Affordable Volunteer Programs in Ecuador from $290

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About

Volunteers are needed in Ecuador to join a range of highly affordable projects for durations ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks. Based in the capital city of Quito, volunteers are welcomed to assist on a range of community-driven projects. Volunteers are accommodated in volunteer houses alongside other international volunteers. While Spanish is not required in order to participate on the program, volunteers can enjoy taking discounted Spanish lessons during their time on the program.

IVHQ Volunteer Projects Available in Ecuador:

  • Teaching English
  • Street Children Work
  • School Support Program
  • Summer Project
  • Kindergarten Project
  • Administration Support

Highlights

  • Programs available year-round, starting on the first and third Monday each month
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
  • Highly affordable program fees from $290 for 1 week
  • Community-driven projects focused on supporting local needs and delivering sustainable positive impacts
  • Superior support services both pre-departure and while volunteering
  • Free online volunteer training for all IVHQ volunteers
  • Between 20 and 40 IVHQ volunteers start in Ecuador each month
  • Weekends are free to explore Ecuador with fellow volunteers - explore Cotopaxi, the Galapagos Islands and more!

Questions & Answers

Don't overexert yourself. If you do too much too early you'll start to feel sick. But DO be active. Walk about the city with your friends, explore, travel... just make sure to take plenty of breaks as you need to. You will find that slowly but surely you'll begin to acclimate! Also: Drink lots of water! Really, it helps.

Reviews

93%
based on 28 reviews
  • Impact 8.9
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.2
  • Value 8.8
  • Safety 8.7
Showing 1 - 15 of 28
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Gere
8/10

Life Changing

The passion of the local team was severely infectious, as I entered hoping to grow as a person and exited with a family.

I got to work closely with kids in the street children project, and it was even more motivating to go to the markets when they greet you running with a hug! The administration support work I did was also very valuable, as the staff made me feel appreciated all throughout and I gained useful knowledge in how a nonprofit organisation works!

How can this program be improved?
Be ready for the public transportation system as it gets pretty noisy and extremely crowded! I also wish that the taxi ride back to the airport were included in my fee.
Yes, I recommend
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John
8/10

Great Experience

My family (4 kids from 17 to 8) and I had a really good experience working with the VCE Street Children program. It was hard work, but really rewarding! The volunteer coordinators, host family and everyone involved made it a good experience. We don't speak a lot of Spanish in the family, but that didn't hinder us too much in working with the children. We felt like we had an opportunity to contribute in a small way to the experience and hope that others continue to select and participate in the program.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi John, Thanks so much for sharing! It's great to hear that you were able to push past the language barrier to have a great experience volunteering alongside your family in Quito. Thanks for recommending the program and for being an IVHQer! ^Charlotte - IVHQ Ecuador Program Manage

Yes, I recommend
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Jessica
9/10

Unforgettable family volunteer trip

My family, including 3 children 13, 12, and 10 volunteered through IVHQ in the Sreet Children program in Ecuador. IVHQ made this trip possible with excellent customer service and an easy step by step method.
I spoke to IVHQ, for the first time, 4 weeks before we landed in Ecuador. Though this is not an ideal lead time to plan a trip like this, because they are so organized, helpful and overall fantastic I was able to plan a fabulous trip with their help. I felt comfortable and safe for myself in my family because of the support, information and training.
I will use IVHQ again. They were our travel agent, concierge, and booking agent all in one.

