• Ecuador
    • Quito
1 to 12 weeks

Program Details

Short Term Spring Break Summer Winter Year Round
Guesthouse Host Family
Travel Type
Budget Family Older Travelers Solo Women


Starting Price
Price Details
Fully hosted experience from only $270 for 1 week - this includes accommodation, meals, airport pick-up, orientation and 24/7 in-country support.
What's Included
Accommodation Some Activities Airport Transfers Meals
What's Not Included
Airfare Travel Insurance Visa
Jan 03, 2023
Jan 24, 2023
16 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Trusted by 124,000+ volunteers, IVHQ offers the world's most popular volunteer programs in Ecuador and 50+ other destinations around the world.

Based in and around Quito and Santa Elena, volunteers can choose from 18 meaningful programs starting at just US$270 for one week. When you're not giving back to the local community, you can immerse yourself in Ecuadorian culture and join exhilarating tours for periods ranging from 1 to 12 weeks.

Your fully-hosted experience includes airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support. You’ll be accommodated in either a homestay or a dormitory-style volunteer house with other like-minded, impact-focused travelers from around the world.

IVHQ is trusted to support the meaningful adventures of thousands of volunteers, so even before you depart, you’ll receive outstanding service from your IVHQ Program Manager and gain exclusive access to volunteer training and preparation tools.

Consider your impact: Volunteering abroad can be a rewarding experience for both volunteers and local communities, and at Go Overseas, we believe all volunteers should have the resources to make informed decisions about the type of volunteer project they want to partake in. However, despite best intentions, some organizations offering placements in orphanages may unknowingly place children in danger. You can read about the potential dangers of orphanage volunteering here. Learn more about how International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ is promoting ethical volunteering.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • IVHQ’s Ecuador programs are available year-round, starting every Monday
  • Fully-hosted volunteer experience from $21/day - IVHQ provides the most affordable and top-rated programs
  • You’ll be joining a global network of 124,000+ volunteers backed by the world’s leading team of volunteer travel experts with an outstanding safety system and track record
  • Support impact-driven volunteer projects run by locals within your host community
  • Flexible booking and free changes so you can register with confidence

Popular Programs

Volunteer in Ecuador with IVHQ

Based in Santa Elena, Animal Care volunteers assist veterinarians in a local animal treatment center within an aquarium. Help to treat marine animals while building on your experience or studies in a relevant field.

IVHQ Ecuador

With projects available in both Quito and Santa Elena, Community Development volunteers assist local organizations to do things like run school meal support programs for underprivileged children, maintain community gardens and help with cleaning and renovation projects at schools, community centers and playgrounds.

Volunteer in Ecuador with IVHQ

With placements available in Quito and Santa Elena, volunteers on this project teach English to students ranging from 3-12 years old. Tasks include helping with lesson planning, providing classroom support and working one-on-one with students who require it.

Volunteer in Ecuador with IVHQ

As an Environmental Education volunteer in Santa Elena, you'll help teach local children and adults techniques for conserving the environment and assist with beach clean ups, community upcycling and recycling programs and more.

Program Reviews

4.66 Rating
based on 44 reviews
  • 5 rating 75%
  • 4 rating 20.45%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 4.55%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Impact 4.6
  • Support 4.65
  • Fun 4.65
  • Value 4.6
  • Safety 4.5
Showing 1 - 8 of 44 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Holiday Break Opportunity

I felt like there was always support for me whether that was pre-departure, on the ground, or when traveling as well as after. The staff were very helpful and fun and gave useful information. This opportunity allowed me to really gain valuable practice with Spanish, as in this two week program gave me better practice than a 4 month study abroad. And of course the valuable impact made on the community, and for me, the environment. My project was for Environmental Education and I worked with the Marine Park to help endangered sea turtles!

  • My Spanish is exponentially better.
  • I got experience a coastal/marine ecosystem.
  • I feel more confident as a solo traveler.
  • A friend of mine got their phone stolen.
  • I got my feet sunburnt and could not volunteer for two days.
3 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Sheri McAuliffe
Yes, I recommend this program

Small village - big impact

Can’t speak for the Quito program, but Santa Elena was incredible. It is in a small village, Ballenita, located right on the seashore. The local nonprofit has a nice apartment like building that has their office and the residences. A nice courtyard provides a great meeting place for volunteers. The school is mere blocks away and students live in the neighborhood, and call out “hello teacher” as you walk around town. The school is a bit chaotic, but it felt easy to slide right in and teach. I feel their resources are few so you’re really appreciated by the teachers and students.

