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Veterinary Care Volunteer Project in Jamaica - St Mary

Veterinary Care Volunteer Project in Jamaica - St Mary

Provide care and treatment for animals
Start dates
Programs start every first and third Monday of the month
Choose from 1-4 weeks
Volunteer hours
Up to 5 hours a day
Volunteers aged 18+
Dormitory-style volunteer house
Program fees
From £426 for 1 week
What's included
Find out here
Apply for free
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Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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This program is ideal for:

Volunteers studying at least pre-veterinary medicine, or fully qualified veterinarians who want to have a positive impact on animal welfare in Jamaica.

Project details

Love animals and want to be a Veterinary Care volunteer in Jamaica? International Volunteer HQ’s Veterinary Care project is a fantastic and rare opportunity for volunteers to get hands-on experience caring for animals. Volunteers will assist in a wide range of tasks at a practicing veterinary clinic as well as taking part in outreach efforts which improve access to vital animal care in St Mary.

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

In Jamaica, animals aren’t always treated as beloved furry members of the family and are often neglected or abandoned. This often means the chances of them becoming ill or injured is high. As a veterinary volunteer you’ll work closely with local veterinary staff to provide care to these strays and other domesticated animals. You’ll be able to observe a range of procedures and practices, making this a great opportunity to learn and gain hands-on experience. Volunteer duties often include:

  • Assisting with operations
  • Vaccinations
  • Helping examine and treat animals
  • General animal care
  • Assisting with day-to-day operations
  • Visiting farms to treat livestock

You’ll need to bring your own scrubs and can expect to be working with limited resources, which may also mean treatment options and some medication may not be available.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #15: Life on Land

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #15: Life on Land

Human activity has altered almost 75% of the earth’s surface and around 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. Nature is critical to our survival. We must promote kindness to animals and use regenerative techniques to combat deforestation, conserve biodiversity and protect wildlife.

Why do Veterinary Care volunteering in St Mary with IVHQ?

As a volunteer vet in Jamaica you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Improving access to healthcare for animals
  • Supporting local veterinary clinics
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining practical veterinary experience
  • Immersing yourself in Jamaican culture
  • Discovering the spectacular beaches of St Mary

Volunteer requirements

  • To join the Veterinary Care project in Jamaica, volunteers need to be pre-vet or veterinary medicine students.
  • Volunteers need to bring their own scrubs.
  • Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate in this program. 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 speak fluent English, have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ before departure.
Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

Apply for free

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'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

Holly Shelton
19 Feb 2024

I gained a lot of perspective on the local culture of Jamaica as a developing country. It was very enlightening to be immersed into the local culture, I definitely learned a lot of new things! Most people do not value their animals the same way we do in Canada which was very eye opening, the vet team that we worked with tried their very best to help every animal in need with the limited supplies and knowledge they had at hand. It was very inspiring to see all of their efforts!

Alisa Brace
13 Feb 2024

Being immersed in the culture of the country and going through our days as a local was a huge piece of the experience that I will keep with me forever! I was terrified to be a solo, female traveler arriving in a country where I knew no one and didn't understand how everything worked but the team was so great that integrating into the day-to-day here was easy. You gain so much independence from doing a project like this and really allowing yourself to live like a local. This also creates a unique relationship between you and the locals. They begin to recognize you, look out for you, and are always so excited to see you during your days of volunteering. To anyone who is hesitant about going, take the leap of faith! It is a safe, and meaningful experience you will take with you for the rest of your life and you'll have so much support along the way. I was so nervous to go and almost backed out the morning of my flight but because of the positive impact this trip made, I'm already looking at which one I can apply for next!

Karin Hiltbrand
20 Dec 2023

What an incredible trip to Jamaica! I reflect back on it often. As a solo female traveler looking for a 30th birthday adventure, my trip could not have been more perfect. I was terrified to travel internationally alone, but I have since booked another week through IVHQ for 2024. I plan to make an IVHQ project an annual vacation - an affordable way to travel the world solo and make an impact! IVHQ does a fantastic job of making sure volunteers are prepared both before and during the adventure.

