Zero risk booking! Free changes & full refund options
Environmental Conservation Volunteer Program in Colombia - Medellín

Environmental Conservation Volunteer Program in Colombia - Medellín

Want to get involved in gardening volunteering in Colombia? International Volunteer HQ’s Environmental Conservation project gives volunteers the chance to help convert forgotten areas of Medellin city into beautiful and fruitful gardens that are shared with the local community. From helping with the production of organic fertilizers and landscaping to supporting environmental workshops, marketing, and fundraising — there are plenty of ways you can use your skills to make a positive impact on this project!

Highlights:
  • Programs start on the first and third Tuesday of each month
  • Affordable fees from AU$565 for 1 week
  • Includes accommodation, breakfast, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Help create and maintain gardens that support the local community

  • Explore Medellín’s natural beauty and vibrant culture

  • Stay with other volunteers in a local homestay or hostel

Key information

Help create & maintain fruitful gardens
Based in community gardens
Homestay or hostel accommodation
Volunteers aged 18+
Fully hosted experience from AU$565 for 1 week
Durations from 1 - 24 weeks
Discover Medellín's beautiful scenery
Up to 7 hours volunteering a day

This program is ideal for:

Active volunteers who enjoy being outdoors and don’t mind getting their hands dirty. An interest in gardening, fundraising, social media, or environmental education is a bonus, as you’ll have the chance to get involved in these areas.
Who is this program suited to?

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

As an Environmental volunteer, you’ll help local organizations in Medellin to transform garbage areas into gardens to produce fruit, vegetables, and herbs. The produce from these gardens are shared with the local community and in environmental education workshops. This helps local children and families, as well as the community in general, learn how to live healthier lifestyles and gain environmental awareness.

You’ll have the chance to get involved in all kinds of different kinds of projects, such as the production of organic fertilizers, compost and seeds, and landscaping and gardening to design and recover forgotten gardens. Beyond the garden, you can also get involved in environmental education for the local community, ecotourism and experiential planting workshops.

Tasks involved in the Environmental Conservation project may include:

  • Garden maintenance
  • Planting
  • Clearing areas for the creation of new gardens
  • Helping to sort and recycle materials that are being cleared to make way for new gardens
  • Assisting with the composting systems
  • Supporting staff with workshops to present to educational institutions and companies related to recycling, composting, circular economy, planting, sustainable development, gardening, and more.

There may also be an opportunity to assist these organizations with their digital marketing and social media as well as any fundraising initiatives.

This project is well suited to volunteers who are flexible, respectful and proactive, who want to understand and assist with the important work that these organizations do to protect and take care of the environment. Volunteers need to be comfortable working in a team and have the ability to practice patience in any frustrating situations that may arise.

It is strongly recommended to learn as much Spanish as possible before your program, to make communicating at your placement and in your accommodation a bit easier, as your hosts may speak very little English or have no command of the language at all. You can download a language app like Duolingo or Babbel to practice before you arrive.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #13: Climate Action

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #13: Climate Action

Climate change affects everyone, everywhere. 2010 - 2020 was the warmest decade ever recorded and Carbon Dioxide levels have risen to an all-time high. In order to keep global temperatures below the Paris Agreement’s 2 degree Celsius limit, we must take action to educate communities, conserve nature and promote sustainable solutions.

Why do Environmental Conservation volunteering in Medellín with IVHQ?

As an Environmental Conservation volunteer in Colombia, you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Raising awareness of local environmental initiatives in Colombia
  • Practicing your Spanish and communication skills
  • Gaining gardening, ecotourism, and environmental education experience
  • Immersing yourself fully in the Colombian way of life
  • Discovering Colombia’s history and culture

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate in this program. If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ offers alternative volunteer opportunities for teens. Visit our High School Volunteer Abroad page to learn more
  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
  • Volunteers need to have a basic understanding of Spanish to join this program. If you don’t meet this requirement, you may like to check out our other environmental related projects in the Galapagos Islands, Peru, and Guatemala.
Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

Apply For Free

Not sure which program to join?

Get personalized recommendations >

What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

JB
Jonathan Buckingham
03 Apr 2024

I think IVHQ is very helpful. I just finished my 5th trip, and I'm going on my 6th trip in June. I will continue to spread the positive word about IVHQ. The local volunteer coordinator was amazing. I felt safe and valued. She was a lovely lady and I would highly recommend her to anyone traveling to Medellin. I felt like I could make a difference and help the children of Medellin. I wish I had more time to volunteer with them because I felt like I was connecting with them on a personal level and learning more about their culture. It was an intimate experience that I grew from and was very fortunate to experience.

...

To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!

