A real adventure is where the magic happens. It’s what dreams are made of. It’s not just a trip, a day out or a vacation, it’s a journey of discovery. The best adventures open your eyes, get you face-to-face with wildly unique experiences, make you feel something special and leave you in awe. Adventures like these change a little part of you forever!
Adventure holidays are a great way to explore new places and expose yourself to new ways of living, thinking and being. They allow you to be active in a way that you can’t be at home, giving you the time and space to devote yourself to your adventure. You can climb to the top of the Andes and experience Machu Picchu, trek for days at a time in Nepal or go on an extended diving trip in Madagascar. Adventure travelers live for these kinds of lifetime highlights.
But what if you could extend those highlight moments? What if, instead of having that one instance of crowning glory, your whole vacation is an adventure? With International Volunteer HQ, your active holiday can fulfil your sense of adventure and achievement for days and weeks on end.
IVHQ adventure holidays
With IVHQ, you can travel to a new country, live as part of a community and have an adventure every day. Fulfil your sense of adventure abroad by helping communities and locals in their daily lives and taking part in rewarding volunteering. You could use surfing to motivate children in South Africa, help a remote community in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco or protect endangered sea turtles in Bali.
On these kinds of active holidays, every day is a highlight.
IVHQ has a wide range of volunteer projects and destinations to ensure your adventure overseas is exciting, rewarding and impactful all at the same time. Not only are your weekdays full of meaningful volunteer work, your weekends are free to double-up on adventure in unique and spectacular countries. If you’re an adventure traveler looking for an active holiday destination, this is the option for you!
Below are some of the best adventure holiday locations and volunteer projects. Before we get to them, let’s explore some of the influencing factors that will help you decide which adventure holiday is best for you.
Affordable adventure holidays
The vast majority of people will be influenced by price when they travel. Why do something for more, when you can save money and have just as rewarding an adventure abroad? The good news is IVHQ offers some of the cheapest active holiday adventures you’ll find.
IVHQ offers affordable volunteer programs perfectly suited to adventure travelers from as little as $180 for one week. The best thing is, these are not only cheap adventures abroad, but they’re value for money too.
Volunteer fees include your accommodation, most (if not all) meals, comprehensive pre-departure support from a dedicated volunteer expert, online volunteer training, program orientation and even a pick-up from the airport when you arrive.
Adeventure holidays to suit every traveler
A different kind of adventure traveler will be better suited to a different kind of adventure holiday. A younger traveler will do things differently to those a little older, those traveling solo may want different things to a family or a couple traveling together, and so on.
At IVHQ, there’s a wide range of volunteer programs for all travel types. At the heart of all of them lies the same thing - an amazing adventure holiday abroad. The only difference is what you think is the best active holiday for you. That’s where we come in.
We’ve already thought about the needs and wants of all sorts of adventure travelers. Click the links below for the best volunteer programs to satisfy what you’re after on your adventure holiday.
- Best adventure holidays for solo travelers
- Best adventure holidays for couples
- Best adventure holidays for families
- Best adventure holidays for seniors
- Best adventure holidays for teenagers
Best adventure holiday volunteer projects
When you head out on an adventure holiday, you want to know your days will be active, fun and satisfying. By selecting the right IVHQ volunteer program you’re putting yourself on the path for a rewarding and active holiday abroad that really makes the most of your time.
IVHQ volunteer projects are assessed for meaning, impact and volunteer experience, meaning each program has plenty to offer both local communities and volunteers. This means they all promise a unique adventure abroad.
Some, however, involve more active volunteering that requires physical work, getting a sweat up and your hands dirty. Active travelers will be satisfied by all sorts of volunteer work with children, sport, animals or construction.
Here’s a selection of top volunteer programs to make yours the best adventure holiday.
Victoria Falls is not only a remarkable piece of geography, it’s home to iconic African wildlife. Based in western Zimbabwe, the IVHQ volunteer program in Victoria Falls presents a rare opportunity for a volunteer adventure at a private game reserve that’s home to Africa’s ‘Big 5’ - lions, leopards, elephants, rhino and buffalo.
Volunteers can help with all aspects of conservation management including park maintenance, animal tracking and monitoring and feeding and watering processes. Live in the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the Victoria Falls community and help preserve the life of some of the world’s most remarkable wildlife.
This is the ultimate volunteer adventure for those with an affinity for African animals. Not only will the volunteer days be adventures in their own right, but there are opportunities for further exploration around Victoria Falls in the weekends and safaris.
