Where to find Top Volunteering Opportunities in South America
Career Basics

Where to find Top Volunteering Opportunities in South America

By typing volunteering opportunities in South America into Google, you’d get a list of over fourteen million results. Most of these sites claim they’re offering you an opportunity that will have a guaranteed deep and positive impact on local communities.

But the truth is that they’re charging you big bucks to put you in touch with organizations, money that you’d never know exactly where it will end up.

The fact is volunteering for free in South America and making an impact along the way is possible, just a bit more strenuous. This is why we at www.newbalancejobs.com put together this article about where you can find legit volunteering opportunities.

The best websites for free volunteering in South America


Workaway is popularly known as the budget backpacker’s favourite and always top of the list of places to find legit volunteering opportunities in South America, Workaway is a website where hosts from across the globe offer food and accommodation in return for volunteering for four and five hours of per day.

It’s an amazing way to spend time ranging from a week to a few months living with a host family, engaging in local projects that mainly benefit the local people, and living very economically.
It’s also ideal for those hoping to pick up Spanish, as most hosts are located in rural areas and you quickly become part of the small community.

The Things to Consider:

It’s vital to state that it costs USD$ 29.00 to register for annually and to actually be able to contact hosts. Nonetheless, this really is a negligible fee if you intend on workawaying for even a few weeks per year.


Helpx is another website that operates on the principle of free and legitimate volunteering in South America. Helpx offers volunteering opportunities where labour is in return for food and accommodation.
However, be informed that many of the projects offered in South America on this site do require some contribution towards living costs. This is due to the minimal source of income in some of the poorer countries.

Just like Workaway, opportunities from Helpx range from farms to hostels to ranches, and all with the obligation of you working at least four hours per day.
Again, this is the ideal site for those on a very tight budget and who are wanting to engage in a real cultural exchange, while actually imparting lives.

The Things to Consider:

There’s a fee of €20 which is required to become a ‘premium’ helper granting you access to all hosts for a period of 2 years.
Plus don’t forget that it’s likely that you may be asked to contribute towards food and accommodation.

The best websites for low-cost volunteering in South America

Volunteer South America

This site contains a very comprehensive list specifically dedicated to opportunities for volunteering for free in South America, Volunteer South America’s aim is to aid free-thinking travelers to find grassroots NGOs.

SEE ALSO: 9 Best Nonprofit Organization to Work for

The site actively emphasizes on the significance of volunteers being as effective as possible, recommending that you do as much preparation prior to the trip: specifically in terms of studying Spanish, identifying your skill-set, learning about the regions you would like to visit and generally getting prepared to travel independently and adventurously.

The Things to Consider:

As pointed out on the website, volunteering for free in South America differs from paying through an agency in one significant way: the level of support that you will receive differs. If it’s your first time and you don’t have much knowledge of Spanish, or you typically would prefer to feel like there are people looking out for you during your deployment, then the opportunities listed on this site is not for you.

Nonetheless, these programs have generally provided it’s participants with a certain degree of support anyway.

Additionally, the volunteering opportunities on Volunteer South America requires you to cover the living costs, so when it says ‘free’ it doesn’t necessarily mean this.


Omprakash’s is an organization that focuses on utilizing volunteering as a transformative experience, where individuals learn through their experiences while having the support of a volunteer community.

This site runs a vetting process for organizations before they can become “partners” and the opportunities advertised on Omprakash ranges from those where you are mandated to pay a fee to volunteer, to others where you can volunteer for free in South America but the living cost is handled by you.
For the latter, estimated daily costs are given.

The Things to Consider:

The range of opportunities listed on Omprakash are much smaller than opportunities on other platforms, however since they have all been vetted, they should be more trustworthy and likely to lead to a purposeful volunteering experience.

True Travellers

Just like Volunteer South America, True Travellers as an organization has a list of free or low-cost volunteering programs in South America, each with hyperlinks to the project’s website and a sentence describing the overall vision of the volunteering program.

The Things to Consider:

Their list of free or low-cost placements currently only covers these countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, and Peru, so if you’re looking for opportunities outside of these countries, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Go Abroad

Go abroad is the largest site on this list of opportunities for volunteering for free in South America, they cover everything from volunteering to internships and language learning.
They have a large database of volunteering opportunities, plus reviews written by travellers and volunteers to give you direct experiences before selecting programs and learning about what life is like living in certain countries.

SEE ALSO:  Canada Visa Lottery Application Form

The Things to Consider:

You are actually paying to volunteer in this case, though you are not paying to be channeled through an agency as Go Abroad doesn’t take commission, so it might seem more expensive than the other sites listed in this article.
However, if you’ve had a little experience in volunteering and want to venture into a new country you’ve never visited before, going through a site that offers more assistance may be the best idea.

The NGO List

The NGO list is another site with links to grassroots NGOs, it has listings of meaningful volunteering placements.

They have some NGOs which are “featured”, which means they have an entire page dedicated to giving you detailed information and personal experiences about volunteering with such charity.

The Things to Consider:

Once again, the number of countries offered is a little on the thin side, nevertheless they do ask that people get in contact if they have come across other NGOS that deserve to be on their list. Also the site hasn’t been updated for a while so there is no guarantee that the current links are effective.

If there are any other sites that you’ve used which provide user-friendly and accessible information for meaningful volunteering in South America? We’d love to hear about the sites you use and why they deserve to be added to this list.