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Best Winter Break Volunteer Programs in 2023 & 2024

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, including Costa Rica, Peru, Jamaica, Zanzibar, Belize, Guatemala, Mexico, Kenya, Puerto Rico and Bali. 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, as well as winter break programs for high school students and those who have completed their studies.

When should I start planning for my winter break volunteer trip?

Now is the perfect time to start researching and planning for your 2023 & 2024 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. Plus, as an IVHQ volunteer, you’ll 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 college 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 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. While staying in the vibrant city of San Jose, you can lend a hand on the Costa Rica volunteer program, working with children and elderly within underserved communities, coordinating holiday celebrations for the children, as well as cleaning and renovating community centers.

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.

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 $330 for 1 week. Guatemala is the perfect place to soak up the sun and make the most of your winter break.

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 $250 for 1 week, you’ll be able to explore the country at an affordable cost while giving back on one of our 17 volunteer programs.

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 $855 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

  • When can you start? Programs start the 1st and 15th of every month
  • What can you do? Music, Women’s Education, Childcare, Special Needs Care, Sports Education
  • How much does it cost? Program fees from $280 for 1 week
  • Average temperature: 67°

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!