Blythe Hill
31 Oct 2022

I was surprised by how involved I was allowed to get with my project as well as how friendly the staff were. The biggest impact my volunteering trip had on me was the ability to show me what a career in veterinary medicine may be like.

Martina Sucha
20 Sep 2022

My favorite moment from the volunteer experience was meeting new people staying at the same volunteering accommodation but all doing different projects - was fun to explore new places and do fun excursions as a group and have the work fun balance throughout the volunteering experience. The biggest impact my trip had was growing my surgical skills as I got a lot of hands on practice on day one competency which will be useful for me to begin my last two rotational years of vet school. Be open to volunteering, as it is a fun experience if you want to travel and see new things.

Alison Hughes
08 Mar 2022

My experience with IVHQ Jamaica was outstanding and more than I could ever have hoped for. Placement at the veterinary practice was a great learning experience and the people were amazing. The volunteer house facilities and staff were top notch along with the food. Walking distance to beach and local venues. This IVHQ experience was one of the best things I have ever done and I would highly recommend to anyone. Rewarding, fun, fulfilling, relaxing... truly a mix of work and play balanced perfectly. Don't delay, book today! You won't regret it.


To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

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


Volunteer Abroad in Jamaica with IVHQ


On the world stage, Jamaica is the star of the Caribbean. Home to the Rastafarian religion and culture, reggae music and known for its sporting efforts, it also boasts dazzling beaches, plentiful wildlife and being the backdrop for many James Bond films. It has long been a popular tourist destination. But despite all of this, Jamaica has a history of slavery, unemployment and slow economic development that are still in the process of being remedied today. Volunteers are needed to provide support for people who face the challenges of living in low-income communities and to help address socioeconomic inequalities so this island nation can continue to grow and prosper.

Tucked up on the stunning north-eastern coast is the parish of St Mary where IVHQ’s Jamaica program is based. Volunteer projects are located in St Ann and St Mary, within 10 to 50 minutes from the volunteer accommodation and close to the port town of Ocho Rios, which is a resort and cruise ship harbor and has plenty of restaurants and craft markets which volunteers can explore in their free time.

Arrival and orientation

The program orientation begins on the first and third Monday of each month and volunteers need to arrive in Jamaica on the Sunday before orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Sangster International Airport (MBJ) which is the closest airport to the volunteer accommodation. Airport pick up is provided on Sundays only.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and taken to the volunteer accommodation in St Mary (around 1.5 - 2 hours away). Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.

If you are travelling in Jamaica prior to your volunteer program, you will need to liaise with the local team to arrange a pick up from your location, or make your own way to the volunteer accommodation.

Orientation is provided by our Jamaica team at the volunteer accommodation. Orientation begins at 9:00 AM Monday morning and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Jamaica – an introduction to Jamaica, Jamaican customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities in Jamaica, and an 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 socialising.

Volunteer schedule example

First day

You will be taken to your placement by a local team member and introduced to the placement staff.


You may have a morning or afternoon shift, or both, and can expect to work a minimum of 3 hours, Monday through Friday. Start time and daily workload depends on your chosen project. A typical daily schedule would be as follows:

7:30 AM Breakfast at the volunteer accommodation.
8:00 AM Travel to placement to join local placement staff and begin work on your project.
12:00 PM Break for lunch.
1:00 PM Work at the placement commences if you have been assigned with an afternoon shift.
3:30 PM You are free to travel back to the volunteer house to relax, visit the nearby beach, go sightseeing or do some shopping.


With weekends free, you’ll be able to explore all that St Mary, Ochos Rios and wider Jamaica have to offer, including the country’s distinctive food, music and culture.

The area is a popular destination for resorts and cruise ships, and you can expect to discover beautiful beaches, waterfalls and art galleries within close proximity of the volunteer accommodation. Snorkeling, hiking and other adventure activities are also popular with visitors to Jamaica. You can also visit notable spots like the Firefly Estate which once belonged to Sir Henry Morgan - of Captain Morgan rum fame - and then English playwright Noel Coward; or the Castleton Botanical Gardens which are among the oldest in the western world.