Learn about course credit
Volunteer Abroad in Medellín, Colombia with IVHQ

Location

IVHQ’s Colombia program is based in the stunning city of Medellín. Nestled in a picturesque valley surrounded by mountains, it boasts a balmy year-round climate, earning it the nickname “City of Eternal Spring.” In your free time, volunteers can explore the city’s rich cultural heritage, from vibrant street art and incredible food to museums and historical sites, including the Museum of Antioquia and the Casa de la Memoria. For nature-lovers, you can enjoy fantastic views of the surroundings from cable cars, and there are plenty of excellent parks and hiking opportunities.

While Medellín has made significant progress in recent years, it still faces many social and environmental challenges, which volunteers can help address. This includes helping with economic, sustainability, and community development initiatives, as well as improving access to education, healthcare, elderly care, and other social services for underserved communities.

Arrival and orientation

The program orientation begins on the first and third Tuesday of each month, and volunteers need to arrive in Colombia on the Monday before program orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at José María Córdova International Airport (MDE) in Medellín on the Monday before your program orientation. Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Medellín. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.

If you are traveling in Colombia prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up at a prearranged destination in Medellín on the day before your program orientation.

Orientation is hosted by our Colombia team in Medellín for one day (approximately 8 hours). Orientation begins on the morning of your chosen start date and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Colombia – an introduction to Colombia, Colombian customs, language training details, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities in Colombia, and an introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising.

Volunteer schedule example

First Day

You will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working alongside.

Weekdays

During the week, you will have a volunteering shift that runs all day, approximately 6 - 7 hours from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM, Monday to Friday. If you would prefer to contribute for 3 - 4 hours instead in the morning or afternoon, this can also be arranged in advance.

A typical day working a full volunteering shift of 6 - 7 hours is as follows:

7:00 AM Breakfast at your accommodation or a cafeteria/restaurant nearby.
8:00 AM Leave your accommodation and travel via public transportation to your placement which can take around 45 minutes depending on traffic. Your volunteering placement work begins at 9:00 AM
12:00 PM Lunch which you will need to purchase yourself from a local restaurant or supermarket close by to your placement
1:00 PM Continue volunteering on your placement until 4:00 PM.
4:00 PM Volunteering work on your placement usually ends. You are free to travel back to your accommodation, go sightseeing or shopping, or head to a local restaurant for dinner.
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Volunteers usually have dinner around this time. Please remember that you will need to purchase your own dinner from a local restaurant or supermarket.

Weekends

Whether you want to explore or relax on your weekends in Medellín, there’s plenty of opportunity to do both. Stroll through Plaza Botero, packed with sculptures, street performers and artists, El Poblado neighborhood where you could find Parque Lleras with street vendors, artisans, food sellers, musicians and the most famous street in Medellín “Provenza”; or you can visit Jardín Botánico, the botanical gardens, a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.

You could visit two main tourist attractions such as Pueblito Paisa, which is a replica of a turn-of-the-century town located in the hills of Medellín and offers visitors a chance to experience traditional Antioquian culture. Here, you’ll find cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, a beautiful church, and amazing views of the city, and on the other hand you can visit Parque Arví, which is a very large ecological nature reserve located in Santa Elena, which is a rural area of Medellín.

Take in a museum, the Museo de Arte Moderno, Casa de la Memoria and Museo de Antioquia are fantastic options. Then check out a free walking tour, food tour, or a tour of Comuna 13, Moravia, MacroMural Constelaciones in Manrique or Comuna 8, these neighborhoods are recognized for their incredible social transformation processes; taste-test the city’s fabulous cuisine or sample a brew from Medellín’s blossoming craft-beer industry.

It’s worth noting that Sunday is a religious day of rest, however you could find many stores, shopping malls and restaurants open. Usually Sundays are devoted to spending time with family. If you wish, you can join your host family to do different kinds of recreational activities or explore the city.

On long weekends you may choose to travel around the rest of Colombia and the many towns and cities, volcanoes, jungles, and beaches which are more than worth a visit. Many of these are only a short trip from Medellín.

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers are either accommodated in a homestay or a dormitory-style hostel. If you have a preference for one over the other, please note this in your application.

Hostel:

Volunteers will be accommodated in a dormitory style hostel. You can expect to share a room with up to three other volunteers of the same gender and bedding is provided. Attached to your room will be a western style bathroom with hot water and you will have your own locker to store valuables. Please keep in mind that you will need to bring your own padlock from home for your locker.

Hostel staff members will clean the accommodation throughout the week; however, volunteers are required to keep their bedrooms and bathrooms clean and tidy.

