Volunteering in South America

Volunteer Programs in South America

Volunteering in South America with Love Volunteers is piece of mind that you are participating on responsible volunteer programs in South American countries focused on both the volunteer experience and the long-term benefits for local communities. 

With affordable volunteer programs in South America’s most popular destinations of Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina we provide the unique opportunity of safe and meaningful travel in this diverse and culture rich region. Available year round from as little as one week our short-term volunteer programs in South America offer the best possible experience. Explore the many volunteering programs in South America with Love Volunteers and let the adventure begin. 

Countries

5 countries

Argentina really does have something for everyone. From the sub-tropical north to the sub Antarctic tip on the South American continent. With a long eastern Atlantic sea border to lush Pampas plains, the deserts of Patagonia and the glaciers and waterfalls of the deep south, Argentina is a stunning destination!

Argentina can roughly be divided into four main geographical areas: the spectacular Andes mountain range, the dry North along with the more verdant Mesopotamia, the lush plains of the Pampas and the windswept wastes of Patagonia. Mount Aconcagua soars almost 7,000m (23,000ft), and waterfalls at Iguazú stretch out in a massive semi-circle, thundering 70m (230ft) to the bed of the Paraná River.

Argentina’s lowest point is Laguna del Carbón in Santa Cruz Province, sitting 105m (344ft) below sea level. In the southwest is the Argentine Lake District with a string of beautiful glacial lakes framed by snow-covered mountains. At Argentina’s southernmost tip, and so the southernmost tip of the whole of South America, is Tierra del Fuego (Spanish for Land of Fire), a stunning archipelago split between Argentina and neighbouring Chile.

The city of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, lies on the southern shore of the Rio de la Plata River in east-central Argentina. This largest city in Argentina covers 203 km² (78.5 sq mi) of land area while the metropolitan of Buenos Aires is spread over 4,758 km² (1,837.1 sq mi) area. Buenos Aires is a popular tourist destination, with more than ten million visitors annually.

The capital city is divided into 48 barrios, or neighbourhoods. Most are working-class barrios, while others resemble the rich enclaves of Los Angeles and New York City. Buenos Aires developed outward from the Plaza de Mayo, the historic square that is surrounded by the presidential palace known as the Casa Rosada (pink house), the colonial Town Hall (cabildo), and the Metropolitan Cathedral.

As the city grew, it moved away from the working waterfront. The Casa Rosada looked toward the Pampas, not the Río de la Plata. By the 1990s, city officials shifted gears and developed a plan to revive the waterfront. Millions of dollars were pumped into the new water-front neighbourhood of Puerto Madero. A marina was built, and expensive restaurants and shops opened in the old brick warehouses.

Buenos Aires city experiences four seasons, but the climate of the city remains mild throughout the year. The average annual temperature of the city is 18º C (64.4º F) and that makes the city pleasant in all seasons. Temperature during the winter season (from July to September) ranges between 3ºC to 8ºC. The coldest month is July. Most of the heaviest rainfall occurs during the winter, average rainfall per year is around 1,147 mm (45 inches). Summers from December to March are hot and humid and the temperature ranges around 28ºC. Autumn (from March to June) and spring (from September to December) are the other seasons.

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Love Volunteers’ along with our partners in Brazil need assistance with a variety of programs in Rio de Janiero and surrounding areas. Our programs aim to help disadvantaged Brazilians escape poverty and learn valuable life skills that will equip them with the knowledge and resources to provide for their families and learn skills otherwise unavailable to them. Volunteers in Brazil can choose from a range of amazing programs including childcare, teaching, construction, sports and the arts. Not only will your efforts help change the lives of locals in need, volunteers will also be able to experience the famously warm Brazilian culture first-hand.

Brazil is the mammoth of South America! 

Dominating nearly 50% of the South America continent and the fifth largest country in the world in terms of both land area and population (over 200 million people call Brazil home) it’s easy to understand how this incredible country encompasses such a diverse range of natural and man-made wonders.

Comprised of 26 autonomous states and crossing 3 different time zones Brazil’s culture is hugely varied and, in spite of being unified by a single language, states are often vastly different.  Lucky enough to have some 7,500 kilometres of sun-drenched coastline and several tropical islands, Brazil’s beaches and water activities are a drawcard for visitors and locals alike. Much of the coastline South of Salvador city is comprised of the Great Escarpment, rising as high as 2,700 metres in places and dividing the interior highland plateau from the coast.

In the North lies the enormous Amazon basin (covering a staggering 40% of Brazil’s total land area) and the mighty Amazon River which holds around 20% of all the world’s fresh water.  The Amazon Rainforest lies in this basin and has been labelled as ‘megadiverse’ in terms of ecological significance, owing to the huge range of plant and animal life contained within.

