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Solidarity | ALBA | Wales NSC | Twin towns | Other UK organisations working in Nicaragua | Volunteering in Central America

Volunteering in Central America

Raleigh International Volunteer Face Painting at an Awareness Raising Day, Las Brisas, Nicaragua

Organisations with Volunteering Opportunities in more than one country

Casa Alianza: Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua

What: Casa Alianza is an international non-profit, UK-registered charity, dedicated to the rehabilitation and defence of approximately 10,000 street children annually. These children have often been orphaned, abused and abandoned, and further traumatised by societal indifference. Casa Alianza gives the children practical things they urgently need – physical shelter, food and medical help – as well as psychological guidance. Additionally, Casa Alianza actively defends children’s human rights at an international level as the leading advocacy agency for children at risk in the Americas.

When: Throughout the year.


  • Proficient level of spoken and written Spanish
  • A minimum commitment of 6 unbroken months (ideally longer)
  • Fully fund: accommodation, flights, living expenses, general and repatriation insurance
  • Provide a current DBS disclosure, two written references and a statement of good health from your GP
  • Knowledge or experience in: human rights, child welfare, teaching, first aid, nursing, counselling, drug rehabilitation, secretarial/media skills, working with young people and adolescents, community outreach work.

Further information is available at: http://www.casa-alianza.org.uk


Creative Corners: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala

What? Creative Corners is a non for profit volunteer organisation that specialises in creative projects through South and Central America. Projects provide emotional support and love that the children desperately lack, and give them the opportunity to express themselves through creative and artistic work thus strengthening their self-esteem. Volunteers cover activities such as teaching, gardening, skill-sharing, events, workshops and classes ranging from music and drama to photography and sports.

When: Throughout the year.


  • Preferably volunteers aged 23 and above who have experience of running creative workshops.
  • Projects range in price from £395 (2 weeks) to £1730 (3 months). Costs include project application and placement process, airport collection, organised accommodation in a local homestay, hostel or B&B, comprehensive travel insurance, pre-departure information and visa advice.
  • Flights and food self-funded.
  • Basic Spanish or willingness to learn.

Further information is available at: http: www.creative-corners.com


Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative/Iniciativa Carey del Pacifico Oriental (ICAPO): Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru

What: A hawksbill turtle conservation non-profit organisation. ICAPO implements and plans research based programs independently and in partner with other organisations carrying out hawksbill conservation in the Americas. ICAPO projects include providing innovative method for hawksbill protection and recovery, and finding solutions to current and future threats. Volunteers will join a project site and experience the local culture while making a hands-on contribution to hawksbill conservation.

When: April 15th – September 15th yearly. Start date any time during project duration.


  • Good physical health and the ability to walk several kilometres per night.
  • Able to work in remote areas in very basic conditions.
  • Keen sense of responsibility and desire to make an impact.
  • Minimum 18 years old.
  • Volunteer for a minimum of one week.
  • Conversational Spanish (preferred).
  • Travel and medical insurance (recommended).
  • Participation costs range from $280-$950 which includes pre-departure orientation, three meals a day, accommodation, training sessions on sea turtle biology and conservation, in-country team and 24 hour emergency support.

Additional information is available at: http://www.hawksbill.org/ or email info@hawksbill.org


International Citizen Service (ICS)

ICS is a UK government-funded development programme that brings together 18-25 year olds from all backgrounds to fight poverty in overseas and UK communities. The programme in Central America is implemented by Progressio (Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador) and Raleigh International (Nicaragua). Volunteer programmes work alongside a local partner organisation to help tackle a range of issues around community, education, livelihoods, water & sanitation, natural resource management and the environment.

What: Projects run for 10-12 weeks and are designed around local community needs, such as hands-on activities and workshops and/or conducting research, designing training or contributing to strategic work.

When: Throughout the year.


