Volunteering in Ecuador

Volunteering in Ecuador

Volunteer in the heart of Ecuador helping young and vulnerable children to thrive. Choose from two exciting and rewarding projects based in the stunning sub-tropical mountain city of Quito.

This is the perfect volunteer programme for first-time volunteers of all backgrounds wanting a more personalised experience with a family in a Spanish speaking country.

It will also be of special interest to learning disability nurses, special needs teachers, physiotherapists, speech therapists, nursery nurses and pre-school teachers wanting to gain some experience or to use existing skills abroad.

(i) Volunteer with children in a busy state-run nursery helping with activities and general daycare for under 5s.

(ii) Volunteer with disabled children and young adults with cerebral palsy whose low-income families cannot afford private treatments. Help with playtimes, planning art and craft activities, meal times, physiotherapy, speech therapy and more.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to get organised for a placement in Ecuador, including visa information and what you can do in your free time.


Ecuador

What’s it like to volunteer in Ecuador?

Offering vibrant cultures amidst breathtaking volcanic landscapes, the programme in Ecuador will give you plenty to see and do. Most first time volunteers start at one of two projects in the country’s capital Quito. At both projects volunteers’ focus is helping with art and craft activities between Monday and Friday. Weekends are free to explore further afield and tours can be booked cheaply after arrival through one of the many tour agencies.

The daycare centre provides a busy daytime shelter, education and nutritional food for local children who may come from low-income households. The staff also work with parents to improve the quality of life for families in the area through health and social care initiatives. 

Volunteers with an interest in special needs education and physiotherapy can help at a day centre for children and young people with cerebral palsy aged 2 to 25 years. Everyone is welcome, even if you have no experience you can achieve a lot and make such a difference working one-to-one in a friendly supportive environment.

There are more projects available throughout Ecuador for volunteers who have got used to being in their Spanish speaking environment. You could add-on a conservation project on the coast or in the jungle. The local team will help you prepare should you decide to move on to a second adventure off the beaten track.


When do I need to choose which project I want to do?

You can choose before arrival or after. Both the daycare centre and special needs projects are available regardless of whether you have previous experience.

How do the two projects compare?

For volunteers with a quieter disposition, or perhaps if this is the first time volunteering abroad, working at the disability centre may be a good start. The centre allows volunteers to work on a one-to-one and small group basis where you will have more time to focus on an activity at your own pace without too much distraction around you.

Some children and young adults attending also have hearing difficulties and a range of other physical and mental disabilities. This means volunteers can also help in other areas from physical play, speech therapy, physiotherapy, at meal times and with personal care.

The daycare nursery is a busier environment, as any nursery will be, with a large number of pre-school aged children moving from one activity to the next throughout the day. Volunteers will be working alongside local staff, both paid and local volunteers, although foreign volunteers are expected to get stuck in and should not expect too much one to one support at busy times.

For example, no one will tell you that the children’s hands need wiping or how to play with the children when outside. Most of the staff are untrained and have learned on the job themselves by muddling through, they would expect the same is expected of foreign volunteers. 

The daycentre can provide an excellent opportunity to practise Spanish, (or learn quickly!). Younger children are generally not the most conversational due to their age, however there will be ample opportunities to speak to the staff whilst the children are engaged.

What do I need to take?

Clothes: Quito has changeable weather between 10 and 20 Celsius, so check the weather forecast before travelling. You will usually need clothes for all seasons. Most volunteers in Quito find jeans, trainers, T-shirt and a fleece/hoodie with anorak practical as a minimum for both volunteering and free time.

For work at the nursery: Art and craft materials suitable for under 5s can be useful. The most usual activities carried out most of the year will be drawing, colouring in and sticking shapes onto paper, so anything which is slightly unusual could be appreciated. One volunteer took a playdough recipe and interesting shape cutters, buying the flour and food colouring in Quito. This was something the children hadn’t seen before.

