Volunteer Travel Opportunities in South America

These programs allow travelers to combine their travel with volunteering. All programs listed in this directory involve working in some capacity with, and/or for the benefit of, indigenous people. Some of the programs are run by indigenous people. Please contact us if you know of a non-political, secular organization that should be added to this list.

Please note that this is a volunteer directory listing for information only. We are not a volunteer placement agency and we cannot help you apply for any of these programs. Also, we cannot answer questions about any of these programs. We make no representation about the experience you may have if you decide to volunteer for any of the organizations listed. We are not affiliated with any of these organizations and we do not represent them.

We recommend that you research the current situation in any region/country before traveling there and check for any visa requirements as well as travel advisories issued by your government. In particular, the current coronavirus/covid-19 pandemic may restrict your entry into some countries. Please do not contact any organizations listed on this page stating that The Peoples of the World Foundation placed you or recommended you; you will be misrepresenting us as well as yourself.

Some of these opportunities may require or recommend some ability in the appropriate language.

  • RICANCIE (Report broken link) "Experience indigenous lifestyle in the Ecuadorean Amazon and help the families... This is a great learning experience for high school and university students, religious groups, community service clubs and individuals. All age groups are welcome."
  • Sachahuasi Amazon Community (Report broken link) "The Sachahuasi are an Amazonian community that consists of 42 kind-hearted and hospitable members... By securing this alternative source of income they can prevent the possibility of being forced to rely on logging and the illegal commercial selling of jungle meat like Tapirs and Monkeys like other communities."
  • Shiwiar Amazon Tribe (Report broken link) "This very special volunteer work program is located on the territory of a Shiwiar Amazon Tribe in an extremely remote region of Ecuador's Amazon that is only accessible by small chartered flight... You will be welcomed into the Shiwiar Tribe and be expected to help out with every day tasks in the community that may include organic farming, construction, help in developing the ecotourism program and teaching English and maybe even hunting and gathering in the forest."
  • Volunteer in Ecuador's Andes Mountains (Report broken link) "In the northern Andes of Ecuador, a cooperative of Kichwa women in the town of La Esperanza create modern fashion designs that are true to their indigenous heritage... The Nizag are an indigenous community of Cañari People who live in the Andes above the the famous Nariz del Diablo mountain in Ecuador's Central Andes."
  • Calapucha Cerda (Report broken link) "The Kichwa [Quichua] family has around 300 hectares (about 120 acres) of land, of which 60% is primary Amazon rain forest... Volunteers ... will do different activities such as creating and maintaining trails, construction of typical houses, helping in the traditional and local agriculture, planting ornamentals and medicinal plants, helping in the kitchen, and installing and maintaining a recycling system for the organic and inorganic waste."
  • Indigenous Community Program (Report broken link) "Live and work among the people of a multiethnic indigenous community [which] obtains their income from fishing, agriculture, hunting, and horticulture, combined with handicrafts, communitarian tourism, conservation and reforestation... Volunteers live with a local host family in a shared room, all meals are provided by the host family. Proficiency is Spanish is required."
  • Sinchi Aqua Centre (Report broken link) "This is a visitor center and lodge created by a group of Kichwa women in the Amazon province of Napo as a means of improving the living standards of their families. Volunteers can help with daily activities related to farming, maintaining the fish ponds and visitor center, interpreting for English-speaking visitors, and teaching English to the members of the group."
  • Selvavida (Report broken link) "As with many indigenous tribes in Ecuador, the Shuar ethnic group have been marginalized and are struggling to maintain their traditional culture. The principle aim of the project is to foment sustainable community development through education and environmental conservation... As well as working on projects, volunteers will visit surrounding communities, learn about, shamanism and survival techniques including fishing and how to trap wild animals and how to make Shuar artesania."
  • Fundación Runa (Report broken link) "From trekking into the depths of the jungle to harvest guayusa leaves, to working alongside our technicians and engineers to develop and understand new agroforestry methods of growing guayusa, to participating in cultural exchange events and guayusa tea ceremonies, volunteers will experience first hand the breadth of Runa's organizations and the indigenous Kichwa [Quichua] culture."
  • Peru Incas Explorer (Report broken link) "We believe that the local communities can learn many things with the help of visitors, and our hands are not long enough. Our main objective is be the connection between the travellers who want to help and the poor communities who need help. Almost all of our volunteer programs in Peru are free."
  • Awamaki (Report broken link) "Volunteering with Awamaki is a valuable experience for anyone interested in a career in international development or social enterprise. We rely on volunteers' fresh ideas and skill set to constantly improve and expand our programs, and in return, we give our volunteers a high level of autonomy and responsibility over their individual projects."
  • Peru Community Development Quests (Report broken link) "A special project in Cai Cay, an indigenous village outside of Cusco, is also available for volunteers who stay in Cusco for four weeks or more."
  • Childcare Volunteering Program (Report broken link) "This volunteer program takes you to teach [indigenous] children in the 'pueblos jovenes' (or 'young towns'), located in the stunning southwestern region around Arequipa, Peru."
  • Experiment Peru (Report broken link) "Experiment Peru offers the opportunity of a full intercultural experience through living with a host family. This coexistence offers exchange in communication, food, customs and mutual respect."
  • Ayni (Report broken link) "Ayni's work takes place in Alto de los Mores, a small isolated rural village of Indigenous Peruvians. Our organization works together with this community to alleviate some of the major barriers of living in extreme poverty. Our role is multifaceted and continues to grow within the community from women's development projects, to small micro-credit schemes, as well as encouraging and supporting education and knowledge of human rights throughout the community."
  • Keep the Tradition Alive (Report broken link) "ProWorld's community partner strives to both alleviate the extreme poverty in which indigenous Cusco-area communities live and promote the continuation of their centuries-old traditions. Together with the communities themselves, the organization develops methods of successfully maintaining their culture while allowing it to successfully adapt to modern reality."
  • UBELONG (Report broken link) "Inspiring disadvantaged children in an after-school program, supporting girls that have been sexually abused and teaching indigenous students in a resource-poor school are just some of the opportunities open to you in Cusco."

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