How can this program be improved?
Sliding scale on the accommodation cost for family with young kids
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Jess, Thanks for your kind words! It's great to hear you felt supported throughout the volunteering process and that your family enjoyed their time working with children in the markets of Quito. We're stoked that you made the last-minute decision to join us in Ecuador and look forward to having your family volunteer with IVHQ again soon! ^Charlotte - IVHQ Ecuador Program Manager

Yes, I recommend
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Linda
10/10

Expand Your World With Volunteer Connection Ecuador

I had the privilege to spend February 2018 in Quito Ecuador volunteering with Volunteer Connection Ecuador (VCE.) From the moment I arrived at the airport until the day of my departure the members of the VCE team were welcoming, knowledgeable, and extremely well-organized. Their Monday group orientation for new volunteers provided the necessary framework to get started with projects most suited to our skills and interests. On the first day of our placement, a fellow volunteer and I who had chosen to work in community development, were escorted to the school where we would spend our month volunteering. This allowed us to feel comfortable with the local public transportation system and also was a wonderful introduction to the staff members with whom we would be working. Since I am a retired teacher very involved with school and community gardening in the U.S., my placement could not have been more perfect. My days there were spent in the beautiful gardens, working with staff and students. I was in paradise! My fellow volunteer spent most of her time helping with kitchen duties and also spending time with the students on the playground. On a few rainy days we worked in the school’s library.
I want to thank Gina Molina, VCE’s program manager, for her part in creating a very memorable experience for me. In addition to making our integration into the school community seamless, she also acted as a “travel agent” by setting up weekend excursions outside of Quito. VCE also connected us with patient and energetic Spanish teachers. After returning to my accommodations (which were also fine, by the way) after volunteering at the school, I prepared for afternoon language lessons. Never a dull moment! I hope to return within the year to work again with this very impressive organization.

How can this program be improved?
Please try to attract more people from different age groups. Most volunteers are in their teens, early 20's. I was one of the few over the age of 60. Many of us still have lots of energy and want to do meaningful things. Maybe show more "older" people in your publicity shots... Otherwise, I loved the program and can't think of how to improve it.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Linda, Thanks for your kind words! I'm glad to hear that you felt well supported by our local team in Quito and it sounds like you made the most of your time by getting stuck into the gardening at your placement! It’s great to have you as an IVHQer and we hope to have you back on another of our programs soon. ^Charlotte - IVHQ Ecuador Program Manager

Yes, I recommend
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Geraldine
10/10

Ecuador in my 50's!

I cannot tell you how amazing this volunteer opportunity was. The IVHQ folks were amazing!!! My placement at the school with Kindergarten students was unforgettable. As if that wasn't enough, I made like 50 new friends and we traveled every weekend. The younger gals knew what to do so I just followed and had a blast. I never thought I'd have my arms wrapped around a tree in the Amazon Rain Forest but I did. Then I zip lined - BACKWARD! The girls made me do it and I don't regret a second of it!!!

How can this program be improved?
I wish I would have gone for a longer period. This program is magical!!
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Geraldine, Thanks for your lovely review! It sounds like you had an amazing adventure in Ecuador with your new friends and we would love to have you join us again in the future! ^Charlotte - IVHQ Ecuador Program Manager

Yes, I recommend
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Natalie
10/10

I would definitely recommend going on this volunteer programme

I loved my short time volunteering in Quito. I volunteered on the street children project and loved it. The staff were very friendly, welcoming and inclusive. The children clearly loved the sessions as they were fun, age appropriate and interactive with lots of songs and suitable resources. The volunteer accommodation was comfortable and well presented. Food provided was also a good standard. To anyone looking into doing this I would say go for it.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Natalie, Thanks for your lovely review! We are stoked that you found working with children in Quito an enjoyable experience and look forward to having you volunteer with us again in the future!
Charlotte - IVHQ Ecuador Program Manager

Yes, I recommend
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Kate
10/10

IVHQ Ecuador Review (Street Children Work)