  • You must be aged 18-25, a UK citizen or permanent resident.
  • Be committed to fundraising, attending training in the UK and sharing your experience with others by taking action at home in your local community upon your return.
  • 10% of the programme is funded by volunteer fundraising, usually a minimum of £800.

Further information is available at: http://www.volunteerics.org/apply-now




Peace Brigades International (PBI): Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico

What: PBI is an international peace and human rights organisation that provides protection, support and recognition to local human rights defenders. Volunteers provide moral and physical support to human rights defenders and organisations working for social change and the development of a civil society, whose lives and work are threatened by violence. Each volunteer goes through training to fully prepare them for the challenges of working on a PBI field project. Projects cover the following costs: travel to country of work, accommodation, food, internal travel, insurance, repatriation and a stipend to cover additional costs.

When: Throughout the year.


  • Fluent Spanish
  • Experience of working with nonviolence in your own community, human rights, social justice or peace organisations.
  • Maturity – the recommended minimum age is 25 years old
  • Resilience, knowledge and a good understanding of the history in the country where you are working.
  • Cultural sensitivity, flexibility and teamwork skills.
  • Minimum commitment of 12 months.

Further information is available at: http://www.peacebrigades.org.uk/country-groups/pbi-uk/get-involved/become-a-field-volunteer



Sea Turtle Rescue: Los Zorros, Chinandega, Nicaragua and La Ventana, Baja, Mexico

What: Sea Turtle Rescue is a volunteer organisation, funded by sustainable eco enterprises, dedicated to preserving endangered sea turtles. Based in the beach community of Los Zorros, volunteer activities range from sea turtle egg collection to grant writing. Volunteer needs change with location, time of year and how much time you can spend.

When: Throughout the year.


  • Cover livings expenses.

Further information is available at: http://www.seaturtlerescue.org/ or email volunteer@seaturtlerescue.org

Workawayer host and voluntary work website



Volunteering Opportunities in Nicaragua

Centre for Development in Central America (CDCA): Managua, Nicaragua

What: The CDCA works in five main areas: Sustainable Agriculture, Sustainable Economic Development, Health Care, Education and Appropriate Technology. In sustainable agriculture the CDCA work with approximately 3,000 farmers aiding in the organisation of a farmers cooperative, processing, shipping and certification in organics and fair trade. In sustainable economic development CDCA work with cotton gin, a carpentry workshop, a concrete construction materials plant, a security cooperative and several microenterprises. In health care CDCA work is broken down into three main areas: treating people who need medical care, providing dental care, and education and support for healthier lives.

When: Year round


  • Minimum 6 month stay (do make exceptions).
  • Charge $10/day for a six month stay (covers accommodation, food, some in-country transportation).

Currently Seeking:

  • Dentists and hygienists (minimum stay of one week)
  • Gynecologists (minimum stay of one week)
  • Herbal medicine (six month stay preferred)
  • IT/Tech (six month stay preferred)
  • Volunteer Coordinator (one year required)

Further information available at: http://jhc-cdca.org/how-to-help/volunteers/ or email jhc@jhc-cdca.org


Hacienda Merida: Ometepe, Lake Nicaragua

What: Working at a free English language school in the rural community of Merida, located on the south-western side of the island of Ometepe. As a volunteer responsibilities include assisting the classroom teacher in implementing activities and supporting student learning, leading the class in English language activities and planning activities.

When: Year round.


  • Volunteers work approximately 30 hours per week.
  • Daily cost: $17.85 (volunteers offered a subsidized room and board package for $125 per week. This includes housing and 3 meals per day).
  • Minimum volunteer commitment 2-3 weeks.
  • For long-term volunteers (3+ months) additional discounted room and board packages offered.

