Volunteer Work, Nature Protection
Rio Puelo, Cochamó, Patagonia
Year round, flexible start and end dates. In the winter months between May and the end of September, the weather is very cold, rainy, sometimes with snowfall, so there are often no tourists on site. For no so weather-resistant participants, the best time to participe is between October and April.
This is the perfect project for adventurers and nature lovers! Our partners run a 3000 hectare nature park in a magically beautiful, almost untouched landscape of primeval forest, lakes, clear rivers and mountains, right at the foot of the Chilean Andes. Inside the protected area there are typical southern Chilean ecosystems: temperate rainforests with millennial trees (e.g. larch, mañío, coihue) wich are home to a species-rich wildlife.
The only way to make this magical piece of earth accessible to the public without causing damage is via a controlled ecotourism project: Tourists are welcome, but nature is paramount. Only a limited number of guests can stay there at the same time, so that the capacity is never exceeded and the natural course of things is not disturbed. Tourists are informed about the biodiversity of the park and how to leave no traces as a visitor, in an information center.
Hikers can explore the park on a total of 18 km of hiking trails and choose between accommodation in simple mountain huts in the middle of the park or a more comfortable lodge on the edge of the park. Another great way to explore this little paradise is by kayaking, as the area borders Lake Tagua-Tagua, which is connected to the Reloncaví Fjord by a river.
Volunteers should have a hands-on mentality. There is a wide variety of tasks: as a tour guide, in the maintenance of hiking trails and mountain huts, in the information center, working in the forest and much more.
As usual for working in the mountains and in the open air, there are no traditional working hours. In Patagonia, the weather dictates the working days and the workload. In good weather, people tend to work more and in bad weather, the days tend to be a bit calmer. Another factor in volunteering is the workload, depending on the season.
You should be aware of that the project is so unique, because it is so very remote. It can be unusually quiet and lonely at times. The nearest cities of Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt are each around three hours away by car and can therefore only be visited on days off. The nearest village is 11 km away.
This project involves different tasks depending on the weather and the season. In summer, when most tourists come, there is a lot of service-related work in the lodge and restaurant, and as a tour guide. In the pre-season, everything has to be prepared perfectly, so that hiking trails, bridges, footbridges and the mountain huts are in good condition and that there will be no accidents or inconveniences.
After the season, an inventory is due, winter and the coming season have to be planned and there may be construction work to be done.
The following tasks could end up on your to-do list:
- Assistance in the visitor center
- Recieving and informing park visitors
- Assistance in guiding tours
- Expansion and maintenance of the hiking trails
- Maintenance/cleaning of the mountain huts
- Chop and stack wood
- Supporting the park rangers
- Other tasks in the field of nature and species protection
- Working at the reception of the lodge
- Cleaning and maintenance work in the lodge
- Working in the restaurant/bar/kitchen
Note: The tasks may vary. They depend on factors such as number of volunteers, weather, season, current needs of the project, as well as self-motivation. Not every volunteer may be fully involved in all these tasks.
You will not only work where others go on vacation, but also live there: Depending on the season and activity, your accommodation is either in a shared room in the lodge or in one of the mountain huts belonging to the park, either option with full board.
The park is secluded and can only be reached by boat, which is exactly what appeals to most visitors. The natural backdrop is spectacular, whether you are in a mountain hut or at the lodge: you are just surrounded by nature! You will have to do without many of the advantages of "civilization", but when you wake up you will see a turquoise-green lake or you will be surrounded by pristine mountain forest.
The program is located over 1,000 km south of Santiago de Chile in one of the most beautiful and unspoiled areas of Chile. The park is located on the southern shore of Lake Tagua Tagua and can only be reached by boat. The nearest major cities, Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas, are about a three-hour drive plus a boat ride away.
The region is famous all over Chile for its beauty and yet is still an insider tip, due to its location and the fairly simple infrastructure. There are no luxury hotels there and only a few tourist attractions that can be reached by car.
You have to hike, to see the most beautiful pearls (you can also do the main hiking trails on horseback) or even discover them by kayak. Anyone who takes such efforts will be rewarded with a natural beauty that is second to none. Crystal-clear rivers, waterfalls in the primeval forest, small lagoons that invite you to swim and steeply rising rocks form the landscape, which is home to a diverse fauna and flora.
The climate is temperate and it rains often, even in summer (December to February). In summer the temperatures rise to about 25 degrees, in winter they fluctuate around 5 degrees, there is also sometimes frost. The months of May-August have the highest rainfall, including snow, and the lowest temperatures.
Spanish at communication level, so that you can communicate with the staff in you volunteer project, understand work instructions and get actively involved.
For optimal preparation for your volunteer work in Chile, we advise you to take a Spanish course before the program starts. This gives you the opportunity to slowly get used to the language, culture and mentality.
You can book your Spanish course in Chile directly with us!
Pre-departure and in-country support
Before arrival, our experienced team will be at your disposal to assist you throughout the booking process and travel planning. With the booking confirmation you will receive our 24-hour emergency number, so that you can reach us 24/7 in case of emergency.
In addition to the assistance given by our office in Santiago de Chile you will be supported by an on-site volunteer coordinator.
Costs & Services
Our volunteer project in a nature park in Chilean Patagonia includes:
- Sahred room in the accommodations of the park (lodge or mountain hut)
- Full board
- Professional English-speaking advice
- Translation of your application document
- Volunteer Work Placement in Chile
- English-speaking in-country support
- Country handbook Chile
- Intercultural guideline
- Insider Tips Chile
- 24/7 Emergency number
- Information about suitable travel insurance
- Certificate of participation
Our tips (experience more + see more = save $$)
Is it difficult for you to decide between the many great projects? You want to see and experience as much as possible during your stay in Latin America? Then build your own itinerary - experience more & see more! Our program combination makes it possible!
All our stay abroad programs can be combined with each other: So, you can combine different volunteer projects in the same country or in different countries, or you mix Working Holiday with volunteer work or Farm Stay with Working Holiday ...and so on …
Your creativity knows no limits. The longer your stay abroad in Latin America, the greater the discount you get from South America Inside. Below you can see how much you can save:
Note: Language courses are excluded from this promotion. These discounts can not be combined with other promotions.
If you need assistance in putting together your personal experience abroad, then please contact us. Our experienced staff will help you to set up your tailor-made stay abroad.