Volunteering in Quito, Ecuador was a lifechanging experience for me. Traveling to another continent alone can be terrifying, but from the minute I stepped foot into the country, I felt welcomed by local staff and fellow volunteers. At the airport I was met by a representative from Volunteer Connection Ecuador as well as two other girls with whom I would be sharing the taxi ride to the volunteer house. We quickly hit it off, and ended up making holiday weekend travel plans during the car ride. Orientation was incredible, as it included a thorough walking tour of Old Town (one of the most incredible areas of Quito) followed by a briefing from the local staff. The local staff in Ecuador were adored by all volunteers, especially those on the Street Children project. Every morning, we would wake up and travel to the markets together, where the local staff always made us feel safe and watched all volunteers carefully on the bus rides there. The program itself is incredibly impactful as you grow to love the kids from day 1. Possibly some of the sweetest children you will ever encounter, the hardest part about going home is leaving them behind. When not volunteering, you are able to grow close to those in your homestay, sharing meals at home, weekend trips, and nights out together. I was able to travel with fellow volunteers to Baños and the Amazon, something that I will not soon forget. Taking a trip with IVHQ is sure to be one of the best experiences of your life, as every person you will encounter will help you grow as a person.

How can this program be improved?
I would like to see better supplies for the children in the markets. Although I do understand that UBECI is a small NGO, the toys that were brought to the children in the market seemed old and unsanitary, and I feel as though they could do with investing money into new ones.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Kate, Thanks for your kind words! We are so glad that our program in Ecuador allowed you to have a vast range of new experiences and gave you the chance to meet new friends from all over the world. I hope that this volunteer trip will be one of many for you!
Charlotte - IVHQ Ecuador Program Manager

Yes, I recommend
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Sarah
9/10

Street Children Program

I had never been to south american so i didn’t know what to expect. Also, this was my first volunteering experience. IVHQ are very supportive and they take care of you in the whole process not only until you pay and confirm your spot! The street children program was quite the life changing experience for me! It was exactly what I needed to make sure I am making someone happy just by being there. The children are adorable and their smiles were worth everything for me. The only thing i would comment on would be the language barrier, which is why i would recommend IVHQ has a mandatory requirement of basic Spanish for all programs. I was practically suffering in the first week to communicate with the staff and kids at least until Spanish lessons kicked in! 😀
It is a good program and UBECI is trying to give those children the support they need. With some changes, this could be one of the best IVHQ programs.

How can this program be improved?
1- basic spanish as a mandatory requirement
2- spanish classes to start before the program start date
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Sarah, Thanks for your kind words! It's great to hear that you felt well supported on the program and enjoyed your time working with the children in Quito. We hope you will join us on another program soon!
Charlotte - IVHQ Ecuador Program Manager

Yes, I recommend
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Erin
4/10

4-5 star review for IVHQ, 2 stars for Volunteer Connection Ecuador

I volunteered in Quito, Ecuador for 4 weeks and for the most part it was a wonderful journey, but it's been over a year after my experience and it's important I finally write a review. Part way through my stay, I was robbed with a knife a block away from my host family's house during daylight (7:30 am). I was wearing plain, modest clothing and had no flashy jewelry on etc. I was carrying a backpack as I was going to meet a volunteer friend at the bus stop for a weekend trip. I was in no place to fight off a man in my face with a large knife (and turns out he had an accomplice waiting for him a block away) and gave everything to him as he demanded. I was fortunate that I was not harmed. I ran to the bus stop to find my friend. The director of VCE was called. He asked if I was okay which I appreciate but to my knowledge did nothing else. My host family was really helpful and walked with me to the police station. The police tried to ignore what happened. My host father, who I will forever appreciate for this, argued with 3 different officers for nearly an hour until they agreed to write a report. My complaint IS NOT that I was robbed. This is not anyone's fault. It was difficult in many ways, to do things like acquiring some medications I lost, but my complaint is how it was handled by VCE. Although I would have preferred VCE share this with volunteers to alert them, at the very least they could have asked if I needed help replacing anything, or asked how I was doing. I told different staff what happened and this was not shared between them. Maybe one time, one of the staff could have said, "How are you doing?". My fellow volunteers were amazing. They gave me extra things they had like a rain jacket, basic medicines, etc. There was another volunteer, also a young white female, robbed with a knife nearby her host family's house (different house from mine) a couple weeks after I left Ecuador. I heard she was not hurt but that there were 5 criminals involved; I never heard the full story. My roommate there witnessed a daytime robbery a few blocks from the office, near the mall. I am concerned at the safety of these neighborhoods. I had been to South America twice before (once before to Ecuador) so I felt I had good travel common sense. This review would be entirely different had I not been robbed and I would be raving about the VCE staff and experience, the awesome Spanish lessons, the bakeries, adorable Ecuadorian kids, and friends I made from around the world. Those are bright memories I have and I understand all the stellar reviews for VCE, as I almost was in that position too. But it bothers me how my robbery was handled. IVHQ I WOULD recommend to people; the Ecuador program I would not. IVHQ handled the situation much better. I told them about the robbery in the review and I could tell in the email they truly cared and wanted to understand what happened. That meant so much to me, so thank you, IVHQ. VCE does incredible things for people of Quito, and the staff really are wonderful people that provided great program support. I was the first volunteer I'm personally aware of that was a victim of robbery at knife-point, so I realize they may not have known how to handle such a situation, which is one reason why I wrote this review. So many areas of Quito are beautiful, and I hope things are going well for VCE, but I will never return.