For more about what you can do in Victoria Falls, see our Victoria Falls travel and tours page.
Thailand is a cultural adventure like no other, with distinctive cuisine, authentic cultural attractions and extremely welcoming people. The IVHQ Thailand program is based in the north of the country in Chiang Rai, where green mountain ranges make for beautiful 360 degree horizons.
By contributing to the Outdoor Work project, volunteers will be on the tools on construction jobs. It includes working on buildings, irrigation systems, roads and agricultural projects and also the opportunity to contribute in hill tribe communities. These are all important community projects that can enable the delivery of food, water and education, but are unable to be completed without the assistance of volunteer labor.
Outside the rewarding volunteering, the adventures continue in your time off, where mountains, caves and rivers that surround Chiang Rai all offering plenty of active travel experiences. Inside the city, the authentic Thai culture, markets and attractions give you a comprehensive cultural adventure abroad.
For more about what you can do in Thailand, see our Thailand travel and tours page.
An adventure vacation working with endangered sea turtles may seem too good to be true, but with IVHQ it’s a reality! Based on the island of Nusa Penida, volunteers contribute to a range of tasks to aid the prospects of local turtles.
Despite being viewed as remarkable creatures by large parts of the world, sea turtles are still endangered in many countries, including Indonesia. Volunteers in Bali assist to promote and protect hatcheries, clean up beaches and marine environments and feeding and cleaning turtles, all vital activities that help to boost the local turtle population.
Nusa Penida is a remote island with basic facilities, meaning volunteers can get away from city life, into nature and live the good, simple life. Bali is a fantastic place for an adventure, with its rich culture, tourist-friendly approach and stunning natural landscapes from beaches to volcanoes. This is one of IVHQ’s most popular programs, with volunteers bound to enjoy the company of like-minded fellow adventure travelers.
For more about what you can do in Bali, see our Bali travel and tours page.
Central America is a popular adventure holiday destination, due to its contrasting landscapes and lively culture. On top of that, it’s also incredibly accessible and very cheap!
Construction and Renovation volunteers in Costa Rica make vital contributions to underfunded projects in the capital city, San Jose. Local construction workers help to guide volunteers in basic tasks that require a steady hand, good work ethic and enthusiasm. Volunteers help projects in childcare centers, local clinics, community centers and gardens.
Costa Rica is full of character and natural beauty, with rainforests, beaches and volcanoes all accessible from San Jose. Adventure travelers can also soak up the culture on Sundays, which are religious days of rest, offering a rare chance to be part of the community as it carries out its sacred traditions. As well that, San Jose is home to many top-rated museums, cathedrals and markets.
For more about what you can do in Costa Rica, see our Costa Rica travel and tours page.
Yes, you read that right! South Africa is a great place for adventure in the city and in nature. IVHQ’s South Africa program is based in Cape Town, with the Table View program just half an hour from the city center. Enjoy all the comforts of city living while also having access to the African country landscapes and all they have to offer.
Volunteers on the Surf, Skate, Swim project simply aim to have fun. It’s an after school activity program for young people from low-income communities, where volunteers keep active by taking part in confidence-building games and activities. The way the project is run also encourages students to do well in school, so it’s particularly rewarding as an incentivised activity vacation.
Outside volunteer hours, Table Mountain provides a spectacular view over the city and coastline and the perfect postcard moment for your adventure holiday. Active travelers can choose from exploring Cape Town and all its character, or getting away from the hustle and bustle and going on safari, white-water rafting or venturing to nearby Robben Island, a popular historical adventure site as home to the prison that once held Nelson Mandela.
For more about what you can do in South Africa, see our South Africa travel and tours page.
BEST ADVENTURE HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS
Some of the best adventure holidays are in places where you can be active and spend lots of time exploring and enjoying the place you’re based. All IVHQ volunteer destinations have something exciting to offer, but here are some of the best for adventure travelers.
Regardless of where you go in Nepal, world class outdoor trekking is guaranteed to be nearby. You don’t have to climb Mt Everest to enjoy this top-rated adventure destination, with any number of mountain ranges within reach of most cities. Not only that, but the towns and cities are eclectic and full of character and fellow adventure travelers that make for a lively atmosphere.
IVHQ’s volunteer program is based in the capital, Kathmandu, where most volunteer work is carried out, though other placements are available in more rural locations in Chitwan, Chitlang and Pokhara.
