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Volunteer in Ecuador

Volunteer in Ecuador

      Ecuador Overview

Our Ecuador programme is ideal for anyone who wants have a more individual experience for those who would like more of a cultural submersion or to learn or improve Spanish away from lots of English-only speaking volunteers. 

Your Volunteering in Ecuador starts on arrival in Quito with an informal chat with the programme coordinators to match up your preferences and assess your Spanish.  Projects can be swapped easily as you grow in confidence and your Spanish improves.

Short stay volunteers and volunteers without Spanish

Most short stay volunteers help out at a day nursery in Quito. Playing on a one to one basis and helping to supervise the children whilst the staff are busy. Spanish lessons can be organised after arrival and fitted around your volunteering.

Spanish speaking volunteers and volunteers who have learnt the basics

For longer stay volunteers, with some basic Spanish the doors are open to more remote projects.

  • Coastal villages
  • Jungle cultural exchanges
  • Remote eco-lodges and conservation work

Placement at a Glance

18yrs+ on arrival
Volunteer options
Varied. Non Spanish speaking volunteers usually start on community projects in Quito and take Spanish lessons.
Longer stay volunteers with basic Spanish can move on to projects on the coast and in the jungle.
Pre-departure helpdesk, in-country coordinating team and 24hr emergency support
Project location
Self catering hostel or home stay with meals
Working hours
Variable Mon to Fri for Quito projects
For some projects volunteers without conversational Spanish will require lessons on arrival (these will be arranged for you)
Minimum stay
4 weeks, longer stays possible.
Project operates
All year round
When to apply
At least 3 weeks before intended arrival, longer if arriving between June and September
£125 per week (weeks 1-2) extra weeks £50. Local one-off contribution of £130 on arrival which covers pick-up and local organisation of chosen placements
Airport Pick-up Service

Images from Ecuador

For an amazing experience call us on 01603 280702

For an amazing experience call us on 01603 280702

For an amazing experience call us on 01603 280702For an amazing experience call us on 01603 280702For an amazing experience call us on 01603 280702For an amazing experience call us on 01603 280702For an amazing experience call us on 01603 280702For an amazing experience call us on 01603 280702

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Ecuador placement map

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Call us today on 01603 280702

Book now on 01603 280702 and contact people travelling to the same project!

Trip info for Ecuador

Country: Ecuador

Book your placement with £145. Then pay £125 per week (weeks 1 and 2) and only £50 per week onwards.


Change lives and volunteer in Ecuador 2015 - 2016

Volunteer in Ecuador

Ecuador Placement Details

Here's everything you need to know about how to get organised for a placement in Ecuador, including visa information and other projects which you can join.

What's it like to volunteer in Ecuador?

Offering vibrant cultures amidst breathtaking volcanic landscapes, Ecuador will give you plenty to see and do. At this friendly day care centre volunteers help with the everyday running of the centre, play work, teaching very basic and English, organising activities and helping out in the kitchen. The centre provides a day time shelter, education and nutritional food for local children who may come from low-income households or those who for various reasons cannot care for their children or might be street sellers. The project staff also try to work with parents and the local community to improve the quality of life of the children and families in the area through health and social care education and other initiatives.

About the Project

Health, safety and support

How safe is Ecuador?

Ecuador is a fabulously friendly country which welcomes the visitor warmly. Visitors to Ecuador generally report no problems.

Will I be safe in Quito?

You will be perfectly safe in Quito. You will be staying in either a hostel which regularly provides all volunteers with accommodation or with a host family as per your preference. You will also have the services of the local volunteer support team who will introduce you to your chosen area of work and provide any advice you require during your stay in Ecuador. They have been supporting many hundreds of volunteers before you so you will be in a great position. The host families used have all been checked and verified by the support team to ensure your comfort and support.

Other opportunities

What other opportunities are there?

Longer stay volunteers over 4 weeks or with a basic grasp of Spanish can add on conservation projects in the jungle and mountains and cultural exchange projects in coastal villages. These can be in remote communities far from the beaten track so if you do not have a basic grasp of Spanish, lessons can be arranged in Quito to help prepare you. Allow £5 - £7 per hour depending on frequency and group size, your support team will advise and arrange for you.


Getting there

Do I need a visa?

British passport holders do not require a visa to enter Ecuador for stays up to 90 days. Other nationalities should check with their nearest Ecuadorian Embassy/Consulate.

What happens on arrival?

Since the new airport being opened 1.5 hours outside the city it is now more practical and affordable for all visitors to board the shuttle bus that heads into the city, popular with all international travellers. Tickets can be bought at the airport or online from approx $8 US Dollars (approx £5). Aeroservicio buses depart every 30 minutes 24 hours a day. Cheaper buses also run to the bus terminal in Quito for $2 US Dollars but will stop regularly at every street corner along the way which will be an experience albeit longer.

