Find out which IVHQ programs are running in countries open to US tourists
Let’s face it, 2020 was an absolute rollercoaster ride. The world needs rebuilding and we’re ready to get back out there and make a difference. That’s why many Americans are opting for a kinder, more regenerative way to travel in 2021 - by volunteering abroad.
As more and more countries reopen, IVHQ volunteers are adding immense value by helping local NGOs, communities and conservation initiatives get back on their feet. Volunteers are also getting the opportunity to explore some of the world’s most sought after destinations without hoards of tourists.
We’re here to keep you updated on where you can volunteer abroad as the world reopens and what the Covid-19 entry requirements are for each country. We’re regularly updating this guide and have answered some of your most common questions about US international travel restrictions below.
Are Americans allowed to travel right now?
Yes, Americans can travel right now! The US government has lifted the level 4 “Avoid All Travel” advisory and Americans continue to be allowed to leave the country as they please.
PCR Covid-19 testing can find small amounts of virus genes to show if you are currently infected with the virus. This has given the world more insight into Covid-19, enabling many destinations to welcome back travelers from the US. In fact, IVHQ programs in 30+ countries have already reopened to volunteers.
Our volunteer programs are only opening in destinations where the local government and public health guidelines deem it safe. You can see the full list of IVHQ programs in countries open to US travelers below.
Is it safe for Americans to travel now?
Authorities and governments have reopened their borders to American tourists where they believe it is safe to do so. The US State Department advises that all travelers check country-specific travel advisories on their website or consult the CDC’s latest guidance before going abroad.
All IVHQ programs have implemented additional health and safety measures to protect volunteers and local communities against Covid-19. IVHQ also has a flexible booking policy in place, so that you can easily make changes to your dates, destination or project after booking - for free.
It is always important, especially during this time, to protect yourself with the right travel insurance. We partner with World Nomads because unlike many other providers, US residents may make claims arising from Covid-19 for the benefits specified in your policy. See what’s covered and get a quote here.
Where can Americans travel right now?
Here’s a list, in alphabetical order, of all the IVHQ programs that are open to US travelers now - there’s still time to book your volunteer adventure for winter break, spring break and beyond! Click on the destination you’re interested in to learn more about the volunteer program and see what the Covid-19 travel requirements are for US travelers.
- Costa Rica
- Puerto Rico
- South Africa
- Victoria Falls
Countries Americans can travel to now:
IVHQ’s Belize program is based on a stunning private island in the Caribbean. The special Marine Conservation project involves helping local scientists with a range of scuba diving tasks to protect marine life. American travelers must download the Belize Health App and need a negative Covid-19 PCR test result taken within 72 hours of travel for fast track at the airport. You can also be tested upon arrival at a cost of $50 but may have to quarantine while awaiting results.
Discover unique wildlife, lush rainforest, dramatic volcanoes and stunning beaches on IVHQ’s Costa Rica program. Choose from 15 projects which range from Childcare and Teaching to Medical, Eco Agriculture and Turtle Conservation. US tourists must complete a “health pass” form to show a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 48 hours of travel. You’ll also need proof of travel medical insurance.
Want to know what it’s like volunteering in Costa Rica right now? Read Alexandre’s Costa Rica experience
Dreaming of Europe? Explore the stunning Adriatic coastline without all the tourists on IVHQ’s Croatia program and make a difference on one of six meaningful projects. Americans need to fill out an online form before arriving and show proof of accommodation or your program booking. You’ll also need to have a negative Covid-19 PCR test not older than 48 hours (starting from the time of taking the swab until arrival at the border) to enter.
Immerse yourself in a truly authentic South American setting on IVHQ’s Ecuador program. Choose from 18 impactful projects, ranging from volunteering with children to Community Development and NGO Support. US travelers need to show proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test, no older than 10 days upon arrival. Testing is available if you don’t have a negative result, but you must quarantine at a facility while waiting for results.
Explore West Africa’s treasures and become part of the charming local community on IVHQ’s Ghana program. There are 7 incredible projects to choose from, including Healthcare Outreach, Sports and Teaching. All travelers must show a negative Covid-19 PCR test result that’s no older than 72 hours to board the plane. On arrival, passengers must take another test that costs $150 and have a temperature screening.
Discover what to expect when volunteering in Ghana right now from recent IVHQer Tonja.
Discover ancient Mayan ruins, fascinating culture and the vibrant colonial city of Antigua on IVHQ’s Guatemala program. Choose from 13 brilliant projects, ranging from Animal Care, Childcare and Turtle Conservation to the unique Mayan Cultural Immersion and Medical projects. American tourists must have a negative Covid-19 PCR test result taken 72 hours or less upon arrival. There are direct flights from all the main cities in the US.
