Live, Work & Travel in Latin America
CloudHead Art – An art and education NGO looking for people to teach photography, design and video to students between the ages of ten to 18 in at risk communities. This can mean anything from an underserved neighbourhood on the outskirts of Salta or a small indigenous village in the campo.
Employment in Latin America
Employers, Agencies & Placement Services
Association of American Schools in South America – Teachers recruited for work in South America.
Casa de la Iguana – A Livingston hostel whose staff should be able to handle a hangover and possibly some nudity too, if one TripAdvisor review is an indication: “Stay here if you want to see the permanently drunk manager running around naked.”
Journey Latin America – Overland tour leaders occasionally recruited. A note from Claire Milner, Recruitment Manager of JLA: “Please do not, repeat NOT include any mention whatsoever of our company in your publications. Not to sound ungrateful, but we are totally SWAMPED with unsolicited job enquiries, most of which are from unsuitable candidates, and we do not have the manpower to respond to them all.”
La Hamaca Hostel – If you can see yourself talking, helping or drinking with their guests, and still be up early enough for breakfast then volunteering in this hostel in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, could be for you. Cleaning and cooking is taken care of so volunteers are wanted for their customer service and communication abilities. Participation in their work exchange earns somewhere to sleep, breakfast and lunch, the opportunity to earn commissions and $300 per month. Do read up on the city though – it won’t appeal to everyone.
South America Overland – Though there is no employment information on their website they have in the past recruited for an experienced diesel mechanic to maintain their 16 tonne Mercedes 1625 truck.
Employment Resources for Finding Work in Latin America
Advice & Useful Sites for Finding Work.
JobintheSun.com – A Caribbean recruitment company with hundreds of vacancies online and ready to apply to with one click. JobintheSun.com has forums, chat rooms, relocation guides, job seeker interview technique information and 24/7 customer support. This service is not free to job seekers.
Mexperience – An excellent site for those looking for information about living and working in Mexico, including self employment, moving to Mexico and a guide to Mexican immigration. In addition, there are travel guides, food guides, stuff about learning Spanish, real estate and something for those looking to retire to the country.
Partners of the Americas – Promotes opportunity, development and voluntary work throughout the Americas.
TropicJobs.com – Search for jobs in the Caribbean and Cayman Islands.
University English Teachers – Mexican TEFL school provides their graduates with lifetime job assistance and placement programme.
The Ultimate Peru List – News and features for those living abd working in Peru. Includes a selection of job classifieds.
Gap Year & Voluntary Work in Latin America
Unpaid Positions & Adventure
Aires Buenos – Found in a small town in southern Chile with eight universities, Aires Buenos has a permanent work trade programme to attract volunteer staff to help around both their hostel and permaculture project. Roles that need filling include guest relations, carpentry, massage therapist, tour developer and green architect. A shared dorm room, two meals a day and a monthly stipend month is provided in exchange for five work days a week. Proof of insurance and a ten week commitment is required.
Aldea Hostel – A San Jose hostel that we have noticed looking for volunteers to work in exchange for lodging and breakfast.
Aldea Hostel – This Aldea, in Cordoba and related to the one above, is also thought to accept work exchange volunteers.
Alto Mar Hostel – This accommodation option in Arraial d‘Ajuda has been welcoming backpackers for 30 years. They are always looking for easy going people who either want to spend some time in Brazil, or are already there and want to stay a bit longer. Travellers willing to stay a month and trade four to six hours of their day to work at the bar, in reception or showing backpackers the nightlife of Arraial d’Ajuda will get a bed, breakfast and laundry service. Some knowledge of Portuguese is a plus.
Amauta Spanish School – Language courses, voluntary work and activities in Cusco, Peru.
Amazon-Africa Aid Organization – Volunteer doctors and dentists required to make a difference in Brazil.
Amigos de las Aves – This Costa Rican bird refuge requires volunteers, described as a ‘person Friday,’ to help with various tasks from making toys to feeding duties. Homestays are available for around $15 per day. If you do not feel comfortable working with mentally disturbed Macaws other tasks are available from gardening to fundraising and spreading the word.
Amigos Spanish School – Non profit organisation based in Cusco. For every four hours of your Spanish classes you pay for one child’s education and food. Volunteer work available.
Andean Outreach – The Andean Outreach programme is a not for profit organisation that strives to improve the life of Andean people through international volunteers. The last we looked this site and organisation was being restructured.
Animal AWARE – A Guatemalan organisation operating the largest No-Kill animal shelter in Central America. They need volunteer help with looking after over 300 dogs and nearly 100 cats.
The Ara Project – A Costa Rican licensed zoological park and non profit organisation dedicated to the conservation of the two native macaw species of Costa Rica. Two low cost volunteer programmes, at either the breeding centre or release site, are available.
ARCAS – Welcomes volunteers or interns to help keep an eye on the wildlife and sea turtles in Guatemala. The minimum commitment Is only one week. Volunteers will need to pay expenses of $50 to $100 per week but a stipend may be available for a longer commitment or if you have expertise in certain areas.
Argentina ILEE – A Spanish school in Buenos Aires, Cordoba and Patagonia. Volunteer work and internships available.
Asociacion Widecast – A sea turtle conservation project in Costa Rica, volunteers are encouraged to join them at any point during the season. For over 20 years they have welcomed students, travelers and professionals from countries around the world who have an interest in hands on conservation and data collection work with an endangered species. Volunteers can commit from a week up to several months of their time participating in their programme in Gandoca Wildlife Refuge and Cahuita Nationa Park.
Ayni – A non profit grassroots organisation in Peru with opportunities for volunteers.
Backpackers San Pedro – We have only spotted one reference to this place in Chile’s Atacama Desert taking on volunteer staff but they are worth a try if you find yourself in the desert town with empty pockets. Cat lover preferred.
Bananas Hostel – Should you find yourself in need of a place to stay for free in Itacaré, Brazil, and spot a giant banana walk in and ask about a work for stay arrangement. Knowledge of both English and Portuguese is needed through.
The Barrio Planta Project – An education initiative created to empower low-income children and adults living in Nicaragua.