At the main bus terminal, one of the support team can meet you personally (we will put you in touch with them before travel) or if you don't want to hang around can give directions to a taxi driver to bring you to the main office and meeting point.

We consider this project ideal if you...

  • Are considering a long stay but are unsure about committing before departure.
  • Want to improve or try learning Spanish for the first time.
  • Want the opportunity to try out different projects to get the most out of your stay.



Are meals provided?

For volunteers staying with a local family in their home, meals are provided by their host family. Volunteers staying in the hostel are provided with breakfast each day and generally will eat out at local cafés in the evenings.

Volunteer in Ecuador

OV volunteers in the weekend market El Eljido in Quito. Recommended by volunteers for friendly vendors and better prices than the more famous Otavalo village market out of town. Open until 6pm.

Free time

Will I have freetime?

Most volunteers only work Monday to Friday and take time out at the weekend to relax and explore. Community life in Ecuador is vibrant and full of life and many festivals are held throughout the year that volunteers can experience. Participation on scenic tours in the area and further afield in the rainforest are also available and your volunteer co-ordinator, along with the local tourist office can help you with setting them up.

Volunteer in Ecuador

Rooftops in Quito with mountains in distance. Walking tours in the mountains close to Quito can be organised for you by the local team. Allow approx £180 for a 2 to 3 day guided trek.

Local facilities

Quito has all the usual facilities of any large modern city that are needed, including banks, doctors, shopping malls, cafes and other amenities.


Is there anything I need to know about staying healthy?

Quito is high up in the mountains so the good news is there is no need for anti-malarials and few diseases that you would encounter in the rainforest. However, there is a doctor close by and a hospital should you need the use of one, the co-ordinators (or your host family) will help you with your transfer there straightaway if you need medical attention.

What to take

Is there anything I need to take with me?

Once you have applied and registered with Original Volunteers, you will receive an Information Pack via email that will have further details on the project in Ecuador; in this email there will be a list of items to take. In the meantime, art and craft materials are always useful at the community nursery in Quito which is where most volunteer start their volunteering. Facepaints and wetwipes (you can purchase these in Quito cheaply) are popular. Quito is at altitude, despite the country being on the Equator where its name comes from, so it is recommended to bring warm layers, good shoes and an anorak so you are ready for all weathers.

Volunteer in Ecuador

Independence square in the historial district of Quito.

How to apply

It is quick and easy to book with Original Volunteers. You can book online or call us now on 01603 627007 and book over the phone.
See related video ‘How to book’.

It costs £145 to book. Once booked you can go to as many placements as you want within a year without having to pay the booking fee of £145 again.

The booking fee instantly books and reserves your place for any month you choose. We are very flexible. Just let us know if your plans change and spaces permitting we will put you on another list.

Volunteer in Ecuador

One of the volunteer hostels used by volunteers.


What money should I take?

Ecuador is unusual that they changed their currency, from the Sucre to the US Dollar in 2000. Bring smaller notes if you can as larger notes can rouse suspicion and be harder to change. Money can be changed easily at the airport on arrival or in Quito. There are ATMs in Quito and a VISA card is the most widely accepted.

How much do I need each week?

If you are staying in the volunteer hostel, £20 - £30 per week will be enough to cover local transport to Quito projects and all meals. Volunteers staying with a host family will usually only need to cover their bus fare to the projects, approx. £5 per week.

Volunteer in Ecuador

OV volunteer with children at rural project outside Quito. Not all projects are in Quito, transfers can be made when you are ready. The local team will help you organise.


Most volunteers stay in a hostel, which is organised for you and is a great way to meet other volunteers. A home stay is an alternative for anyone wanting to experience the Ecuadorian way of life and improve or practice their Spanish. See Accommodation tab.

Getting around

How will I travel around?

Buses and taxis are the most used transport used in getting around Quito and buses to elsewhere in Ecuador. All local transport is easy and affordable. Most volunteers travel together during their free time to explore

Volunteer in Ecuador

OV volunteer says goodbye to host family at Quito bus station at the end of her stay.

Other volunteers

Will there be other volunteers on my project?

Because volunteers arrive on flexible dates and half of all volunteers speak Spanish and travel to projects away from Quito, it is not always possible to guarantee that at the time of your visit, another volunteer's visit will coincide. However, from our experience, being the only volunteer at the community project in Quito can have its advantages. You increase your chances of making more friends with locals you work with, other guests in the hostel and with the support staff. In addition you will probably pick up or improve your Spanish quicker. If you would like to travel with others add yourself to the Travel Buddy List early. We can also put you in touch with other volunteers hopefully before they buy their flights! If you would like a busier project take a look at our Peru project where volunteers are all live and work at the same project.