For work with disabled children: Art and craft materials and ideas for all ages welcomed! Painting, sticking and colouring-in will be the most typical activities offered throughout the year. It will be fantastic to provide more interesting and unusual activities. For example, why limit the children on colouring when a packet of drinking straws and masking tape can be turned into towers, with children working together in pairs or competitively in teams to try to reach the ceiling first? A quick search on You Tube for art and craft ideas and team games will produce thousands of results, many videos created these days by children so no excuses for not feeling confident or artistic enough! 

Volunteers may like to make a donation of a useful aid specifically designed for children and young adults with cerebral palsy although you are in no way obliged to offer any more than your time and craft ideas.   

Could I volunteer at both?

Yes. If in doubt which project to start with, it might be easier to work at the disability daycentre.

Do I need Spanish?

Non-Spanish speaking volunteers may find the disability centre easier to start at. Instead of Spanish, you will often be relying on alternative communication such as gesture, facial expressions, body language, impromptu sign language, smiles and physical touch (hand holding etc).

Spanish may certainly be useful to chat with the staff but with a smaller number of children and young adults than at the day nursery, together with a slower pace to the day, there is more time between activities to practise your Spanish with less immediate pressure. Although as for the day nursery, it is always useful to have a Latin American Spanish pocket dictionary on you.

At the day nursery, although many volunteers have managed without much Spanish other than a few words like ‘es bueno’, and ‘no entiendo’, some Spanish can be useful as most communication will be between you and the staff rather than you and the children. 

Nursery children won’t generally stop their play to have an adult chat with you. Can you remember ever chatting to your nursery teachers when you were three?

Examples may include staff calling you over, ‘veni!’ or asking you to attend to one of the children, ‘podes adyudarla?’  A dictionary in your backpocket will come in very useful.

Some volunteers have found their willing to learn Spanish is enough and by their second week with twenty words and phrases well-used every day, their confidence has increased, they have made friends and a new world has opened up. 

Other volunteer opportunities

Longer stay volunteers over 4 weeks or with a basic grasp of Spanish will have opportunities to add on conservation projects in the jungle and mountains and cultural exchange projects and beach clean up work in coastal villages. There are even projects on the Galapagos islands working with children and in conservation.

Because these additional projects are often only Spanish-speaking, if you do not have a basic grasp of Spanish, lessons can be arranged in Quito beforehand to help prepare you. Allow £5 – £7 per hour for classes depending on frequency and group size, the local coordinating team will advise and arrange for you.

Will I be safe in Quito?

You will be perfectly safe in Quito. All volunteers start their stay, usually up to the first 4 weeks, with a host family. This will help your experience feel more homely, with a ready-made family around you. You will also have the services of the volunteer programme director and his team who will introduce you to your chosen area of work and provide any advice you require during your stay in Ecuador.

The local volunteer support team 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.

It is a good idea to come with a pocket Latin American dictionary and phrasebook. It can be fun in the evenings with your host family to look up words, you may improve your Spanish tenfold.

Do I need a visa?

British passport holders do not require a visa to enter Ecuador for stays up to 90 days. The officer will simply stamp your passport with an arrival date when you arrive. Other nationalities should check with their nearest Ecuadorian Embassy/Consulate.

What happens on arrival?

An airport pick up is provided to all volunteers, this is included in the £40 local payment. Allow £20 for your return transfer at the end of your stay.

If you arrive during the day you will be driven straight to the programme director’s office where you can run through your programme in more detail. Many volunteers make their final choice at this stage, sometimes organising Spanish lessons and finding out how to organise their trips.

From there, volunteers are escorted to their homestay family. You may decide to volunteer straightaway the next day or take a couple of days to hang out with your family or explore or take some basic Spanish lessons. The choice is yours and can be discussed with the programme director.

We consider the Ecuador volunter programme ideal if you…

  • Want to try learning Spanish for the first time or want a total immersion experience.
  • Want to make use of your experience or interest in pre-school nursery education. 
  • Would like an opportunity to combine different projects.
  • Are a learning disabilities nurse, special needs teacher, speech therapist or have some experience or interest in physiotherapy for special needs.

Free time in Ecuador

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 programme director, along with the local tourist office can help you with setting them up.