  • Community
  • Integrated
  • Seashore
  • Some may want more of a city
  • Some might be overwhelmed by the lack of us structure in the school
6 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

IVHQ Quito, Ecuador Music Project

I was in Quito, Ecuador teaching for their Music Project for nine weeks. It was such an amazing and eye-opening experience. This was my first time out of my country, and IVHQ made it so manageable and comfortable for me! I loved it so much that I am going on another trip through them for teaching music this coming year! My favorite part of the entire trip was getting to meet all of the new people. You make so many connections you would not think of. I have made new best friends that I know I will keep for a lifetime. I highly recommend going through them for your future international travels!

  • Meeting new People
  • Getting out of your comfort zone
  • Learning new things every day
  • Safety being a top priority
8 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
No, I don't recommend this program


IVHQ only cares about the money and not the health and safety of its volunteers. I could probably write ten pages worth of major mistakes they made. If you're considering choosing the program in Quito I would strongly suggest you choose either a different location or a different company altogether. Before I arrived they had changed the curfew hours due to the younger volunteers breaking the rules and did not inform us. During my time there some of the younger volunteers had broke curfew again and had alcohol in their room and were never kicked out. Riots in Ecuador had broken out and our programs had been shut down temporarily. They never informed any of the new incoming volunteers before arriving. I decided to leave a week early while I was still able to reach the airport before the riots closed down the streets and since I was type one diabetic I did not want to be stuck for an unknown amount of time. The day after I left my fellow volunteer found out she had Covid and strep throat. She was taken to the hospital by one of the program directors and she left her there alone for hours. For days my friend had to rely on other volunteers to bring her food in water until she contacted Sammy and complained. The food itself was not enough either, if you got to the table last you would not have dinner or breakfast and the meals were very small, not even enough for a child. Since this is part of what we pay for I think it is ridiculous because we are told to only bring extra money for lunch. In the end, most volunteers had to leave early because of the riots and did not receive refunds. When I contacted Sammy about several issues she tried to blame it on my lack of knowledge about the country and that since I am from America I am very fortunate and do not realize how well I have it in my country. I am an international studies major and I am very well informed about developing countries which is why I chose to do NGO support in a South American country. Overall I am very disgusted with this company.

  • You are helping mothers and children in the community
  • IVHQ does not care about their volunteers
6 people found this review helpful.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Autumn, I am sorry to hear that you were disappointed by your experience in Ecuador in June. Unfortunately the timing of your trip coincided with a planned peaceful protest that unforeseeably turned into a more widespread disturbance in the area you were located in.

IVHQ takes these types of unpredictable situations extremely seriously. We have a comprehensive Risk Management and Emergency Response Plan in place across all of our programs, including Ecuador. All IVHQ local teams are required to adhere to our Risk Management strategy, and this was followed during your time on the Ecuador program.

As soon as the local team became aware of the rioting, all upcoming volunteers were informed and given the option to change their start dates free of charge if they have wished to do so. As you were already on the program before the riots began, naturally we were not able to provide you with any advance warning.

The NGO project you were supporting remained open during this time as it operates from the volunteer accommodation. All volunteers who were on other projects were offered to join the NGO project so that they remained in the safe environment of the volunteer accommodation. The local team remained on-site throughout the rioting period to offer their support and volunteers were given the choice if they wanted to continue volunteering during this time. The Ecuador Program Manager was in daily contact with the local team to ensure volunteers felt secure and protected.

Your Program Fee was transferred to the local team when you began your time on the program, as these covered your accommodation, meals, and other in-country services. As a consequence, we were not able to refund your Program Fee, which was what Sammy communicated to you.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

IVHQ Kindergarten Program in Quito, Ecuador

I volunteered with IVHQ for 4 weeks with the Kindergarten Program in Quito and it was definitely one of the best experiences I've had in my life. I absolutely loved the school that I volunteered at and the kids were all so sweet. Each day I came into the classroom, I was greeted with a huge group hug. I helped the teacher with passing out materials and snacks and keeping an eye on all of the kids. I think it is definitely helpful if you know some Spanish so you can understand what the children and teachers are saying to you. If you don't know a lot of Spanish, taking the Spanish classes through IVHQ is very helpful. I thought it was so cool that the Spanish teachers would take us on outings to learn more about Quito. I explored the Centro Historico, museums and an artisanal market with my teacher. The Volunteer House was nice and the breakfast and dinner they served were yummy. I felt very supported by IVHQ and the local Volunteer Connection Ecuador team throughout my journey. My biggest regret was not booking for a longer period of time to explore all that Ecuador has to offer.

