Most Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in Cartagena from $450

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Trusted by 90,000+ volunteers, IVHQ offers the most popular volunteer programs in Cartagena and 40+ other destinations around the world.

You can choose from 4 volunteer project options in Cartagena and give back for periods ranging from 2 to 12 weeks. Your Program Fee includes airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support. You’ll be accommodated in a volunteer apartment, with other like-minded, impact-focused travelers from around the world.

IVHQ is trusted to support the meaningful adventures of thousands of volunteers every year, so before you even depart for Cartagena, you’ll receive outstanding personalized service from your expert Volunteer Program Manager and exclusive access to superior pre-departure volunteer training.

With IVHQ, you can expect to establish real connections within the local community while supporting projects that make a genuine difference.

Current IVHQ Volunteer Programs in Colombia:

  • Teaching
  • Childcare
  • Sports Development
  • Community
  • IVHQ’s Colombia Cartagena program is available year-round, starting on the 1st and 15th of every month
  • Highly affordable program fees starting from $450 for 2 weeks - IVHQ provides the most affordable and top-rated programs
  • You’ll be joining between 5 and 20 other IVHQ volunteers who start in Cartagena each month
  • You’ll be traveling with IVHQ, the volunteer travel experts, and joining a network of 90,000+ volunteers. Our outstanding safety systems and track record set us apart, we are the world’s safest organization
  • Your efforts will have a positive impact because our programs are community-driven with a focus on supporting long-term local needs

Questions & Answers


based on 6 reviews
  • Impact 9.5
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9
  • Value 9
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 6 of 6

Life Changing!

I spend 2 weeks there and I was able to participate in different programs. Most of them, teaching English to children's. But they also have programs with elder care, cancer victims that need a moment of joy and kindergarten assistance.
It was a immersive experience and we could connect with the communities and get to know the people who live there. For me, this was the top 1 reason why I loved this experience.
The children's were kind and respectful, eager to learn. So the teaching was natural and easy.
I felt home in our volunteer house. We had dinner together every day and spend weekends travelling together as well. I felt welcome by the city and by all the Colombians I met.
If I had the time, I would stay there at least 4 weeks. Two weeks was enough for me to leave with tears.

How can this program be improved?
I would recommend the program to require Spanish speaking from volunteers, or at least intermediate level. Being able to communicate and connect with the community is what make this program so special for me, and it can be frustrating for the volunteers who can't.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Volunteer in Colombia

The Cartagena program was fantastic. Good food, comfy accommodations, the nicest staff. The programs were very meaningful. I was only there for 2 weeks but felt like I was part of the family by the time I left. Monica the director of the program is the nicest, most caring woman. Our weekly meetings added value and a bond that is hard to describe. Colombia is a place of nice, warm people and the staff is a direct reflection of that. On the weekends, volunteers were allowed to travel to other parts of Colombia, and the staff helped us book flights and hostels, as well as give us safety tips on how to travel through Colombia. On my last night, Monica took us out for dinner and thanked me for my time down there. She made every volunteer feel special, as well as valued. For that, I am grateful.

How can this program be improved?
Healthier food should be made available
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Georgia, Thanks for taking the time to share about your volunteering experience in Cartagena. It's great to hear you were able to explore further afield in Colombia during your weekends and that you were well looked after by the local team! Until next time!

Yes, I recommend this program

Cartagena is a MUST SEE

My fiancé and I did the Cartagena program for two weeks. I absolutely loved my time in Colombia and I feel that I made a difference in the kids lives that I worked with. Our coordinator Monica is an excellent leader and loves her volunteers. She even bought all of the volunteers ice cream one night.

My fiancé got hurt one night and needed to visit the hospital. Monica sat in the hospital with us for 8 hours and helped us pay a better fee for my fiancé’s procedures.

Overall, there is a lot of sights to see in Cartagena and other cities. The program and the volunteers make the price we paid well worth it!

How can this program be improved?
The program can be improved by letting volunteers know about how much they will pay in taxis to and from work.