On the zip wire in Banos.

 

Banos

Price £1 - £51

Visit Banos, Ecuador’s principal location for adventure sports. and gateway to the Amazon jungle. There is so much to do and see in the mountains which hug the town that you will probably need at least 3 days to do the essentials.

Don’t miss the hot mineral baths, £1, paragliding, £40, devil’s waterfall and zipline, £10.


Ecuador 1 La Capilla de hombre

Unusual art gallery above the city.

 

La Capilla de Hombre

Entrance £4

If you want a great view of the city take a look at the art work of a famous Ecuadorian artist Oswaldo Guayasamin.

Take a taxi from the centre for £2.70, entrance £4. Tours are available in English.


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The jungle provides a dramatic contrast to the Andes mountains.

 

Jungle trips from Quito

Allow £130

Take an overnight bus from Quito to Lago Agrio (although it is possible to fly) to meet pre-booked guides and head into the jungle into the Cuyabeno National Park.

Your in-country team will help you to organise.

Allow £130 a day for minimum stays of 3 to 4 days stay at a comfortable jungle lodge.


Cotopaxi volcano, possibly the world’s highest active volcano.

 

Cotopaxi volcano

Price from £30

Make a day trip from Quito with one of many tour companies for approximately £30. This includes transport, guide and usually lunch. It is possible to take the bus and then hire a guide with 4WD there for about £13 per person.

It takes about 4 hours but photo moments may require longer. Best to take your own lunch as the restaurant can be pricey.


Montanita, considered ‘the’ coastal beach to be seen at!

 

Montanita beach

Variable

Montanita is the latest beach hot spot for both Ecuadorians and backpackers. Every weekend the town is flooded with young people and it is on the surfing map.

To get to Montanita, head to Guayaquil, on the coast and take a bus or taxi from there.

Allow a day’s travelling each way from Quito so probably best for longer weekend or at end of stay.


Ecuador 6 Galapagos

If your budget stretches – the Galapagos islands are a must!

 

Galapagos Islands

Price £400

The Galapagos islands are in the top 10 of the most remote islands on the planet, which has led to the flora and fauna developing in a unique way, like no other.

Packages can be expensive starting at £800 from Quito, although it is to make an independent trip, booking day tours after arrival and using public transport for half that. Recommended.


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OV volunteers in the weekend market El Eljido in Quito. Better prices than more famous Otavalo village out of town. Open until 6pm.

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One of the volunteer hostels sometimes used by volunteers.

Will there be other volunteers with me?

Because volunteers arrive on flexible dates and a third of volunteers already speak Spanish so move on quickly 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 are flexible which project you would like to be involved with, one option is to arrive and ask to be placed where other international volunteers are currently working. Original Volunteers is not the only volunteer-sending organisation placing volunteers in the day nursery and disability centre so it is likely you will have volunter company during the spring and summer.

If you would like a busier volunteer project take a look at our Peru project where volunteers are all live and work at the same project.

Meals

Volunteers usually stay with host families who provide meals.

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.

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.

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Independence square in the historical district of Quito. The main hub and meeting point for tourists.

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

 

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 arouse 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 money will I need each week?

£50 – £70 per week will be enough to cover local transport to Quito projects and between-meal snacks.

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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

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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

Accommodation

Most volunteers stay with a local family. This is organised for you and is a great way to have an instant Ecuadorian family! it also means many more opportunities to practise your Spanish.

Getting 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. 

When do I need to pay for my project?

The support contribution of £40 for the local support team in Ecuador and your airport pick up is paid after arrival, together with accommodation. This help keeps thing flexible.

Easy Booking

Complete an easy booking form (the Book Now button) and we will be in touch with you to check available dates and discuss the programme in more detail. Or call us now on 01603 280702 (Option 1).

After we have checked dates, it costs £125 to register which confirms your space for your chosen available dates. It is a good idea to reserve a few available dates with us so you have more flexibility later when buying flights.

Once registered you can go to as many placements as you would like within a year of your arrival in Ecuador (not when you completed your registration) without having to pay the booking fee of £125 again.

