Ecuador

  • Volunteer in Ecuador, working with children in care centres, kindergartens and schools
  • Work with disadvantaged children and those with special needs
  • Volunteer as part of a conservation project in the Amazon rainforest
  • Join a cooperative community, learning about sustainability in the cloud forest
  • Opportunities for volunteers under 18 years old

Volunteer in Ecuador

Our volunteers in Ecuador enjoy a rich diversity of landscapes and experiences. You might be volunteering in the capital Quito, or in the Amazon rainforest, volunteering in Galapagos or the high Andes.  In Ecuador can get involved on a wide range of projects from conservation,  helping on a medical placement, to teaching and working with children with special needs. That means we have volunteering opportunities in Ecuador available for under 18s, mid-career and career break volunteers, through to post-career or retired volunteers. There really is a project here for all ages and abilities.

Ecuador straddles the equator on South America’s west coast. Its rich and varied landscape encompasses Amazon rainforest, snow-capped volcanoes, Andean highlands and the wildlife-rich Galápagos Islands.

Despite being one of the smallest countries in South America, Ecuador is one of the most diverse, with a rich geographical landscape supporting one of the world’s highest rates of biodiversity.

indigenous market

The country is split into four regions; the pacific coastal region that includes the most populous city of Guayaquil, the high Andes that run down the centre, and the Amazonia, where the Amazon jungle still supports a number of indigenous tribes, despite the continuing exploitation of oil reserves. Finally of course there are the Galapagos Islands, one of the great natural wonders of the world.

The capital city, Quito serves as the base for our volunteers in Ecuador. It  is a cosmopolitan city, drawing together the country’s different cultures and indigenous people in a city of over 2 million people. At an elevation of 2,850m you might feel the attitude at first and the weather will offer four seasons in one day, with a delightful and generally tropical climate.

Nestled in the Andean foothills, Quito is a World Heritage site known for its historic Spanish colonial centre, with decorated 16th- and 17th-century palaces and churches, including the ornate Compañía de Jesús cathedral.

It is easy to travel around the country and Quito makes an excellent base from which to explore the many things Ecuador can offer, from the rainforest to the beach, with a range of adventurous activities from rafting to climbing.

The striking beauty of the country and vibrant, friendly culture of the Ecuadorian people mask a reality that is only apparent to those who look below the surface. In Quito there are approximately 24,000 street children, 60% of the population are illiterate, huge areas of the rainforest are felled each day by commercial logging companies and the vast Amazon oil reserves are attracting companies wishing to exploit the pristine forest reserves.

Volunteering abroad in Ecuador provides a wealth of opportunity, both in terms of the projects you can participate in and the recreational activities that exist. It is a destination suitable for gap year students, under 18s and part-qualified or fully qualified professionals alike, and is often used as a great launch pad for a wider tour of South America.

Medical Volunteering

Volunteer opportunities in Ecuador include rare opportunities to get medical volunteer experience in a central hospital, plus a range of other healthcare work in the areas of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and nursing.

Helping Children

For those interested in working with children, there are a number of carefully selected opportunities to volunteer with street children, in orphanages or in more developed kindergartens and schools.

Conservation volunteering

Finally, a range of projects in the Amazon rainforest, Andean cloud forest and the highlands of Galapagos offer volunteers in Ecuador the chance to get involved in hands-on conservation.

  • Monika Outreach Coordinator in Ecuador

    Country
    co-ordinator

    Monika Montes



    Monika is superbly connected throughout Ecuador and has been working with Outreach International since 2003. She lives with her two teenage children in central Quito and plays host to many of our volunteers who work in the city. Monika’s passion for volunteering is reflected in her commitment and level of support that she provides. She speaks fluent English and is a qualified Spanish tutor.

Volunteer gallery

Things to see and do

LANGUAGE

The national language is Spanish, although in some areas the predominant language will be that of the indigenous people, such as Quichua. English is not spoken widely, although businesses and tourist areas will have some English speakers. Volunteers benefit from speaking Spanish and we offer intensive language lessons as part of a volunteer placement.

VISA

Volunteers can use a 90 day tourist visa available on entry. For those staying over 90 days, for volunteering or for personal travel, an extended visa will be required in advance of your travel, available from your local consulate. We can provide supporting paperwork and advice for this.
Note that Galapagos has additional entry permit fees that apply.

CURRENCY

The currency for Ecuador is the US dollar. You may see some ‘local’ versions of US dollar coinage locally, but this is all legal currency. Credit cards can be used in major centres, but be aware that outside of the cities the use of cards may be very limited.

BE AWARE

Quito is at altitude, so be aware of this when acclimatising. Being on the equator take plenty of sunscreen precautions and drink plenty of fluids. The local weather is changeable and can be significant – plan for this, particularly when travelling cross-country or taking part in adventure activities. Pay attention to volcanic activity. Always consult your in-country coordinator before planning adventure activities.