Also, we had a private room but it was a waste. We didn’t even get to sleep in the same bed. Would have been better off in different rooms.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Sean, Thanks for your lovely review! It's great to hear that you felt well supported by the local coordinator while on the program and enjoyed your time teaching sport to the children in Cartagena. We hope you will both join us on another program soon! ^Charlotte - IVHQ Colombia - Cartagena Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program
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Cartagena = Unforgettable

Where to begin? Although it is very cliché, the number of unforgettable moments and people we encountered in Cartagena is truly incredible. From teaching English in Granitos and Santa Rita, to playing games with the elderly at Granitos, to playing soccer (fútbol) with the children of Marea Turbaco and Marea Canopote (rehab facilities for children), to facilitating arts and crafts sessions with children, to spending quality time with the children of Funvivir, it becomes difficult to put a premium on just one specific moment. Not to mention this list of experiences completely disregards the equally as rewarding weekend adventures to Playa Blanca, Santa Marta, Taganga, and the Old City!

With that being said, one moment that is ingrained in me forever because of my background, is having the chance to play soccer with the children in the rehabilitation facilities. I played soccer competitively at the collegiate level and still occasionally play when I have time outside of work. My Spanish is poor so having the chance to communicate with all of the kids through a sport we share a mutual love for was an experience like no other. Through the language of fútbol, I could connect and create a good rapport with the kids, as well as earn the kids’ respect in a unique way. After playing for the first time for a few hours with the kids, I immediately sensed their interest in me and noticed that they were more open to me being there. I will never forget that feeling along with the overall energy and happiness of the Colombian people we met. The people were also a pleasant reminder that happiness is generated from within; not from money, materials, or other superficial means.

There are so many pros to visiting Cartagena: the Program Manager genuinely cares about the organizations we work with; the coordinators are local, young, some former members of the organizations we work with and allow you to use your own creativity when it comes to projects; the volunteer house is just a few blocks walk from the beach and a short cab ride to the Old City and Bocagrande; the variety of projects to work on provides a lot of different opportunities; the hot weather is great (the humidity takes some adjusting to); the nightlife and bar scene is great; the landscape combination of mountainous terrain and beach views… the list goes on and on.

It is very important to not let preconceived notions about a place in the world dictate your thoughts about that place (and whether you should visit). I say this as one of my concerns prior to going to Colombia was the safety of the country. There were so many internet articles that shunned the idea of going to Colombia because there are so many other “more safe” places in the world to visit. Now that I have spent time in Colombia and experienced it for myself, I can validate that the country is plenty safe. Just as you would in your home country – use common sense and refrain from putting yourself in a vulnerable position (out too late, drinking heavily, showing off money/jewelry – mostly the combination of all three). If you observe these types of rules just like you normally would, it is unlikely you will run into trouble. I will 100% be going back to Colombia. Knowing what I know now it would have been such a missed opportunity to learn about an amazing culture had I not gone.

This volunteer experience was unforgettable and I hope to have plenty more in the future!

How can this program be improved?
One of the things that made the program difficult at times was the lack of structure. With that being said, Emerging Voices was going through some transition in team members and as the new team members continue to develop and mature the program will only get better.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Kevin, Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed review of your time in Cartagena - it's awesome to hear how much you enjoyed the program! Thanks for being such a dedicated and motivated volunteer. We hope to have you join us again soon! ^Clover - IVHQ Colombia Cartagena Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program
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Cartagena Colombia my Home away from Home.

Cartagena Colombia, who would have thought that this would have become the most life changing and epic experience I have ever had. I went with the intention of changing the world and Colombia changed me.

From the onset things seemed natural and flowed smoothly, Monica and her local are some the most awesome people I have ever met. They worked assiduously to ensure that we made the positive impact, that myself and fellow volunteers intended on leaving in Cartagena. Not only was this a high priority on their agenda, but also was our assimilation into the Emerging Voices and IVHQ family.