The Brazilian Highlands cover the Central and South-Eastern regions and include the states of Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, Goias and Mato Grosso.  The Southern states border neighbouring Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay and include the fertile plains of Rio Grande do Sul with its vineyards and the astounding Iguacu Falls which have to be seen to be believed.

Unlike all other Latin American countries, the official language in Brazil is Portuguese (spoken by 99% of the population).  While most of South America was colonised by Spanish conquistadors, Brazil owes its history to Portuguese settlers who began to arrive in the 1500s and retained governance until independence in 1822.  Many of the colonial villages have been perfectly preserved to this day.

Rio de Janeiro (commonly referred to as ‘Rio’) lies on the South Eastern Coastline and was the capital up until 1960 when governance was moved to centrally located Brasilia.  Rio was even named the capital of Portugal for a time in a very rare case of a colonising country moving its capital to a colony.  Rio is Brazil’s second most populous city after Sao Paulo and symbolised by the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer on Sugarloaf Mountain.  World renowned for its eponymous carnival, Copacabana and Ipanema beaches and the legendary football team – and of course the 2016 Olympics.

Rio enjoys a tropical climate making it a year-round destination. Even in winter (June, July, August) the temperature averages a pleasant 18ºC (70ºF).  Summers (December, January, February) are hot and humid with temperatures frequently reaching 40ºC (104ºF).  Rainfall is common year-round.

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Love Volunteers is looking for volunteers to provide support in many areas of Ecuador. Our volunteering options include teaching English, working directly with disadvantaged children and women, assisting in hospitals and day centres, as well as volunteering on environmental and animal welfare projects in the Amazon and Galapagos Islands. Volunteers’ efforts will make a positive impact on the lives of people for whom poverty is a daily reality.

We find that many volunteers on programs here appreciated just how much of a difference their help could make, and that the locals were very willing to welcome these relative strangers into their world. South American culture is steeped in history and Ecuador is a highly individual country where visitors will encounter amazing friendliness. 

Supporting Ecuadorian communities requires volunteers to make use of your their resourcefulness – their wisdom, judgement and sense of humour. Many people feel that they become a better person as a result of their experiences as a volunteer.

Ecuador is a compact South American country known for its extraordinary natural diversity. It combines Andean vistas, tropical jungle and Pacific beaches. With a population of around 14 million, its people belong to a large spectrum of different ethnic groups, some speaking Quichua, an Inca language.

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Love Volunteers’ along with our partner in Peru urgently need volunteers for the many programs in Cusco and surrounding areas. We offer the chance to teach, work with children in orphanages and community centres, undertake medical placements, and support women’s groups, as well as a number of other programs. The efforts of our volunteers in Peru have been seen to drastically improve the lives of people in the local communities.

Anyone willing to volunteer in Peru can be sure that their skills and expertise will be put to good use. The satisfaction and fulfillment that this can give a volunteer is not something that one often gets from a job or internship. Volunteering overseas - particularly in a challenging environment - is an experience you will look back on with pride.

Through living and working in Peru volunteers can gain insight into this fascinating South American country. They will get to interact with other international volunteers, and with the community that they are serving on a day-to-day basis. It is likely that they will meet people whose experiences of life may challenge their assumptions and values. With volunteers in Peru coming from many walks of life and generations, it is often a way of forging new and lasting friendships.

Volunteering in Cusco, besides being culturally stimulating, also provides an excellent opportunity to improve one’s Spanish.

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Colombia is a richly diverse country at the northern tip of South America. Its geography is stunningly varied, categorised by the Andes mountain range, Amazon Rainforest and Los Llanos plains in the south and Pacific and Caribbean coastlines in the north.  Lying on the equator and with incredible variance in altitude the climate in Colombia is tropical along the coast, eastern plains and Amazon and cold in the highlands with periodic droughts. Lacking the usual seasons, Colombians normally refer to rainy seasons as winter—but the differences in terrain and altitude mean the rainy seasons are different in every corner of the country! 

Colombia strongly reflects its history as a colony of Spain. It is often referred to as the most Roman Catholic of the South American countries and most of its people are proud of the relative purity of their Spanish language. Its population is heavily mestizo (of mixed European and Indian descent) with substantial minorities of European and African ancestry. Civilised since ancient times the country has a wealth of culture and history which is immediately evident in the charming city of Cartagena, where our volunteers are based.

Cartagena, known as the 'Jewel of the Caribbean', is a stunning home away from home for our volunteers in Colombia.  The charm of this city lies in its Unesco World Heritage listed 'Old Town', framed by miles of impessive colonial stone walls.  Soaking up the atmosphere walking the quaint cobbled streets or the beach scene on a promenade, relaxing with a drink at one of the many bars and restaurants or enjoying the myriad festivals and cultural events on offer; visitors to the city can't help but fall in love.  

From the safe and comfortable base of host family, volunteers reach out into the poorer areas which comprise 95% of the city.  What an incredible location in which to give your time as a volunteer!

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