivia where hundreds of volunteers from all over the world work each year. As they are building a second refuge they could use more volunteers.

Intro Hostels - If you are fluent in English and know some Spanish, you have the opportunity to belong to the Intro Hostels team in Cusco. They can offer bed and breakfast in exchange for four days’ work in the bar per week. The management also have another hostel in Lima and plans to open two more in Iquitos and Tacna.

Karikuy Peru - Karikuy is looking for volunteers who wish to spend some time in Peru doing field work and exploring the country to gather information for Project Perupedia. The volunteer programme includes free room and board and an affordable $22 a week (at time of writing) meal plan. You will be expected to work Monday through Friday on the project and other Karikuy related material. On the weekends you are free to travel throughout Peru. In addition volunteers will receive discounted rates on Karikuy tours and services.

Kasa Guane Hostel - Volunteers can choose to help out in Bucaramanga, Colombia, at the hostel itself or support one of the two local projects that help children from less privileged backgrounds.

Kiya Survivors - Voluntary work available in Peru.

Kusi Warma - Need volunteers to aid their work with malnourished children and their parents in Lima, Peru. Volunteers help with feeding, bathing and playing with the children. No fees required and a free lunch is offered in return. Site is in Spanish.

La Brisa Loca - Located in an 80 year old, new republican mansion that has been restored to recover its genuine colonial, Caribbean feel, this backpackers in Santa Marta, Colombia, can accommodate up to 85 people. Run by two Californian brothers who settled in their favourite country after travelling around South America, we have seen them asking for bar staff via their FB page. We can't say if this is a paid or an unpaid position but La Brisa Loca seems the sort of place open to working travellers. If not, they also help support Fundacion Mariposas Amarillas, a local grassroots organisation that meet every weekday at 1pm on the upstairs floor of the hostel.

La Casa Verde - Volunteers live in their own en suite private room when not working eight hours a day for five days a week in Banos, Ecuador (though mainly you will just need to be around the guest house - there is plenty of downtime to surf the internet, play the guitar, read a book etc – actual work will likely be no more than five hours a day). Breakfast and Spanish lessons are also provided. Duties revolve around guest management; meeting and greeting, explaining about the surrounds and what activities are on offer, organising taxis and activities.

La Casona - Travellers are invited to come and experience Peruvian surf hostel La Casona by working for a maximum of five hours per day in exchange for accommodation and a meal. The work involves either working in the bar or restaurant or helping to repair and decorate the house. Creative and innovative ideas are always welcomed too.

La Iguana Perdida - A Lake Atitlan hostel staffed mosty by English speaking volunteers from abroad.

The Lake View Hostel - Welcomes chilled but responsible backpackers in Colombia, including couples, to work and stay for free. Along with free dorm accommodation, benefits include free mountain bikes and kayaks and discounts on Spanish classes. Duties include a maximum of three hours cleaning, then just hanging out - perhaps fishing or reading - to be on hand in case someone shows up or guests have questions. The hostel also supports the rural community of La Meseta, located in the mountains above Guatape. Fees are reasonable (around £15 one time admin fee and £10 per day local homestay accommodation with three meals included a day) to volunteer and the work can involve teaching English, environmental work and helping handicapped children.

La Mansion La Nomada - Has in the past advertised for someone to go to Rosario and work for accommodation and extra payment. Previous hostel or tourism work experience preferred.

La Montana Spanish School - A Spanish language school in Bariloche, Patagonia. They run several volunteer projects in different fields.

La Rocca - 200 metres from Porto de Galinhas, one of best beaches in Brazil, La Rocca is reputed to have a work exchange programme.

Las Sonrisas de los Niños - A small humanitarian organisation operating a youth center for impoverished children near the village of El Cacao outside of La Ceiba, Honduras. They are happy to accept walk in volunteers to work for a morning, an afternoon, a day, a week, or many months, to play games and sports, help with crafts, read stories, or simply sitting and holding the kids.

Latin Link - LL's STEP programme involves short term voluntary community work.

Learn Spanish in Peru - Untrustworthy thieves.

Life Argentina - With no paid staff, Life Argentina have relied on over 900 volunteers since 2001 to carry out all its activities and projects with disadvantaged children. Participation is flexible and free.

Lima Limón Candelaria Hostel - This Bogota hostel was spotted asking for volunteers for February on their Facebook page. Perhaps they will want them at other times of the year too? Work three night shifts during the week and a dorm bed and breakfast is yours.

LimeTime - Brazilian law doesn’t allow LimeTime to pay foreigners without a working visa but they do exchange board and meals to those working in the bar or reception.

