Volunteer in Hawaii
At a glance…
- Available year-round
- Unique Beach Conservation project
- Projects based throughout the island of Oahu
- Accommodation in a dormitory-style volunteer house
- Between 5 and 20 volunteers start in Hawaii each month
- Program fees include airport pick up, orientation, accommodation, weekday breakfasts and lunches during the volunteer program and 24/7 in-country volunteer support
- Program fees from $510 for 1 week
- Endless weekend activities and opportunities to travel
- Most affordable fees - as the world leader in affordable volunteer travel, we’re able to keep our fees low by partnering with a local organization in Hawaii to support meaningful community projects and local employment.
- Superior support - your experienced IVHQ Program Manager, teamed with our local team in Hawaii will ensure you feel supported every step of the way - from planning to volunteering.
- Responsible projects - we’re dedicated to ensuring that our projects are responsibly run and have sustainable positive impacts that are supporting local needs.
- Online training - as soon as you register on an IVHQ program, you will gain access to our interactive volunteer training to ensure you’re well prepared for your program.
- Safety-first - volunteer safety is a top priority for IVHQ and we have clear standards for risk management on each program. You can feel confident that you are placed with trustworthy institutions, organizations and families that have been screened by our local teams.
- New friendships - as an IVHQer, you’ll always be in the company of friendly locals and like-minded volunteer travelers who will quickly become your life-long friends.
- Epic weekend adventures - you’ll have your weekends free to explore Hawaii with your new-found friends.
The IVHQ Hawaii Program is based on the island of Oahu, one of Hawaii’s most populous islands. Volunteer placements are located throughout Oahu and the volunteer accommodation is situated in the popular recreation area of Kahalu’u. Volunteers traveling to the program are asked to fly into Honolulu.
The program begins every Monday, and volunteers can choose to participate on the program for either 1 or 2 weeks. The first day of your volunteer program will be orientation, after which you will begin your volunteer project.
The Beach Conservation project in Hawaii provides a unique opportunity to work on a range of volunteer activities focused on conservation and environmental restoration on Oahu. You will be led by a team of local environmental advocates in activities throughout the course of your program. The main focus of the project is addressing the issue of marine debris and plastic pollution through beach clean-ups, then gathering and analyzing the collected debris. Ocean pollution is a worldwide problem that is particularly evident in Hawaii, as major ocean currents carry large amounts plastic waste from around the world onto Hawaii’s northern and eastern shores. You also work alongside local aquaculture and agriculture projects - an ancient native Hawaiian fishpond, called a loko i’a, and a farm that utilizes native agricultural practices and community engagement programs. Work on this fishpond may entail providing assistance with reconstruction of the fish pond’s structure using natural materials or assisting with the removal of invasive, introduced mangrove species once planted by corporate pineapple farms to control erosion. Work on the farm involves helping with native agriculture practices to restore the land’s vitality and engaging the community involvement in the farm to protect it from further real estate development. The program also aims to train volunteers to rethink their consumer behaviors and provide them with tools to continue addressing the issue when they return home.
The program orientation begins every Monday and volunteers need to arrive in Honolulu on the Sunday before orientation.
After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Honolulu International Airport (HNL). Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee.
When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Kahalu’u. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.
If you are traveling in Honolulu prior to your volunteer program, you will need to make your own way to the volunteer accommodation and the local team will provide guidance on this.
Orientation is hosted by our team in Kahalu’u. It begins the morning of your chosen start date and lasts for a full day. The orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Hawaii – Introduction to Hawaii, Culture and Customs, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities, Introduction to Project and Placement as well as a tour of the local area. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers with whom you can swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.
On your first day of volunteering, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.
Weekdays An example schedule is as follows:
7.30 AM Breakfast at the volunteer accommodation.
8.30 AM Travel to placement to join local placement staff and begin work on your project. Please note that start times and daily workload depends on the project that you are participating on - some placements may begin earlier in the morning and others in the afternoon.
12.00 PM Eat a packed lunch at your placement and then resume your volunteer work.
2.00 PM Work at the placement usually ends. Plan for the following day’s activities or use your free time as you wish. This could include sightseeing, hiking, going to a local beach to hang out, surfing, or exploring Oahu’s beautiful surroundings.
Please note this schedule will vary depending on the needs of your ongoing projects.
Weekends Volunteers have their weekends free in Hawaii, which offers plenty of activities for volunteers of all interests in a relaxed environment. There is plenty to do on Oahu alone, but close access to Honolulu International Airport also makes the program a great base for weekend travel to other Hawaiian islands. Volunteers can use their weekends in nature, among rainforests, mountains, volcanoes and waterfalls. Beach and marine lovers have an extensive selection of coastline and beaches to enjoy and the opportunity to dive, surf, kayak, swim, kite, and snorkel in some of the most beautiful spots in the world. Honolulu offers great restaurants, cafes, bars and shopping. The IVHQ local team in Hawaii will be happy to provide recommendations for activities to maximize your free time.
The accommodation in Kahalu’u is a spacious home set-up as a dormitory-style volunteer house. There is WiFi access and great facilities for volunteers, including indoor and outdoor communal spaces. Located in a great spot with easy access to downtown as well as the North shore, Kahalu’u is a quiet residential area about 20 minutes from downtown Honolulu. You should expect to share a room with one to three other volunteers of both genders, but same-gender rooms can be requested. There are two bathrooms equipped with western style toilets and hot showers. Bedding is provided but volunteers must bring their own towels. The house includes a kitchen for storing and preparing your own dinners and snacks. Volunteers are required to keep their rooms tidy and to clean up after themselves, especially in the kitchen.
On weekdays, you will be provided with breakfast at the volunteer accommodation and packed lunches at your volunteer placement. Breakfast is self-serve continental style with eggs, bread, spreads, cereals, fruit, coffee and tea. Lunches will be delivered from local eateries and will commonly feature a mix of western, Asian and Hawaiian foods including salads, sandwiches, rice dishes, stir fries, etc.
All volunteers are responsible for their own dinners. Cooking facilities are available at the volunteer accommodation if you prefer to purchase groceries and prepare your own meals, or you can dine out at the large range of local restaurants available for all tastes and budgets. On weekends, no meals are provided. In most cases, volunteers spend their time on weekends away from the volunteer accommodation and exploring Oahu and other parts of Hawaii.
Volunteers have their weekends free in Hawaii, which offers plenty of activities for volunteers of all interests in a relaxed environment. There is plenty to do on Oahu alone, but close access to Honolulu International Airport also makes the program a great base for weekend travel to other Hawaiian islands.
Volunteers can use their weekends in nature, among rainforests, mountains, volcanoes and waterfalls. Beach and marine lovers have an extensive selection of coastline and beaches to enjoy and the opportunity to dive, surf, kayak, swim and snorkel in some of the most beautiful spots in the world. Honolulu offers great restaurants, cafes, bars and shopping.
The IVHQ local team in Hawaii will be happy to provide recommendations for activities to maximize your free time.
See our Hawaii Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Hawaii!
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Weather and climate: Hawaii’s climate is tropical, but less extreme due to trade winds from the east, which are somewhat constant. Summer temperatures range between 75 - 88 °F (24 - 31 °C) and winter temperatures range 65 - 83 °F (18 - 28 °C). Most of Hawaii experiences only two seasons, dry from May to October and wet from October to April. Climates vary considerably on each island of Hawaii, given their exposure to wind and mountainous geography.
Volunteers must be over 18 years of age at the beginning of the program unless volunteering with a guardian who is 18 or older. Volunteers must speak English. Volunteers must provide a recent criminal background check. Volunteers must have adequate travel insurance.
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.