Lead-Adventures - Volunteer Programs in Ecuador

By Lead-Adventures   Reviews (4)   90% Rating

Volunteer abroad in Ecuador with Lead-Adventures, dozens of volunteer adventures are available! Experience one of most scenic destinations in South America while giving back to local communities. Lead-Adventures offers volunteer programs all over Ecuador, including the Amazon, Andes, along the Coast, and the Galapagos Islands!

Be more than a tourist.Whether you want to volunteer, teach, or simply have the adventure of a lifetime, Lead-Adventures has a variety of program options that can meet anyone's needs. Great value, local expertise and responsible travel make these programs unique.

Ecuadroian Amazon Rainforest

Amazon Animal Welfare & Resue: This is a unique opportunity to work directly with the Amazon Animal Rescue Center, set up by an animal-loving family in 2006, and the wild animals they care for. The Center works for the protection of amazonian wildlife, one of the most threatened natural resources of the Amazon Rainforest due to habitat destruction, unsustainable hunting and illegal trapping.

Ecuadroian Andes Region

Andes Animal Welfare & Resue: The Andes Lakes region Animal Center for wildlife animal protection is a place entirely dedicated to providing shelter for rescued animals which were victims of illegal trade in the northern region of Ecuador.

Custom Trips

All our programs can also be tailored or customized to fit our participants' needs. We want you to not only visit Ecuador and Galapagos, we want you to truly experience them!

Family Volunteering: Lead Adventures offers the opportunity for you to travel and volunteer together as a family in any of the four amazing regions of Ecuador: Amazon, Andes, Coast and the Galapagos Islands.

Grown Ups: Lead Adventures offers our Grown Up participants and volunteers, those who are 35 years old and older the opportunity to participate in any of the multiple programs we offer with the added comfort that adults seek. You will have the chance to learn about and share your knowledge of biodiversity, environmental conservation, social causes, organic agriculture, animal welfare, and community building.

Program Info

  • EcuadorQuito
Program Length: 
1-2 weeks
2-4 weeks
See site for details.
See Additional Information
Volunteer House
Online Application
Age Requirement

Program Reviews (4)

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  • caseysmom
    Age: 51 or older
    Etna, CA
    Volunteering in the Galapagos Islands was Great!

    Lead Adventures was very patient and answered all my questions prior to my three week trip to the Galapagos Islands.

    I spent three days in the highlands on
    Santa Cruz and four days in the highlands on San Cristobal doing a variety of volunteer work. In Santa Cruz I shredded leaves for soil making, planted trees and plants, and applied preservative to sign stakes. In San Cristobal I mixed soils for planting mixtures, filled planting bags with soils, picked guava and passion fruit for eating, helped prepare food for meals in the kitchen and cleaned out some tortoise ponds at a nearby breeding center.

    I also enjoyed the many activities that were scheduled for me. This included several snorkeling trips, visits to tortoise breeding centers, a 'long' walk to the second largest volcanic crater in the world, a visit to the 'Wall of Tears', and free days to schedule trips for yourself or to just enjoy some free time. I saw a wide variety of fish, rays, marine iguanas, tortoises, and birds, including frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, pelicans, flamingos, etc.

    The mosquitoes at the project in the San Cristobal highlands where we slept under mosquito netting and wore mosquito netting hats, when needed, was one of the only negatives. All in all, it was well worth the trip.

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  • Jane C
    Age: 31-50
    Ontario, Canada
    Great way to see the Galapagos

    The volunteer work (at the National Park greenhouses planting coffee) was not too demanding. It was nice to know that I was helping to contribute to the welfare of the local farmers. I really enjoyed my time on the Galapagos Islands. This is a great way to travel there because you are able to spend time with the people instead of a cruise where you only get to visit for one day, but a combination of both would be ideal as then you would get to see more islands. Everyone was so nice and friendly, the food was excellent. The islands are very safe, there was never any problem walking around by myself, even at night.

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  • BoomerT
    Age: 19-24
    Rockford, Michigan
    My Thoughts

    I spent 3 weeks in the Andes and 3 weeks in the Amazon rainforest at Yanacocha. I enjoyed both places. My host family in Guayaquil was very nice and I enjoyed the experience there. The animals were amazing at both places...I learned so much! I had a blast with the other volunteers at Yanacocha. So many interesting and unique animals (compared to my North American life)...and such need for their care. Even the less fun tasks of preparing food and cleaning habitats was good. I really felt needed and that I was helping a lot! Great experience...hope to return soon!

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  • Amy F
    Age: 25-30
    Vancouver, Canada
    Volunteering with Underpriviledged Children

    I volunteered at the Quito Dump Daycare center, which was built for the children of the dump site workers. The facility is excellent. It's clean and bright. There is 1 teacher, 2 helpers and 1 cook. The cook is amazing. She makes a hearty soup and rice dish for lunch every day.

    The children are 6months - 5 years of age and are divided into 3 age groups. I often started off the day by helping the workers feed the youngest children their daily milk. The children then split off into their appropriate age groups. The older children learn to count and read. The middle aged children (2-3 years old) often play with blocks, cars and dolls. The youngest children (under 2 years old) play with toys.

    The best part of the day is just playing with the children. They love to cuddle and dance. If you go in with an open mind you'll have a great time!

    Many afternoons are spent at the playground that is build on the dump site just for the children.