Barking Horse Farm – Barking Horse Farm in Costa Rica offers two different volunteer options: a workstudy programme for those who have experience with horses but not with natural horsemanship, and an internship position for more experienced riders.
Belize Audubon Society – An environmental protection organisation, BAS prefer volunteers that have already worked in developing countries, in community, tourism or small business development, teaching, art, conservation or park management. Volunteers should be available for three months. Marine park volunteers should have dive qualifications and be available for at least one month.
Betanbauer – Internships and Volunteer work with Spanish classes in the Argentine city of Cordoba.
Black Cat Hostels – Two hostels in Guatemala, one on Antigua, the other in Xela that often need volunteer bartenders able to commit to five hours a day, six days a week, for two weeks.
Bothy Hostels – Free accommodation in either Arequipa or Puno in exchange for working four to six hours a day in the bar, on reception or the tour desk.
Caledonia Languages Abroad – Voluntary work in Cuba, Costa Rica, Peru and Argentina and Spanish language courses.
Camino Seguro – Camino Seguro’s mission is to empower the children of families working in the Guatemala City garbage dump. Volunteer positions, of varying length and skills required, are posted on their website.
Canadian Organization for Tropical Education and Rainforest Conservation – COTERC offers volunteers the opportunity to live and work in the Caño Palma Biological Station set within the northeast Caribbean lowland rainforest of Costa Rica. The work is with trained staff on biological monitoring surveys and a community based conservation programme.
Cape Eleuthera Institute – Spend your gap year in the Bahamas broadening your knowledge of tropical marine ecology, climate change, lionfish research, shark conservation and research, aquaponics, aquaculture, permaculture, or sustainable systems and alternative energy sources.
Cartagenitos – Cartagenitos provides free information for anybody who wants to help under privileged children in Cartagena without paying a cent.
Casa Amelia – A small hostel located right at the seafront in the village of Huanchaco in Peru. They try to collect as much information as they can on volunteering options in and around Huanchaco, including smaller, local projects less likely to ask for fees.
Casablanca Hostel – Work four days and stay for seven in Medellin.
Casa de los Angeles – A safe haven for street children in San Miguel de Allende, in central Mexico, Casa de los Angeles welcomes volunteers that can cook, build things, teach basic hygiene or that are just good with children.
Casa Guatemala – A home for 250 orphaned, abandoned, or abused children, located on the banks of the Rio Dulce. Long term volunteers must be over 24, prepared to live in the jungle, have basic Spanish and pay a one off fee of around $200 no matter how long they stay.
Casa Verde – Artists can add to their funky atmosphere, outgoing people are needed to promote their activities centre and the green thumbed are welcome to love their plants. In return for 20 hours’ a week doing these things Casa Verde will allot a free bed and discounts in Bocas del Toro.
Casa 579 – Volunteers work three eight hour shifts each week on reception at this Rio hostel and also contribute a minimum of six hours at a nearby community centre. To apply, fill in the travel ambassador application on their website. Minimum three month commitment required.
Castle Tam – Always looking for friendly, customer service oriented volunteers who can do construction, website design, online marketing, massage therapy, yoga instruction and IT, among other things. The job, in San Jose, Costa Rica, includes working reception, going to the bus stop to find backpackers, laundry and assembling and disassembling bunk beds. They also state on their website that if you think you are too good to scrub the occasional toilet then you need not apply.
Che Lagarto – There are numerous hostels across South America in this franchise, in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Peru and Chile. If you are interested in cultural exchange and meeting people from around the world you are invited to stay for free. The work is in reception: helping customers, selling tours, handling bookings, and opening and closing the cash register. Applicants should be aged 18 to 28, flexible, mature and have experience in customer service. There is also a Work and Travel Programme where participants move to a new hostel every three months for one year.
Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad – CIS supports education and social justice in El Salvador. They are looking for people committed to solidarity and social justice to participate in their programmes. During elections CIS seeks volunteer election observers but generally are looking for English teachers and a grassroot organising intern.
Cloud Forest Adventure – A community run organisation in Ecuador, where any profits are paid direct to local people, and the long term intention is to slow down deforestation by providing an alternative, sustainable source of income for people living in the area. There are three main types of placement: teaching, farm work, and ecology/conservation. Fees for volunteering are very low and paid direct to the family that you are staying with. The cost includes all meals and accommodation.
CloudHead Art – An art and education NGO looking for people to teach photography, design and video to students between the ages of ten to 18 in at risk communities. This can mean anything from an underserved neighbourhood on the outskirts of Salta or a small indigenous village in the campo.
COINED Argentina – Spanish courses, volunteer work and intercultural programmes in Argentina and Chile.
Colonial House Quito – Volunteers working in reception are provided with a bed and food.
Community Hostel – Founded by five college friends, this Quito hostel keeps three or four volunteers on at a time to cook, clean and help around the place.
Connections English Institute – Foreigners have the opportunity of teaching English as a foreign language in Colombia. In exchange for two hours’ teaching per day Monday to Friday, teachers receive a bed and a meal. The lesson plans for every class are already made and no teaching experience is required. Teachers only have to worry about having fun in class.
Conservation Project Utila Iguana – A popular destination for divers, Utila is also home to the Utila Spiny Tailed Iguana. Most volunteers are biology or veterinary students but those handy with their hands are also made welcome. Living at the station costs €150 per month, falling to €100 after three months.
ContactChile – Offers a number of interesting working holidays, internships and Spanish courses including a learn Spanish and ski in the Andes package.
Cobanacopa Hostel – The chance to live three blocks from Copacabana Beach is offered here. To apply you should be aged 18 to 28, flexible and experienced in customer service.
The Cornerstone Foundation – Non profit humanitarian organization offeing volunteer opportunities in Belize.
Costa Rican Language Academy (CRLA) – Spanish language school for foreigners in San Jose, Costa Rica. They offer programmes with homestays and without. Among the list of free services and activities are daily free dance, cooking, and conversation classes as well as a computer lab for free internet use. The CRLA is also glad to help their students with information, assistance, telephone calls, setting up appointments, legal documents, letters of recommendation and other arrangements necessary for finding volunteer work.