How can this program be improved?
The welcome orientation was very good, but recommendations to share, is telling volunteers in orientation the only safe way to travel if you have luggage (at least for single women volunteers) is by having a taxi pick you up RIGHT outside your host family's house so you are never carrying a backpack on streets. I feel they should also share volunteers have been robbed before by armed criminals and what to do in such a situation. If someone is robbed, they should ask how the volunteer is doing so the volunteer will feel like the staff care. Better yet, if they can speak the volunteer's native language, try. The day of the robbery what I remember was the hardest thing was describing in Spanish what happened to the police, my host family, the director, everyone. I normally love Spanish- but all I wanted to do this day was speak English which the VCE staff do speak very well. I spoke to them in English and they would switch back to Spanish. I took it as a compliment that they could understand my Spanish, and any day where my life wasn't threatened I loved conversing with them in Spanish, but just a side note. :)
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Erin, thanks for sharing a reflection on your experience in Ecuador. We are sorry to hear about the robbery which disrupted your otherwise positive experience. We can assure you that the safety of our volunteers is a top priority for both IVHQ and our local teams, and in addition to the pre-departure training offered by IVHQ, our Ecuador team also provide an extensive safety briefing during the program orientation to ensure volunteers are well informed about how to avoid situations where they would feel unsafe. This involves ensuring that volunteers are supported to coordinate direct transport to and from their accommodations, so they are never walking alone. We can assure you that our local team are committed to providing personalized assistance to volunteers and are proactive in following up with volunteers on an ongoing basis to ensure they are happy with their program and overall experience in Ecuador. We have shared this feedback with the Ecuador team who have taken your thoughts on board, as they pride themselves in the high level of support they offer volunteers. Kind regards,

Charlotte - IVHQ Ecuador Program Manager

No, I don't recommend
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Jill
10/10

Street Children Project in Ecuador

I participated in the Street Children Work project in Ecuador. I absolutely loved this trip for so many reasons. First of all, IVHQ does such a good job of responding to emails and making sure you're safe and prepared to travel, and also help you arrange weekend trips easily. Secondly, I really liked the homestead aspect. On the trip, volunteers are placed in the home of an actual family living in Ecuador with other volunteers. The food they cooked was amazing, and it was interesting to see how they lived their lives in Ecuador. Also it was awesome to meet volunteers from all around the world. For the actual volunteering, the kids were great, they're all super grateful for your presence and very loving. The UBECI staff is so good with kids and it's really fulfilling to see how excited they get when they see us in the markets. Ecuador is also relatively inexpensive to the states and has a fun nightlife on the weekends. Overall, I really recommend this trip and IVHQ in general.

