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Best Winter Break Volunteer Programs in 2024 & 2025

Top Alternative Winter Break Trips with IVHQ

Are you looking for a meaningful way to spend your winter break? Want to escape the cold, explore a tropical paradise and give back to local communities in need? International Volunteer HQ offers affordable winter break volunteer programs in over 50 destinations abroad. Whether you want to stay on a private island in the Caribbean or live like a local in a rustic beachside community in Africa, we have unique winter break volunteer trips for everyone.

We understand that high school and college winter break trips can be time sensitive, which is why we offer both short and long-term volunteer opportunities that can easily meet your studies, career path, and life schedule. We have affordable and exciting winter break programs for college students and high school students, as well as families, older volunteers, and much more!

Best Volunteer Programs for Winter IVHQ
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When should I start planning for my winter break volunteer trip?

Now is the perfect time to start researching and planning for your 2024 & 2025 winter break volunteer abroad experience. We make it easy and affordable to organize an alternative winter break, with program fees starting at just $20 per day including accommodation. As an IVHQ volunteer, you’ll also have 24/7 wrap-around support from start to finish. Before departing, you’ll be connected with a dedicated IVHQ Program Manager who will help prepare you for your winter break volunteer trip. Once on the ground, you’ll be supported by a local team and surrounded by like-minded travelers.

Wondering what the best volunteer opportunities during winter break are, and how you can give back to communities in need? We’ve listed some of our most popular (and warm!) winter break trips for high school students, seniors, and everyone in between who wants to make an impact in the sunshine. If you already have a destination in mind, jump ahead:

Winter Volunteering in Trinidad & Tobago

Take a winter break volunteering in Trinidad & Tobago with IVHQ

Want to escape the cold this winter and volunteer on a beautiful Caribbean island that remains largely untouched by mass tourism? Volunteering on IVHQ’s Trinidad and Tobago program is the perfect opportunity for you to reconnect with nature and yourself, while giving back to community driven causes, such as Childcare, Women’s Empowerment, Teaching, and more!

IVHQ’s program is based on Tobago, the smaller of the Twin Islands of Trinidad & Tobago, known for its natural beauty and abundance of wildlife (including 260 bird species!) Spend your days relaxing on sandy beaches, diving into turquoise waters, hiking through the rainforest… And make a meaningful impact within the local community!

Winter Volunteering in the Galapagos Islands

Take a winter break volunteering in the Galapagos Islands with IVHQ

Calling all wildlife lovers! IVHQ’s Galapagos program is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to immerse yourself in nature and help support important conservation initiatives. Being based at a National Park and World Heritage site, there’s plenty to explore in your free time, and you’ll be able to enjoy balmy temperatures of 68-80° F during December.

Most of the animals that live on this volcanic island archipelago cannot be found anywhere else on the planet. This includes the oldest vertebrates on Earth, Giant Tortoises, which you can help conserve on one of our projects. Whether you care about protecting endangered wildlife or improving access to education, there are a variety of ways you can support conservation and community development in this tropical island paradise!

Winter Volunteering in Zambia

Take a winter break volunteering in Zambia with IVHQ

Volunteering in Zambia with IVHQ is an incredible way to get an authentic taste of Africa during the winter in the northern hemisphere. Being based in the Southern region of Africa, you’ll get to soak up warm and dry temperatures with plenty of sunshine. There are plenty of adventurous activities to get involved in, such as going on safari, game drives, whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, visiting Victoria Falls, and local villages and markets.

You’ll really become part of the community by volunteering, as all of IVHQ’s projects are run by local people, and they are very grateful to have international volunteers joining! Experienced volunteers are well suited to the Medical and Teaching projects, and the Elderly Care project is always looking for extra pairs of helping hands. For those wanting to get involved in wildlife conservation, take a look at our Victoria Falls program, which is another brilliant option for winter.

This is truly a life changing experience. If you ever get the chance to volunteer abroad - I would highly recommend doing it. The amount of gratitude that was felt. It was truly life changing. We did everything with gratitude and felt that we were given back an enormous amount of gratitude. Justine Batchelder

Winter Volunteering in Cambodia

Take a winter break volunteering in Cambodia with IVHQ

Volunteering in Cambodia with IVHQ is an amazing option for those seeking some sunshine, culture, and wanting to give back during the winter months. Volunteer projects are based in the historical cities of Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang, with plenty of opportunities to soak up the incredible food, temples, beaches and culture. This is also an important chance to learn about Cambodia’s history.

IVHQ’s Cambodia program is well suited to travelers on a budget, as program fees are very affordable, and food, drinks and souvenirs are very cheap. It’s also an excellent option for med students, solo travelers, animal lovers, and those who want to volunteer with children or teach, due to the diverse range of project options available. This is a place where you can make a real difference to the lives of local people, as many are living well below the poverty line and can really benefit from the contributions of international volunteers.