When to pay for this project

Accommodation for Ecuador is paid before you travel. The latest in which to do this is about two weeks before your departure. In order to pay, all you need do is ring us on 01603 280702 and using your bank details, pay for your accommodation over the phone with one of our advisors.

Volunteer in Ecuador

Children in the market in Quito. Poorer children carry their younger siblings if their parents are busy working in the markets.

What happens after you have booked?

  • As soon as you have booked with the once-only £145 registration fee (this covers one or more projects within a year), you will receive a welcome email confirming your booking and explaining in more detail how to get organised for you trip.
  • We will Buddy you up with another volunteer going to the Ecuador volunteer programme arriving around the same time so you should have a good chance to travel together if you wish to
  • You will also receive a Welcome Pack with some useful information which will include project specific advice on what to take, how to prepare and travel health recommendations

Below is an example timeline for a volunteer travelling in July 2015

  • At anytime : get flights to Quito airport before 4pm any day to allow plenty of time to get the shuttle bus into Quito to meet the team. If you are travelling overland from elsewhere in South America, shortly before you travel we will put you in touch with your volunteer coordinator.
  • Add yourself to the Buddy List to meet other volunteers, travel together or simply find a familiar face when you arrive.
  • Join the volunteer community on Facebook to see recent pictures from projects and other interesting stories and updates
  • April: contact your travel nurse or travel clinic to make appointments for jabs and boosters (for more information on what is typically recommended please refer to the NHS website fitfortravel). Malaria tablets are not required for Quito due to the altitude but if you are travelling into the jungle or to the coast in your free time or after volunteering they will be essential and need to be taken before travel to the affected region (
  • June :Arrange suitable travel insurance – further advice can be found in our travel health section
  • No visa is required before Arrange suitable travel insurance – further advice is provided in your emailed welcome pack.
  • As soon as you have flights to Quito : Upload your flight following the link in the Welcome Pack to organise your pick up.
  • At anytime : pay for your volunteer support contribution - we will send you an invoice by email to pay online – don't worry we will send you a reminder if you forget!
  • We will organise your pick up and transfer from the airport automatically when we receive your flights.

Ecuador at a glance

As its name indicates, Ecuador sits astride the equator in South America. It's relatively tiny size belies its staggering geographical diversity-from the heights of the snow-capped Andean peaks down to the remote Amazon rainforest. The landscape is complemented by the colourful textiles and traditional costume still worn by rainforest Indians and highlanders alike.

Ecuador is compact and easy to get around. While not all roads are paved, they are almost invariably scenic and interesting...

Ecuador, which literally means, Republic of the equator, is a representative democratic republic in South America. From the north it is bordered by Colombia, Peru on the east and south and from the west the Pacific Ocean. The capital city of Ecuador is Quito. Ecuador is a presidential republic and gained its independence in 1830.


Ecuador has a varied climate. The average summer temperature in Quito is 16 Celsius. The night-time low is 9 Celsius.


Accommodation in Ecuador

Country: Ecuador

Book your placement with £145. Then pay £125 per week (weeks 1 and 2) and only £50 per week onwards.



Choose a Month

Accommodation Volunteers can choose where they would like to stay. Most opt for budget hostel accommodation with 2 to 4 in a room.
The accommodation is clean and comfortable. Homestays are also available for approximately £350 per month which includes some meals. It is possible to combine if you are staying for a few weeks to enhance your experience.

 Not supported in the rooms so don't forget:

  • Adaptor
  • Toiletries

Pictures of hostel for illustration purposes only
Actual room design/layout may differ.

Main volunteer house: Facilities near by within walking distance

  • Shop
    In village

  • Bars
    On site and town

  • Chemist
    In town

  • Bus
    5 minutes

  • Taxis
    10 minutes

  • Cash machine
    In town

  • Bank
    In town

  • Phone Booth
    In town

  • Internet
    In town

  • Laundry- 30 mins provided with your stay small fee

Media from Ecuador

Country: Ecuador

Book your placement with £145. Then pay £125 per week (weeks 1 and 2) and only £50 per week onwards.


Images of Ecuador

Many of our returning Ecuador volunteers send us photos of their positive experiences in Americas. Click on the images below to get an idea of what to expect volunteering at this project.