Volunteers contribute to nine rewarding and impactful projects in NGO Support, Sustainable Agriculture, Medical Elective, Childcare, Women’s Education, Teaching English, Special Needs Care and Construction and Renovation.
For more about what you can do in Nepal, see our Nepal travel and tours page.
Active holidays in Madagascar are the best kind, with untouched beaches and unrivalled natural landscapes. Madagascar is home to a unique mix of tropical African wildlife, as well as waterfalls, lakes and marketplaces.
An island off the east coast of Africa, Madagascar is unspoilt and pure, and an adventure all on its own. IVHQ’s Madagascar program offers five meaningful volunteer projects in Marine Conservation, Turtle Conservation, Forest Conservation, Teaching and Community Development.
This promises to be one of the more unique adventures abroad you can have. Project work is rich in meaning, enabling volunteers to spend time in nature, helping the environment, while in your spare time Diego Suarez is a popular weekend excursion as home to adventure sports such as kiteboarding, quad biking and snorkeling.
For more about what you can do in Madagascar, see our Madagascar travel and tours page.
The Filipino island of Palawan has been named one of the most beautiful in the world, and what better starting point for your incredible adventure vacation? The Philippines is an island paradise, where you’re never far from a tropical beach and its warm, turquoise water.
By volunteering in the Philippines, you’ll join a large number of fellow adventure travelers on one of four projects in Teaching, Childcare, Environmental or Construction and Renovation.
If it’s an active island holiday you’re after, this is the place for you. The only limit on your adventures is time, with a whole range of exploration activities on your doorstep. Get active as you go white water rafting, hiking, snorkelling or diving, or embrace the culture of the local towns and markets on Palawan. This is an authentic Filipino experience for the active traveler that loves to discover something new.
For more about what you can do in the Philippines, see our Philippines travel and tours page.
For those who enjoy breath-taking landscapes, traditional ways of life and well-preserved history, Cusco in Peru’s Andes is the place for you. Cusco is on the main road into the world-renowned tourist mecca of Machu Picchu, and offers straightforward access to everything it has to offer. Not only that, but travelers on active holidays will find fewer crowds on other top-rated Andean walks near to the city. By being based close to these trails, active travelers are more able to do them on day trips, meaning a better chance to experience it all.
Cusco is a traditional old city set in the mountains with a strong sense of authentic Peruvian culture. It’s used to hosting travelers on overseas adventures and promises to satisfy your appetite for activity.
IVHQ’s Cusco program has 10 impactful volunteer projects, split in a range of exciting locations. In central Cusco, volunteers can take part in Childcare, Special Needs Care, Construction and Renovation, Teaching English, Medical, Animal Care and Holiday Experience.
Those looking for volunteer adventures outside the city can be based in more rural settings on Andean Immersion, Amazon Jungle Conservation and Eco-Agriculture Conservation projects. These are especially well suited to hard-working adventure travelers who enjoy being immersed in a new culture, as you’ll live in these more isolated communities and have a more fulsome experience of local life.
For more about what you can do in Peru, see our Peru travel and tours page.
You can have many different kinds of adventure in Portugal. Active travelers can be kept busy for days on the large number of popular surf beaches located up and down Portugal’s coastline. Not only that, but Portugal’s world class art, history and cuisine make for a cultural adventure holiday like no other.
IVHQ Portugal program has access to it all in the capital city, Libson, as well as six active volunteer projects. Construction and Renovation, Environmental Scuba Diving and Wolf Conservation offer dynamic volunteer experiences, while Food Rescue, Homeless Support and Youth Support projects are particularly rewarding in helping vulnerable people.
Portugal has the perfect vibe for an adventure abroad, with a down to earth buzz that makes it a great place to explore in your spare time. The beaches are primed for water activities and the hills offer spectacular views over unique Iberian landscapes.
For more about what you can do in Portugal, see our Portugal travel and tours page.
ADVENTURE HOLIDAY IDEAS
Adventure holidays are often wrapped around seeing or doing particular things. We’ve already checked off Machu Picchu, the Himalayas and safaris, but what are some of the other amazing adventure holiday attractions abroad you can tick off with IVHQ?
In the heart of Rome lies the Colosseum, the home of ancient gladiators. Arguably the most famous olden-day arena of its kind, the Colosseum is one of Europe’s most popular tourist attractions and a ready-made adventure for those wanting to explore and learn more about it.