Cranky Croc – We have heard mention the Aussie owned Cranky Croc takes in work exchange volunteers in Bogota.
CREES Foundation – Volunteering with CREES means total immersion into the rainforest, in the Manu Biosphere Reserve, in Peru, as they work to connect you with a deeper understanding of conservation, climate change and poverty.
Cuba Solidarity Campaign – Organises work brigades of paying volunteers to Cuba twice annually and is for people who wish to experience the real Cuba and be more than just a tourist.
Discovery Hostel – A medium to long term commitment is necessary to unlock the free accommodation available at this Rio de Janeiro hostel in return for working three or four nights a week on reception.
Earth Lodge – Work exchange possibilities in Guatemala.
El Retiro – A hostel in Guatemala said to take in volunteers.
Eco Volunteer UP Ecuador – A non profit composed of a group of Ecuadorians who work through volunteers to conserve the forests of Ecuador, to improve the community economies and to give Ecuadorian children a better life. They state that they offer volunteers real immersion in the various Ecuadorian ecosystems, and real opportunities for learning and sharing Ecuadorian cultures, customs and traditions, all the while helping different projects promote their development and changing lives through a better place to live.
Ecuador Volunteer – A non profit organization that offers volunteer work opportunities in social, environmental, educational and community areas around Ecuador. Donate only one month’s work and truly make a difference.
ELEP – Experiential Learning Ecuadorian Programs encourage intercultural exploration and understanding through volunteer work, internships and Spanish study programmes in a wide range of fields. Programmes are open for all ages and nationalities.
El Puente – An expat started non profit that offers educational assistance, food, and microloans mainly to indigenous people in Costa Rica. There is no fee expected from volunteers who want to pitch in for a while.
El Sol – Language courses and volunteer work available.
English Opens Doors Program – Sponsored by the United Nations Development Program and the Chilean Ministry of Education, English Opens Doors seeks highly motivated individuals to work as English teaching assistants in public and semi private schools throughout Chile. The programme provides the following: home stay with a Chilean family, meals, a participation bonus of 60,000CLP for each month of completed service, health insurance, TEFL training, and access to an online Spanish course. The programme does not charge volunteers a fee for participation.
EntreMundos – Over 150 volunteers use their services every year in Quetzaltenango to find volunteer placements with roughly 100 different organisations in Guatemala, the majority of which are based in the Western Highlands.
Erupcion Hostal & Restaurant – Friendly people planning an extended stay in Ecuador are welcomed by Erupcion. Here, there is room for your ideas along with your body – which will be accommodated in the staff room and given a couple of meals a day. Volunteers work six hours a day, five days a week.
Escuela Futuro Verde – An international school in Montezuma, Costa Rica, founded by two expat mums when their daughters were reaching school age. Volunteers assist with classroom instruction, organising after school programmes, or lead outreach efforts with educational organisations in the region.
Esperanca – Medical professionals are required to share their skills and experience with Peruvian staff and to participate in fieldwork of maternal and child health in rural communities. Esperanza is a US based organisation with 35 years health experience.
Esperanza Verde – A wildlife rescue and rainforest conservation project under construction in the Amazon basin of Peru, Esperanza Verde’s aim is to work closely with the local community to offer alternative sources of income so that the forest can be managed in a sustainable way. The project currently owns 58 hectares of rainforest and needs volunteers to help with establishing the wildlife rescue centre.
Establo San Rafael – This farm and equestrian centre in Costa Rica practices natural horsemanship techniques and offers horse riding vacations. Volunteers help with the animals and fix things around the farm. They also welcome volunteers with good internet skills to help promote the farm.
Estancia Ranquilco – Describe themselves as “a five month de-wimping course.” Activities include permaculture, alternate building, soft touch horse training, holistic land and livestock management, organic gardening, country crafts, outdoor skills and wilderness survival.
Excel Spanish Language Centre – Spanish programmes and English language tuition in Cusco, Peru.
Expand Peru – A non profit organisation, concerned with the improvement of the quality of life of people living in extreme poverty in Peru. Volunteers need commit for a week and can work in Andean Huancayo or in the city of San Ramón, in the Amazon.
Fast Forward Language Institute – Learn Portuguese in Brazil and complement your language studies with volunteer and internship programmes. Some paid internships are also available.
Favelatour – A small company operated 100% by residents in the favela of Rocinha, in Brazil. Volunteers are welcome to help organise and execute their projects. DJs who want to help by offering courses in music production or DJing skills are especially needed. There is no fee to volunteer.
Finca Ixobel – A hostel in Poptun, Guatemala that has had many volunteers and some have gone back over and over again. Their volunteer programme is available to anyone speaking Spanish and English who is able to spend at least six weeks with them. Room and board is given in exchange for work and on your days off can join in on one of the activities or tours that Finca Ixobel offers.
Finca San Antonio – Volunteers experience life in a remote Andean community in northern Ecuador, sharing their values, skills and lifestyle with local people, and learning about theirs. Placements are free and there are no administrative costs.
The Flying Doctors of America – Medical and non medical support volunteers wanted in central and South America.
Fox Language Academy – Either tackling a class on your own or alongside one of their professional language teachers, this Sucre based language academy doesn’t charge a thing for your help. They may also be able to provide somewhere to stay or will help you look and, if you don’t want to teach, help with volunteering at nurseries, orphanages or other organisations in the area.
Fundacion Jatun Sacha – Voluntary work in Ecuador.
Fundacion Mariposas Amarillas – A small Colombian grassroots organisation committed to supporting disadvantaged children and families around Santa Marta, Colombia. They provide services, supplies and information on nutrition, education, and childcare to families in Santa Marta’s under served neighbourhoods. They welcome both international and local volunteers to teach after school classes or work on social programmes. They also always need volunteers to help with marketing, publicity, social media and fundraising. Volunteers are responsible for their own accommodation, transportation, living costs, supplies, and visas, but otherwise FMA only ask for a small, one time donation. Basic Spanish is required.
