Come spend a semester in this Caribbean country, splitting your time between life in paradise and the beaming faces of the kids you teach. Pick coconuts in the afternoon, join the neighborhood kids for a beach day, and explore this tropical island, all semester long. Volunteers here live a local neighborhood, and give an English education to children who wouldn’t be able to afford it themselves — a huge service in such a tourist-driven country.
Tons of tourists come here to vacation in the Dominican Republic, but you’re here to help. Volunteers are living away from the touristy part of the DR, tucked right next to dirt roads in local neighborhoods. The two are vastly different worlds. As a volunteer here, you’re not living at the beach. Many of the families who live right next to you share a single bedroom under a tin roof. It’s a humanitarian experience, but one that lets you see the best part of the Dominican Republic firsthand: the people. Living here means helping out in the classroom and getting to know the neighborhood kids who run up for a hug and to say “hello”. While there’s plenty of free time, weekend trips, and vacation days, a typical day looks a little like this …
Glimpse a day in the DR
HELP KIDS IN THE CARIBBEAN LEARN ENGLISH
In this humanitarian program, you’ll be making a difference by helping children who come from limited means learn English. You’ll be teaching up to 20 hours a week, and no experience is needed — we provide training on our teaching method! Particularly in such a tourism-heavy country, speaking English opens many doors for their future.
Volunteering and Costs
Volunteers live on the northern coast, in the suburbs of Puerto Plata
—Spring: Depart early January — return home the end of April
—Summer: Depart end of April/early May — return middle of August
—Fall: Depart end of August — return middle of December, just in time for Christmas
—15-30 volunteers in a group
—Single males/females and married couples
—18-about 25ish years old
—US and Canadian volunteers
—No experience needed!
EXPLORING THE CARIBBEAN
You don’t even have to travel to get to a vacation destination because you’re already living in one! Puerto Plata’s stretch of golden sandy beaches attracts tourists from around the globe. The Dominican Republic is the most visited island in the Caribbean by far and for good reason. You can whale watch, explore national parks, enjoy seafood at a beachside restaurant, and have excursions through the tropical, mountainous countryside.
While you’re already living in a beautiful area, volunteers do have vacation time to explore surrounding areas as well. Most choose to stay in the DR for their vacations because there’s more than enough to see and do. However, you can also take a trip to Caribbean islands like Turks and Caicos and Puerto Rico if you want.
Samana — Stay in an actual tree house for your vacation here! If that’s not the highlight of your vacation, the adventures will be. Ride bikes on the beach, swing from rope swings at the base of a waterfall, go snorkeling and island hopping, then try out zip lining. Lastly, go visit Los Haitises National Park.
Jarabacoa — This is a favorite destination tucked away in the lush green central part of the D.R. Ride horses to a waterfall, go white water rafting, hang out in a jungle bungalow and more.
27 Waterfalls — This is an all-time favorite when it comes to things to do in the Dominican Republic. Hidden up in a tropical canyon is a string of waterfalls that you can hike to and slide down, swim under, and jump off on your way back down. You’ll head up with a tour guide (it’s required) who will help make sure you’re jumping off of safe spots, might explain some of the history of these gorgeous falls (some of which have ancient legends stemming back from the Taino Indians who first discovered this gem), and have your fill of the baby-blue water here.
Punta Cana — Take your vacation in style. This is one of the most popular getaways on the island for tourists, full of resorts and pristine beaches. It’s also the perfect jumping off point for other popular day trips that we love like Isla Saona and Santo Domingo.
Santo Domingo — Don’t skip the country’s capital. The center of Santo Domingo is so full of Spanish influence that you might wonder if you’re actually visiting Europe for the day. Ride bikes around the town before heading out for a boat tour around caverns at Los Tres Ojos National Park.
Barahona — Ready to break free of the touristy spots? Head southwest to this remote (but just as beautiful) surfer’s paradise. Go zip lining over the tropical forest, swim and enjoy the beach, and hike through the rainforest to emerald pools. All in all, Barahona is pretty perfect.
Pedernales — Pedernales is the other spot to visit in this portion of the country if you’re up for the adventure. Pedernales is gorgeous, and remote, and can be tricky to get to, but the reward is incredible. Here’s what one volunteer said about her visit “I’ve never seen more clear water, or white sand in my life, and the best part is that we were the only ones there”.
Dudu Lagoon — Come swim this crazy blue lagoon. Dudu Lagoon is a natural cenote with crystal clear water which contributes to the stunning color. The main highlight here is zipping over the water via biplane before letting go and splashing in the crystal pool. The whole thing is surrounded by rocky cliffs and lush jungle, making for a pretty spot to take a swim.
+ So many beach and island trips — You’re living on an island that has not only the dreamiest coastline but also has smaller islands floating just offshore. Some islands are so tiny that you can see to the other side, but we still love boat trips out to enjoy the white sand surrounded by turquoise blue water. Some volunteer favorites are Paradise Island, Saona (Starfish) Island, and Catalina Island. And there are too many beaches stretched along the mainland for you to see in one semester, but luckily volunteers live close to some of the best along the northern coast: Sosua, Cabarete, and Playa Alicia.