IVHQ’s popular Italy - Rome volunteer program places you nearby to not only the Colosseum, but iconic Italian attractions such as Vatican City, the Trevi Fountain and the Sistine Chapel as well!
Volunteers on this program can satisfy their active holiday desires on four meaningful projects in Animal Care, Sports, NGO Support and Special Needs Support.
While you’re at it, check out what else you can do while volunteering in Italy - Rome.
The temples of Angkor Wat
Active holidays in southeast Asia are popular with adventure travelers from all over the world, and the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia is one of the many reasons why. This sprawling complex of Buddhist temples is one of the largest religious monuments in the world, with a natural backdrop of greenery and water features.
IVHQ’s Cambodia program is mostly based in Phnom Penh, though some projects have placements in nearby Siem Reap. Projects include Medical, Working with NGOs, Childcare, Teaching English, Computer Support and Special Needs Care.
Visiting Angkor Wat is an adventure trip that allows you to deep-dive into the history of the region, going back hundreds of years. The hospitality you’ll experience is as nourishing as the cuisine, and active travelers are able to discover a great deal about the culture and people in Cambodia.
While you’re at it, check out what else you can do while volunteering in Cambodia.
The Taj Mahal
Commonly considered one of the must-see attractions in all of Asia, the Taj Mahal is a stunning 17th Century marble mausoleum situated on well maintained gardens in the Indian city of Agra. An icon of culture and beauty, the Taj Mahal offers an adventure of discovery and awe that has to be experienced. India itself is home to a remarkably colorful culture and bustling atmosphere that offers a distinctly unique holiday adventure.
IVHQ’s India - Delhi program is based three and a half hours’ drive from Agra. Day trips or extended tours are available from Delhi, and can be booked as add-ons through IVHQ. Alternatively, opt for an extended Orientation Week that includes a trip to the Taj Mahal and other authentic Indian holiday adventures.
Volunteers on the India - Delhi program can contribute to four rewarding projects in Teaching English, Slum Teaching, Childcare and Health.
While you’re at it, check out what else you can do while volunteering in India - Delhi.
The Atlas Mountains
The Atlas Mountains are a stunning mountain range running from Morocco to Algeria in north-west Africa. The mountains provide a remarkable backdrop to villages in both countries, with rocky landscapes and snow-capped peaks providing some of the best scenery you’ll find. A large number of walking trails offer outdoor adventure travelers a number of vantage points to enjoy the views from.
IVHQ’s Morocco - Marrakech program offers the perfect opportunity to live and work in mountain communities for an immersion experience like no other. Volunteers on the Amazigh Immersion project contribute to the needs of a mountain tribe community by helping with teaching, childcare and agriculture.
This is a cultural adventure abroad that’s not for the faint-hearted but promises to be hugely rewarding in scenery and cross-cultural appreciation. Each day is a discovery of new skills and new people, and you’ll leave with an immense appreciation for a different way of life.
The Morocco - Marrakech program also includes city-based volunteer projects in Teaching English, Teaching French, Childcare, Women’s Education and Special Needs Care.
While you’re at it, check out what else you can do while volunteering in Morocco - Marrakech.
Carnaval is one of the most lively, atmospheric events held anywhere in the world. An annual celebration held across Brazil, it represents the pinnacle of the cultural calendar that sees the country come alive with dance, music and flavor for five days in the lead up to Easter each year.
The center of the whole celebration is undoubtedly the city of Rio de Janeiro, where IVHQ’s Brazil program is based. Roughly five million people pack the city streets with dancing and floats that have to be seen to be believed.
For a distinctively Brazilian adventure holiday, volunteers can help local schools prepare for the event on IVHQ’s unique Carnaval project. Help choreograph dances, design costumes and build floats for this huge, unifying event.
Outside of Carnaval, Rio de Janeiro is a bustling, vibrant city. Adventure up Sugarloaf Mountain for stunning city and harbor views, check out the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue and experience the buzz on Copacabana beach. Volunteers in Brazil can also contribute to projects in Sports, Teaching English, Childcare and Community Development.
While you’re at it, check out what else you can do while volunteering in Brazil.
At IVHQ, we are merchants of adventure for good. Live your passion as an adventure traveler while you volunteer and help communities abroad in a way that helps everyone to win.
Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Check out the full range of IVHQ volunteer programs for more adventures abroad, or apply to start your next active holiday right now!