Galileo Hostel – Want people who like other people and aren’t going to curl up into a ball every time something unexpected happens. Along with a free place to stay in Costa Rica they’ll pay too and bosh out a beer for each shift worked.
GIC Argentina – Spanish lessons Buenos Aires. Extracurricular and cultural activities are included. Volunteering and internship opportunities also available.
Graffiti Playa Hostel – Five six hour shifts unlocks free accommodation in Mexico’s Playa del Carmen.
Green Life Volunteers – This Costa Rican non-profit offers volunteer abroad projects and internship opportunities throughout Costa Rica, but most are located in the Osa Peninsula. Projects include teaching English, turtle conservation, large parrot rescue, dog and cat rescue, hostel work, and solar panel installation.
Guadalajara Language Center – A school for English and Spanish study programs based in Guadalajara, Mexico. Foreign students who wish to learn Spanish can live with a Mexican family. They also employ English teachers and accept volunteers with an intermediate level of Spanish to help street children.
Helping Hands Cusco – HHC help children and single mothers who are in a state of poverty, abandonment, physical and emotional violence, malnutrition, and discrimination. Volunteers can lend their own hand to the project.
Helping Honduras Kids – A non profit rganisation that manages a children’s home, caring for children who have been abandoned, abused and neglected on the north coast of Honduras, near La Ceiba. HHK appreciates volunteers that can share their talents and skills with the children, such as computing, karate, athletics, etc.
Helping Overcome Obstacles Peru – Volunteer English teachers can help their work to enhance the education of children (and parents) in a disadvantaged community on the edge of of Arequipa.
Hogar de Esperanza – An orphanage for orphaned, abandoned and abused children in Peru. There is both a short term, a week to a few months, and a long term volunteer programme. Short termers pay a fee while long term volunteers get their food, accommodation and other benefits for free.
Hospedaje Central El Indio Viejo – Staffed by local and international volunteers who are accommodated for all sorts of tasks including cooking, maintenance, housekeeping, gardening, DIY and decorating. Another project, in an Indian village on the other side of Ometepe Island, also welcomes helping hands.
Hostal/Cafe Tiana – Tiana, located in the colonial centre of Latacunga, capital of Ecuador’s Cotopaxi province, accepts help in reception and for general duties for a minimum of one month. Good people skills and basic Spanish required.
Hostal el Refugio – Pucon, in the Lakes District, is known as Chile’s outdoor capital and, as such, volunteers helping with the day to day running of Hostal el Refugio are expected to be the outdoorsy type. Somewhere to sleep, tours, food and maybe commissions are the payback for your efforts.
Hostal Llullu Llama – Almost always has volunteers to help take care of their guests in Quito. The minimum stay here is two months and you need to speak Spanish and English.
Hostel Che – Will swap accommodation and breakfast for 20 to 25 hours’ work a week – providing you can commit to one or two months in Playa del Carmen.
Hostel Casa Del Parque – A San Jose hostel that has advertised for the past couple of years in July for responsible volunteers with sales and customer service.
Hostel Rincon del Viajero – Volunteers help this Mexican hostel run smoothly. They work as a community of artists, writers, scientists, construction workers, gardeners, etc, and all talents are welcome to help their goal to develop an ecologically sustainable, inspiring, and enriched living space.
Hostel 41 Below – Argentine hostel that takes on volunteers work for their keep.
Hosteria PapaGayo – A bed and food are offered in exchange for participation in three different volunteer roles. These are helping out at the Papagayo hostel, teaching in local schools, and working at a surrounding dairy farm.
Hotel Finca Tatin – This jungle accommodation in Guatemala takes on volunteer workers.
Iko Poran – A Brazilian international volunteer organization. Iko Poran means “Alright” in the Mbya dialect of the South American Guarani Indians.
IMAC Spanish Language School in Mexico – Spanish in Mexico. On their website you will find a description of daily activities to make learning Spanish a unique experience. Also included with your Spanish programme fee is a free volunteer placement.
Inka Magik – Volunteers sought for a teaching programme in schools across Peru. Also sought are representatives to promote their projects in their university or work place.
Internships Colombia – Provides internships and jobs for international students and recent graduates in Medellín and Bogotá.
Inti Rumakumaq Wasin – Requires volunteers to help take care of street kids in Cusco. The only requirements are to love the children and a wish to support them in some way to improve their lives.
Inti Wara Yassi – This organisation runs a wildlife refuge in Bolivia where hundreds of volunteers from all over the world work each year. As they are building a second refuge they could use more volunteers.
Intro Hostels – If you are fluent in English and know some Spanish, you have the opportunity to belong to the Intro Hostels team in Cusco. They can offer bed and breakfast in exchange for four days’ work in the bar per week. The management also have another hostel in Lima and plans to open two more in Iquitos and Tacna.
Karikuy Peru – Karikuy is looking for volunteers who wish to spend some time in Peru doing field work and exploring the country to gather information for Project Perupedia. The volunteer programme includes free room and board and an affordable $22 a week (at time of writing) meal plan. You will be expected to work Monday through Friday on the project and other Karikuy related material. On the weekends you are free to travel throughout Peru. In addition volunteers will receive discounted rates on Karikuy tours and services.
Kasa Guane Hostel – Volunteers can choose to help out in Bucaramanga, Colombia, at the hostel itself or support one of the two local projects that help children from less privileged backgrounds.
Kiya Survivors – Voluntary work available in Peru.
Kusi Warma – Need volunteers to aid their work with malnourished children and their parents in Lima, Peru. Volunteers help with feeding, bathing and playing with the children. No fees required and a free lunch is offered in return. Site is in Spanish.
La Brisa Loca – Located in an 80 year old, new republican mansion that has been restored to recover its genuine colonial, Caribbean feel, this backpackers in Santa Marta, Colombia, can accommodate up to 85 people. Run by two Californian brothers who settled in their favourite country after travelling around South America, we have seen them asking for bar staff via their FB page. We can’t say if this is a paid or an unpaid position but La Brisa Loca seems the sort of place open to working travellers. If not, they also help support Fundacion Mariposas Amarillas, a local grassroots organisation that meet every weekday at 1pm on the upstairs floor of the hostel.