How can this program be improved?
All it really needs is more funding but that's one of their goals and should get better with time.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Jill, Thanks for your great review and gorgeous pics! We are so glad to hear that you felt well supported by IVHQ and our local team – that is what we are here for. Thanks for your recommendation and we would love to have you volunteer with us again in the future.
Charlotte – IVHQ Ecuador Program Manager

Yes, I recommend
Ashly
Ashly
10/10

Best Experience! Highly Recommended!

I was reluctant to travel alone as a single female, but could not be any happier that I did! Between the experience itself and the friends that I made along the way, this program was life changing! I worked for a month on the Street Children Project in Quito and never wanted to leave. From teaching English to children falling asleep in your arms, it was beyond my every expectation. The children are so loving and want nothing more than your love and attention. The UBECI staff was amazing and made you feel comfortable and right at home. I also took part in the Spanish lessons that were offered and they were intense, but I learned a great deal. Safety was not an issue as you travel to and from the street markets as a group. While staying in Quito, I was placed at the volunteer house. At the house, on our downtime, we played games, had movie nights, and planned our next adventures. Those of us at the house generally traveled as a group on the weekends as there are so many things to do and see! I would recommend this program to anyone that is looking for a hands on experience that will impact the children's lives and their lives forever.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Ashly, It is great to hear that your solo volunteer trip to Ecuador was a great success! Thanks for being an awesome volunteer and we would love to have you join us again in the future.
Charlotte - IVHQ Ecuador Program Manager

Yes, I recommend
Katrina
7/10

An Experience

I didn't realize what I was getting into. I had a great time and am glad I went but I didn't like the city of Quito at all. You do have to have a god level of Spanish speaking skills in order to talk with anyone. The only people I met who spoke Spanish were the people at IVHQ and the fellow volunteers. You will be staying with a host family who does not speak English. It is hard, but a great experience nonetheless.

How can this program be improved?
Make sure they know how much they need to have a working knowledge of Spanish. Bring things for the kids you are working with.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Katrina, Thanks for pushing past the language barrier to have a great experience in Ecuador. We are sorry to hear that Quito did not meet your expectations and we encourage you to please contact us if you would like to provide more feedback.
Charlotte – IVHQ Ecuador Program Manager

Yes, I recommend
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Makenzie
10/10

The Best 2 Weeks

I have previously traveled with IVHQ to Kenya and China, but out of the three programs I have participated in, working with UBECI in Quito has been my favorite. Though there are things that could be improved upon from an NGO stand-point, the intent and mission of the UBECI staff and program coordinators is incredible. Jairo and Javier (the group leaders) were amazing with the kids, they always led fun, engaging lessons, and you could tell that they cared very deeply about the kids and their welfare. The kids were so much fun to play with - they were all so happy and so friendly, it was so rewarding to be able to work with them, to teach them, to be examples to them, to play with them, and to learn from them.
With most people, especially with me and the programs I have participated in, I always go in thinking that I am going to do my best to serve the kids and make even the smallest difference in their lives, but after you go home, you realize that the kids made such an impact on you and helped/served you more than you ever thought possible. This stands true for this program - I learned more from working with UBECI than I ever thought possible, and I am eternally grateful for that.

How can this program be improved?
Involve the volunteers more with the lessons and the kids - after one week of being there, it is easy to get the hang of things, so give the volunteers some responsibilities like planning a lesson or teaching a game! We are there to help - let us!!
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Makenzie, Thanks so much for sharing! We are so glad to hear that you enjoyed your time on our program in Quito and appreciated the life-lessons you gained from the local team and the children at your project. Thanks again for sharing and we hope you will join us again for a forth program!
Charlotte – IVHQ Ecuador Program Manager

