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Community Development Volunteer Project in San Juan - Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is an island of tight-knit neighborhoods, each unique and vibrant in its own way. Each neighborhood also faces unique issues and challenges. One of the best ways to support the communities on the island is from the ground up; by working in an individual neighborhood on its own development efforts and addressing the specific issues it has.

Volunteer duties are fluid, and will depend on the local needs and priorities when you visit. It could involve renovations, painting, clean ups, administration - this is an open project that can also take your skills and interests into account. If you have relevant experience, be sure to mention that on your application so we can ensure your skills are being used to make the biggest difference possible.

Community Development volunteer in Puerto Rico with IVHQ

You can work in local neighborhood organizations, community centers, parks, urban gardens and schools, helping each to improve their local communities.

Volunteer work is often varied and changeable, requiring plenty of initiative and interaction with different stakeholders. The Community Development project is perfect for those who just want to support low income communities any way you can.

This project is one of the best ways to foster positive development and prioritize the needs, voice and choice of the local community.

Apply now
Apply now
Project Highlights
What you need to know
  • Affordable fees from $575 for 1 week
  • Help locals working on initiatives to improve their communities

  • Get involved in a number of tasks based on what’s important at the time

  • Suited to enthusiastic volunteers who like working with others on grass-roots projects

  • Volunteer for up to 5 hours per day

Destination Highlights
Puerto Rico at a glance
  • Based in Puerto Rico’s capital city, San Juan

  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, daily breakfast and 24/7 in-country support

  • Accommodation in a local hostel

  • Up to 10 volunteers start in Puerto Rico each month

The IVHQ Puerto Rico volunteer program is based in the island’s coastal capital of San Juan, renowned for its beautiful beaches and history. ​This is where orientation and general administration is carried out by our local team. Volunteer placements are located in the greater San Juan region.

IVHQ’s Puerto Rico volunteer programs start every Monday and on this program, volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks.

The Puerto Rico volunteer program begins every Monday. You need to arrive in San Juan for pickup on the Sunday before your chosen start date.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU). Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee if you arrive on the Sunday before your program starts. The pick up window is from 8am to 9pm so please ensure to arrive during this period.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation, which is a 20 minute drive away. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the Sunday night prior to your program orientation.

If you are traveling in Puerto Rico prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up from a meeting point in San Juan on the Sunday before your program start date. Alternatively, you can choose to make your own way to the volunteer accommodation.

On the first Monday of your program, orientation is hosted by our local team in San Juan and runs for a half day. Orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Puerto Rico – introduction to Puerto Rico, Puerto Rican customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities in Puerto Rico, introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.

A volunteer day is subject to change depending on your specific project and your placement. ​A typical daily schedule​ might be as follows:

8:00 AM Breakfast at the volunteer accommodation.

9.00 AM Volunteer work begins. Work and hours are dependent on the project and placement that you are on.

12.00 PM Lunch breaks can vary depending on the working schedule, but all volunteers get time to have their own lunch and relax. After lunch you will have free time to explore the area, do some shopping or plan for your next day’s work. If your project calls for it, you may be involved in more afternoon volunteer activities.

Evening Volunteers have free time to spend as they wish. You’ll definitely want to head out to local restaurants for dinner, though volunteers who prefer to cook for themselves do have access to the hostel kitchen.

Please note this schedule will vary depending on the needs of your particular project.

You will be accommodated with other volunteers in one of two hostels in San Juan. The hostels also cater for independent travelers who book rooms from time to time. The hostels are centrally located in San Juan, close to beaches, shops, restaurants and amenities.

In most dorms, you can expect to share a room with five others but larger dorms have up to 16 beds. Please note that some dorms are mixed gender. You can also expect to share a communal bathroom with toilets and showers. Bedding is provided but you will need to bring your own bath towel. It is the responsibility of the volunteer to ensure their room and shared bathroom is kept tidy, although there are staff who clean the accommodation throughout the week.

Free WiFi is available at the volunteer accommodation, as well as at many cafes and restaurants in the area. A local SIM card with data can also be used in unlocked phones.

Private room upgrades are also possible for an additional cost, subject to availability. The cost varies according to the season and the upgrade and can be arranged with the local team directly, once you are registered.

You will receive a basic continental breakfast in the hostel each morning, but you will need to arrange your own lunch and dinner. Breakfast generally consists of coffee, tea, cereal and toast. The hostel has cooking facilities to prepare meals and there are nearby shops and restaurants to purchase food from.

If you have any special dietary requirements for breakfast, please let us know when you apply for the program so we can make arrangements for you. While we do our best to accommodate volunteer needs, breakfast is basic and you may wish to supplement the options with your own food and snacks which can be purchased from convenience stores nearby.

Puerto Rico

Length of Program Program Fee $USD
1 week $575
2 weeks $965
3 weeks $1,300
4 weeks $1,635
5 weeks $1,880
6 weeks $2,170
8 weeks $2,700
10 weeks $3,240
12 weeks $3,770
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee (from US$299) on top of the Program Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your program start date*). A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • To see prices in your local currency, use this currency converter.
  • * Terms and Conditions do apply
What extra costs will I have?
  • Visa (if required), flights, travel insurance, vaccinations, criminal background check, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours, transport to and from your placement each day.
  • Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program.
  • Lunch and dinner each day - budget about US$10 per meal for this.
  • Spending money - Volunteers in Puerto Rico generally find US$200 to be sufficient for weekly expenses.
Registration Fee
What it covers
  • Most affordable program fees
  • Expert support from a program specialist
  • Full MyIVHQ account access
  • Online volunteer training
  • Comprehensive preparation tools
  • IVHQ alumni rewards
Program Fee
What it covers
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Airport pick-up
  • Program orientation
  • Volunteer placement
  • Accommodation
  • Meals

During the weekends, volunteers have spare time to relax or ​explore San Juan and other parts of Puerto Rico.

We recommend taking a walking tour of Old San Juan to absorb its vibrancy and colonial history, taking a trip to the tropical rainforest for hiking and waterfalls or enjoying the white sand beaches and soaking in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean.

It’s a great idea to do your own research before you go to get an idea of what you may want to see and do once you are in Puerto Rico. Volunteers often get together once in-country and organize travel and tours together.

See our Puerto Rico Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Puerto Rico.

Capital San Juan
Population 3.68 Million
Languages Spanish, English
Currency US Dollar (USD)
Time zone UTC-04:00

Weather and climate: Puerto Rico has a tropical climate with warm to hot temperatures throughout the year. The average top temperature each day is around 85°F (29°C). Easterly trade winds can cross the island year round. Puerto Rico’s rainy season is from April to November, and the dry season is from December to March. The temperature in San Juan, where our program is based, varies very little throughout the year and can be very humid.

Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate on this program, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ offers alternative volunteer opportunities for teens. Visit our High School Volunteer Abroad page to learn more.

All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a clean criminal background check to IVHQ. Spanish is not required to volunteer with IVHQ in Puerto Rico, but it is the main language on the island and you may find it helpful to learn a few basic phrases before you arrive.

Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.

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!