Volunteer in Ecuador with Plan My Gap Year, an award-winning, international volunteer abroad organisation. PMGY provides safe, meaningful, affordable projects overseas with a wide range of volunteer projects in Ecuador including Childcare, English Teaching and Medical opportunities.
“When travelling to Ecuador I was a bit nervous about my level of Spanish, but after spending a week in Quito I learned so much. The medical project was extremely rewarding in the sense I was able to take vitals and interact with the team, but also spend my 12 weeks in surgery, trauma and the laboratory. I did travel for a longer period and because of that the hospital was happy to let me miss a couple days so I could travel to the amazon – beware of the tarantulas! Oh, Ecuador was perfect!” – JEREMY TURNER | UNITED STATES
Spend your weekend in the Galápagos Islands
Encounter authentic Latin American markets
Be entertained by Quito’s wicked nightlife
Explore ancient indigenous villages in the Andes
Volunteer in Ecuador with Plan My Gap Year, an award winning, international volunteer abroad organisation. PMGY provides safe, meaningful, affordable projects overseas with a wide range of volunteer projects in Ecuador including Childcare, English Teaching and Medical opportunities.
We are transparent and affordable with our fees, committed to long-term sustainable community development, all our local programmes are fully vetted and offer some great travelling and cultural opportunities to ensure that your time with us overseas is the best it can be.
A combination of all these reasons and more are why so many of our volunteers choose to come back to us and volunteer year after year with PMGY!
Book your flights as early as possible after confirming your place on the programme to ensure you get the lowest airfare possible.
You should book your flights to Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito. The airport code UIO.
PMGY work with various partners in the aviation industry to offer our volunteers competitively priced flights. If you would like any assistance in booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during the online application or feel free to call us or drop us an email.
PMGY have an ATOL Licence to ensure any flights booked through us are financially secured by the Civil Aviation Authority.
Travel Insurance really is a travel essential. It is mandatory for all of our participants to have adequate travel insurance in place across all their trip dates incase anything goes wrong when overseas.
PMGY have teamed up with the insurance company Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive optional travel insurance policy specifically designed to insure PMGY volunteers for all their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone up to the age of 75 and covers you for any PMGY destination and any onward travel you may arrange (excluding the US and Canada).
Plan My Gap Year Ltd is an appointed representative of Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
If you’d like to purchase Plan My Gap Year Travel Insurance, you can add this option on during your online application.
Before you begin your programme, we provide extensive pre-departure support on the build up to your volunteer project with us whether it is a month or a year away. This all begins from an online chat or a telephone call that develops into a regular email chain of next step communications to ensure you are fully prepared for your trip with us.
Further to this we provide a forty page plus Volunteer Handbook that provides all you need to know once you confirm your place on the programme with us; from visa guidance and how to get a background check to what to pack and more information on the culture and preparing for your project.
For all our destinations we have Facebook groups made up of our local teams, past, present and future volunteers that provides a great forum for volunteers to network and to also share project updates and community updates across the year.
We have also generated a range of informative and action packed videos to bring some tangibility on what volunteers can expect when travel volunteering with us. This can be accessed on our PMGY Vimeo channel.
Our pre-departure and programme preparation webinars are not to be missed either. They run on selected Tuesdays at 1pm (GMT) and will provide you with some invaluable advice on your upcoming trip. The first webinar covers all the essential pre-departure information you need to know and things you need to do before you go and the second webinar is more programme specific with advice and information for whilst you’re on your placement.
For those looking to go one step further, we introduced a 60 hour online TEFL course to really strengthen volunteers project preparation. This really is the perfect introductory course to teaching English abroad and enable you to acquire some key skills along the way as well as an internationally accredited certificate.
Our projects are based in the northern region of Ecuador in the capital of Quito. Quito is the highest official capital in the world resting at an elevation of 2,850 metres above sea level. The city has only been slightly changed from its historic state, which is just one of the many reasons it is classified a UNESCO heritage site.
The city has all the amenities you could require such as banks, hospitals, nightlife and shops. There is also a central bus and train station to take you to the many different regions of beautiful Ecuador.
Our programmes in Quito run from 1-12 weeks beginning on the first and third Sunday of each month.
PMGY’s programme in Ecuador is ran by our dedicated and experienced in-country local team who have been fully vetted by our UK team.