For more information: http://www.hmerida.com/


La Esperanza: Granada, Nicaragua

What: La Esperanza is a volunteer group focusing on children’s education, helping over 2,000 children in poverty-stricken areas. Volunteers assist teachers, tutor young children, run sports programs, introduce children to computers, teach English and help stimulate an interest in learning.  La Esperanza also offer a number of other opportunities for summer school teaching in December and January, ‘handyman’ jobs, as well as communication, promotion, grant writing and fundraising positions. In addition the organisation offers opportunities for summer school teaching in December and January, building maintenance and construction, administration assistance and fundraising.

When: Year round on a rolling basis.


  • $20 admin fee
  • Necessary La Granada Esperanza t-shirts: $5
  • Living expenses
  • Minimum stay of 4 weeks but longer preferred
  • Spanish intermediate level

Further information available at: http://www.la-esperanza-granada.org or email pkinperu@hotmail.co.uk


Little Cob library: Matagalpa, Nicaragua

What: In 2008, a group of young people came to Nicaragua from overseas to build a small cob library for the local children. This provided a rich interchange between the local children and the volunteers. Located between the two communities of Jicaro and Tuley, Little Cob provides creative and educational workshops, books and materials for study and for fun. Volunteers run workshops to children and adults, work on the library garden or assist with construction needs of the building. Homestay can be organised.

When: Throughout the year.


  • Conversational Spanish useful.
  • All costs must be covered by volunteers.

Further information is available at: http://littlecob.wordpress.com/ 


La Mariposa Spanish School & Sustainable Tourism Organisation: Masaya, Nicaragua

What: Combine volunteer work with Spanish classes. Work alongside local Nicaraguan workers within the community of La Concha. Projects include: Working with children with disabilities in San Juan de la Concepcion, Primary school reading and writing, Primary school arts and crafts, Teaching arts and crafts to women, Sports project, Cookery, Animal care, Wildlife promotion, Childcare, Gardening, Organic Farm, Healthcare, Reforestation, Construction, Teach English. Volunteers live in homestay with local families.

When: Year round.


  • Offer placements doing practical work/manual labour for as little as one week, ask for longer time commitment if you prefer to work with people (suggested minimum one month).
  • Working hours vary but approximately 4 hours a day.
  • An ability to reflect on how things work/don’t work in Nicaragua.
  • Good health and a flexible attitude.
  • At least a basic understanding of Spanish.
  • One character reference if you want to work with small children.

Further information is available at:  http://www.mariposaspanishschool.com/volunteers.html or email paulette.goudge@googlemail.com


Project Bona Fide: Balgue, Nicaragua

What: Promoting food sovereignty locally and regionally, through feeding family and nourishing the community and local economy.

When: Year round.

Further information is available at: http://projectbonafide.com/support/volunteers/ or email probonafide@gmail.com

Nicaragua Education Culture and Arts Trust (NECAT): Leon, Nicaragua

What: NECAT is a UK-registered charity supporting educational initiatives in Nicaragua including after-school clubs and a mobile library. Volunteers assist teachers in projects with English classes, reading practice, music lesson, art workshops, cookery classes or anything else you are able to offer.

When: Throughout the year.


  • Conversational Spanish and any of the above skills.
  • All costs must be covered by volunteers.

Further information is available at: http://www.necat.org.uk/


Quetzal Trekkers: Leon, Nicaragua

What: the only all non-profit, all volunteer-run trekking and outdoors association in Nicaragua. As a guide you receive all expenses and food on the hikes, experience in guiding, experience in cooperatively running a volunteer organisation.


  • Hike three to four days per week, take care of the preparation and clean-up of each hike.
  • Spend time working with the kids served by the five projects that Quetzal Trekkers supports.
  • Enjoy interacting with tourists.
  • Work a couple of office shifts per week (selling hikes and signing people up)
  • Help with promotions and special events (Raffles, Trivia Nights, and other events you can create yourself)
  • Pass our first aid test during a training period
  • Be enthusiastic
  • Good health
  • Hiking experience
  • Sociable person
  • Speak English
  • Have or learn some Spanish
  • Commit for minimum three months

Further information available at: http://leon.quetzaltrekkers.org/volunteering.html or email leon@quetzaltrekkers.org


Rancho Esperanza: Jiquilillo, Nicaragua

What: Idyllic beach-front hostel that has a number of community projects, volunteering opportunities and internships. Projects include volunteering with the kids club, surf club, computer literacy classes, creative arts, green projects, acting as teacher assistants/tutors, running English classes, working within economic development and expanding community based tourism, clinic based transport.

