In an era of increasing awareness of global issues, it’s more important than ever for individuals to step outside their comfort zone and help others. While it’s convenient to contribute to your local community, volunteering overseas allows you to combine travel with philanthropy.
Swap the all-inclusive resorts and high-end restaurants for local-run businesses and you’ll not only immerse yourself in a new country and culture, but you can make a positive difference impact too.
If you’re new to responsible travel, why not try a tour geared towards helping a specific community or environment? From Africa to the Amazon, we’ve rounded up three ‘voluntours’ that will help you give back.
Protect Belize’s Barrier Reef
Below the surface of the warm, azure Caribbean Sea is the world’s second-largest barrier reef, brimming with vibrant coral and marine life.
During this five-day, tailor-made holiday in Belize, you help a specialist marine conservation team as they conduct lobster, queen conch and commercial fish studies, monitor the health of the coral reef and analyse its biodiversity levels.
You help track and control invasive lionfish and also have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to monitor and swim with mighty whale sharks.
Absolutely no diving experience is needed before you go as PADI Dive Courses are included during your private island stay. Belize is one of the best places on the planet to learn how to dive in the ocean rather than in a swimming pool.
Empower women in Uganda
During this inspirational 10-night tour in the heart of Uganda, you see firsthand the efforts being made by aid organisations to help local girls reach their full potential.
The action-packed itinerary includes a tour of the Bwaise slum, interacting with local artists and fashion designers, building houses for disadvantaged families, visiting schools to participate in girls’ empowerment training and meeting with leading female change-makers in the region.
This tour culminates with four days of adventure: visits to remote tribal villages, wildlife-spotting in the Kidepo Valley National Park and tracking on foot gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
At each stage of this incredible journey, you have the chance to meet village elders as they share their stories and teach you about traditional tribal culture.
Conserve the Amazon Rainforest
Your Peruvian Amazon adventure begins with some heartwarming work at a local animal rescue shelter. Here, you help feed and care for native wildlife such as sloths, several species of monkeys, toucans, armadillos, macaws and white-lipped peccaries (wild pigs).
From there, travel even deeper into the Amazon on a boat ride down the Tambopata River and into the 274,690-hectare Tambopata National Reserve – the Amazon’s most biodiverse rainforest. When you reach Baltimore, you’re greeted by your hosts, the Ramirez family, whose farming property sits at the mouth of the El Gato stream.
Emerge from the jungle in time to catch a short flight to Cusco, where you explore picturesque Sacred Valley before reaching the trip’s grand finale at the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu.
From a therapeutic retreat at Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon to a greenery-filled hideaway in the heart of bustling Brooklyn, journey responsibly and check into one of these eco-luxe hotels.