My experience was very enriching. I was able to broaden my vision of the world.
Environmental Sustainability Volunteer Project in Puerto Rico - San Juan
Love the outdoors and want to be an Environmental Sustainability volunteer in Puerto Rico? International Volunteer HQ’s Environmental Sustainability project empowers volunteers to assist with a wide range of tasks that contribute to the recovery and protection of San Juan’s beautiful natural environment. Volunteers gain conservation experience, learn about the challenges climate change presents for island nations, and help to create a sustainable future for Puerto Rico.
- Programs start every Monday
- Affordable fees from $625 for 1 week
- Includes accommodation, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
Help to conserve the natural landscape and combat the effects of climate change
Enjoy Puerto Rico’s dazzling beaches
Stay in a hostel in a vibrant area of San Juan
This program is ideal for:
What to expect and how you'll make an impact
Following Hurricane Maria, the importance of environmental sustainability in Puerto Rico has gained significant exposure and has become a focus across the island. From rising sea levels to natural disasters, the island is working to respond and adapt to climate change and the various challenges that come with it.
As an Environmental Sustainability volunteer, you’ll be on the front line of supporting environmental initiatives to help Puerto Rico work through existing challenges and be as prepared as possible for the future. By assisting local organizations and community members to support both proactive and reactive ways of protecting the natural environment, you’ll help to make Puerto Rico a more sustainable place to live.
You’ll be volunteering in the field to support coastline, waterway and other habitat conservation efforts. You will also help with environmental education to raise awareness and build understanding around environmental issues within the local community. Tasks can include, but are not limited to:
- Beach cleanups
- Coastline restoration and planting
- Outdoor beautification in green spaces
- Educational workshops (e.g. recycling, coastline conservation, climate change)
Why do Environmental Sustainability volunteering in San Juan with IVHQ?
As an Environmental Sustainability volunteer in Puerto Rico you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:
- Supporting local initiatives with conservation efforts
- Helping communities learn about sustainable futures
- Protecting and preserving the natural environment
- Developing your communication skills
- Gaining sustainability experience
- Immersing yourself in Puerto Rican culture
- Exploring the Caribbean
- Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program
- This program requires all volunteers to be over the age of 14, even when accompanied by a parent or guardian
- All volunteers aged 14+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 14-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
- All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
- All volunteers must speak fluent English.
Puerto Rico photo gallery
What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience
In both projects, I worked with local people. They shared their culture, their country highlights and problems. It was a good feeling to work with local people so closely. For anyone considering this program, like the saying, just do it! IVHQ will support you and be there if needed.
The highlight from the volunteer experience was seeing the progress of all the hard work, and really getting our hands dirty to make that happen. The biggest impact my volunteering trip had on me was learning and getting educated on different aspects of the coastal ecosystems and impact people make on the environment they live in. It will be worth it in the end and it’s not as scary as it seems.
I will always attempt to include some type of volunteer project into my travel plans. If you're hesitant, think of the impact you make even though you are there for a short time.
My favorite moment from the volunteer experience was experiencing first hand knowledge of the island, and that my contribution wasn’t going to be lost.
The biggest impact my volunteering trip had on me was learning that Puerto Rico is an amazing place with amazing people. The island is like no other place I've been and the culture runs deep from the beaches to the rainforests. It's technically part of the USA, but Puerto Ricans do things their owns way which is refreshing and a total blast to get to experience.
The local placement crew got together and did late night bioluminescent stand-up paddle boarding which was amazing. The bioluminescence was only a small portion of the adventure because the crew and the volunteers were all friends by then and we got to explore the "bio bay" area far beyond what guide groups offer. It was a wonderful way to wrap up a work week.
It's worth it and it's essentially a vacation with the bonus of leaving a positive impact on the community. The volunteer community is something special and organizers are available to listen and open up more doors than a self-guided trip can offer.
To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.
Academic course credit
Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!Learn about course credit
The IVHQ Puerto Rico volunteer program is based in and around the region of the island’s coastal capital of San Juan, renowned for its beautiful beaches and vivid history. Set on the outer edge of the Caribbean, San Juan has long been an important international port and remains so to this day. As a result it is also a hub for industry, finance, culture and tourism.
The city is also home to around 80 percent of Puerto Rico’s population, and took a serious hit when Hurricane Maria ripped through the region in 2017.
While huge recovery efforts have returned much of the city to a habitable state, there are still many people and parts of the region feeling the longer-term effects of the crisis. Volunteers can have a meaningful impact on these communities by choosing to give their time and energy to projects which aim to give people a hand up in the ways they most need it.
Arrival and orientation
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 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM 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.
Volunteer schedule example
A volunteer day is subject to change depending on your specific project and your placement. A typical daily schedule might be as follows:
|Volunteer work begins
|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.
|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.
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 they’re in the country and organizing travel and tours together.
Accommodation and WiFi
You will be accommodated with other volunteers in one of two public 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.
You should expect basic dormitory style accommodation. Rooms are mixed gender and you could share a room with up to 16 other volunteers. Bedrooms are comprised of bunk beds with bedding provided but you will need to bring your own towel.
You can also expect to share a communal bathroom with toilets and showers. 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.
Meals are not included in this program, so you will need to arrange your own breakfast, lunch and dinner. The hostel has cooking facilities to prepare meals and there are nearby shops and restaurants to purchase food from.
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
|$625 Equivalent to $89/day
|$950 Equivalent to $68/day
|$1,245 Equivalent to $59/day
|$1,570 Equivalent to $56/day
|$1,893 Equivalent to $54/day
|$2,215 Equivalent to $53/day
|$2,813 Equivalent to $50/day
|$3,360 Equivalent to $48/day
|$3,955 Equivalent to $47/day
- 24/7 in-country support
- In-country program orientation
- Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
- Airport pick-up
- Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
- Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
- Certificate of International Volunteer Service
- All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately $329) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
- A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
- Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, meals, public transportation to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
- Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Puerto Rico generally find US$300 - US$400 per week to be sufficient for expenses, such as meals, and in-country tours.
- Any cancellations or changes within 14 days of a volunteers start date is subject to a minimum 25% late change/cancellation fee.
Check what's required to visit Puerto Rico
Safety and support
IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.
- All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
- All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
- All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
- All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Essential country information
|US Dollar (USD)
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.