When: Year round.


  • Level of Spanish and minimum stay required differs depending on the project.

Further information is available at: http://rancho-esperanza.com/community-projects.html or email shana@puentes-de-esperanza.org  


Santa Rosa Fund: Managua, Nicaragua

What: The Santa Rosa Fund, based in Tavistock UK, supports a range of educational initiatives and projects in Nicaragua. Volunteers carry out one to one training with members of staff, and are able to visit other projects around the country.

When: July and August


  • Commitment of two months.
  • Sufficient funds for your return trip to Nicaragua and living expenses.
  • An interest in development work in developing countries.
  • Computer literate.
  • Basic competence in Spanish.

Further information is available at: http://www.santarosafund.org/


Si a La Vida: Ometepe and Managua, Nicaragua

What: Si a la Vida strives to rescue kids living on city streets throughout Nicaragua, rehabilitate them, and then reintegrate the kids, whenever possible, with their families and their communities. Most of the children are runaways from very poor, troubled homes. Many are addicted to sniffing glue, which banishes hunger pangs. Si a la Vida provides a stable place to live, food, clothes and healthcare, teaches responsibility and respect and focuses on education as a way out of poverty. Volunteers work directly with the kids in sports, arts, handicrafts and tutoring. Volunteers also accompany staff working on the streets and markets of Managua.

When: Year round, except Christmas.


  • Commitment of a minimum 6 months, preferably a year.
  • Some experience and training of working with young people with ‘special needs’.
  • Minimum age of 21.
  • Good health.
  • A willingness to live very simply.
  • Financial self-support. Monthly living costs are approximately $300 per person.  

Further information is available at: http://www.asalv.org/


SJDS Biblioteca: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

What: The SJDS library in town serves multiple purposes for its community.

When: Year round.

No Requirements

Further information available at: http://www.sjdsbiblioteca.org/volunteers/


Volunteering opportunities in Costa Rica

Cloudbridge Nature Reserve: Perez Zeledon, Costa Rica

What: Cloudbridge serves three purposes: to preserve rain forest, to help reforest areas which had been converted to cattle pasture and to protect the neotropical forest biodiversity. The project plants 4,000 trees a year, helping the forest reclaim land that was razed for pasture. Volunteers spend mornings restoring the forest. Afternoons are free for exploring trails, waterfall, or wildlife.

When: Planting in May and June. Year-round options for volunteers include trail maintenance and carpentry, and caring for saplings.


  • No experience or Spanish necessary.
  • Short-term volunteers can stay for as little as one week.
  • A basic level of fitness is required.
  • Long-term volunteers pay a $200 good-faith fee when they arrive.
  • Both short- and long-term volunteers pay $10 a night for accommodation.

Further information is available at: www.cloudbridge.org


Abriendo Mentes: Guanacaste, Costa Rica

What: Abriendo Mentes is a non-profit organisation empowering the residents of Guanacaste, Costa Rica, to access enhanced education and employment opportunities. Some internship positions offer free accommodation.

When: Year round except school holidays.


  • Short term volunteers are required to pay a $200 contribution.
  • Volunteers pay their own living expenses, starting from an estimated $300-400 per month.
  • Spanish highly recommended.
  • Minimum age: 18 years old.