Homestay:

Volunteers will be accommodated in a homestay and hosted by a local family who has been approved by our local team in Colombia. Your host family is given a fee for your support, food and board. It is exciting to stay with a host family, providing you with a unique opportunity to learn about the Colombian way of life, meet local people, try traditional food and speak the local language - especially when host families in Colombia tend to have limited English.

Living is often basic but comfortable and all homestays have electricity, hot water and western style bathrooms. Most homestays can accommodate one volunteer at a time; however, depending on availability, you may have to share a homestay, and bedroom, with one other volunteer of the same gender. For those homestays that can accommodate one volunteer at a time, you will have a double bed. If you are accommodated in a homestay that has capacity for two volunteers at a time, it’s likely you will have a single bed. Bedding is provided by your homestay.

You may be required to share a bathroom with your homestay family, depending on the size of their home.

WiFi is available in all volunteer accommodations, free of charge. If you would like to keep connected during your stay, we recommend bringing an unlocked mobile phone and purchasing a local SIM card when you arrive in Colombia.

Meals

Volunteers are provided with breakfast everyday. Breakfast typically consists of Colombian arepas (arepas are known as corn cakes made out of corn dough or precooked corn flour in a flat circular shape, similar to a pancake), bread, spreads, scrambled egg and cheese, milk, coffee, aromática (a mixture of fresh herbs, fruits, and boiling water), and hot chocolate.

Lunch and dinner is not included in the program and you will need to purchase these yourself. You can expect to budget around AU$4 - AU$9 for lunch and slightly more for dinner; however, prices will vary depending on what type of establishment you choose to purchase your lunches and dinners from.

Bottled water is readily available in Colombia and volunteers should budget approximately AU$13 - AU$16 per week for two liters of water per day.

If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know when submitting your application so we can make arrangements for you. As you will be living and volunteering abroad, you should not expect to eat as you normally do at home; however, the local team will do their best to ensure you are well taken care of.

Pricing

  • USD
Duration
Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week AU$565 Equivalent to AU$94/day
2 weeks AU$961 Equivalent to AU$80/day
3 weeks AU$1332 Equivalent to AU$74/day
4 weeks AU$1692 Equivalent to AU$71/day
5 weeks AU$2053 Equivalent to AU$68/day
6 weeks AU$2414 Equivalent to AU$67/day
8 weeks AU$3070 Equivalent to AU$64/day
10 weeks AU$3727 Equivalent to AU$62/day
12 weeks AU$4383 Equivalent to AU$61/day
16 weeks AU$5498 Equivalent to AU$57/day
20 weeks AU$6614 Equivalent to AU$55/day
24 weeks AU$7729 Equivalent to AU$54/day
  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Airport pick-up
  • Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on language lessons
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately AU$538) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in AUD.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, lunch and dinner, public transport to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Colombia generally find US$200 to be sufficient for weekly expenses, including lunches and dinners, transport and miscellaneous spending.

Free-time experiences & tours in Colombia

Take your volunteer experience to the next level with IVHQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in Colombia! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto the IVHQ Colombia program.

Semi-intensive Spanish Language Lessons
Semi-intensive Spanish Language Lessons

Small group classes with a native-speaking Spanish teacher; Classes average 3-5 students, with maximum of 8 students. Classes are 3 hours; 15 hours per week.

From AU$373
Spanish Language Lessons
Spanish Language Lessons

Enhance your Spanish language proficiency at an affordable rate with small group classes that run for 2 hours per day, Monday - Friday.

From AU$260
Semi-intensive Spanish Language Lessons
Semi-intensive Spanish Language Lessons

Small group classes with a native-speaking Spanish teacher; Classes average 3-5 students, with maximum of 8 students. Classes are 3 hours; 15 hours per week.

From AU$373
Spanish Language Lessons
Spanish Language Lessons

Enhance your Spanish language proficiency at an affordable rate with small group classes that run for 2 hours per day, Monday - Friday.

From AU$260

Check what's required to visit Colombia

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Capital Bogota
Population 50.3 million
Languages Spanish
Currency Colombian Peso (KES)
Time zone UTC-5:00

Weather and climate

Medellín, nestled in the Aburrá Valley of the Andes mountains, enjoys a temperate climate at an elevation of approximately 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) above sea level. Often referred to as the “City of Eternal Spring,” Medellín boasts mild and consistent weather throughout the year. Daytime temperatures hover around a comfortable 24-28°C (75-82°F), providing a pleasant and spring-like atmosphere. Evenings bring a slight coolness with temperatures ranging from 15-20°C (59-68°F). The city experiences two distinct rainy seasons, from April to June and from September to November, with brief afternoon showers. However, overall, Medellín is characterized by a predominantly dry climate. Volunteers are advised to pack lightweight clothing and a jacket for cooler evenings.

Other projects you may be interested in

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!