For Good in Latin America

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Volunteer in Latin America

Find the true spirit of community, kindness and adventure along the Caribbean coast.

Volunteer in Latin America with GVI and experience a land endowed with lush forests, pristine beaches, significant archaeological sites, flavourful food and wonderful, welcoming local communities.

Positive<br/>impact

Positive
impact

Build a better world by contributing to vital, locally-led project work that strives for a more just and equitable future.
Ethical<br/>work

Ethical
work

In line with the UN’s SDGs, we are committed to ethical and sustainable engagement with our local partners and communities.
Beautiful<br/>community

Beautiful
community

Learn from the world’s most unique and significant cultures, in breathtaking remote locations.

Latin America volunteer projects

Overview
Location Programs
Why Latin America?
Ethics
FAQs

If you’re looking to volunteer in an Instagrammable destination where you’ll live and work alongside multicultural, warm-hearted and friendly communities – Latin America is calling your name.

Feel the balmy humidity on your skin, inhale  the dewy freshness of the jungle and hear children giggle as you practise your new Spanish words. Attend vibey Latin American festivals, try tasty local corn dishes and sit down to learn from locals as they share their wisdom and peaceful ways of living. By exchanging stories, you’ll soon realise that although we’re diverse, we all have so much in common.

When you join GVI’s award-winning community development programs in Latin America, you’ll empower and support locally-led organisations who run sustainable projects in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring actual social impact.

Whether you’re on a gap year, a volunteering holiday, a career break or doing an internship, you’re guaranteed to have a meaningful experience when you participate in our people-focused programs in Latin America. 

With GVI, you have the unique opportunity to create a lasting impact, while having a great time with fellow global-citizens. You’ll also grow on a personal and professional level, gaining skills and experiences that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Latin America volunteering locations and programs

Cimarrones, Costa Rica 

About the location

Costa Rica is known as the paradise of Central America, and is the most popular tourist destination in the region. The main reason for this? The country’s remarkable variety of endemic wild animals, insects and birds; its national parks with rich biodiversity; and the picture perfect beaches make it an ideal place for your next – or first – volunteer program. 

Costa Rica is also one of the most literate nations on the continent, being the first in the world to make primary education obligatory and free.

When you volunteer in Latin America and decide to join us in Costa Rica, you’ll be staying in our hub in Cimarrones in the Limon province. Because of the region’s complex history, Cimarrones is home to a combination of Caribbean, Chinese, Tico and other idigenous cultures, with a variety of different languages, customs and delicious cuisines to sample.

Spanish is the main language that we speak in our volunteer programs in Costa Rica, so if you’re keen to join us in Cimarrones but you’re not fluent yet, you’ll need to attend a minimum of 10 hours of Spanish lessons that will come at an additional cost.

Program types in Costa Rica

With our Latin America community development programs in Costa Rica, you can choose between two different focus areas – teaching and women’s empowerment.

  • Teaching

Join local education-focused organisations in Cimarrones who run English teaching programs at schools. You can help by supporting children in their after-school programs, or by assisting the teacher during their classes.

If you’re into sports, why not grab your cap and whistle, and help our partners to coach a variety of sports and activities to benefit children’s physical and mental wellness. Take a look at four reasons why sport is important in child development.

  • Women’s Empowerment

Support the GVI team and our partners on the ground to present English classes to female entrepreneurs in the tourism industry – a skill that greatly benefits the success of their small businesses.

If you join one of our long-term volunteer programs in Latin America, you’ll also get the special opportunity to meet and empower local women in Tsiobat – a remote, rural village that still follows traditional, indigenous practices.

Oxapampa, Peru

About the location

Peru is famous for its significant archaeological sites, like Machu Picchu – an ancient Incan city that you can reach by hiking through the dramatic Andes mountains. It’s also home to a large portion of the Amazon – a jungle representing over half of the planet’s remaining rainforests, boasting rare fauna and flora.

Our hub is based in a small town, Oxapampa, sitting in the Selva Alta (high jungle) region, with cloud forests, waterfalls and rivers to explore on your doorstep. Walking the streets, you might be surprised to see German influences still evident in the cuisine, traditions and architecture. You’ll love the fresh products at the market – the local people make the most of the green countryside by growing their own coffee, making cheese, raising grass-fed cattle and harvesting honey.

