Work and Travel in Ecuador
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN ECUADOR FOR TRAVELLERS
Ecuador is the sort of country that often gets forgotten about, as it’s sandwiched between the backpacking meccas of Colombia and Peru. However, work and travel in Ecuador has a lot to offer the intrepid traveller. We’re going to show you just some of the exciting volunteering opportunities in Ecuador for travellers (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/ecuador).
Often considered one of the easiest countries to visit in South America, this is our travel guide to Ecuador.
1. Teach English in Ecuador
Ecuador may use the US dollar as its currency but bear in mind that Spanish is still the language of the country. There are thousands of Ecuadoreans who want to learn English.
Most of the time, you just need to be a native English speaker to qualify for these positions. On the other hand, if you do hold a qualification, like the TEFL, you will have no problems if you want to work in Ecuador in schools and universities.
These positions are available all over the country, but especially in Quito.
2. Work on a Plantation in Ecuador
Another popular choice for work in Ecuador is on a plantation. There are both sugar cane and coffee plantations in the country. Rather than just visiting them on a tour and learning about them, you could spend your time working on them.
As you travel in Ecuador, you’ll learn about a big part of both the traditional and modern economy. You’ll get closer to the locals and have the opportunity to visit parts of the country tourists never make it to.
3. Work with Disabled Children in Ecuador
Quito, Cuenca, and other major urban centres often have a big poverty problem. One heart breaking area is children. Disabled children are often abandoned in Ecuador and forced to rely on charities to get the specialised help they need.
If you want to make a real difference in the lives of these children, working in disabled centres in Ecuador is a great option. You’ll be able to travel in Ecuador and feel like you’re doing something special in the process.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR ECUADOR
Backpacking Ecuador is easy because it has a lax visa policy in place. In fact, it has one of the most lenient visa policies in the world (http://www.ecuador.org/nuevosite/serviciosconsulares_visas_e.php).
Other than a number of African countries and places like Pakistan, everyone can enter Ecuador without a visa. No questions asked.
South Americans are able to cross into Ecuador with just a national ID card (https://www.visitaecuador.com/). And citizens of Venezuela and Peru can stay for 180 days, rather than the usual 90.
You don’t need to visit an Ecuadorean embassy (http://reinounido.embajada.gob.ec/) unless you want to stay long-term. But if you do your volunteer programme provider will usually offer full visa support to help you do this.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN ECUADOR
Ecuador’s seasons can be difficult to understand because the equator runs through the country. However, the majority of it is in the southern hemisphere.
The spring season takes up part of the wet season and the dry season. Up until June, heavy rains buffet many areas of the country.
We recommend that you stick to the urban areas at this time of year. Teaching English is a good option for work and travel in Ecuador in spring, as is working with underprivileged communities.
From June throughout the whole summer, you have the dry season across the country. Technically, this is considered to be winter in Ecuador.
This is one of the best times for visiting the Amazon Rainforest. Working within conservation programmes there will allow you to protect this natural strip of land in Ecuador and preserve the biodiversity there. You don’t need to be a qualified scientist or environmentalist to be accepted into these volunteering opportunities in Ecuador.
On a side note, this also happens to be the beginning of the main tourist season in Ecuador. With an established backpacker trail, you can work in Ecuador in one of the hostels there.
It’s quite possible to work in exchange for free accommodation and food. These roles will help you to get to know parts of Ecuador more intimately.
The majority of hostels are based in Quito and Cuenca, but they can be found all over the country. Most of them want volunteers for the high season.
The autumn season sees the renewal of the rainy season from October onwards. Throughout most of autumn, however, you can take advantage of working on plantations. As the dry season ends and the wet season begins again, this is an important time for growers of sugar cane and coffee.
Most of these projects also include a homestay and the chance to learn Spanish with a local family. There’s no better way to get closer to the local culture.
The end of the year is not much different to the beginning of autumn. We strongly recommend that you refer back to the ‘Spring’ section for more information on some of the things you can do during winter.
Moving back to the urban areas is recommended, but due to the modern infrastructure in this part of South America you can continue to work in the rural areas without fear of being cut off.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN ECUADOR
Ecuador commonly marks the beginning of many trips in South America. Unfortunately, the size of the country means that a lot of people simply skip over it without really experiencing what it has to offer.
You can change that. Many locals speak English and are more than happy to interact with tourists. Unlike other areas in the region, Ecuador hasn’t become saturated with tourists. It’s more modern than you think and the sheer diversity of work will bring you into contact with everyone from the indifferent to those with a great interest in your home country.
If you want to work and travel in Ecuador, don’t hesitate. Take a look at some of the incredible opportunities available today!
- Edited on Oct 31 2018 by Marichka