    The staff don't speak much English but they do their best to let you know what needs to be done (take the children to the washroom, help feed them, etc.). They really appreciate it when you try and speak Spanish.

    There's also a mobile medical clinic across the way. If you have a medical background the doctors there (they're an American couple) are quite keen to get you involved if you wish.

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Alumni Interviews

  • Why did you decide to volunteer with Lead Adventures in Ecuador?

    Ecuador Countryside
    Ecuador's countryside has some interesting visitors

    Theresa: I wanted to spend the summer volunteering abroad in a Spanish-speaking country, and spent quite a while looking at a variety of different programs. As a former teacher, I was excited about the opportunity to teach in a public school - I got to work in an area I had experience and experience the Ecuadorian education system. I also really wanted to live with a host family, both for the extended language practice and to really experience day-to-day life. Lead Adventures fit all my practical criteria (time frame, reasonable price) and offered a unique, exciting opportunity.

    Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

    Theresa: I spent the mornings teaching English at a public elementary school. I taught 6 classes every day, for 30 minutes to an hour each. My students had books, but I was given a huge amount of leeway in designing lessons that I thought would be most productive. School was out at 12:30, and I'd have lunch with my host mom and other volunteers. I spend afternoons at my mom's office planning lessons for the next day, emailing my family in the US, and talking to people. My mom and I would head home together at 5, and I normally spent evenings with my host family. I spent most weekends with my family as well, traveling around the area or just running errands. I also did some traveling with friends.

    Ecuador Elementary School Students
    Teaching these students was never boring

    What made this experience unique and special?

    Theresa: My host family. I stayed with a wonderful family that really embraced me. Mostly because of them, I really felt like I was living in Ecuador, not just visiting for a long time. I was lucky enough to have host siblings near my age to go out with, parents that would spend hours talking to me about history and politics, and grandparents to teach me to make empanadas. I still keep in touch with them.

    How has this experience impacted your future?

    Theresa: My Spanish is certainly much, much better than it was before, and I hope to continue to use it in my professional life. I'm teaching English as a foreign language again, this time for adults. I still talk to my family and friends from Ecuador, and hope to go back to visit at some point.

  • Volunteer teaching in Ecuador
    Volunteer teaching in Ecuador

    Why did you decide to volunteer with Lead-Adventures in Ecuador?

    Amy: I decided I wanted to volunteer in Latin America and contacted All Access Volunteers (based in Vancouver) and Lead-Adventures in Ecuador was one of the affiliates of the organization. The Quito Dump Daycare program jumped out at me! I really liked the idea of working with underprivileged children who come from supportive families. There are many programs that support orphans and I thought this program was different and focused on helping families and not just children.

    Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

    Amy: Days would start around 9am, when the children start to filter in. Sometimes you would see the children and their parents at the bus loop. It was nice to see them outside of the daycare setting. The parents were friendly and seemed to really appreciate the help of volunteers. At 10am every day all the children are fed a protein drink made fresh by the cook, Kathy. I often helped with the youngest children during feeding times. After the morning milk session the children broke off into 3 groups. There was 1 teacher and 2 helpers and each would watch over one of the groups. Those under 2 years of age would play with toys. The 2-3 year olds would play with blocks, cars and dolls. The older children (aged 3 and above) were taught letters, numbers, colors, animals, etc - just like a normal kindergarten classroom.

    Every day the cook would make a fresh hearty soup and rice dish for lunch. This is a time when volunteers are extremely valuable. The youngest children need help being fed and the older children generally make a delicious mess! After helping feed the kids the volunteers help clean-up. The older kids then go outside to brush their teeth. The daycare is really good about promoting good hygiene.

    After lunch the younger children go down for naps and we take the older children up to the playground or they watch a movie. On Fridays they'll play music and let the kids dance around. It's the cutest thing you've ever seen!!! If the children have older siblings they'll either come pick them up around 2pm or stay at the daycare center with them.

    There's a mobile medical clinic that runs every Tuesday & Friday mornings. It's run by an American couple. If you have a medical background often they'll ask for your assistance.

    Volunteers will be working with underprivileged children in Ecuador
    Volunteers will be working with underprivileged children in Ecuador

    How has this experience impacted your future?

    Amy: I've always wanted to volunteer in South America and I think a 2-week experience at the Quito Dump Daycare was perfect for me. The staff were great and the children were beautiful. If you're comfortable around children this is an excellent placement. I'm a nurse and I found myself really interested in the services provided by the medical clinic. If you have a background in education I think you would be very interested in what the children are taught. I was told that since the Quito Daycare Dump has been in place (7 years) there's been a 100% success rate of the children moving on to Kindergarten. I think that fact shows that a tiny daycare center can make a huge impact on the lives of children. As I've become very attached to the children at the daycare I'm very curious to see what they'll be doing in 10 or 20 years' time!

About the provider

LEAD Adventures has been around since 2004 and knows Ecuador intimately!

We are passionate about Ecuador, Galapagos & Peru. We are true in country specialists and believe most abroad agencies can not offer people an authentic experience of a place unless they really know it themselves. Most agencies abroad are part of big tourism corporations and have lost the unique personal touch our kinds of experiences require.

We do not want you to just visit a place, we want you to truly experience it!

So far we have given over 3300 people just like you an adventure in South America that they will never forget.