Urban Conservation & Recycling

The Recycling Program


Our programs in Colombia have reopened with precautions in place for volunteers and the community. See the Additional Info. section for more information.

We all know the importance of recycling and protecting our environment, but how many of us do something more than simply throwing the right item in recycling can? This project gives volunteers hands-on experience and insight into how waste can be sustainably managed in Colombia; connecting with projects that are developing creative alternatives to deal with the issue of waste.  

What better place to practice responsible waste management than Cartagena, Jewel of the Caribbean and a UNESCO World Heritage listed site?  Volunteers on this rewarding program have the dual satisfaction of soaking up the sites and experiences of this famous city and knowing they are contributing to keeping it beautiful for future generations.

Focused on recycling and waste management this important environmental project offers something for every international volunteer wishing to make a long-term difference. 

Goals of this Project:

  • Help to protect the local environment
  • Reduce waste levels in local communities
  • Raise awareness of recycling practices and closed economies
  • Expose volunteers and locals alike to different people and cultures

How You Can Help

The mission of this program is to protect the amazing environment of Cartagena and allow its people and animals to better thrive. Volunteers will assist in areas such as developing recycling and environmental programs, creating education campaigns, working directly with local community members and within garden and compost projects and generally helping to promote and educate on the importance of waste management. 

This project allows volunteers hands-on experience as well as the opportunity to help behind the scenes with administrative tasks including social media, fundraising and promotional efforts, sourcing new alliances and drafting maps.  

Volunteers will be placed according to their personal interests, timeframe and profile. Once a placement is confirmed an interview will be arranged with the local team to share information on both sides. 

This promises to be a wonderful experience for volunteers to learn about the real Colombia, spend time with its people and contribute to its future.

Volunteers will contribute in a number of ways and can expect to undertake many of the following tasks:

  • Develop recycling programs and workshops
  • Assist with hands-on projects such as light construction work, gardening and sorting recycled materials.
  • Participate in arts and craft classes, creating items from recycled materials
  • Help raise awareness of the project and its importance within Cartagena and beyond, making new alliances and finding ways to grow its impact
  • Interact with locals and share personal experiences and ways of life
  • Assist with administrative tasks



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. The project does require a reasonable level of Spanish proficiency in order to be rewarding.  Beyond this 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. 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
  • Passport
  • Resume

Find out how to obtain a police check here

Project Location

Colombia, Cartagena

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

Minimum 3 weeks

This project is available year-round and programs start every SUNDAY. Volunteers can choose to participate for periods ranging from 3 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

Airport Pickup Included

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

Host Family / Meals Included

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!


From USD 1099
Program fee:
Different currency?
USD 1099

That’s just USD 52 per day* for:

  • Airport pick-up on arrival
  • Orientation & full safety briefing
  • Accommodation (as specified above)
  • Food & Meals (as specified above)
  • 24/7 local support network
  • Project placement & onsite supervision

*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.

Additional Info

COVID-19 requirements:

  • Travelers arriving to Colombia must present negative results from a COVID-19 PCR test administered no more than 96 hours prior to departure.  
  • Mask wearing in public is mandatory and volunteers must wear masks at all times on the projects

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!