Program types in Peru
  • Community development

Collaborate with our local partners and communities in the Oxapampa region to identify the most important development needs and learn how to put action plans in place to ensure sustainability.

A big part of successful conservation projects is ensuring that the community is included, informed and empowered in the process. You’ll learn from local development experts, and help them to create awareness about the protection of the cloud forest through education projects and developing resources for the community learning centre.

  • Teaching English

Peru is a popular destination for international travellers, and Oxapampa has great economic growth opportunities because of this. But being able to speak and understand English is a crucial skill for locals who are trying to carve out a successful career or create a booming business.

By joining one of our teaching volunteering programs in Latin America, and specifically in Peru, you will empower children, adults and national park rangers by presenting conversational English classes that could open new doors for them, and positively impact their future.

Top reasons to volunteer in Latin America

  • The people – connect with locals in Latin America who are friendly and passionate. The communities are warm-hearted and welcome volunteers with open arms.
  • The food – get the opportunity to taste authentic and fresh Latin American cuisine prepared by locals. Get to know Latin American food culture – popular Peruvian dishes and medicinal uses.
  • The festivals – joining celebrations and festivals is a highlight of volunteering in Latin America. Get immersed in colourful displays honouring history, culture and traditions. Take a look at eight of the best festivals and celebrations in Peru.
  • The projects – GVI is honoured to partner with renowned locally-led community development initiatives in Latin America, who are integral to all our programs on the ground. You get to join experienced, sustainable initiatives. Take a look at our list of global partnerships.
  • The heritage – learn more about the history of the majestic Inca empire, Aztec and Mayan cultures, and stand in awe of significant archeological sites.
  • The nature-scenery – breathe in the fresh air, take in the sights and sounds of a natural area that has some of the richest biodiversity in the world. This is thanks to the mighty Amazon tropical rainforest which has 390 billion individual trees, offering a thriving environment for countless species.
  • The unique experiences – get rare access to enjoy special experiences hosted by locals, like taking a mindfulness hike in a remote cloud forest, discovering Peruvian dyes or discovering local medicinal plants.

Ensuring ethical volunteering in Latin America

At GVI, we take great responsibility to ensure that all our programs, including those in Latin America, are run ethically and safely to benefit everyone involved. 

We have more than two decades of experience in running community development volunteer programs, and have refined our process greatly over the years to ensure optimum social impact that’s inclusive and sustainable.

We have the following measures in place to ensure that our programs are ethical and safe:

  • As part of our child and vulnerable adult policy, all team members and participants need to undergo a DBS check, get police clearance, or in some cases, a national background check.
  • All our programs and team members strictly honour our ten ethical commitments.
  • GVI supports The ChildSafe Movement – a global organisation protecting children and youth around the world.
  • We do not offer or endorse any volunteer programs anywhere with orphanages. Take a look at our stance on orphanage volunteering.
  • We prioritise the empowerment of local institutions, such as NGOs, schools and communities of individuals through our empowerment principles.
  • GVI has a set of stringent health and safety protocols in place, and is one of the most highly-respected sustainable development organisations in the sector for this reason. Read more about our health and safety processes and systems that ensure that you are supported during every step of your stress-free journey.

What’s it really like volunteering in Latin America?

It’s one thing to read about an exciting new location on your screen, but nothing brings you closer to reality than talking to someone who’s actually been there.

Get in touch with our alumni – you can choose to talk to someone from a specific region, age group and GVI location (like Costa Rica or Peru) to make sure they get where you’re coming from.

Head on over to our testimonial page to read through first-hand reviews from participants who have been on volunteer programs in Latin America, and all over the world.

You can also check out live stories from our hubs on Instagram, or take a look at TikToks by participants to get a feel for what it’s like on base.

Join a community internship and get an exclusive offer

Book by 31 October 2022
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New and Exclusive: GVI Experiences

A locally curated selection of extra activities are now included across our programs.

Learn to make Peruvian food

Learn to make Peruvian food

Discover the natural dyes of Peru

Discover the natural dyes of Peru

Take a mindfulness hike through the forest

Take a mindfulness hike through the forest

Try a tree climbing and canopy adventure

Try a tree climbing and canopy adventure

Explore waterfalls in the rainforest

Explore waterfalls in the rainforest

Hike through a remote cloud forest

Hike through a remote cloud forest

Climb a mountain in the Andes range

Climb a mountain in the Andes range

Camp in untouched cloud forest

Camp in untouched cloud forest