Volunteer Programs in Central America

The following is a list of free or low fee volunteer programs in Central America. If you know of a volunteer work abroad program that is free or has a low fee, please share it in the comments and it will be added to the list.

Costa Rica

El Puente – The Bridge – The Bridge is located in Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean coast. They operate microloan, school, and food programs.
Gaia Vista – This organization wants to create the first sustainable eco-resort and community dedicated to environmental and sustainable research, collaboration and education. When it comes to volunteers, they are involved in tasks at the organic farm, sustainability center & Gaia Rainforest Reserve.
La Tortuga Feliz – This organization is dedicated to the protection of sea turtles. They aim to improve the locals’ income so that they don’t need hunt turtle eggs. If you are between 18 and 65 years and are energetic, they want to hear from you.
Monte Verde Butterfly Garden – This volunteering opportunity is for anyone that is interested in insects and arachnids. You will spend 2 months learning about them and sharing what you learn with others.

El Salvador

Homiies Unidos – This organization is working on gang prevention and to rid violence in El Salvador through education and the empowerment of youth and children.

Guatemala

Ak’ Tenamit – The organization’s name means “New Village’ in the Q’eqchi’ language. It is a development project in Eastern Guatemala. The projects include a school, a health care clinic, and a community and gender development program.
Buenas Cosas – This organization serves 11 communities and over 3,000 families in Guatemala. One of their main goals is to convert tourists into eco-tourists with the help of, and to benefit locals. Buenas Cosas means “Good things” that’s why their projects are called: Good Water, Digital 4 Good, Build Good, Good doctors, Good teachers, among others.
Safe Passage – Camino Seguro is a non-profit organization that works in Guatemala City to bring hope, education, and opportunity to the children and families living in extreme poverty around the city’s garbage dump.
Seeds of Knowledge School – Ixtatan Foundation – This organization works to enhance socio-economic development by creating greater access to education and community development programs. They offer opportunities in the United States or in Guatemala on long or short term programs.

Honduras

Cofradia Bilingual School – CBS provides bilingual education to local children, and they depend on volunteers for the classes in English. Most of their volunteers have some sort of teaching experience but it is not necessary.
Walk Beside me for Knowledge – They are dedicated to break the circle of poverty by providing children with tools that allow personal growth. They need volunteers so their children can practice and learn more English. As a volunteer, you are welcome to stay for as little as 2 weeks or up to a year.

Nicaragua

Atelier Favela – This humanitarian organization supports the poverty-stricken children of Ticuantepe. They believe that their goals can be achieved through art of all kinds. The Cultural Centre ‘Atelier Favela’ is ran by volunteers.
La Esperanza – The role of most volunteers is to go to rural schools and assist teachers to provide a better quality education. Other volunteering opportunities include building projects communication, promotion and fundraising.
SONATI – SONATI offers environmental education & nature conservation programs. They are always looking for volunteers to help them with their objectives.
Waves of Hope – Their main goals are to transform local communities into educated, healthy and prosperous. They are more than glad to receive groups of 10 to 20 volunteers from different schools, universities and organizations.

Throughout Central America

VolunteerSouthAmerica.net – This website has an extensive listing of volunteer opportunities in south and central America. It is a great resource.
God’s Child – This organization works in Guatemala and El Salvador as part of their Central American project. They focus on assistance for women, education, health, human rights, nutrition, social work, clothing distribution, emergency relief, field clinics, solar energy and homeless shelters.
Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative – ICAPO promotes recovery and protection of hawksbill sea turtles. Volunteers can choose to work between their Nicaragua and El Salvador projects. To work with them you have to be older than 18 years and be able to live in extremely basic conditions.
Quetzal Trekkers – Their motto is “social change… one step at a time”. This organization works in Guatemala and Nicaragua and sees that tourism dollars directly benefit those that need it most. They provide tourist orientated guided treks through these countries to be able to finance their projects. Volunteers of these organization work as trekking guides.

For more volunteer programs around the world – click here!

Comments

  1. 12TreeGuate says:

    Hi, could you please add One, Two… Tree! to this list? We are a non-profit organization focused on education in Central America, based in Diriamba, Nicaragua and Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala. We collaborate with local public schools and charge no fees for volunteering with us. You can find more information on our website: http://www.onetwo-tree.com/.