  • Time to Travel
  • Good accommodation and meals
  • Helpful Spanish classes
11 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Street Children Work

My trip to Quito was one I will never forget, I am a teacher in the States and I really wanted to go out of the country and give back. I never could have imagined what I was walking in to. The kids and staff are wonderful and very appreciative of ever volunteer there. The community is awesome and the children are even better. All of these children deserve a chance to dream and have goals and I think by doing our part they can see they can do much more with their lives. I plan to do more things like this, but this trip I will never forget.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
This is easy, they have a dish with pork cheek, I did not like it but it seemed to be very popular!
40 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Experienced History in Santa Elena, Ecuador

I volunteered for two weeks in Santa Elena, Ecuador with Volunteer Connection Ecuador (VCE), via IVHQ. My experience was definitely unique to say the least. The first week I was there, the President made a political decision which set the entire country in an uproar; resulting in nationwide protests, road closures and bus shutdowns. Feel free to look it up if you're interested. It was the removal of the subsidy for diesel fuel. I believe it's been resolved.

Nevertheless, being that Santa Elena is along the coast, which was away from the majority of the protests, I never felt unsafe. In fact, being from New York, I'm used to protests and people being upset over something a government official has done. So it didn't really phase me much. I mentioned this mainly to suggest that you research the political climate for anywhere you travel in the world, just to prepare yourself for what to possibly expect.

However, regarding my volunteer experience; it was great! I initially signed up for the Environmental Education project. But due to the buses being shut down, I couldn't go to that after the 1st two days. This actually turned out to be for the best, as my local program manager, Gina, was able to adapt quickly to finding alternate ways for us to serve the community. We ended up painting a mural for a local school, which turned into multiple people in the community asking us to do the same for other locations that the local kids used for either playing or learning. This ended up being a great way for us to serve the community, due to the direct impact it had. So many people were grateful for the work we did, that they even posted it in the community Whatsapp and Facebook pages. We'd be sitting in a local restaurant and people would come up to us to say thank you and say jokingly how we were now "famous" in the area.

Along with painting, we also did some beach cleanups. It's not until you're 5 large trash bags in, that you realize how much of a mess we humans make to our environments. I definitely recommend anyone to volunteer with IVHQ and taking a chance on Santa Elena, Ecuador. You'll spend on average $3.00 USD per meal, the people are friendly and beaches are really nice. If you go in the summer, June-Sept., you might even get to see turtles coming on shore to give birth. My advice is keep an open mind and be adaptable.

What was your funniest moment?
Funniest moment would have to be using the bathroom in my room, in the volunteer house. The bathroom is really small and my roommate and I are each 6ft tall. We couldn't sit down without our knees pushing open to door, so we had to figure out ways to make it work. Although we had the option of using the upstairs bathroom, which was way bigger, we decided not to, mainly due to the sheer hilariousness of it all. Gives a better story to tell later on if you have a good sense of humor.
44 people found this review helpful.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Sungi, thanks for your review of our Ecuador - Santa Elena program. I'm so glad to hear that, despite the political unrest and change to your project, you had such a rewarding experience. I liked hearing about your funny moment with the bathroom! It's the small things like this that make the best memories! Thank you so much for your adaptability and for the amazing contribution that you made to this project. It is so obviously appreciated by this community. We welcome you to come back and volunteer with us soon! ^ Kate - IVHQ Ecuador - Santa Elena Program manager

Default avatar
Sophie Eve
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible and life changing

My name is Sophie and I’m from Canada (the French part!). I’m currently studying in psychology and I just finished volunteering in Quito, Ecuador, on the Shelter project. During the project I worked at the Albergue San Juan de Dios with the most amazing people in the world! They have the biggest hearts and they work so hard to help others in need; it was an honor for me to give them a hand. The opportunity to experience a different culture while still being able to give back to individuals who are in need, was something I could not pass up on. Seeing how some of them had a hard life made me more appreciative of the resources that are easily accessible to individuals such as myself. The experience overall was incredible and life changing. I loved every second and would volunteer again a million times. Ecuador feel like a second home to me now.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The cacao fruit! It tasted nothing like chocolate… but it was good.
41 people found this review helpful.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Thanks for the lovely review, Sophie! It's great to read that the program in Ecuador has had a positive impact on your life and thank you for you valuable contribution to the program in Ecuador. We hope to have you join us again sometime soon! ^Grace - IVHQ Ecuador Program Manager

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.