The Llama Brothers - A bed and breakfast may be on the table to those able to support the marketing efforts of this hotel in Lima’s Miraflores district. In the past we have also seen them looking for cleaners and receptionists on the same terms.

Loki Hostels - There are five Loki Hostels in South America, in Salta, Lima, Cusco, Mancora and La Paz. Spend a month working four shifts in the bar of one of them and there is some free accommodation, meals and discounts in it for you.

Long Way Home - It is Guatemalan kids that you will be helping if you chose to join Long Way Home as a volunteer. LWH seek many talents from fixing engines or laying concrete to playing games and horsing around. $75 covers the costs of your accommodation and supports the project. Sometimes paid employment is available.

The Lost and Found - All volunteers first stay in the cloud forest at the Lost and Found as regular paying guests for a couple of nights before being given a work exchange customer service, helping out in the organic garden or with art projects. Minimum four week commitment. Volunteers are also welcome to develop profit sharing ventures.

Luna International Hostel - A Nicaraguan non-profit social enterprise. They list a range of volunteer positions including helping out on their mobile library bus, developing their organic garden project, and working in the office.

Maravilla Caribbean Veg Bed & Breakfast - Vegetarian food and a room with a shared  kitchen, living room and bath is provided to work exchange staff at this Puerto Rican B&B. Additional work over the four hours per day will be financially compensated and there may be the chance to earn from side jobs and tips. Among the requirements for applicants is that they should be animal loving, non-smoking drivers that can stay from six to 12 weeks up to six months.

Mayan Families - Volunteers are welcomed to lend a hand in in Panajachel, Guatemala. Preference is given to volunteers with at least an intermediate level of Spanish and a minimum commitment of two weeks. Volunteers should be self funding but there doesn’t appear to be a fee to get involved.

Marco Polo Inn - On the Argentine side of Iguazu falls, Marco Polo is always looking for fun people to become volunteers. All they require is good language skills (mainly English), smiles and initiative.

Mente Argentina - Customizable study abroad programmes in Buenos Aires, including learning Spanish, internships, volunteer programmes, and short artistic programmes such culinary, photography, sports clinic and DJing.

Miami Mike’s - Occasionally needs volunteers in Panama to take care of various duties.

Millhouse Hostels - There are two hostels in this small group in Buenos Aires and another in Cusco. Download the provided application if you are prepared to work 32 hours per week in a variety of tasks, such as front desk duty, housekeeping, bar tending, hostel promotion and administrative work.

New Era Galapogas Foundation - A unique and rewarding chance to live and work in the Galapogas Islands is offered to volunteers willing to become involved with the projects of NEGF. Skills sought in volunteers include foreign languages, an artistic or environmental background and experience of working with children. Volunteers typically live with local host families. Three month commitment required.

Nexos Voluntarios - A Peruvian non profit organization that creates bonds between different social actors within society, with whom it develops projects with the objective of promoting a Responsible Human Development. Nexos Voluntarios receives the support from dedicated volunteers who come from all parts of the world and who are interested in learning, as well as at the same time, contributing towards the development process in the communities where they work. A large volunteer contribution is required.

Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign - A political and human rights organisation, the NSC send two work brigades of paying volunteers to Nicaragua each year.

Oasis Hostel - Billing itself as the only real backpackers' hostel in Puerto Vallarta for young souls with a budget looking for a good time, Oasis Hostel has been known to employ volunteer workers, aged 23 to 32 and with pertinent work experience, for a minimum of eight weeks. Breakfast, dorm bed, internet, laundry, and drinks are provided in exchange for six hours work a day, with the possibility of pocket money after eight weeks.

Open House - Will let you stay for free in Salvador, Brazil, should you collaborate in an art or social project between May 15 and December 15.

Osa Conservation - A sea turtle conservation programme in Costa Rica.

Osa Mariposa - We have seen this small bungalow beach hostel on Mexico’s Pacific coast requesting temporary help in the kitchen for four to five hours per day. In exchange they will offer you bed and food, plus a share of tips. Some kitchen/cooking experience is required, along with basic Spanish and English, for what is described as a “typically mellow job.” They may be able to use a cleaner for three hours in the morning.

Pachamama Children - Founded in 2005 by young Cusquenos and Cuscquenas to promote sustainable development initiatives in the rural communities around Cusco. Volunteers have contributed by helping out at the farms, making adobe bricks, constructing schools, or teaching at the schools.