The team in Jamaica also have a range of tours that you can book directly with them, either before or after you arrive in Jamaica. These include but aren’t limited to a Kingston city tour where you’ll visit the Bob Marley Museum, an eco-community and a have cultural music lesson; a Black River safari on which you cruise down the Black River and see alligators, tropical birds and mangrove trees in their natural setting; and a surf camp.

Accommodation and WiFi

You’ll stay in a dormitory-style volunteer house. Living is comfortable with electricity, running water, WiFi and western bathrooms. There is no air-conditioning in the accommodation, however fans are provided.

Bedrooms have bunk beds and you can expect to share a room with one to three other volunteers of the same gender. Low pressure showers should be expected and the water is usually not heated. You should bring your own toiletries and towels.


A basic daily breakfast of toast, spreads, tea and coffee is included and you’re free to help yourself to these each morning at the volunteer house.

For lunch and dinner, you can cook for yourself in the communal kitchen at the volunteer accommodation - this has a gas hob, oven, kettle, microwave, fridge, freezer and pantry space. Alternatively, you can buy lunch and dinner from nearby restaurants for between US$5 (approximately £4) and US$25 (approximately £20) per meal.

For volunteers who would like to have their dinners provided, a home-cooked weekly dinner plan (Monday - Friday) is available for US$79 (approximately £64) per week. You can book this via your MyIVHQ Checklist once you have registered for the Jamaica program. Vegetarians and vegans can be catered for, however not all diets can be covered. Please let your IVHQ Program Manager know about any dietary requirements you have before you book the dinner plan.

Tap water in Jamaica is generally safe to drink but please check with your accommodation host if you are unsure. We encourage you to bring a reusable water bottle to refill so you can avoid buying plastic water bottles.


  • USD

Spots are limited. For a Registration Fee of just US$329 (approximately £267) you secure your spot and unlock all our preparation and training tools.

You don't need to worry about paying your Program Fee until you get closer to your start date.

Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week $525 Equivalent to $75/day
2 weeks $924 Equivalent to $66/day
3 weeks $1,290 Equivalent to $61/day
4 weeks $1,634 Equivalent to $58/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately £267) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Jamaica generally find US$400 -$500 per week to be sufficient for additional expenses.
  • Light breakfast supplies
  • Airport pick-up
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on travel and tour add-ons
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • Lunch and dinner
  • Transport to and from your placement each day
  • Return to the airport when your program finishes
  • Flights
  • Visa (if required), travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Personal spending money for snacks, laundry, public transportation, drinks and leisure activities during your free time.

Free-time experiences & tours in St Mary

Take your volunteer experience to the next level with IVHQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in St Mary! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto the IVHQ St Mary program.

Blue Hole Excursion
Blue Hole Excursion

Spend an afternoon cliff jumping and swimming in a natural series of waterfalls and swimming holes.

Green Grotto Caves & Luminous Lagoon Excursion
Green Grotto Caves & Luminous Lagoon Excursion

Tour to the historical caves of Green Grotto, once home to the first inhabitants of the island.

Jamaican Cooking Class
Jamaican Cooking Class

Learn to prepare Jamaican dishes from a local expert in this 2.5 hour cooking class.


Check what's required to visit Jamaica

Safety and support

Safety and support with IVHQ

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.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Essential country information

Capital Kingston
Population 2.9 million
Languages English
Currency Jamaican Dollar (JMD)
Time zone UTC-5:00

Weather and climate

The climate in Jamaica is typical of a Caribbean climate - warm days year-round with rainy winters and dry summers. The pleasant Jamaican climate makes travel possible at any time of the year. The rainy season is generally from May to November. Average temperatures in Jamaica range between 70°F and 80°F (21°C to 28°C), with July and August being the hottest months and February the coolest.

Apply to check if you're eligible!

Other projects you may be interested in

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
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