This volunteer experience provided me the opportunity to interact and learn about a new culture and community, while it also took me out of my comfort zone and forced me to learn a new way of doing things. It’s an amazing experience, you meet so many people who you become so close with! In the end the hardest thing is saying goodbye. Brianna Reynolds

Winter Volunteering in Australia

Take a winter break volunteering in Australia with IVHQ

  • When can you start? Volunteer program starts the first Monday of the month
  • What can you do? We offer a Marine Conservation program on the Great Barrier Reef
  • How much does it cost? Program fees from $1,035 for 1 week
  • Average temperature: 82°

There’s no better way to experience the beauty of Australia than strapping on a snorkel and exploring one of the world’s greatest natural wonders – the Great Barrier Reef! Sadly, this incredible underwater wonderland is struggling to survive, mainly due to climate change. But as a volunteer on IVHQ’s Marine Conservation project, you can support local organizations to help protect it.

No previous experience is needed, as you’ll get training on how to carry out reef surveys and collect data. You’ll take a boat out to the islands everyday, where you’ll snorkel and survey the reef. You can expect to see plenty of colorful coral and fish, and maybe even dolphins, turtles, and whales if you’re lucky! The data collected is added to a national database used by marine scientists to help monitor and conserve the reef.

Volunteering through IVHQ and the local Australia team was the best decision I have made. This experience allowed me to grow so much as a person and gain so many skills! Volunteering is such a great way to travel and save money, whilst also being able to learn from locals about the culture and environment you are in. IVHQ has high standards regarding the ethicality of projects and meets UN goals which was something I really looked for to start off my volunteering journey. Sophie Kenney

Winter Volunteering in Jamaica

Take a winter break volunteering in Jamaica with IVHQ

Go beyond the stereotypical tourist image of the Caribbean and immerse yourself in authentic Jamaican culture as an IVHQ volunteer. Discover incredible food, dazzling beaches and unique wildlife, while volunteering to support low-income communities and helping to address socioeconomic inequalities.

IVHQ’s Jamaica program is based in the parish of St Mary, tucked up on the stunning north-eastern coast. Get stuck into volunteering, by supporting local NGOs, schools, farms, conservation initiatives, animal shelters, and much more!

The biggest impact my volunteering trip had on me was understanding the culture and way of life within Jamaica, making me extremely appreciative of the little things I take for granted. It is an indescribable experience that you will teach you so much and take you out of your comfort zone. Delaney Vandale

Winter Volunteering in Costa Rica

Take a winter break volunteering in Costa Rica with IVHQ

Boasting stunning beaches, adventure-packed activities, quaint towns and welcoming locals, it’s understandable why Costa Rica is one of our top winter volunteer abroad programs. As a volunteer in Costa Rica, your weekdays will be spent applying your efforts to support local communities, while your weekends can be spent relaxing on the beach of Manuel Antonio, zip-lining through Monteverde, or exploring the Arenal Volcano.

Our Holiday Experience project is an awesome option for those wanting to get away over the festive period! You’ll get to stay in the vibrant city of San Jose and lend a hand by volunteering with children and elderly within under-served communities, coordinating holiday celebrations for the children, as well as renovating community centers.

My time in Costa Rica was some of the best times of my life! I met so many amazing people and did so many amazing things. I loved watching the progress we made as we renovated a kindergarten classroom and English school. My host family was fantastic and I wouldn’t change a thing about my experience, besides staying longer next time! Joshua Bennignton

Winter Volunteering in Mexico - Merida

Experience the culture and people of Mexico on your winter break with IVHQ

Located on the Caribbean Coast of Mexico in the historic city of Merida, you will be blown away by the Mayan and colonial architecture at your doorstep on this program. During your free time, trips can be arranged to explore popular tourist sites in the area, such as Chichén Itzá – the most famous of the Yucatán’s Mayan ruin sites, the impressive Uxmal Mayan ruin site, and the colonial town of Izamal. After soaking up the beautiful city, you will truly appreciate your winter break trip once you visit the incredible Caribbean Coast.

If you’re looking to get a new perspective on life, this is the best way to do it. Humbling, enlightening and exciting. I will definitely repeat the experience! Plus Mexico is an amazing country. The IVHQ Mexico team is absolutely spot-on, helpful and nice. Thanks IVHQ! Simina Marca

Winter Volunteering in Guatemala

Experience the culture and people of Guatemala on your winter break with IVHQ

With its kaleidoscope of colors, dramatic landscapes, and an intriguing atmosphere, Guatemala offers a unique and culturally rich travel experience! Volunteers are based in Antigua and can choose from 11 meaningful projects, starting at just $385 for 1 week.

Guatemala is the perfect place to soak up the sun and make the most of your winter break - and for those visiting over the Christmas period, we highly recommend joining our special Holiday Experience project to give back and get involved in all the local festivities.