  2. Luna Dabinovic says:

    Hi, I really think you should add La Choza Chula, a social enterprise based in El Paredón on the Pacific coast of Guatemala. They work to improve the quality of education, create employment opportunities and promote positive integration between tourists and local communities. They achieve this through sustainable education, enterprise and environmental projects.
    I have been volunteering with them for 5 months now and I absolutely love it, they are currently looking for a sales and marketing volunteer/intern and I cannot recommend this project more.

    http://lachozachula.org

    Luna

  3. You should add the organization ASTOP ( Asociación Salvemos las Tortugas de Parismina). It’s a small organization that focuses in saving sea turtles and their prices are very reasonable. It’s suitable for long and short term volunteering!

  4. CRVolunteerAssoc says:

    We have some opportunities available in the volunteer teaching sector and are currently seeking applicants.
    You can apply via: https://costarica.craigslist.org/vol/6132846650.html?lang=en&cc=us

  5. Eleanor Moses says:

    Hello,
    I am interested in any opportunities I could take part in doing some volunteer work. I am currently in Panama and can travel anywhere in Central America. I have an extremely wide range of interests and am open to most experiences so I need some help being guided in a suitable direction…

    My background is in Social Work with experience working in a hospital with a range of people. I would love to continue working in areas surrounding women and children, homelessness, cultural development, disability, mental health etc.
    I am also very open to working in conservation & sustainable living, permaculture, animal welfare and wellness.

    Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you.

    Eleanor
    ellemoses11@gmail.com

  6. I am a structural engineer (designs buildings) and my wife is a teacher. Do you know of any charities where we could volunteer (for a long time) where I could help build whilst my wife teaches?

    Thanks

    • Hello Will,
      My name is Dana and I am the volunteer co-ordinator at Cofradia Bilingual School in Honduras. We are currently building a new school and are also recruiting volunteer teachers for the upcoming school year (August 2017 – June 2018). We have not previously had volunteers working on the new school but if this is something you would be interested in doing while your wife teachers, it is a possibility I would be very excited to discuss with you. If you would like, please send us an email at volunteer@cofradiaschool.com!
      Thanks!
      Dana

  7. I am a semi-retired Special Education Director. I have great experience with children on The Autistic Spectrum. I want to share my skills with folks who will benefit. I do not speak Spanish. Although there are other ways to communicate. Any ideas. I heard about a couple in Mexico that work with Special Education Children and have cabinas for volunteers. Thanks.

    • Hi Rhonda,

      We have a school in Honduras that works with children who are HIV exposed. Quite a few of them have learning disabilities and struggle to get through the grades. We are always looking for specialized volunteers who can come and work with the kiddos individually. The school year runs from mid-Feb. to mid-Nov. You can look us up on FB – Charmont Bilingual Academy.

      Please let me know if this would be something you’re interested in.

      Emily

  8. Dear darren,i will be happy if you can visit our site to be able to tell if you will like our placement in ghana.www.humblehub.org.
    contact me back meanwhile i will call you for discussion.

  9. Hi, we are Paraiso Carlisa Wildlife Rescue Center located in Puriscal, Costa Rica.
    If you´re looking for a volunteer program, check this out:
    http://www.centrorescateparaisocarlisa.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/CentroRescateParaisoCarlisa

    Thanks,

    Gabriel.

  10. Hi All!

    Family planning and women’s rights are subjects I feel very strongly about. With the effects of over-population, unwanted pregnancies and this Zika virus to top I feel it is one of the most important issues to address worldwide!

    It seems there is not much available, perhaps due to being seen as controversial by many religious people and organisations.
    Marie Stopes International provides an example of the work I would like to be involved in but they are not requiring volunteers.

    Can anyone advise or point me in the right direction to any organisation with programmes anywhere in South/Central America that may be looking for volunteers.

    Thanks :-)

    • There are a couple of organizations in El Salvador that work on things like women’s rights and reproduction rights. I don’t know their names but I would suggest contacting Centro Arte Para la Paz in Suchitoto and ask if they can tell you the name of any organizations. i think they would know.

  11. Emma Laliberte says:

    Hi!
    I am looking for a 2 month internship related to my schooling in marine environmental. I want to work in conservation, marine protected areas, and sustainable living(renewable energy). Off the top of their head, does anyone have a site or place in mind they would recommend? I have spent the past few hours clicking on links around the world, and have found a few handful. I am looking for a free internship, and I really am open to going anywhere in the world.

    Thanks!
    Emma

  12. Hello,

    this organization http://www.united-vision.org/ sends volunteers to teach English in Mexico in exchange for food and accommodation, the program is completely free, knowledge of English and Spanish required + possibility to spend abroad (min. 4 months).