And we are very flexible. Just let us know if your plans change and spaces permitting we will put you on another month or project.


What happens after you have booked?

  • As soon as you have booked with the once-only £125 registration fee (this covers one or more projects within a year), you will receive a welcome email confirming your booking and a reminder of how to get organised for you trip.
  • We will Buddy you up with another volunteer going to the Ecuador volunteer programme if we have any one arriving around the same time 

Below is an example timeline for a volunteer travelling in July 2019

  • At anytime : Get flights to Quito airport to arrive ideally before 2pm. Arriving early allows plenty of time for you to meet the programme director before transferring to your homestay family. Bus station pickups are available if you are travelling overland from elsewhere in South America.
  • Join the volunteer community on Facebook to see recent pictures from projects and other interesting stories and updates
  • June: 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 (http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/south-america–antarctica/ecuador/ecuador-malaria-map.aspx)
  • July : Arrange suitable travel insurance – further advice can be found in our travel health section
  • No visa is required before travel for British passport holders for stays up to 90 days. Other passport holders will need to check with their nearest Ecuador Embassy.
  • Arrange suitable travel insurance – further advice is provided in your emailed welcome pack.
  • As soon as you have flights to Quito : Email us your flight to Quito as soon as you have bought one. If you are travelling from elsewhere in Ecuador simply pop us an email confirming with your approximate date of arrival in Quito and we will put you in touch with the local team.

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.

Climate

Ecuador has a varied climate. The average summer temperature in the capital city of Quito is 18 Celsius. The night-time low is 9 Celsius so it will never be too hot or too cold.

Want to know more?

If you have any questions big or small on any aspect of the Ecuador programme or would like to check available dates please contact us at the earliest opportunity as this programme fills quickly with volunteers from around the world.Alternatively, complete an easy enquiry form with your contact details and we’ll be in touch asap!

Placement at a glance

Age 18yrs+ on arrival
Volunteer optionsVaried. Non-Spanish speaking volunteers usually start on community projects in Quito and take Spanish lessons. Longer stay volunteers or with functional Spanish can move on to projects on the coast and in the jungle.
Support Pre-departure helpdesk, in-country coordinating team and 24hr emergency support
Project locationThe capital city of Quito. Additional project locations from conservation to teaching are available in the jungle and on the coast for volunteers with conservational Spanish but most volunteers start their stay volunteering in Quito first.
AccommodationAll volunteers start with a homestay. Meals provided.
Working hours Variable Mon to Fri for Quito projects
Language For some projects volunteers without conversational Spanish will require lessons on arrival (these will be arranged for you)
Minimum stay 2 weeks, longer stays possible if you would like to try out more remote project locations in the jungle and on the coast.
Project operates All year round but spaces can be limited at peak holiday periods. Early reservation recommended.
When to apply At least 3 weeks before intended arrival, longer if arriving between June and September
CostsAfter registering with Original Volunteers (£125) The Ecuador programme is £125 per week including homestay with local family and meals. A local one-off contribution of £40 is payable on arrival which covers pick-up and local organisation of chosen placements
Airport Pick-up ServiceArrive on a flight before 2pm for an automatic airport pick up.

Accommodation info

  • Shop in village Shop in village
  • Bars on-site & in town Bars on-site & in town
  • Chemist in town Chemist in town
  • Bus 5 minutes Bus 5 minutes
  • Taxis 10 minutes Taxis 10 minutes
  • Cash machine in town Cash machine in town
  • Bank in town Bank in town
  • Pay phone in town Pay phone in town
  • Internet access in town Internet access in town
  • Laundry 30 mins + small fee Laundry 30 mins + small fee

Basics, what to take?

  • Adaptor
  • Toiletries

More info

Volunteers start with a local family in organised home stays. This is the best way to start your experience. After you are settled in and feeling more independent, long stay volunteers might like to move on to other projects or source their own accommodation.

Meet the project team

the-team-ecuador04

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 and discuss other available projects which might be available at the time of your visit.

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.

The benefits of your local in-country team

What is a volunteer coordinator?