Volunteering in EcuadorVolunteering in EcuadorVolunteering in EcuadorVolunteering in EcuadorVolunteering in EcuadorVolunteering in EcuadorVolunteering in Ecuador

Meet The Team

Country: Ecuador

Book your placement with £145. Then pay £125 per week (weeks 1 and 2) and only £50 per week onwards.


Your English speaking programme manager Francisco has 10 years experience supporting volunteers from all over the world in placements from Quito to the jungle and coast.


Heather assists with your orientation, organisation of placements and any Spanish lessons you would like. She is always helpful and will do anything she can to make your visit as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

The Team - Ecuador

The local team are experienced in supporting volunteers from all over the world on a variety of placements throughout Ecuador. After arrival they will provide you with an orientation, discuss the option to learn Spanish and go through the details of your placement. Most volunteers without Spanish start at the day nursery and the team will guide you on how to get there, what to expect and assist you with any free time activities you would like to book. For home stays, they will introduce you to a family too.

Frequently asked questions - Ecuador

Country: Ecuador

Book your placement with £145. Then pay £125 per week (weeks 1 and 2) and only £50 per week onwards.


Ecuador Specific Questions

Is experience needed?
No experience or language skills are needed to work in day nursery care and community centres in Quito. Other projects further afield do require some Spanish ability. The local team will help you to organise Spanish lessons if you need some.

Where will I be staying?
A hostel is organised for your first night stay which is payable on a as-you-stay basis after arrival. The local team can organise a transfer to a home-stay if you would like to stay with a Spanish speaking family to improve your language and/or experience more that Ecuador has to offer amongst local people.

How much is the hostel or a homestay?
Hostels vary depending on room type (single, twin or dormitory style) and start at £7 per night. Homestays will include meals and again, depending on room type (private or sharing with a family member) between £250 and £350 a month.

Are visas required for Ecuador?
Visas are not required for UK/European passport holders on visits for less than 90 days.

What are the start dates?
There are no start dates for Ecuador, volunteers can arrive any day. Most Quito projects where volunteers start, are open Monday to Friday so it can be a good idea to arrive earlier in the week to settle in, do some volunteering before a weekend break to explore the city and relax.

Can I stay with my friend?
Everyone travelling together is placed in the same accommodation and same project.

I am worried about travelling on my own - can I buddy up with someone?
Use our Buddy List or pop us a message on the main Facebook Group and we'll add you to our weekly round up of travel buddies.

Will I need any jabs?
Malaria tablets are not generally advised unless you are planning on a trip in your free time to the jungle. We recommend checking with your local GP/travel health clinic and visiting the fitfortravel NHS website.

Will I have any free time?
Weekends are completely free. The local team and hostel will help you to organise day trips into the mountains and national parks. Allow approx £40 for a whole day's organised tour and £300 - £400 for an organised trek.

Do I need to bring anything for the children?
There is no need to bring anything specifically for the nursery work in Quito. Although some colouring books and more unusual art and craft activities for one session for a small group of older children might be a nice interesting gift. All the basics (colours, paper) can be bought locally for considerably less than at home.

Should I bring anything for me?
Bring clothing for all seasons, although Ecuador is on the equator, the capital Quito is high up in the mountains so bring a couple of jumpers, jeans and anorak together with some T-shirts for warm weather.

How can I keep in touch with home?
Signal is good so bring an unlocked phone from home and buy a sim card on arrival. Internet cafes through the city.

Contact us for specific questions

We are always happy to answer any questions you may have. We pride ourselves in the vast knowledge of our projects and are always willing to share. Give us a call for a quick chat on 01603 280702 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to get the answers you need!

Book Now

Country: Ecuador

Book your placement with £145. Then pay £125 per week (weeks 1 and 2) and only £50 per week onwards.


Booking your Place

There are two ways of booking your place at our project in Ecuador:

Phone - Call us on 01603 280702 to reserve your place on the project.

Online - Apply online with a Debit or Credit Card using PayPal following the instructions below.

Choose a Month

For more information on booking a place, read our guide to how Original Volunteers' applications work.

If you'd like to know a bit more about Original Volunteers before you book, you can read about us and learn more on our FAQ page.

And if you have any questions you can't find the answer to, just get in touch on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Other Volunteer Options

Interested in Americas, but not sure about Ecuador? Why not check out another volunteer placement in Argentina, Honduras, Mexico Merida, or Peru?

Planning Your Trip

Once you've booked your volunteering experience in Ecuador you'll want plan the trip, and Original Volunteers has lots of helpful advice for first-time travellers.

To find someone to travel with on your trip, browse through our Travel Buddy List.

To learn more about raising money for your travels, check out our Fundraising advice.

To discover the the qualifications you could gain from your volunteering experience, visit our Training and Certificates page.