Such a committed local staff network provide the structure for your stay with us when working on our Ecuador project. The support structure includes providing accommodation, airport pick up and drop off, evening activities, in-country orientation and 24/7 emergency support.
So, whether you are teaching in schools, working at the orphanage or interning at the hospital with us, our local team will also allocate you to your project as well as providing a great framework for you to enjoy a unique cultural experience with us in Ecuador.
Your orientation will begin on Monday. Our local team will teach you about life in Ecuador, the do’s and don’ts, the local culture and religion. Your orientation will continue with an introduction to the transport system, safety advice and all the projects we support in the community. You will also learn about the Spanish school and your classes whether you have signed up or wish to do so while volunteering! There are lots of activities like salsa dancing, cooking classes or even Latin-inspired cocktail hour! If you wish to get involved feel free to ask about the weekly schedules.
Following the introduction, our local coordinator will take you to see some important spots in Quito, including the local supermarket, a couple pubs and restaurants as well as the ATMs and places change money.
Please arrive into Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito (UIO) on Sunday.
Day 1 (Sunday) – Arrival
Welcome to Ecuador! You will be met at Quito airport by a member of our local team who will be holding a name sign. The journey to the accommodation will take around 45 minutes, depending on traffic. You will have the rest of the day to relax and settle in. If you wish to go to venture in the local area you can request a time to meet a team member or join fellow volunteers.
Day 2 (Monday) – Orientation
After a good first night rest in Quito, it’s now time to begin your induction into life in Ecuador. The orientation will be a mix of theory, culture and visits to local points of interest.
Day 3-6 (Tuesday-Friday) – Volunteering Begins
You will start your volunteer work on Tuesday morning. Should you need anything whilst at the project, remember our local team are only a phone call away. You will see Ecuador coordinators throughout the day at the Spanish School nearby the Volunteer Apartment and they are always happy to help.
Day 7-8 (Saturday-Sunday) – Weekend
Whether you are looking for a relaxing weekend by the beach, some adventure activities in the Amazon, a long weekend in the Galapagos Islands or a more cultural experience locally – Ecuador has it all. Why not check out our Something For The Weekend guide to find out what you can be getting up to in your free time!
The following weeks
Your next week(s) will follow a similar pattern, as you will be volunteering from Monday to Friday. Time will fly so make sure you make the most of it. Our local team are there to support you throughout your stay. Whether you’ve lost your passport, want some advice for weekend travel plans or just need someone to talk to, they are there for you.
Last day (Saturday)
Saturday is your last day with PMGY. If you are heading home then we can help you arrange your return airport drop off. Please note that this is included in your Programme Fee so we just ask that you speak to the coordinators at the Spanish school about your departure time.
If you have not travelled much before, it is really hard to know what to expect and many volunteers (and their loved ones) are concerned for their safety and security.
Although we can never fully guarantee your safety, we do everything in our power to ensure your volunteering programme is as careful, safe and secure as possible. Every programme that PMGY offers has been personally inspected and selected by a Director of Plan My Gap Year. We have lived in the accommodation, experienced the orientation, worked on the projects and built strong trusting relationships with our local staff.
In the unlikely event that something was to happen, volunteers have various layers of support that they can go through (and people who will help them in the case of an accident).
1. In-Country Project Coordinators & Support Staff
2. Project Staff
3. PMGY UK Team
Projects are monitored on an on-going basis to gauge volunteers’ experiences and we are continually improving our placements and projects through this feedback. Security and safety of our programmes is constantly being reviewed and if you have any concerns we encourage you to discuss these with the local staff at your orientation. During orientation, project staff will also provide guidance in the area of safety and security.
Listed below are some general safety tips.
• Be modest with the amount of jewellery you wear in public.
• Do not drink tap water.
• Be cautious of beggars or crowds. Incidents of theft often occur when there are crowds and confusion to distract you.
• Be cautious about removing money in public.
• Always try to know where you are going before you attempt long journeys. Be especially careful at night.
• Use reputable taxi firms only. Our local staff will recommend some specific companies during orientation. If you are unsure – ask local staff who to use.
• Try to keep in groups at night and never walk alone along dark, empty streets. If possible use transport from door to door after dark.
• The recognised tourist areas can be considered potentially high risk areas for pickpockets and thieves.
• Leave your valuables behind before a night out in the town.
• For traffic safety, always keep looking to the left and right and walk slowly when crossing the road.
• Do not accept drinks or food from strangers.