    Anna

  13. Steve And Elizabeth says:

    Bonjour! We are a family of 4 (2 Kids age 10 And 12), And we are looking for a 2-3 week Volunteers opportunity. We are planning to take a 3 months sabbatical in Central America starting in Costa Rica. We are bilingual French English and well travelled. My spouse is a physicist and I am a geography teacher, but the type of project we are looking for, has to be interesting for the kids. Some suggestion of project ideas would be appreciated!

    Thank you

  14. Paul Rancourt says:

    Hello everyone,
    I am writing to see about getting some more information about organisations and different groups looking for volunteers, then hopefully establishing some lines of communication before we head down to CR.

    In brief, we are a semi un-retired couple in our 50’s who will be heading down to central america this fall for about 6 months. We would like to look at a few places with an eye on moving down to the tropics.

    Brenda is a retired Veterinarian who owned a specialized feline practice for 15 years. While no longer certified, she does have a wealth of knowledge and information.

    Paul is a retired sales engineer, with experience with power generation,renewable energy, pumps, other infrastructure type equipment. While not certified either, has a wealth of technical experience.

    We are both very interested in permaculture, and sustainable living. We also have basic construction/home improvement skills we can offer as well.

    Are you looking for some volunteers to assist you? Whats the best way to communicate?

    I look forward to your response so we can learn more.
    thank you
    Brenda & Paul
    mailto:prancourt2@gmail.com

  15. I have been several times to the turtle conservation project La Tortuga Feliz in Costa Rica. And every time i take the beautiful boatride to the project i have a big smile on my face! What a great community and what a great help La Tortuga Feliz is giving to the local people and the turtles! A life changing experience, take a look at http://www.latortugafeliz.com and join the team.

  16. verliza gajeles says:

    hi.. i’m interested to be a volunteer of a marine life program but i have no idea on how to apply..

  17. Hey all, we run a youth program here in El Salvador teaching kids to surf to occupy their time. We look for volunteers to work with the kids and expand our programming. Please get in touch if you might be interested!

    • I am very interested and speak the language, I would love more information

    • Matthew hogg says:

      Hi Sarah, I’m a 28 year old environmental geologist living in London at the moment. I’ve decided to take a year long sabbatical in South/Central America from the end of January next year and and the opportunity to volunteer at your surf camp sounds great. I speak basic Spanish and I’m definitely looking to improve it when I’m over there! Could you let me know a bit more about your project please?
      Cheers, Matt

  18. Hi,
    I’m Kamiel, founder and maintainer of http://www.kindmankind.net, a free and open platform for independent grassroots volunteers. It would be great to co-operate with true travellers! Everything you find on “my” site is free to copy, adapt and republish. I’m doing this for the love of it!

    Cheers, and keep up the good work

    Kamiel

  19. Hi there!

    My name is Stephanie and I´m currently volunteering for Cultura Quilombo in Managua, Nicaragua. Cultura Quilombo is cultural centre that also organises non-profit social projects to raise awareness for local social issues such as violence or gender inequality. They also organise free arts and music classes to encourage cultural development.

    But to keep this going they need volunteers all year round, These volunteers can be volunteers with a specific creative skill (such as painting, dancing, gardening, yoga- anything basically!) who want to either build their own project around these skills (e.g. using painting workshops to address local issues such as violence) or want to give classes to either adults or children. We also need volunteers to help with daily governance of the organisation. This can include anything, from helping with promotion and decoration to working behind the bar, creating website content, supporting ongoing projects, fundraising, anything!

    Volunteer work is free, and they can arrange cheap, central and most importantly safe accommodation for you in Managua :) please email either me (stephaniecljackson@gmail.com) or the organisation at cultura.quilombo@gmail.com, or give us a ring at +50585971596 or +50522222375.

    Hope to hear from you soon, and to see our advert added to the list above!
    Best,
    Stephanie

  20. Mallory says:

    Hola! My name is Mallory, and I am the director of Volunteer Trip. We offer super-low cost volunteering opportunities in Latin America. We connect volunteers to service projects, a host family, and Spanish lessons in the countries of Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and Peru. Please see our volunteer placements available at . If you are interested, check out our organization’s site volunteertrip.org or email me directly at hola@volunteertrip.org!

  21. Hi. My name is Rebecca and I am currently living on Ometepe Island in Nicaragua. I do some work with the Ometepe Bilingual School here and wanted to share their recruitment posting for Volunteer English Teachers for their elementary school program. I teach English to older kids and adults in the village of Merida and also work with OBS on their volunteer recruitment and orientation. For more information, check out their profile on Omprakash.org. They are actively seeking more volunteers for the 2014 school year. Thanks.