Yes, I recommend
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Lily
10/10

My Volunteer Trip to Quito, Ecuador

My volunteer trip to Quito, Ecuador in 2 words would be "life changing". I had never heard of IVHQ before and so when it started getting close to when it was time to leave I got a little bit more nervous. A week before my trip I came across a Facebook page for Ecuador IVHQ Program, so I joined it and got to reading on tips from past volunteers and even met volunteers via Facebook who were arriving the same time as me, seeing this eased my nerves. I felt more ready than ever. When I arrived in Quito, Ecuador with my boyfriend and as we walked right through the "exit doors" into the airport lobby there was a man with my boyfriend and I's name on the sign, which was super easy and comforting to see. He took us to our accommodations where our host mom Monica was there to welcome us to our new home for the next 2 weeks and to show us around. They instantly made us feel at home!! We met the volunteers that were living in the Volunteer House as well and we all clicked instantly and were laughing and sharing about ourselves in no time. Monday came along and we had orientation which was super informative and answered any questions we may have had. We also met the IVHQ staff that worked in the offices and everyone was sweet and eager to help us. Tuesday we jumped right in and started volunteering, we met the staff of the organization, UBECI, whom we would be volunteering with for the Street Children project. Everyone in this staff was so sweet and you could tell by the first day they truly cared about the kids and the difference that we were making. I fell in love with all the kids! We would wash their hands, play games with them, and have small interactive lessons with them. The connection that my boyfriend and I made with the kids, staff, and other volunteers was extraordinary. We had become one big family!! And to top it all off the meals that the host families would cook for us were delicious and I still crave them to this day. The time flew by and by the end of the trip the only regret I had was not staying longer. I would 10/10 recommend to anyone who is considering volunteering abroad or in a different country! Can't wait to go back one day! Thank you IVHQ staff and UBECI staff!

How can this program be improved?
n/a
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Lily, Thanks for your awesome review! We are so happy to hear that you were well supported by IVHQ and our local team and had a life changing experience volunteering in Quito, Ecuador. It sounds like you made the most of your time on the program by getting to know the children at your placement and enjoying your time with the other volunteers. Thanks for recommending IVHQ and for being a great volunteer – we would love to have you back!
Charlotte – IVHQ Ecuador Program Manager

Yes, I recommend
Isaac
10/10

An excellent program for anybody

I originally went to Ecuador because I needed something to pad my resumé for PhD program admissions. What I got instead was something much more than that. During my time there, I spent most of my days in the NGO Support project, with some days spent in the Street Children project, seeking funding and logistic support for the UBECI Foundation, which seeks to better the lives of underserved and underprivileged children at risk in the capital city of Quito. Not only is the cause a good one, but the organization itself is fantastic. The team takes their charge seriously and they really do make a difference in the lives of the children they serve. It is not an exaggeration to say that they are a godsend. To have been able to work with them was truly an honor, and I expect to be going back some day very soon.

But beyond the work I did, I can happily say that I was satisfied with every aspect of my trip. I planned it through IVHQ, who partners with VCE in-country, and both of them saw to my every need. My accommodation in the Volunteer House with Monica and Byron was an excellent experience. We were well fed, warmly welcomed, and made to feel at home. On top of this, VCE provided many travel opportunities around the city and beyond for decent prices, which I took great advantage of.

All told, the relatively cheap cost of this program along with the excellent work environment and the overall good experience makes this trip ideal for everyone, regardless of your travel or volunteer experience. People of all ages and backgrounds were there, including whole families. I highly recommend you take advantage of this opportunity.

How can this program be improved?
The information booklet provided by IVHQ is in need of updating. Some of the cultural information as well as what to pack is a little outdated. Still, this did not hamper my trip in any way. It's more an issue of convenience.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Issac, it's great to hear from you! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts regarding your experience in Ecuador, it sounds like you had a really memorable time. The local team in Quito are incredibly dedicated and we are so grateful that you noticed the impact they are having. We would love to have you back in Ecuador, or on another IVHQ program, in the future.

Yes, I recommend

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