La Casa Verde – Volunteers live in their own en suite private room when not working eight hours a day for five days a week in Banos, Ecuador (though mainly you will just need to be around the guest house – there is plenty of downtime to surf the internet, play the guitar, read a book etc – actual work will likely be no more than five hours a day). Breakfast and Spanish lessons are also provided. Duties revolve around guest management; meeting and greeting, explaining about the surrounds and what activities are on offer, organising taxis and activities.
La Casona – Travellers are invited to come and experience Peruvian surf hostel La Casona by working for a maximum of five hours per day in exchange for accommodation and a meal. The work involves either working in the bar or restaurant or helping to repair and decorate the house. Creative and innovative ideas are always welcomed too.
La Iguana Perdida – A Lake Atitlan hostel staffed mosty by English speaking volunteers from abroad.
The Lake View Hostel – Welcomes chilled but responsible backpackers in Colombia, including couples, to work and stay for free. Along with free dorm accommodation, benefits include free mountain bikes and kayaks and discounts on Spanish classes. Duties include a maximum of three hours cleaning, then just hanging out – perhaps fishing or reading – to be on hand in case someone shows up or guests have questions. The hostel also supports the rural community of La Meseta, located in the mountains above Guatape. Fees are reasonable (around £15 one time admin fee and £10 per day local homestay accommodation with three meals included a day) to volunteer and the work can involve teaching English, environmental work and helping handicapped children.
La Mansion La Nomada – Has in the past advertised for someone to go to Rosario and work for accommodation and extra payment. Previous hostel or tourism work experience preferred.
La Montana Spanish School – A Spanish language school in Bariloche, Patagonia. They run several volunteer projects in different fields.
La Rocca – 200 metres from Porto de Galinhas, one of best beaches in Brazil, La Rocca is reputed to have a work exchange programme.
Las Sonrisas de los Niños – A small humanitarian organisation operating a youth center for impoverished children near the village of El Cacao outside of La Ceiba, Honduras. They are happy to accept walk in volunteers to work for a morning, an afternoon, a day, a week, or many months, to play games and sports, help with crafts, read stories, or simply sitting and holding the kids.
Latin Link – LL’s STEP programme involves short term voluntary community work.
Learn Spanish in Peru – Untrustworthy thieves.
Life Argentina – With no paid staff, Life Argentina have relied on over 900 volunteers since 2001 to carry out all its activities and projects with disadvantaged children. Participation is flexible and free.
Lima Limón Candelaria Hostel – This Bogota hostel was spotted asking for volunteers for February on their Facebook page. Perhaps they will want them at other times of the year too? Work three night shifts during the week and a dorm bed and breakfast is yours.
LimeTime – Brazilian law doesn’t allow LimeTime to pay foreigners without a working visa but they do exchange board and meals to those working in the bar or reception.
The Llama Brothers – A bed and breakfast may be on the table to those able to support the marketing efforts of this hotel in Lima’s Miraflores district. In the past we have also seen them looking for cleaners and receptionists on the same terms.
Loki Hostels – There are five Loki Hostels in South America, in Salta, Lima, Cusco, Mancora and La Paz. Spend a month working four shifts in the bar of one of them and there is some free accommodation, meals and discounts in it for you.
Long Way Home – It is Guatemalan kids that you will be helping if you chose to join Long Way Home as a volunteer. LWH seek many talents from fixing engines or laying concrete to playing games and horsing around. $75 covers the costs of your accommodation and supports the project. Sometimes paid employment is available.
The Lost and Found – All volunteers first stay in the cloud forest at the Lost and Found as regular paying guests for a couple of nights before being given a work exchange role.in customer service, helping out in the organic garden or with art projects. Minimum four week commitment. Volunteers are also welcome to develop profit sharing ventures.
Luna International Hostel – A Nicaraguan non-profit social enterprise. They list a range of volunteer positions including helping out on their mobile library bus, developing their organic garden project, and working in the office.
Maravilla Caribbean Veg Bed & Breakfast – Vegetarian food and a room with a shared kitchen, living room and bath is provided to work exchange staff at this Puerto Rican B&B. Additional work over the four hours per day will be financially compensated and there may be the chance to earn from side jobs and tips. Among the requirements for applicants is that they should be animal loving, non-smoking drivers that can stay from six to 12 weeks up to six months.
Mayan Families – Volunteers are welcomed to lend a hand in in Panajachel, Guatemala. Preference is given to volunteers with at least an intermediate level of Spanish and a minimum commitment of two weeks. Volunteers should be self funding but there doesn’t appear to be a fee to get involved.
Marco Polo Inn – On the Argentine side of Iguazu falls, Marco Polo is always looking for fun people to become volunteers. All they require is good language skills (mainly English), smiles and initiative.
Mente Argentina – Customizable study abroad programmes in Buenos Aires, including learning Spanish, internships, volunteer programmes, and short artistic programmes such culinary, photography, sports clinic and DJing.
Miami Mike’s – Occasionally needs volunteers in Panama to take care of various duties.
Millhouse Hostels – There are two hostels in this small group in Buenos Aires and another in Cusco. Download the provided application if you are prepared to work 32 hours per week in a variety of tasks, such as front desk duty, housekeeping, bar tending, hostel promotion and administrative work.
New Era Galapogas Foundation – A unique and rewarding chance to live and work in the Galapogas Islands is offered to volunteers willing to become involved with the projects of NEGF. Skills sought in volunteers include foreign languages, an artistic or environmental background and experience of working with children. Volunteers typically live with local host families. Three month commitment required.
Nexos Voluntarios – A Peruvian non profit organization that creates bonds between different social actors within society, with whom it develops projects with the objective of promoting a Responsible Human Development. Nexos Voluntarios receives the support from dedicated volunteers who come from all parts of the world and who are interested in learning, as well as at the same time, contributing towards the development process in the communities where they work. A large volunteer contribution is required.
Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign – A political and human rights organisation, the NSC send two work brigades of paying volunteers to Nicaragua each year.
Oasis Hostel – Billing itself as the only real backpackers’ hostel in Puerto Vallarta for young souls with a budget looking for a good time, Oasis Hostel has been known to employ volunteer workers, aged 23 to 32 and with pertinent work experience, for a minimum of eight weeks. Breakfast, dorm bed, internet, laundry, and drinks are provided in exchange for six hours work a day, with the possibility of pocket money after eight weeks.
Open House – Will let you stay for free in Salvador, Brazil, should you collaborate in an art or social project between May 15 and December 15.
Osa Conservation – A sea turtle conservation programme in Costa Rica.
Osa Mariposa – We have seen this small bungalow beach hostel on Mexico’s Pacific coast requesting temporary help in the kitchen for four to five hours per day. In exchange they will offer you bed and food, plus a share of tips. Some kitchen/cooking experience is required, along with basic Spanish and English, for what is described as a “typically mellow job.” They may be able to use a cleaner for three hours in the morning.
Pachamama Children – Founded in 2005 by young Cusquenos and Cuscquenas to promote sustainable development initiatives in the rural communities around Cusco. Volunteers have contributed by helping out at the farms, making adobe bricks, constructing schools, or teaching at the schools.
Palace Hostel – 15 minutes from the beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Palace provides free room and board for three to five shifts per week. They look for fun and outgoing people who know how to entertain guests but can still show up for work and take care of business.
Para la Tierra – A not for profit biological station in Paraguay staffed by professionals and assisted by a constant stream of ecologically minded volunteers. All volunteers need is enthusiasm, a sense of adventure and a willingness to get your hands dirty. Internships also available.
Pariwana Hostel – Hangout for free, behind the bar or reception, in exchange for investing little elbow grease into Pariwana, who are constantly looking for enthusiastic and outgoing individuals in Cusco. They have another hostel in Lima.
Patagonia Hostel – Outgoing, positive minded and proactive people who are dynamic and know about the world are needed to help around the Patagonia Hostel in Chile. The job entails doing pretty much everything from cleaning the rooms and laundry to running the front desk. They offer accommodation and free board. People who enjoy cooking and can speak English and Spanish – some German or French would be useful too – are most in demand.
Peru Language Center – Learn Spanish in Cusco. Includes volunteer and paid work programme, medical Spanish and a Quechua course.
Peru Luz Esperanza – Founded with the aim to fight the poverty and ignorance which exist in the rural places around Huancayo. Volunteers can join in a number of projects including a bakery, carpentry and cattle raising.
Proyecto Karumbe – Volunteers required in Uruguay to help with capturing and caring for sick Green turtles, research, cooking and cleaning. A small daily fee is required for food and accommodation.
Purple House International Backpackers Hostel – In exchange for a free dorm bed and rice and beans, volunteers are required to work eight eight hours a day washing the sheets, sweeping and mopping the floors, meeting and greeting guests, answering phones, and any of the many other jobs that need doing in a busy hostel. Volunteers must be able to speak an intermediate level of Spanish.
Quetzal Trekkers – Nature lovers, with first aid experience and basic Spanish, will enjoy the challenge of working as a volunteer guide leading trekkers around the volcanoes near Leon, Nicaragua. Duties include recruiting customers, making promotional materials and cleaning the equipment. Volunteers pay a small refundable deposit returned after a two month commitment.
Rainforest Biodiversity Group – Volunteers are required from October to end of December to help prepare six newly established nature reserves to be a part of the new Costa Rican Bird Route. Accommodation provided at all sites and food at half of them. Spanish and construction skills necessary. Volunteers also required in the USA.
Reggae Hostel – Polite, friendly and energetic people can help with entertainment and administration in Kingston, Jamaica.
Reto Juvenil Internacional – RJI is a Costa Rican based organisation working to carry out volunteer programmes where community development is complemented by personal growth, group work and community service.
Roatan Backpackers’ Hostel – Help out for two hours a day and there’s a dorm bed on a Caribbean Island in it for you. Mostly the role involves helping the owner’s sons with their English homework with a little cleaning on the side. Other locally based volunteer projects are also listed on their website.
Sacred Suenos – With the aim of regenerating a small piece of mountainside in Ecuador into a self sufficient farm community, volunteers participate in all aspects of the community. Volunteers contribute $30 per week towards the food kitty and a donkey service is available to take your luggage up the mountain.
San Blas Spanish School – Learn to speak Spanish in Cusco, Peru. Students can stay with a family and participate in a volunteer project for free. Placements of one week are possible as is voluntary work in Cay Cai, a small colonial village near Cusco.
San Juan International Hostel – May be approachable for a work exchange in Puerto Rico.
Save the Wild Chinchillas – Cute big eared rodent like things are in need of your help in Chile. Save the Wild Chinchillas is trying to prevent these endangered animals becoming extinct through a mixture of education and promoting awareness, protecting the land and creating sustainable preserves.
Sea Turtle Survival League / Caribbean Conservation – Turtle conservation.
Seeds of Hope – The mission of Seeds of Hope is to support all the children who live in extreme poverty in Peru and to provide vocational training for those without economic means. They welcome local and international volunteers from all backgrounds to work in their projects and have opportunities working with the children or behind the scenes. They need teachers, social workers, psychologists, project coordinations, medically trained people, language professionals, marketing and fundraising professionals. International volunteers are asked for a monthly fee to cover food and accommodation.
Sharing Dreams – A non profit organization founded in Huancayo to back up the region’s poor populations, especially children, by means of alternative projects, to achieve an integral sustainable development with the help of volunteers.
Shiripuno Research Center – The most remote biological station in the Amazon Basin of Ecuador, whose mission is to establish studies on natural history and tropical ecology. The volunteer programme involves four weeks in the field with a whole series of activities and work assignments.
Social Entrepreneur Corps – Social Entrepreneur Corps leads innovative and dynamic impact immersion programmes in Latin America. Volunteer fees are expensive.
