Looking for the most LGBTQ+ friendly travel destinations for volunteers? Discover a new part of the world as a volunteer traveler and immerse yourself in an inclusive community and culture!
At International Volunteer HQ we celebrate diversity, inclusivity and community year-round. You have plenty of opportunities to choose from as we have the world’s largest range of volunteer abroad programs in a diverse range of LGBTQ+ friendly countries across Europe, South America, Central America, Asia and the Pacific.
To simplify things for you, we’ve rounded up the most LGBTQ+ friendly countries for inspo about where to volunteer abroad with IVHQ. These destinations have been recommended by IVHQ’s global community of local teams who have been hosting international travelers for more than 15 years.
Whether you’re part of the queer community or an ally, this guide is perfect for volunteer travelers looking to match a LGBTQ+ friendly vacation with making a positive impact abroad! We’ve hand-picked the destinations that are the most welcoming so you’ll feel right at home!
Best LGBTQ+ Travel Destinations for Volunteers:
- Antigua, Guatemala
- Athens, Greece
- Barcelona, Spain
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Auckland, New Zealand
- San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Manuel Antonio & San Jose, Costa Rica
- Buenos Aires & Cordoba, Argentina
- Kathmandu & Pokhara, Nepal
- Chiang Rai & Hua Hin, Thailand
Guatemala’s laid back attitude and growing tourism industry has brought in many more members of the rainbow community in recent years.
There’s a place for everyone in Antigua, from its famous LGBTQ+ night at a popular restaurant on the last Saturday of each month to locally-owned cafes, the small but friendly community here will welcome you and make you feel right at home.
As a trans individual I want to share my experience of traveling abroad in hopes to inspire other youth in the LGBT+ community. There are many accepting countries in the world you are able to visit, live, and thrive. I will always recommend volunteering abroad, you will never regret it. I want the LGBT+ community to know that you aren’t alone, stepping into the unknown is scary, don’t let anything hold you back. Solo travel is empowering. Not only do you get to learn about the world and different cultures, but you learn an incredible amount about yourself as well. It builds confidence, patience, and appreciation. The friendships you make while volunteering are unlike anything else. The feeling you get helping out in another country is unreal, it’s the easiest way to get fully immersed. Rowan McKinnon
Volunteers in Antigua, Guatemala have plenty of options to give back to the wider community with 12 meaningful project options available year-round! Choose from animal or child care, medical or community, eco-agriculture or teaching and many more!
Athens Gay Pride is a celebration of local queer culture. It tends to put activism and social equality at the forefront of the festival. Gays love Greece. It’s one of the oldest and best-known LGBTQ+ destinations, dating back to classical writers such as Plato, Athenaeus and many more, who explored aspects of homosexuality in ancient Greek society.
We’ve recently launched some amazing new projects in Athens - including Homeless Support, Animal Care, Sports & Arts With Refugees and more.
Barcelona is one of the major LGBTQ+ friendly cities in Spain. Blessed with plenty of festivals like Pride Festival, We Party, LesGaiCineMad, and The Circuit Festival.
Spain is definitely a trailblazer when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights with an incredibly open minded society that embraces and celebrates diversity.
Volunteers in Barcelona, Spain will have plenty of causes to support from Animal Care and Food Rescue to Forest Conservation. Embrace the local community here and they will embrace you right back!
Very few countries are as casual about same-sex PDA as Portugal, one of the many reasons this destination gets a spot on the list! Europe’s westernmost country is famously liberal on everything from gay marriage to gender identity and all members of the LGBTQ+ community are welcomed and celebrated here.
The country was voted as the world’s most gay-friendly travel location by the SPARTACUS International Gay Guide Index in 2019 and also champions rights for genderqueer and transgender people. Lisbon is one of the largest LGBTQ+ scenes in the country and celebrates Pride in June.
Portugal volunteer projects are based in Lisbon and include some amazing options like Youth Support, Homeless Support, and even Wolf Conservation!