Further information is available at: http://www.abriendomentes.org/


Volunteering Opportunities in El Salvador

Suchito Ecological Association of Permaculture (AEPS): Suchitoto, El Salvador

What: IPES is a grass roots organisation which teaches subsistence farming families how to improve their environment and adapt to climate change. They support farmer’s self-sufficiency and food security by implementing sustainable agricultural practices and strengthening community organisation. Volunteers contribute to the work of IPES through fundraising and promotion, or learning permaculture and working on their demonstration site.

When: Throughout the year.


  • Minimum commitment of one month.
  • Must raise $400 to take part.

Further information is available at: http://permacultura.com.sv/ or email movimientopermacultural.es@gmail.com


Centro Arte para la Paz: Suchitoto, El Salvador

What: Centro Arte para la Paz translates as ‘centre of art for the peace’. The organisation aims to develop and promote a culture of peace through building cultural identity and unity within the community, teaching skills to support self-sufficiency and critical thinking, promoting environmental awareness, gender equality, and building bridges between cultures. Volunteers design and teach creative classes (in Spanish) to local young people on any topic that’s athletic, interactive, creative, self-expressive, or that promotes vocational development, peace, or nonviolence is encouraged. Accommodation is provided for volunteers.

When: Year round. 


  • At least three month’s commitment
  • Basic Spanish
  • Knowledge of your chosen topic required

Further information is available at: http://capsuchitoto.org/ or email info@capsuchitoto.org or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Centro-Arte-para-la-Paz/141147405916934


Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad: San Salvador, El Salvador

What: The CIS is a multi-faceted organisation, with many programs supporting education, organising and social justice. The CIS is looking for energetic people committed to solidarity and social justice to volunteer as English teachers, election volunteers and grassroots community organising interns. Volunteers receive discounts on the fantastic CIS language classes.

When: Year round.


  • Election volunteers must be able to speak Spanish conversationally.
  • English teachers must speak English as if it were their first language.
  • Volunteers must usually make a commitment of at least 10 weeks.
  • Volunteers must be culturally sensitive and interested in issues of social justice.
  • Volunteers must pay their own expenses, including room and board and transportation.
  • English teachers and grassroots organising volunteers must also pay a $100 program fee to cover the cost of training materials and some in-country transportation. This fee also covers 2 weeks of the CIS Spanish School political cultural program as an orientation to El Salvador and CIS.

More information is available at: http://www.cis-elsalvador.org/index.php/en/volunteer


Volunteering Opportunities in Guatemala

Mayan Families: Lago Atitlan, Guatemala

What: Mayan Families is a small non-profit organisation which works with impoverished indigenous communities surrounding Lago Atitlán by providing support with nutrition, medical services, education and vocational opportunities. Volunteer opportunities include teaching/assisting in pre-school centres, preparing meals in food centres, building houses or furniture and campaigning against animal cruelty.

When: Volunteers welcome through the year, especially just before Christmas when the organisation packs and distributes over 1,600 food baskets and early January when school supplies are distributed.


  • Volunteers minimum age 18 years
  • Minimum stay of two weeks.
  • Volunteers must cover own expenses.  
  • Mayan Families give preference to volunteers with at least intermediate Spanish language skills.

Further Information is available at: https://www.mayanfamilies.org/


Maya Pedal: San Andrés Itzapa, Guatemala

What: Maya Pedal builds pedal powered machines from old bikes which can be used for threshing corn, pumping water, shelling nuts, depulping coffee, making roofing tiles and as a blender or washing machine. They can be built using locally available materials and can be easily adapted to suit the needs of local people. Benefits of these machines include: no energy costs, can be used anywhere, no pollution and healthy exercise. Skilled and self-motivated volunteers are needed for workshop engineering, cycle mechanics, sales and marketing, producing instructions and translation.

When: Year round, ideally for a minimum of four months.


  • Small weekly shelter fee of 35 Quetzals to cover water, electricity and internet expenses.
  • Previous relevant experience
  • Good level of Spanish
  • Cover own expenses.

Further information is available at: http: //www.mayapedal.org or email mayapedal@hotmail.com