Ecuador’s climate is rather complicated for such a small country, due to the fact that the country is affected by such drastic levels of altitude. It’s worth bearing in mind, that the basic pattern described below can vary significantly from year to year, and that global warming has disrupted these already complex weather patterns.
The country has various different weather patterns based on the region and atmosphere. For example, the coastal areas are typically warm with temperatures around 25°C and high humidity. In the mountainous areas, the temperatures are mild year-round and very dry. If you are adventurous and take a few days to visit the Amazon plan to experience high humidity, lots of rain and temperatures around 28°C.
Ecuador’s position is right on the Equator means that temperatures and daylight remain fairly constant year-round.
Quito is in the northern region of Ecuador. In this mountainous city, the weather can change quickly! The mornings tend to be sunning with limited clouds in the sky leaving you comfortable in a T-shirt and jeans, but watch out! The afternoons sometimes become a bit grey with long breezes that leave you wishing you had the scarf or hat. It is best to carry a day-pack with you to ensure you are ready for sun, wind or rain.
Don’t let the crazy weather keep you away. The cloudy days are hit or miss, most are beautiful and leave you with a breath-taking view of the city! Due to the proximity to the equator the sun’s rays are quite strong so weather rain or shine it is best to apply sun cream, factor 20+ (SPF 20+).
During your time with PMGY in Ecuador you will live in our Volunteer House located in central Quito, the country’s capital. You will find restaurants, convenience stores, cafés, pubs and ATMs all within walking distance. You’ll be living with other volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way.
The accommodation is comfortable with free Wi-Fi. Each room has single or bunk beds with up to 3 people per room in same-sex rooms. Volunteers are provided with cupboard space and bed linens. Bathrooms are shared, but have a shower and western style toilet.
The Volunteer House has free Wi-Fi and a communal area for volunteers to hang out. We encourage you to bring some small padlocks and/or store any valuables in your own bags. There will also be fridge space available for volunteers to store any items they need to keep chilled in the kitchen. The Volunteer House is a quick walk from laundry services (low cost of £1.00/kg).
Volunteers are housed within a hip area of Quito encompassed with restaurants, cafes, boutiques and pubs. The Volunteer House will have a security guard to ensure that volunteers are safe. Meals are not provided in the programme so there are fully equipped kitchens to prepare all of your food. This accommodation setup offers volunteers the unique experience of living with lots of other volunteers as well as an independent environment in this Latin American country.
The majority of our projects are not within walking distance of our Volunteer House. The PMGY Ecuador team members will educate you on the bus routes for your journey to project each day.
During our busiest months (June to September) you may be placed at alternative accommodation. This could be a nearby guesthouse or one of our summer Volunteer Houses.
The Volunteer House will be equipped with a kitchen including all the appliances and items needed to prepare your three nutritious meals a day. The idea behind this is that with a communal setting volunteers spend much of their time interacting with each other and building life long bonds, both while preparing and eating.
The Volunteer House is located in a great area. This hip spot has small food markets and large convenient stores for any items you may need. Whether you are preparing a frozen pizza or frying some fish and chips everything is in close proximity.
Volunteers tend to put their heads together and discuss certain nights they will cook together and then chip in to buy the food items. If you are up for some communal cooking, get involved! PMGY Ecuador will host cuisine nights that you are free to attend and learn. If you want to eat the well prepared Ecuadorian meal just bring £2!
If you have any questions about the kitchen or where to buy items the team is always willing to point you in the right direction.
Transport to project will be by local bus routes or walking. The local team will educate volunteers on the proper directions and schedules to get to their project. One trip on the local bus costs no more than 50p.
PMGY welcome volunteers of all nationalities and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the programme is 17 and there is no upper age limit. All volunteers need to have a good level of English, although it does NOT need to be your first language.
For our programmes in Latin America, we recommend that you speak basic to intermediate Spanish. While the programmes only require you to speak a basic level of Spanish, we find that the ability to speak a good level of Spanish will greatly enhance your overall experience. English is generally not widely spoken so if you do not speak a reasonable level of Spanish then you will find it difficult to communicate and thus may have a frustrating experience.
We require a clean background check from all our participants in advance of volunteering with us abroad.
In general no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation. Medical and healthcare projects usually require additional documentation before participation begins in country.
Registration Fees must be paid within 7 days of the application being successful to confirm your place and Programme Fees are due at least 60 days before the programme start date.