Every project has a volunteer coordinator. This is the person responsible for organising your volunteering and looking after your welfare needs during your stay and they are all English speaking.

What experience do volunteer coordinators have?

All our coordinators are local people with knowledge and experience gained over many years of supporting volunteers. They have a deep knowledge of their local community, providing an invaluable source of information.

9 in 10 coordinators at our destinations have between 5 – 7 years experience and 7 in 10 of our coordinators have supported more than a thousand volunteers each (current as of November 2017).

If they don’t know where to buy Parmesan cheese when the shops are shut, no one will!

Who are volunteer coordinators?

At some destinations the volunteer coordinator will also be the manager/director of the project you are volunteering if you are based in one location. Examples of manager/coordinator projects will be Kenya-Mombasa/Peru/Cambodia/South Africa/Argentina/Uganda/India.

Some destinations require an independent volunteer coordinator because there are many projects volunteers go to. Independent coordinators will organise a variety of placements at many different projects in the local community throughout your visit. He/she will liaise with all the projects/schools/hospitals on your behalf to organise schedules for your volunteer group. Examples of volunteer programmes are: Morocco/Ghana/Tanzania/Kenya-Masai/Malawi/Mexico-Merida/Ecuador.

Thailand and Nepal offer a mix of both.

Is there only one volunteer coordinator?

Coordinators have other staff supporting them, from drivers to housekeepers, and cooks and assistant coordinators.

Support team size varies between project type and time of year. The typical size of any support team will be 5 – 7. There may also be a long stay volunteer helping out

The Uganda school project had at last count 15 local staff supporting volunteers which ranged from security to water carriers!

What do coordinators do?

Airport pick up

Your in-country coordinator will organise your pick up and make sure you get to the volunteer house as smoothly as possible. If your coordinator does not meet volunteers from the airport, their trusted regular driver will be sent to meet you.

Liaise with local projects

If you are on a mixed volunteer programme (Morocco/Ghana/Tanzania/Kenya-Masai/Malawi/Mexico-Merida/Ecuador) your coordinator will be regularly liaising with the projects you will be going to today, this week and next, organising suitable times and communicating schedules to the volunteer group.

Help organise specific placements

Coordinators will also ensure that volunteers with special preferences eg. medical/building can get involved as fully as possible in their preferred area of work.

Show you around and help you to locate things

Need a Sim card? Want to buy some paintbrushes for an art session tomorrow? Speak to your coordinator – they will advise on where, how to get there and prices.

Provide an orientation on arrival

Your coordinator or their local team will provide an orientation on arrival of what’s where and how to get started. This may take the form of a more formal meeting for all new arrivals by your coordinator or through informal advice for new arrivals from staff, long stay volunteers, handouts, information on the noticeboard as per needs dictate.

This will usually include any important cultural awareness if this may affect your stay. For example bare tummies should be covered in Ghana for example otherwise the children won’t stop giggling!

Help you when things go wrong

We are often asked what happens when things go wrong. Your local team are the experts on getting you the help you need immediately. They have seen it all before (in a nice way) and are well experienced in looking after hundreds of volunteers each year with all the usual niggles from sunburn to upset tummies. Whether you need a doctor in the night for sickness or you want to try out a new project or move bedroom or volunteer house.

If you have remembered to print off your project contact details and leave them with family (these are sent before travel to all volunteers) – your family can also contact the coordinator directly. Or they can call us and we can put them in touch.

But if you need further assistance or advice we are here to help you. Contact us straightaway and we might be able to make the niggly issues go away.

For any country related crises which may occur which would require volunteers to return home, your coordinator and their team will ensure everyone is safely escorted to the airport or Embassy as per the advice provided by each volunteer’s government together with any additional support that may be required.

Help you when you feel unwell

Coordinators are the first port of call if you think you may need medical assistance. They will organise an escort to the local clinic/hospital and make sure you are well treated. They can also contact home and will be happy to speak to parents to explain how you are. If you are volunteering alone, they may also stay with you in the hospital or request that a member of their staff and a volunteer keep you company as it can be quite daunting to be in a foreign hospital, even if it is only an infected mosquito bite!