Make an impact while enjoying the Caribbean’s balmy climate, beautiful beaches and friendly locals on IVHQ’s Jamaica program. Choose from 9 amazing projects, including Veterinary Care, Marine Conservation, Special Education and more. Jamaica currently requires you to complete an online “travel authorization” where you’ll need to upload negative Covid-19 test results, which must be dated less than 10 days of arrival. Americans are also requested to quarantine at their location of arrival for up to 14 days.
Explore the Maasai tribes, quaint villages and incredible African wildlife on IVHQ’s Kenya program. With 6 impact driven projects to choose from, including Women’s Education, Teaching and Special Needs Care, you’ll be making a valuable contribution to the local community. US tourists will need a negative Covid-19 test result taken 96 hours or less upon arrival.
Make an impact and immerse yourself in one of the world’s most vibrant cultures! IVHQ’s Mexico program is one of the most convenient and easiest to get to during this time. Choose from incredible projects, including Sustainable Agriculture, Teaching English, Animal Care, Childcare and Special Needs Care. Americans will need to fly to Mexico while the land border remains closed and all IVHQ volunteers are required to have a Covid-19 test within 72 hours of travel.
Get a taste of authentic Asia, with fantastic food, the friendliest locals and the dramatic backdrop of the Himalayas on IVHQ’s Nepal program. Choose from projects including NGO support, Medical Elective, Sustainable Agriculture, Construction and much more. Currently, a 7 day hotel quarantine is required on arrival. Travelers are tested on day 5 and if the Covid-19 test comes back negative they will be released on day 7. Travelers must also have a Covid-19 negative report obtained within 72 hours prior to their departure.
Discover Machu Picchu, stunning mountains and fascinating culture on IVHQ’s Peru program. Choose from 18 meaningful projects based in the ancient cities of Cusco and Lima - with the Lima program fee starting at only $180 for one week! American tourists may enter Peru with a negative Covid-19 test result less than 72 hours old. Flights are authorized from Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Orlando. Note there is currently a 14-day quarantine period in place for overseas travelers arriving into Peru.
Immerse yourself in Caribbean culture and soak up the sand, sun and sea on IVHQ’s Puerto Rico program. Impactful projects include Youth Support, Environmental Sustainability, NGO Support and Community Development. US travelers need a negative Covid-19 test result to gain access to this paradise island.
Explore beautiful surf beaches, rugged landscapes and incredible wildlife on IVHQ’s South Africa program. Choose from a diverse range of meaningful projects, including Teaching, Sports Development, Childcare, Surf Outreach, Animal Care and a new Widlife Conservation project based in the Kruger National Park. All arrivals to South Africa will need to show proof of a negative PCR Covid-19 test, administered now more than 72 hours before departure.
Discover the jewel of East Africa on IVHQ’s Tanzania program with convenient IVHQ add ons for safaris, kilimanjaro hikes and maasai tribe visits. Choose from 5 impactful projects, including Teaching, Medical, Childcare, Women’s Education and Animal Welfare. American tourists will need to fill out a health surveillance form and have a health screening on arrival. You may also be asked to take a Covid-19 test.
Hear from recent IVHQ volunteer in Aysha to learn what it’s like volunteering in Tanzania right now.
Don’t want to cross any borders just yet? Why not explore the diverse cultures and cities in your own country on IVHQ’s USA program? With incredible projects in Community Development, Construction, Environmental Sustainability and Youth Support - this is a chance to give back to communities a little closer to home. Choose from programs across the vibrant cities of New Orleans, San Diego, Chicago and Philadelphia on the staycation of a lifetime!
Go into the wild and live on a private African game reserve on IVHQ’s Victoria Falls program. The special Wildlife Conservation project gives volunteers the opportunity to help local conservationists research and protect the Big 5 animals, including the critically endangered black rhino. As part of Zimbabwe, all travelers need to have a negative PCR Covid-19 clearance certificate issued by a recognised facility within 48 hours from date of departure. Upon arrival at the airport, you will undergo thermal scanning.
Immerse yourself in a totally different culture and get a taste of authentic Africa, living like a local on IVHQ’s Zambia program. Choose from 6 incredible projects, ranging from Teaching and Kindergarten to Medical and Elderly Care. American tourists traveling to Zambia need a negative Covid-19 test result taken at least 14 days before arrival.
Discover the white sands, aquamarine ocean, unique wildlife and rustic markets on this paradise island just off the coast of Eastern Africa. IVHQ’s Zanzibar program has 2 amazing projects to choose from: Turtle Conservation and Rainforest & Coastal Conservation. As part of Tanzania, incoming tourists will need to fill out a health surveillance form and have a health screening. You may also be asked to take a Covid-19 test.
If you would personalized program recommendations to meet your volunteering goals and travel plans, submit this quick form and our team will get back to you to explore your options.