My first placement was at a rehab for at risk youth on the outskirts of Cartagena, where I thought football to both boys and girls. These kids went from total strangers to my brothers and sisters very quickly; they treated me with love and respect, all of which was facilitated by my coordinator Beto. Further to this, I also enjoyed a dance class where I learned both Salsa and Reggeaton choreography’s. This class was actually meant for the kids but I was allowed to join in, it was amazing. Thereafter, I thought basic English on the Grannitios project wow!!! this was so much fun. The kids on this project impacted my life in ways that they would never know, their willingness and excitement to learn was outstanding. They did not want me to leave but unknowingly to them neither did I. Looking back on it now I always refer to them as my kids remembering everyone of them by name. They gave me the most amazing thank you letter before I left.

Gardening in Grannitios was also epic, helping out the grandmas with their gardening which was facilitated by my passionate coordinator Jesus. Through doing this project I remember meeting a ten-year-old kid from Venezuela he so wanted to help us in the garden. However, we did not want him to get hurt. This young man even though he was not directly connected to any of the projects he made me reflect on my own life. Then it was the kids at Funvivir who were diagnosed with cancer, honestly, going in I was not sure what to expect but my coordinator Juan assisted me quite amply. These kids were so full life and joy even though they were diagnosed with cancer at no point did their love for life fade. They reminded me that life was meant to be enjoyed no matter what.

In good conscience, I cannot not, mention the salsa nights with my fellow volunteers. This was also quite a blockbuster experience, we thoroughly enjoyed each others company and interacting with the local people who are so amicable. I could continue to ramble on about this trip, from the beautiful streets of the walled city, to watching the sunset at Café Del Mar. However, one thing I would say is this is a must do trip, bucket list worthy type of trip. Hopefully, my review inspires you to do this.

In conclusion, I would end the same way I began, I went with the intention of changing the world and Colombia changed me.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Phillipe, Thanks for taking the time to leave such a detailed review of your time in Cartagena - it sound like you had a truly life changing time! We hope to have you volunteer with us again soon!
Clover - IVHQ Colombia - Cartagena Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program
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Best experience..You will want to go back!

Let me start off by saying you will not regret this experience in Cartagena! If anything you will probably want to stay longer just like I did.

This experience definitely impacted and altered my world. It was one of a kind as it was really rewarding volunteering in different projects during the week, and having the opportunity to explore and learn about the city during the weekends.

The minute I arrived to the airport, Carlos our neighbor, was so generous and welcoming waiting to take us to the volunteer house. Soon after, I met Monica, Emerging Voices' director who was super helpful and kind. She makes you feel at home as soon as you get there and gives you information about important things you might want to know, as well as places you can visit. The house was spacious and simply beautiful. The staff and accommodations were great and soon after interacting with the other volunteers in the house, I felt like we were a family.

It was really nice of Monica to allow us to go to all the projects offered at the time for the first week, in order for us to pick which ones we wanted to stick to by the end of the week. I was able to do three different projects in one month which was amazing. I did childcare in the mornings Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and I taught an advance English class in the afternoons on Monday and Wednesday. I also worked with children who had cancer on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I fell in love with each project instantly and even more with the children I worked with. They were amazing and really impacted my life!

The social scene is ineradicable! You are able to explore the city, go dancing, have a few drinks, and meet and interact with other locals/foreigners. The best part is that if you get along with the other volunteers in the house, you will most likely be exploring with them and splitting costs in taxi rides! I suggest going to Tayrona Park which is Paradise. You can also take a tour bus which lets you learn so much about Cartagena. The beaches are amazing, and having a beach that is five minutes away from the house is a bonus! You will really create great experiences if you go with an open mind, and open heart and willingness to help others. You will also realize they will leave an impact in your life just like you leave an impact on their lives!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Karen, Wow! It’s so awesome that we were able to provide you with such an incredible and life changing volunteer abroad experience. It sounds like you got the most out of your volunteer trip because you had the right attitude going in to it; like you said an open mind, heart and a willingness to help others will go a long way. Thank for volunteering with IVHQ, we hope to see you on another of our programs again in the future.

Yes, I recommend this program

About International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

IVHQ is the world’s most trusted and affordable volunteer abroad organization, offering the largest range of safe and impactful volunteer programs in 40+ destinations around the world.

Over 80,000 travelers have volunteered abroad with IVHQ over the...