Palace Hostel - 15 minutes from the beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Palace provides free room and board for three to five shifts per week. They look for fun and outgoing people who know how to entertain guests but can still show up for work and take care of business.

Para la Tierra - A not for profit biological station in Paraguay staffed by professionals and assisted by a constant stream of ecologically minded volunteers. All volunteers need is enthusiasm, a sense of adventure and a willingness to get your hands dirty. Internships also available.

Pariwana Hostel - Hangout for free, behind the bar or reception, in exchange for investing little elbow grease into Pariwana, who are constantly looking for enthusiastic and outgoing individuals in Cusco. They have another hostel in Lima.

Patagonia Hostel - Outgoing, positive minded and proactive people who are dynamic and know about the world are needed to help around the Patagonia Hostel in Chile. The job entails doing pretty much everything from cleaning the rooms and laundry to running the front desk. They offer accommodation and free board. People who enjoy cooking and can speak English and Spanish - some German or French would be useful too - are most in demand.

Peru Language Center - Learn Spanish in Cusco. Includes volunteer and paid work programme, medical Spanish and a Quechua course.

Peru Luz Esperanza - Founded with the aim to fight the poverty and ignorance which exist in the rural places around Huancayo. Volunteers can join in a number of projects including a bakery, carpentry and cattle raising.

Proyecto Karumbe - Volunteers required in Uruguay to help with capturing and caring for sick Green turtles, research, cooking and cleaning. A small daily fee is required for food and accommodation.

Purple House International Backpackers Hostel - In exchange for a free dorm bed and rice and beans, volunteers are required to work eight eight hours a day washing the sheets, sweeping and mopping the floors, meeting and greeting guests, answering phones, and any of the many other jobs that need doing in a busy hostel. Volunteers must be able to speak an intermediate level of Spanish.

Quetzal Trekkers - Nature lovers, with first aid experience and basic Spanish, will enjoy the challenge of working as a volunteer guide leading trekkers around the volcanoes near Leon, Nicaragua. Duties include recruiting customers, making promotional materials and cleaning the equipment. Volunteers pay a small refundable deposit returned after a two month commitment.

Rainforest Biodiversity Group - Volunteers are required from October to end of December to help prepare six newly established nature reserves to be a part of the new Costa Rican Bird Route. Accommodation provided at all sites and food at half of them. Spanish and construction skills necessary. Volunteers also required in the USA.

Reggae Hostel - Polite, friendly and energetic people can help with entertainment and administration in Kingston, Jamaica.

Reto Juvenil Internacional - RJI is a Costa Rican based organisation working to carry out volunteer programmes where community development is complemented by personal growth, group work and community service.

Roatan Backpackers’ Hostel - Help out for two hours a day and there’s a dorm bed on a Caribbean Island in it for you. Mostly the role involves helping the owner’s sons with their English homework with a little cleaning on the side. Other locally based volunteer projects are also listed on their website.

Sacred Suenos - With the aim of regenerating a small piece of mountainside in Ecuador into a self sufficient farm community, volunteers participate in all aspects of the community. Volunteers contribute $30 per week towards the food kitty and a donkey service is available to take your luggage up the mountain.

San Blas Spanish School - Learn to speak Spanish in Cusco, Peru. Students can stay with a family and participate in a volunteer project for free. Placements of one week are possible as is voluntary work in Cay Cai, a small colonial village near Cusco.

San Juan International Hostel - May be approachable for a work exchange in Puerto Rico.

Save the Wild Chinchillas - Cute big eared rodent like things are in need of your help in Chile. Save the Wild Chinchillas is trying to prevent these endangered animals becoming extinct through a mixture of education and promoting awareness, protecting the land and creating sustainable preserves.

Sea Turtle Survival League / Caribbean Conservation - Turtle conservation.

Seeds of Hope - The mission of Seeds of Hope is to support all the children who live in extreme poverty in Peru and to provide vocational training for those without economic means. They welcome local and international volunteers from all backgrounds to work in their projects and have opportunities working with the children or behind the scenes. They need teachers, social workers, psychologists, project coordinations, medically trained people, language professionals, marketing and fundraising professionals. International volunteers are asked for a monthly fee to cover food and accommodation.

Sharing Dreams - A non profit organization founded in Huancayo to back up the region's poor populations, especially children, by means of alternative projects, to achieve an integral sustainable development with the help of volunteers.

Shiripuno Research Center - The most remote biological station in the Amazon Basin of Ecuador, whose mission is to establish studies on natural history and tropical ecology. The volunteer programme involves four weeks in the field with a whole series of activities and work assignments.