The Conservation Program
For volunteers with a passion for conservation and the desire to travel to beautiful Colombia in South America, this environmental protection and education program ticks all the boxes! The program is based in the historic and beautiful city of Cartagena de Indias, situated on the Caribbean Sea. The city is the country’s tourism hub, filled with amazing history, architecture and a bustling social scene. The aim of this volunteer program is to supply international volunteers to work alongside local adults and school children to clean and rehabilitate waterway ecosystems that run through the city, as well as educate communities that live next to mangrove areas, so that both locals and tourists can continue to enjoy this precious natural reserve. Volunteers for this program must have a passion for the environment and be willing to assist on a variety of jobs. This program is ideal for volunteers who love the natural world and want to protect it for future generations.
Goals of this Project:
- Protect the fragile mangrove ecosystem in Cartagena de Indias
- Clean the waterways to open it up for people to enjoy and as an eco-tourism offering
- Assist in after school education programs that teach children about the local ecosystems and caring for the environment
- Provide mangrove education projects to locals and visitors alike
- Expose volunteers and locals alike to different people and cultures
- Support community trash collection and recycling programs
How You Can Help
Volunteers play an integral role in achieving the goals of this project. Like many conservation programs, funds are greatly lacking, and a willing volunteer labor force is essential to its success. Volunteer’s on this program are involved in cleaning up and rehabilitating part of the mangrove waterway that runs through the heart of the city. The project’s aim is to educate the community about the importance of mangroves and foster ways to increase its value. Seven public schools are involved with the project and volunteers will be working with these selected school children to teach them the importance of the mangrove ecosystem. This is an ideal project for international volunteers with a passion for conservation. Working to protect marine environments is a truly rewarding experience and one a volunteer will never forget. Join us on this wonderful conservation project and experience all that amazing Cartagena de Indias has to offer.
Volunteers will contribute in a number of ways and can expect to undertake the following tasks:
- Assist with the design and implementation of the education program that teaches local children about the importance of the mangrove ecosystem
- Assist training locals about how to make tourism businesses and profit from the mangrove channels
- Plan local community participation and clean up mangrove waterways
Love Volunteers welcomes all those 20 years and over who wish to give their time and energy to help protect the natural environment of Colombia. This 'hands-on' project is best suited to those who are either pursuing a career in conservation/environmental studies, or who simply wish to explore an interest in this field. However, the project is open to all and does not require participants to have specific education, qualifications or experience, as you will be shown everything you need to know by your local project leader. Volunteers on this project will need at least an intermediate understanding of Spanish in order to communicate effectively with local project team members. Importantly though, all applicants must first and foremost have a genuine willingness to help, show drive and initiative, and bring a positive 'can-do' attitude. If this sounds like you, we want you on the team!
Additionally, volunteers applying to join this program will be required to supply to following documentation:
- Emergency contact
Cartagena is a stunningly beautiful port city on Colombia’s wonderful Caribbean coast. Closest to the ocean is the walled Old Town, founded in the 16th century, with elaborate central squares, cobblestoned streets and colorful colonial buildings. With a tropical climate, the city is also a popular beach destination. Reachable by boat are Isla de Barú, with white-sand beaches and palm trees, and the Islas del Rosario, known for their coral reefs. Cartagena is such a perfect place to volunteer and give back to local communities!
Start Dates & Duration
This project is available year-round and programs start every SUNDAY. Volunteers can choose to participate for periods ranging from 4 weeks to 12 weeks. Longer stays can be arranged directly with the local team, but will be subject to availability and individual visa conditions.
Spaces on this project are limited and therefore subject to availability. Early booking is recommended.
For current available start dates please check the calendar on the right.
Arrival & Orientation
Upon your arrival in Cartagena, you will be collected at the airport and delivered to your accommodation. Here you will receive an orientation to help you settle in, find out about your volunteering placement, the local surroundings and meet your fellow volunteers. A representative from the local team will fill you in on local and regional customs, traveling, rules and recommendations, and of course, what to expect from your volunteering experience. They will also provide you with your Welcome Pack, which contains a local cell phone (returnable at the end of your placement) with local number and credit, maps of the local area, supplies, contact information, and a volunteer manual to help you to be more aware and fully prepared. This is a great opportunity to get to know your hosts, meet your fellow volunteers, and ask any last questions you may have.
- Program Arrival Day: SUNDAYS
- Program Departure Day: SATURDAYS
- Arrival/Departure Airport: Rafael Núñez International Airport, Cartagena, Colombia (Code: CTG)
Accommodation & Meals
Despite Cartagena being the most expensive city in Colombia, we offer the highest quality services to volunteers on this program. You will be accommodated with one of our friendly local host families, who are trustworthy and are truly interested in having volunteers be a part of their family. All home-stay families in Cartagena have been fully vetted by our local team and are located within the historic city centre in the neighbourhoods of Bocagrande, Laguito, Manga, and Cabrero. These are some of the best areas of the city, so you can be assured of safety and comfort during your stay.
Our volunteer accommodation in Colombia is second to none, especially in comparison to other volunteer programs! All Love Volunteers in Cartagena will have a private room with air conditioning and WiFi, as well as access to a washing machine and common areas to relax. All host houses have employed staff who are at the house all or a majority of the week to take care of the household, clean and cook.
Host families will provide you with 2 wonderful meals per day (usually breakfast and lunch). The food provided is not made in bulk and not bought from any restaurant, instead it is made within the host family and really takes into account your food preferences and/or dietary restrictions. You will then have the opportunity to use other meal times to experience the amazing culture and cuisine that Cartagena has to offer. Simply get a few of your fellow volunteers together and head out to one of the many local restaurants, bars or cafes – which are just a short walk away - and enjoy all the local and international delicacies on offer! Easy!
For our volunteers, staying in central Cartagena means they gain something that mere travelers miss out on: a ‘live’ authentic glimpse into family life and the character of the local people. By having the opportunity to stay with a host family and by working right alongside the local population volunteers can really experience all that Colombia has to offer!
*In addition to the program fees listed above a Registration Fee is payable to secure your place. The registration fee is USD 299 for those volunteering with Love Volunteers for the first time or USD 149 for any subsequent volunteer placements. The registration fee includes: lifetime LV Alumni Membership, fundraising support & advice, dedicated pre-departure support, certificate of completion (on request), and exclusive access to the LV Trip Planner.
Some things are not included in the program fees listed above, such as flights, visas, vaccinations, travel insurance, additional foods and snacks, spending money, local transport, in-country trips and excursions, return airport transfer (unless mentioned above).
Please note that prices are subject to change without notice. Please ensure you have read the Love Volunteers Terms and Conditions & Refund Policy.
Want to learn Spanish?
Why not use this opportunity to improve your knowledge of Spanish and really get immersed in the local culture during your volunteering placement? We can offer both full time and part time Spanish classes at very competitive rates for you, so simply let us know if you are interested!