Spanglish Exchange – Combines nightlife and education pairing native Spanish speakers with native English speakers in a series of conversations. Native English speakers can volunteer in Buenos Aires to teach English to students ranging from the age of five years old to adults.
Spanish in Peru – Spanish language courses in Peru. The website includes practical information about Peru a volunteer programme for those that wish to live and work in Peru to experience first hand the country’s rich cultural diversity and its many-faceted heritage.
Spanish School in Buenos Aires – Learn Spanish in Buenos Aires. Also volunteer work, tours and Spanish lessons in Bariloche and Cusco, Peru.
Stolas Hostel – A San Jose hostel that accepts volunteers.
Supporting Guasa – An NGO based in Sweden which carries out educational projects in village in Dominican Republic. They are looking for native English teachers (or near native) as as well anyone with experience or knowledge of women’s groups and anyone anyone with good computer skills.
Supporting Kids in Peru – An NGO working in an impoverished district of Trujillo. Volunteers willing to teach English to primary school children come in useful.
Sustainable Bolivia – A non profit community of 36 partner organisations in Cochabamba with numerous volunteer and internship opportunities.
Terrace Hostel – Volunteers are expected to work 35 hours a week, including one bar shift where you keep tips and a percentage of sales, for a bed and two meals a day in Antigua, Guatemala.
Terranova Hostel – 24 hours’ work a week welcoming and assisting their guests is the requirement from this Buenos Aires hostel. In return they will give volunteers with basic Spanish a bed and breakfast.
T’ika Trek – This tour company owned by a former manager of the Cusco office of South American Explorers offer homestay programmes and occasional volunteer work. Marketing and office interns are also welcomed.
Traveller’s Place Hostel – Lodging, breakfast, plus some money to cover food is offered to interns working at this Santiago hostel. This six month commitment is billed as an ideal opportunity for students of hospitality, business, journalism, public relations or similar. See their ‘work with us’ for a little more information on the role.
Tribu Hostel – A Mexican hostel that takes on a volunteer receptionist and bartender. Spanish and English language skills are needed along with a big smile. How long you stay depends how much you like them and how much they like you.
Troncones Point Surf Club and Hostel – Removed from the tourist hustle 20 miles to the north of Ixtapa, Mexico, these guys have in the past taken on an on-site manager in exchange for accommodation, food and a cut of the profits on rented rooms.
Tropical Adventures – A non profit volunteer organisation placing volunteers in community, teaching, indigenous, wildlife and animal rehabilitation projects across Costa Rica. TA welcome volunteers to take part in one or more of these projects for a minimum of one week at any point of the year. They also arrange tours or activities such as rainforest hikes, volcano tours, rafting or Spanish lessons.
Up Close Bolivia – Volunteer work and authentic cultural experiences in Bolivia.
Utila Iguana Research and Breeding Station – Since 1994, the Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Senckenberg Nature Research Society have worked jointly to preserve the Utila Iguana, an endangered reptile living only on the Island of Utila, Honduras. Jobs for volunteers are varied: public relations, environmental education, animal care, gardening, station maintenance and ecological research, are a few examples.
Volunteer Bolivia – Located in Cochabamba, VB will match your skills and interests to local needs in order to provide you with an unforgettable cross cultural experience.
Voluntario Global – Volunteer organisation based in Argentina.
Volunteer Jaime Crazy – Low cost volunteer work in Huarmey. Volunteers stay for two weeks minimum and should be aged over 18.
Volunteer Latin America – An online service whose mission is to help protect Latin America’s flora and fauna, its biodiversity, and to offer the most cost effective way to become an environmental volunteer in Mexico, Central or South America. VLA connect prospective volunteers with hundreds of environmental voluntary and intern projects in Latin America. Their Volunteer Information Guides provide ecologists, wildlife enthusiasts, explorers, and gap year students with all the information they need to get involved. The majority of projects included in the guides are managed by small organisations. Projects run by large organisations, or those run through agencies, are only included if considered to be either value for money or relevant to a specific request. Also excluded are projects where the volunteer is expected to pay unreasonable registration fees.
Volunteer Peten – Focuses on helping volunteers to make significant contributions to Guatemalan communities through conservation and education projects.
Volunteers Abroad Chirimoto – Their online presence needs work as there is no obvious information on what they do on their website, but this organisation got in touch with us to say they need help for the rural people of Chirimoto and other villages of the countryside in Rodríguez de Mendoza in Amazonas Peru, who are in need of improved education and medical care.
Volunteer South America – Dedicated to identifying volunteer positions with small to medium size local organisations in South America. They work with responsible non profit organisations that offer structured volunteering work in properly managed volunteer programmes.
Volunteer South America – A few years ago Steve McElhinney was having trouble finding a volunteer project in Argentina that didn’t require stumping up large sums of money to middle men. This simple site listing cheap and free projects in Latin America is the result of his research.
Volunteer Work in South America – Becoming a volunteer in South America is an exciting and rewarding experience that will change your life. Prepare before you travel by researching each of the Latin American countries that you are interested in doing volunteer work in. Some specialise in certain types of volunteer jobs more so than others so it is important to be informed.
VolunteerWorkLatinAmerica.org – Volunteer work in South America.
WeGuatemala.org – Includes an NGO directory and volunteer and paid job opportunities in Guatemala.
Wild Rover Hostels – There’s an email, but that’s it, on the jobs page of this hostel group covering La Paz, Cusco and Arequipa, but we’ve seen mention that they do have foreigners working there and that they all seem to be Irish – or at least putting on the accent.
Wiracocha Spanish School – Learn Spanish in Cusco, Peru. Spanish courses, volunteer work, accommodation and excursions.
WWOOF Argentina – A good number of host farms can be found in Argentina.
WWOOF Brazil – Brazil has around 60 host farms within the network.
WWOOF Chile – Members receive a list with more than 100 organic farms by email.
WWOOF Costa Rica – An information service linking travellers with organic farms which promote sustainable farming by hosting travellers for free
Living in Latin America
Real Estate and Resources for Staying Long Term
Abraham Tobago Realty – Homes and land for sale and rent in Tobago.