Auckland, New Zealand
Kiwis are a famously accepting bunch of people from all walks of life, including all sexual orientations and gender expressions. They always have a welcome mat laid out for you. Gay Marriage? Check. Employment and housing protections? Check. The right to serve openly in the military, change gender and/or adopt as a queer couple? Check!
As the home of IVHQ’s head office, we had to of course include our country here! New Zealand hosts three high-profile annual LGBTQ+ events: Auckland Pride Festival, Big Gay Out and Queenstown’s Gay Ski Week. And then there’s the amazing weekly events, the thriving communities, and the high streets home to the fabulous like K’ Rd and Ponsonby! These are all located in Auckland, which is where our programs are based.
As a country surrounded by beautiful beaches, it’s a no-brainer that volunteer opportunities in New Zealand support Coast and Waterway Conservation and Environmental Education.
EXPLORE PROJECTS IN NEW ZEALAND
San Juan, Puerto Rico
If you’re looking for an island vibe that embraces diversity and supports equality, Puerto Rico’s for you! This archipelago is the top gay-friendly destination in the Caribbean, exhibiting a lively LGBTQ+ scene with plenty of activities and attractions to participate in. Plus, Puerto Rico celebrates not one but two annual pride parades! It’s the perfect setting to let your rainbow flag fly high and proud.
Volunteer projects in Puerto Rico are based in the coastal capital of San Juan with a wide range of trusted programs available from NGO Support and Community Development to Youth Support and Environmental Sustainability.
EXPLORE PROJECTS IN PUERTO RICO
Manuel Antonio & San Jose, Costa Rica
Costa Rica has many laws in place to protect the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination, including rights to a family life, with equal marriage and adoption by same-sex couples. Overall, it has one of the best records for LGBTQ+ rights in the region.
The country also attracts a fair number of LGBTQ+ tourists and travelers, especially to its several LGBTQ+ friendly areas. Locals treat the rainbow community with tolerance, respect and a “live and let live” attitude.
Volunteers have plenty of projects to jump in on in the wonderful city of San Juan or the beautiful beachside region of Manuel Antonio! This includes Teaching, Healthcare, Childcare, Construction, Animal Care and Sea Turtle Conservation.
EXPLORE PROJECTS IN COSTA RICA
Buenos Aires & Córdoba, Argentina
Buenos Aires is the undisputed LGBTQ+ capital of South America. With a bounty of bars and clubs to discover as well as Marcha del Orgullo - Buenos Aires’ Gay Pride Parade held every November, you’ll feel right at home.
IVHQ’s volunteer programs are based in the vibrant cities of Buenos Aires and Córdoba – and we invite everyone to contribute! You can choose from a wide range of trusted volunteer projects, including Childcare, Teaching, Construction, Healthcare and Sports Education.
In your free time, explore Argentina’s bustling cosmopolitan capital, hit the dance floor and learn to tango, or try Argentina’s famous steaks at one of the many restaurants and cafes!
Kathmandu & Pokhara, Nepal
Nepal is very accepting and LGBTQ+ friendly, and the Nepalese constitution recognizes LGBTQ+ rights as fundamental rights. On top of that, the local team and communities alike have always accepted volunteers and travelers who have been part of the LGBTQ+ community!
IVHQ’s Nepal programs are based in Kathmandu and Pokhara, the perfect locations to explore the country’s astonishing alpine scenery and breathtaking mountainscapes. You can also visit local temples, sample authentic Nepali food and meet plenty of other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.
Volunteers can have a meaningful impact on Nepalese communities by providing assistance with a wide range of activities that help make life, and the future, better for local people.
Chiang Rai & Hua Hin, Thailand
Thailand is a popular destination for transgender volunteers, thanks to its bustling LGBTQ+ nightlife and social scene.
It’s a country renowned for its beautiful beaches and interesting history, making it an incredible destination to explore and truly get to know as a volunteer. IVHQ’s programs are based in some of the country’s less touristy areas of Chiang Rai and Hua Hin, making for a truly authentic experience!
On top of being a super affordable travel destination, Thailand offers IVHQ volunteers some great community-driven projects, such as Teaching English, Outdoor Volunteer Work and Hill Tribe Support.
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