    OMETEPE BILINGUAL SCHOOL – ENGLISH TEACHER – VOLUNTEER POSITION

    Want to work with kids in the shadow of a volcano on the largest island-in-a-lake in the world? Want to create opportunities for rural Nicaraguans in an increasingly global world? Come to Ometepe Bilingual School! Here the contributions of volunteers are vital in delivering a bilingual curriculum to our students.

    Volunteers work approximately 30 hours per week in some combination of the following classes:

    OBS Kindergarten, OBS First Grade, English Enrichment for Kids, High School After School English

    As a volunteer, responsibilities will include assisting the classroom teacher in implementing activities and supporting student learning; leading the class in English language activities; and planning activities (for execution in Spanish or English) at the direction of the classroom teacher.

    Depending on the needs of the school, other opportunities may exist. These include coming as a guest to adult English classes being taught by long-term volunteers; working on school-related administrative projects; assisting with non-school related projects (related to the Hacienda, recycling efforts, conservation education, fundraising, etc.).

    Whatever your work assignment, you can look forward to a fun, rewarding experience at Ometepe Bilingual School. Furthermore, Ometepe is a beautiful place and you will find many great opportunities for recreation in your free time.

    • Mina Krenz says:

      Hello!
      Your volunteer program sounds like just the right fit for me. I’m a third-year Biology major at University of San Diego and was studying abroad in Argentina the past 5 months. After being back in the United States, I just want to get back to Latin America and hear spanish all around me once again. I’m interested in volunteering in your program for 2-3 months this summer (June 1-August 15). Please let me know if this is possible and I can send you a resume.
      Sincerely,
      Mina Krenz

      • Hi Mina,

        Thanks for your interest. Please search through the links provided and contact the organizations directly. They will be able to answer your questions and hopefully you can find the opportunity you are looking for.

    • Mahamadou Mamouda Ahmed says:

      I’m ready to work as an English teacher

  22. Hello all True Travelers!

    My name is Paulina and I’m working for a young foundation located in San Isidro Del General, Costa Rica. We would love to join your volunteering network!

    Foundation ALTENER is a small NGO working to support and promote renewable energy solutions here in Costa Rica. In practice we support community based renewable energy initiatives (e.g. solar panels installation) and of course we educate students, amateurs and professionals on alternative energy.

    The functioning of our foundation depends on volunteers, so we value them a lot. We don’t charge any fees, and we provide accommodation and a compensation for food. ALTENER is looking for independent, engaged and creative volunteers who can develop and execute our project. As a volunteer you will have a chance to receive a lot of responsibility, but also space for your ideas and initiative.

    If you had any questions, I would be happy to answer them!
    Thank you!

    • Rose Jones says:

      I’m really interested in your volunteering program, I currently live in Costa Rica and would love to hear more about this project.

      Thank you,

      Rose.

  23. Hello! I would love for our organization to be added to your database. UPAVIM or Unidas Para Vivir Mejor (translated, United to Live Better) is a women’s cooperative located in a former squatter settlement in Zone 12 of Guatemala City. The women support themselves and UPAVIM through the production and sale of fair trade handicrafts. UPAVIM works to improve the quality of life for the women and children of La Esperanza.With the profits from its fair trade craft sales UPAVIM supports an alternative elementary school, an early childhood learning center, free tutoring program, a medical clinic, a soy milk factory and a bakery. We accept volunteers in the tutoring program and English immersion program. Let me know if I can assist you in any way or answer any questions your may have. Thanks.

  24. Hello, Please add the Honduras Child Alliance! We are located in El Porvenir, Atlantida, Honduras and operate literacy, English and creative programs for impoverished children in our community. We also do light building projects and welcome individual volunteers and work-groups. Thank you!

  25. Darren Turnbull says:

    Hi my name is Darren,

    I live in the North East of UK and i am looking for the opportunity to make a difference.

    I would love to take this opportunity to apply for voluntary work. I have no preference of where i would like to work as no matter where i am posted i will give my all.

    Can you please get in touch as i am ready as of when you need help and i am eager to work hard.

    I am excited and looking forward to speaking to you.

    Darren Turnbull
    +447837658045

  26. I have been looking for companies offering volunteer programs in the Americas for some time. Thanks a bunch Truetravellers.

  27. Louis faichney says:

    Hi,
    My name is Louis, I am 24 and would love nothing more than to go and start volunteer work in Central America for as long as possible. I have travelled to Belize and Mexico before and loved it. I need help with how to start, and getting the ball rolling….

    Any help would be appreciated

    Louis

Speak Your Mind