Most health problems are minor and with a day or two’s bed rest either at the volunteer house or the local hospital and plenty of water, most volunteers are back to their normal selves again.

While on the subject of hospitals – make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance to cover local medical bills and repatriation. In developing countries and where medical care is mostly private, it is not uncommon to be admitted into a private room for something which would be treated as an out-patient back home. Without insurance, hospital fees can be as much as £200 per day.

For doctors appointments when you only need a prescription, your coordinator will help you to locate the nearest doctor/clinic. For these it is often easier to pay on the spot and not claim on the insurance. Expect to pay approx. £5 – £15 per consultation and £5 – £20 for basic medication.

Organise excursions

Your coordinator knows all the best trips and best prices which volunteers over the years have participated on and recommended. If the options are not posted on a notice board ask your coordinator what is available and how to book. Typical prices across all destinations as a very rough guide: £30 – £40 for a day’s activity, £200 – £400 for a trek/budget tour for 3 – 5 days. Most volunteers go together in a group for more fun and get discounts. Additional trip discounts for volunteers are sometimes available.

Return transfer back to the airport

Your coordinator can organise the return trip back to the airport for you, simply ask a few days before your flight. This is not automatically organised as many volunteers will have made friends and may leave the project a day or two earlier to sightsee before flying home, want to go shopping right up to the last minute or forget that the transfer was booked and have already jumped in a taxi!

Placement map

Call us today on 01603 280702

Image gallery

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.

For volunteers arriving with experience in special needs, physiotherapy and learning disabilities, you will be a great asset for the disability centre. Regardless of your level, even if you are still studying, most volunteers will not have any background, your insight and knowledge will be extremely useful.

Where will I be staying?
Your programme director organises homestays for all volunteers which provides a great experience to improve or learn Spanish and experience more that Ecuador has to offer amongst local people.

How much is the homestay?
$25 US Dollars per night which is approximately £125 per week in British Pounds. Homestays include meals.

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 but availability is limited as this programme receives international volunteers from around the world.

Most Quito projects are open Monday to Friday so it can be a good idea to arrive earlier in the week to settle into the usual week’s routine and have time to organise tours for your first weekend.

Can I stay with my friend?
Everyone travelling together is placed with the same host family.

I am worried about travelling on my own – can I buddy up with someone?
It may be possible to buddy you up with other volunteers however this may mean a longer wait before buying flights if the other volunteer needs to save first. For the Ecuador programme we recommend getting a flight at the earliest opportunity as they can go up steeply in price. When you have sent us your flight details we can let new like-minded enquirers know and put you both in touch.

However, as mentioned on the main project page, Ecuador volunteers are spread around the country which can mean it is a quieter programme and at quiet times of year you may be the only volunteer with your family and at your project. If group volunteering is more your thing, contact us to discuss other options and best months to travel.

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. It is incredibly easy to organise tourist tours for your weekends. Allow £60 for a whole day’s organised tour and £300 – £400 for an organised trek.

Do I need to bring anything for the children?
For both projects, art and craft activities and resources will be handy. Sometimes the basics will be available but it is good to arrive with a few personal activities you have chosen and will enjoy yourself. All the basic colouring pens and paper can be bought locally for considerably less than at home but more unusual art supplies may be more expensive.

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 layers! 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 [email protected] to get the answers you need!

Latest reviews

Average Review Rating: from 2 reviews.

Shannon King – Review

Why did you want to volunteer? I wanted to include some volunteering as part of my trip around South America and liked the look of the programme on the website. I wanted something which wasn’t too touristy and a chance to learn Spanish for the rest of my trip.Do you feel you made a difference, how? I’m not su...

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Catherine Scott – Review

For my first trip with OV I chose Ecuador as it fitted in nicely with my travel plans from Ecuador to Peru then Argentina, Brazil and home.It was a country which has aways interested me since I read about a local man who went round the country on motorbike for charity. It seemed to be a small country with everythin...

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