Living in Mexico – Overseas property investment in Merida and the Yucatan.
Medellin Living – A lifestyle and travel blog for a city increasingly seen as a great place to live.
Travelling in Latin America
Accommodation & Getting Around
AboutCusco.com – A website about one of our favourite cities. Amongst other things this site has a yellow pages including a list of travel agencies, restaurants, hotels and other services of importantance for visitors.
Aerolineas Argentinas – Argentina’s national airline.
Another Planet – Formed in South Africa, Another Planet moved to Peru when Lesley, the owner, fell for the country and decided to stay. They make exclusive clothing from cotton, wool and alpaca, operate Hostel Casa de la Gringo, and offer combi tours for laid back clients in Cusco.
Aruba 411 – Aruba website with many guides including vacation packages, hotels and resorts, vacation ideas, plus travel and tourism information.
Belize First – A magazine for travel and life on the Caribbean coast.
Best Andes Travel – Hiking trails, backpacking, camping, trekking, mountain biking, ecotourism, excursions, hotels and outdoor adventure in all Peru.
ComeToHopkins.com – A guide and pictures of Hopkins Village, Stann Creek District, Belize.
Costa Rica Web – Guide to Costa Rica in English, Spanish and German.
Cuba Pictures – A photo gallery by David Stanley, original author of Lonely Planet Cuba.
CuscoPeru.com – Attractive and informative guide to the former capital of the Inca empire.
Easter Island Foundation – A guide to Easter Island, events and scientific studies.
Ecuador Explorer – Tools, tours and general information.
Enjoy Bolivia – A good guide to the country.
Enjoy Peru – A good multi media guide to Peru.
Flying Dog Backpackers – Accommodation in Miraflores, Lima, with a relaxed feel and English speaking staff. The editors of this site stayed here during our first few nights in Peru and recommend the place for bed, breakfast and lounging around Parque Kennedy. There are other Flying Dogs in Cusco, Iquitos and Arequipa..
Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch – Adventure and jungle lodge set beneath a 100 foot rainforest canopy in the privately owned 58,000 acre Caves Branch Estate, Belize.
Inca Trail Info – Find Trekking Information about the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
La Cupula Hostal y Restaurant – A well run treat on a hillside overlooking Lake Titicaca. The hostal in Copacobana, Bolivia, has 17 rooms, hot showers all day, gardens and hammocks with a view of the lake, free use of kitchen and washing facilities, games, music instruments and videos, tourist info and an international restaurant offering, among other things, a large and enjoyable lasagne.
Lipiko Tours – Travel agency organising adventure tourism in Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Argentina.
Mexico Travel Plan – Information for independent travel around Mexico from a small specialist internet based tour operator.
Nebaj – Nebaj is a Guatemalan mountain town known for its artisans and a hotbed of international NGOs many of which are willing to take on both short and long term foreign volunteers. This website provides information on some local tourists enterprises that benefit the town including a language school and a hostel.
Pacaritambo – Machu Picchu online magazine.
Pachamama Explorers – Trek and tour company based in Cusco.
Pakboats – Folding canoes and kayaks for sale.
Parque Das Aves – The Parque Das Aves is often overlooked by visitors to the Brazilian side of the Iguacu Falls. A shame, as the birdlife from around the world is easy to view either in cages or in the covered enclosures. The enclosures are entered via double doors to prevent the free flying birds from making off and visitors will be able to experience storks blocking their path, screeching parrots and toucans flying from their tree perch to land a foot away from where they stand. In other enclosures visitors may interact with humming birds and large butterflies or view caymans and turtles. Site is available in English, Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch.
Poncho Tours – An independent British owned company specialising in tailor made holidays to Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.
South America for Visitors – An About site.
The Tranquilo Traveler – This blog is a celebration of voluntourism, slow travel, and other interesting ways to see the world both as a resource for world trippers and a window into the author’s ongoing travels, especially to Nicaragua and Belize.
The Trek Stop – Eco lodging in the Cayo District, Belize..
Yellow River – A hostel and working coffee farm in the heart of the Peruvian Cloud Forest near Machu Picchu.
Other Useful Latin American Websites
Acupari Language School – Spanish and Quechua language tuition offered in Cusco, Peru.
The Amazon Conservation Team – Works in partnership with indigenous people in conserving biodiversity, health and culture in tropical South America.
APF Languages – Study Spanish in Quito, Ecuador and help streetchildren.
The Belize Forums – Well used forums. Register to post your questions.
Buenos Aires Herald – Argentine English language newspaper.
CELA Spanish School – Learn Spanish while vacationing on Margarita Island, Venezuela.
Che Lives.com – Links and pictures about the Argentine born revolutionary.
Ecuador Spanish Schools -Learn Spanish in a relaxing and professional atmosphere. Located in the city of Manta on the coast of Ecuador. They also have programmes available in Quito and Cuzco, Perú. Also a Spanish and Surfing programme.
ENFOREX – Spanish Language schools open all year round for teenagers, university students and adults. Schools in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Costa Rica and Guatemala.
Equinox Spanish Schools – A Spanish school in Ecuador.
Excel Spanish Language Programs – Learn Spanish in Cusco.
Expanish – A Spanish school in Buenos Aires.
Guyana News – News and information.
Habla Ya – Learn Spanish in Panama at Habla Ya Panama Spanish Schools. There’s also a spot of volunteering on offer.
Ibero Spanish Argentina – Spanish school in Buenos Aires offering free Tango lessons, cultural programmes, group and private lessons.
Montañita Spanish School – Learn Spanish and enjoy the culture and lifestyle on the coast of Ecuador. Some volunteering options are available.
The Nature Conservancy – Magazine.
The Nicaragua Dispatch – Online newspaper.
Peru Language School – A professional Spanish Language School based in Trujillo, on the sunny northern coast of Peru. They provide practical Spanish classes and also links to free local voluntary projects.
Proyecto Peru Centre – Spanish courses with a variety of interactive language learning experiences.
Think Venezuela – News, information and links in English, Spanish and German.
Unilanguage – Learn and study Spanish in Tucuman, Argentina.