From all the experience I gained working in the medical clinic at Puesto de Salud in Ciudad Vieja to climbing to the summit of a volcano the only regret I have is not having more time. The people are amazing, the culture is vibrant, and the opportunity is life changing. Go live it! Michael, 25, USA

Winter Volunteering in Peru - Cusco and Lima

Experience the culture and people of Peru on your winter break with IVHQ

Want to experience natural wonders, rich culture, and incredible cuisine? Peru is one of our winter break trips for college students and those looking to travel on a budget. With program fees starting at just $275 for 1 week, you’ll be able to explore the country at an affordable cost while giving back on one of our 18 volunteer programs. Choose between the wonderful locations of Cusco and Lima, and add on exciting excursion activities such as Rainbow Mountain and Machu Picchu!

Volunteering has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I would recommend everyone should experience it if they can at least once in their life time. Words can’t describe the positive effect it will have on you as a person. John Twomey

Winter Volunteering in Zanzibar

Volunteer and travel to Kenya on your winter break with IVHQ

Live the island life in Zanzibar, located just off the coast of Tanzania in Africa. You’ll be able to gain valuable conservation experience, restore local wildlife and enjoy the stunning island scenery - what better way to spend your winter break? As a volunteer on the Turtle Conservation project in Nungwi, you’ll support a local organization and their efforts to protect endangered marine turtles in Zanzibar. On the Rainforest and Coastal Conservation project in Jozani, you’ll help protect local rainforests and endangered species that call it home, such as the Red Colobus Monkey, snakes, lizards and tortoises.

Zanzibar is a country with a lot of culture, nice people and enthusiastic public. It’s easy to blend in, enjoy and at the same time serve the society in multiple aspects. There is a lot to learn here but also a lot to give back. Going in with an open mind will do wonders for you and the community. Emirian

Winter Volunteering in Belize

Volunteer and travel to Kenya on your winter break with IVHQ

  • When can you start? Our Belize program starts every Monday
  • What can you do? We offer one unique program in Belize - Marine Conservation
  • How much does it cost? Program fees from $1,050 for 1 week
  • Average temperature: 82°

Set on a stunning private island 45 minutes off the coast of Belize, volunteers on our Marine Conservation project will have an incredible opportunity to stay in and dive around the Caribbean. Arguably our most picturesque destination, you’ll take part in daily scuba dives to preserve the fragile surrounding reef ecosystem. If you’re an ocean lover, this is one of the best winter break volunteer trips out there.

”One of the best experiences I’ve ever had! This program was a defibrillator for my soul and I could not be more grateful for my fellow volunteers and all the incredible staff.” Nina

Winter Volunteering in Kenya

Volunteer and travel to Kenya on your winter break with IVHQ

IVHQ’s Kenya program is a popular option for many winter break volunteers. With 6 meaningful projects to choose from, volunteers are based in a range of rural and urban areas around Nairobi, as well as further afield in Mombasa, and within Maasai communities. In your free time, you can take a safari through the Maasai Mara - an unbeatable experience and a must-do for any volunteer traveler in Kenya! Plus Mombasa and Diani Beach are within easy reach for a relaxing weekend getaway.

I would recommend IVHQ to anyone who is wanting to travel, seek adventure, experience different cultures, and make a difference. What a life changing experience it was! The Kenya staff were absolutely fantastic and I quickly fell in love with the children I was blessed to work with and the teacher in charge was amazing as well. The experience and knowledge I have gained from this trip are priceless and unique. I am so thankful to have been given such a fantastic opportunity in life. Andrew Richard Snow

Winter Volunteering in Bali

Travel and explore Bali with IVHQ on your winter break

Bali is an island rich in culture, natural beauty and is the perfect winter break destination for young and old. With volunteer opportunities located in the cultural center of Ubud and the northern coast in Lovina, you can choose from 9 impactful volunteer programs.During your spare time, you can relax on the beach or explore Ubud and other stunning parts of Bali. Popular destinations and activities include the beaches of Sanur, Seminyak or Kuta, cycling, trekking tours up Mount Batur, visits to rice terraces, waterfalls and temples.

My time abroad in Bali was one of the most incredible and life-changing opportunities I’ve ever experienced. I’ve never met so many wonderful people all in the same place, with the same desire to help a community. It was amazing to grow and learn more about myself while dedicating my time to teaching children English. Emma Daun

Winter Volunteering in Puerto Rico

Travel and explore Puerto Rico with IVHQ on your winter break.

Located in the coastal capital city of San Juan, IVHQ’s Puerto Rico program is set amongst beautiful beaches on the outer edge of the Caribbean. San Juan is home to around 80 percent of Puerto Rico’s population, and took a serious hit when Hurricane Maria ripped through the region in 2017. Volunteers can have a positive impact on communities that are still feeling the long-term effects of the crisis through community, environmental and youth support initiatives.

It was very humbling to witness another country’s struggles, and participate in helping them in whatever way I could during my short stay. It was beautiful to see how much pride another culture has for their home. If you worried about being alone, know that if any other volunteers are also at your location, you will have friends to work with and explore the area with as well. Seeing the world is such an enriching experience that you will never forget. Take a shot and go for it! Juliette Zorn

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!