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Free (or Cheap) Volunteer Work in Colombia

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Free or Cheap Volunteer Work in Bolivia


One issue for volunteers in Colombia to consider is visas. According to Cartagenitos (see More Volunteering in Colombia Resources below): "One government department says that to be an unpaid volunteer in Colombia you need to have what is called a 'temporal visa' which lasts from 6 months to two years (see the Fundacion Mariposas Amarillas listing below for costs). This should be organised with the Foreign Affairs Department in your country before arriving in Colombia. Another says that as long as you aren't being paid you do not need any special visa. It is easy to slip under the radar of the DAS (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad - The Colombian Security Service) by not drawing too much attention to yourself, only having a normal tourist visa and then claim ignorance should you have any problems."


Grassroots Volunteering in Colombia

The organisations listed below have either got in touch with us to add their details to this or another of our websites, or we otherwise have reason to believe they are actively looking for international volunteers and charge reasonable or no fees to join in, live and work with them:

Fundacion Mariposas Amarillas

A small grassroots organisation committed to supporting disadvantaged children by providing services, supplies and information on nutrition, education, and childcare to families in Santa Marta’s under served neighbourhoods. They welcome both international and local volunteers to teach after school classes or work on social programmes. They also always need volunteers to help with marketing, publicity, social media and fundraising. Basic Spanish is required. If you would like to formally volunteer with FMA they now require you to apply for the TP6 volunteer visa and commit to staying with their programme for at least two months to make this worthwhile.

Where: Santa Marta.
Accommodation & Costs: Volunteers make a one time, non refundable $70 donation, and are responsible for their own accommodation. The cost to apply for the volunteer visa is $50, another $205 for the visa itself and $65 to register your visa and apply for a Colombian Cedula, or identification card.

Volunteering in Colombia


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Colombia Sin Fronteras

A small, grassroots charity based in Santa Marta, Colombia promoting literacy, culture, sport and many other important life skills to underprivileged children. They are currently looking for volunteers to help with their various projects and help give these children a brighter future. The only requirements are a minimum stay of two months, an intermediate level of Spanish, and a true desire to make a difference.

Where: Santa Marta.
Accommodation & Costs: No accommodation. No fee.

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Connections English Institute

Fluent English speakers able to stay at least one month can get free accommodation and a meal each day in exchange for teaching conversational classes in English. A free Spanish class is also offered. No teaching experience is required. Volunteers only have to worry about enjoying Colombia and having fun. More details can be found under the Hostel link on their site.

Where: Ibague.
Accommodation & Costs: Free accommodation and a meal.


Help Exchange Networks in Colombia

Workaway -
HelpStay -{XID_HASH}
HelpX -


More Volunteering in Colombia Resources

Cartagenitos - Provides free information for anybody who wants to help under privileged children in Cartagena without paying a cent.


Other Ways to Travel or Stay for Free in Colombia

Stay for free in return for caring for local residents' homes or pets. Join Trusted Housesitters to live rent free as a house sitter (Americans may prefer this link). You can also get a free $25 Airbnb credit from us here.


Volunteer Experiences*

So, I Got Accepted Into the Peace Corps and I’m… Moving to Colombia! - Sarah Shaw says goodbye to her Korean teaching job and does the I-got-accepted-into-the-Peace-Corps dance.
Volunteering in Colombia: Can You Make a Difference in Two Weeks? - Karen asks the question when she and her husband went on a volunteer vacation.


* not all these volunteer experiences are with grassroots NGOs or low cost organisations

Image copyright Fundacion Mariposas Amarillas