Volunteer in Chile
Volunteer in Chile and dive right into a country full of contrasts. Starting with the 5,000 km of Pacific coastline, over to the Atacama desert and the snow-capped Andes in the south – it will blow you away. If you want to have a positive impact on the country you are travelling and give back to the local community, look no further. Chile will be your favourite South American place for your next volunteer work abroad! You love pure nature and wildlife? Work in a national park and protect Chile’s forests and exotic animals. Are humanitarian projects your passion? Volunteer opportunities in Chile working with homeless, disabled and elderly people need the help of skilled volunteers.
Although Chile has one of the strongest economies in Latin America, there are still regions that suffer from extreme poverty. Being a volunteer in Chile gives you the opportunity to help improve the conditions for locals in these regions, by developing sustainable solutions for urban communities. These can include improvements in waste management, water supply, health care or the lack of community areas. As sustainable development is really important, a volunteer in Chile can also support local projects as a teacher to give children the chance to break through the poverty cycle.Another way you can help is by volunteering in animal care or by working in environmental protection. Regarding the country’s diversity in nature and wildlife, it’s even more unfortunate that Chile faces many environmental issues. Those include air and water pollution, deforestation and the resulting soil erosion. As a volunteer in Chile, you can help to address those issues and also protect the animals that are affected by them.
The majority of Chile’s population lives in and around Santiago, leaving most of the countryside untouched. This is one reason for many travelers to come to Chile for its ‘beautiful pristine nature’. The great diversity in Chile’s climate and sceneries makes the country even more interesting. The same applies to the animals living in the different regions. With the Atacama Desert in the north and the Andes mountains in the east, Chile is quite isolated which lead to a high degree of endemism in the flora and fauna. As a volunteer in Chile, you can look for llamas, alpacas, pumas, mountain vizcachas, foxes and many, many different types of birds.
If you love working with animals and protecting them is important to you, volunteer work in Chile with animals and wildlife might be a great way for you to discover and travel Chile. There are lots of volunteer opportunities in Chile with animals and the right one for you depends on your own interests. While volunteering in Chile you can join a monkey rehabilitation center or help tackle the issue of street animals in Chile’s big cities. As a volunteer in Chile, you can work at an animal shelter for abandoned animals where you take care of cats, dogs and other pets that live on the streets.
Even though parts of the population in Chile are extremely wealthy and Santiago is known as one of the most modern cities in South America, there are local communities that do need support as well. The main areas where help is needed are childcare and social work as the less wealthy people are having trouble to pay for proper care. As a volunteer in Chile, you can get involved in different areas like:
By helping out at a community project, you will get into close contact with the people living in Chile. As a volunteer in Chile, your contact and cooperation with the host community will provide a unique cultural immersion experience.
While Chile has an impressive roster of national parks and reserves, it has been criticized for not doing more to conserve environmentally significant areas close to population centers. This is especially true when conservation conflicts with established economic interests such as forestry and mining. The 5 most important environmental challenges Chile is facing at the moment are the following:
Your voluntary work on environmental projects can help local people address these issues and protect some of Chile’s most precious natural spaces. If you love the outdoors and hands-on work, volunteering at a national park is the perfect opportunity for you.
The suggested daily budget for living as a volunteer in Chile is between US$20 and US$50. This is an estimate made considering the average price of some of the services you might need and things you might want to buy. It gives you a general overview of how much things cost in this country, so you can be prepared and save the money you will need as a volunteer in Chile.
Additional costs you should consider as a volunteer in Chile:
When you travel to a different country for voluntary work it is important to familiarise yourself with its culture and social characteristics. This helps you to settle in quickly and avoid misunderstandings. These are some tips that you might find helpful when preparing for your volunteer work in Chile:
Chile is no different than any other popular travel destination in that petty theft like pickpocketing and bag snatching is an ongoing concern. To stay safe, you should keep the following safety guidelines in mind at all times during your volunteer journey in Chile:
Chile has a very eventful history to look back on. Before the Spanish conquest in the 16th century, the main tribes living in Chile were the Mapuche and the Incas in the north. Chile remained in Spanish control until the country declared independence in 1810. The following two centuries were marked by general political instability. Today, Chileans have gained more economic prosperity than any other country in Latin America.
In Chile, religion still plays a major role in politics and social life. Most Chileans are Roman Catholics and around 15% are Christian Protestants, making it one of the nations in Latin America with the greatest Protestant influence. Due to its importance, you should be respectful of the religious customs. To sum up this section, these are our top 5 tips to keep in mind when traveling to Chile:
Going abroad always includes some issues and precautions that need to be taken into account, especially if you are traveling to a country with tropical temperatures and wilderness. The health risks will vary between individuals and many depend on your activities, length of stay and general health.
You might have noticed by now that there are many different volunteer opportunities in Chile that require different skills and abilities from their international volunteers. While you can find out the specific requirements for each project on their profiles on Volunteer World, here are some general requirements that apply to most projects in Chile:
You have made it to the last section of this guide, which is another really important aspect while planning your volunteer work in Chile: getting your volunteer visa for Chile.
Please consider that the following information is based on a best practice approach, which has been made according to the best of our knowledge and in cooperation with several volunteer organizations. That’s why you should please make sure to discuss your visa requirements with your project coordinator on Volunteer World. If in doubt, we also recommend getting in touch with the embassy or consulate of Chile in your country.
There are some general requirements you should comply with upon your arrival:
Chile grants a 90-day Tarjeta de Turismo (tourist card) to residents of most foreign countries without prior application. Among others, residents of Canada, the US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand or the European Union, are able to work as a volunteer on a tourist visa for up to 90 days.
All others require a tourist visa. When applying for the tourist visa it is important to only submit original documents. It can take up to four weeks for tourist visas to be approved, so make sure you apply in time. The following paperwork is required for a tourist visa application:
Please contact the embassy in your country to find out which is the case for you.
If you are planning to volunteer in Chile for more than 90 days you need to apply for a short-term visa, also known as a temporary resident visa.
A short-term visa is valid for a maximum of one year. It may take up to four weeks for your short-term visa to be approved. You’ll need to submit the following paperwork with your application: