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Surf & Community Development in Colombia

POSTED ON 21 Feb 2024
placement Details

What is this project about? 

You will be volunteering on the coast of Colombia, combining community development and environmental conservation with the chance to surf on the Pacific Coast!

This project aims to promote sustainable social development and environmental conservation in the Caribbean in Colombia by motivating change in the community through the education of children and young people, which in turn become agents of change in the community as a whole. The project does this through education, environmental, sports, arts and culture programmes.

The Project's Goals

  • Encouraging for social development and environmental conservation.
  • Promoting the personal and educational growth of children and young people from underprivileged backgrounds, by reinserting them into the school system and by teaching them values through water sports and complementary education.
  • Promoting that children and young people become agents of change in their community.
  • Reaching out to the community as a whole, with environmental conservation programs, women empowerment programs, microentrepreneurship, and animal welfare among others.

Requirements Spanish Language Skills:
You don't have to be able to speak Spanish. The project welcomes beginners as well and also offers a one-week free Spanish course at the beginning of the programme. However, the organisation highly encourages you to learn Spanish before you arrive. You can do that either by yourself or simply ask for one of the Spanish courses offered locally.  



The project supports children and young people who are absent from school due to economic or family problems, reintegrates them into school life, and accompanies them until graduation, in their first moves in university or working environment.

It also provides extracurricular activities in the fields of arts, recycling, IT, environment and languages, at the foundation, a safe space where every child is welcome to learn something according to their interest. There is a weekly programme with regular activities which include:

  • Language lessons
  • Technology (IT): Basics of computers, search engines, word, excel and powerpoint. 
  • Sustainable Arts and crafts lessons using recycled materials.
  • Environmental workshops
  • Women empowerment workshops

The volunteers are responsible for these workshops, coming up with lesson plans, content, dynamic activities and themes for each workshop. Your chance to bring your personal interest, skills and creativity to the table as well!


As a volunteer in this project, you motivate and encourage the children to go after their dreams but also learn self-discipline through sports. The project engages children and youth in water sports, teaching them how to surf, windsurf, kitesurf, and paddleboard. It teaches them to watch out for each other in the ocean and learn to implement this attitude on land as well. You always surf in groups, reinforcing values, such as sharing, solidarity and teamwork.

The development of children and young people's skills in these sports builds their confidence and teaches them perseverance, showing them the capacity they have to progress step by step and build a better future for themselves. Some children and teenagers even compete in local and national surf competitions, which in return, motivate them to study and train.

Water sports are also a tool to raise awareness among young people about environmental awareness and a litter-free environment. Through surfing, children learn to respect the sea and its wildlife, and therefore they develop an understanding of how important it is to protect the environment.

Environmental Protection

Environmental protection plays a cross-cutting role in all of the project's activities, helping to raise awareness in the community about sustainable practices and the importance of a pollution-free environment. There will be:

  • Extracurricular activities for the children with a focus on recycling, the environment, and the impacts on their health.
  • Recycling festivals and clean-up days, where the local population participates. 
    (During the past years, the project has collected and recycled more than 50 tons! of garbage).
  • The “bottle house” is a project entirely built out of recycled materials, such as bottles, plastics, and cork. It shows how through creativity, one can turn waste into something useful.

As a volunteer, you will participate in the recycling and clean-up activities as well as in workshops. You are also welcome to come up with your own ideas to increase awareness and protection on the island!

Social business through recycling

The project also runs a sustainable business that transforms recycled plastic from the beach cleanups into sports and leisure products, generating economic growth for the community. It involves the parents of children and young people who are part of the "school reintegration" programme and young people who have already graduated from school.


Your first week volunteering at the project will be a training week, where you will observe and learn about the daily rhythm of the foundation and how things work. On a typical day, you will work from 8.30 to 1.30 in the morning. There is a structured timetable every week, and as a volunteer, your main responsibility will be to support the extracurricular activities and workshops, such as the languages, IT, surf and sports, environmental, and women's empowerment workshops. You will also support the other project's activities such as the environmental awareness and community activities with the locals, depending on the current needs and your area of expertise and interest.

Your main duties will encompass the following:

  • Planning and carrying out regular activities and workshops (recycling, art and language workshops) together with the other volunteers.
  • Coordinating different tasks with the other volunteers such as cooking, organizing, running the errands, etc. 
  • Helping in water sports training.
  • Co-organising extracurricular events (cleanings, festivals, conferences, etc.)
  • Supporting children and youth in doing their homework.
  • Caring for the animals of the foundation and animals rescued.
  • Sharing time and knowledge with children (playing, chatting, etc.) and being an example for them 
  • Coordinating food and water for volunteers.

The language workshops are mainly in English and taught by the local staff and volunteers through dynamic lessons, activities, and games. If you speak and want to teach other languages you are welcome to do so, but must develop a lesson plan and discuss this with the local coordinator.


For this project, the organisation is looking for people who are interested in sharing their knowledge and have a genuine desire to serve underprivileged communities.

You have to be aware that even though you will be volunteering in a place often visited by tourists, you will live in a village where there are many needs and where reality is different, where luxuries and privileges do not exist. You must be prepared to integrate in this reality, have an open mind, initiative and a real willingness to get involved with the community to learn and be able to help. For example, water is scarce in this area, so it is seen as a privilege and must be taken care of.

When participating in this project you are committing to being tolerant, and flexible to new ways of thinking, consuming and traveling. You need to have a genuine interest in learning and exploring alternative ways of living, sharing and exchanging knowledge and experience with people that might have similar or different mindsets and views.

Volunteer Profile

SCHOOL LEVEL (EDUCATION): Highschool level or higher (or in process / enrolled) or experience in the area. In general, all knowledge and skills are welcome. Interest and studies in the following areas are desirable: Social work, psychology, social or environmental education, sports science, communication, languages, administration, international relations or a similar subject.

  • Interest in the area of social and / or environmental work and / or sports 
  • Knowledge English: basic - medium - advanced
  • Knowledge Spanish*: basic - medium - advanced
  • Precise and punctual way of working
  • Orderly, organized, proactive, dynamic, patient, motivating, innovative, enthusiastic. 
  • Adaptive and flexible
  • Be able to work in a team as well as independently
  • Environmental and intercultural awareness

*The organisation already includes a one-week Spanish course with the project to make sure you are prepared well before you start volunteering, but you are also welcome to take any additional Spanish courses the organisation offers.



During the first week when you have your Spanish course, you will be staying in a hostel, hotel or with a host family, close to your Spanish School. The choice is yours..!
Breakfast is always included. Additional catering options are possible.

During your time at the project, you will be living at the project site, in your own private bedroom with a bathroom. Bed linen are available but you should bring your own towel. 
When you are at the project, you will have access to a kitchen where you can prepare your meals together with the other volunteers. All the food is included, the volunteers make a shopping list with the other volunteers, and the food will be bought for you. 

At your project accommodation, there is Wifi, phone coverage, sea views, and a hammock area where you can chill with the rest of the volunteers.

Twice a week, a local woman will make the meals and teach you how to cook Colombian food, if you are interested!


Upon arrival, you will be picked up at the airport and taken to your accommodation during your Spanish course. During the week, you can easily walk from there to your Spanish School.

When it's time for you to start your project, you will head to the harbour where you will take a boat or "lancha", which will then take you to your project location nearby. The organisation will give you more details and instructions upon contacting them.  


During your first week, you will take part in an intensive Spanish course of 20 hours, in a local Spanish School. Your lessons will be taught in groups and adapted to your Spanish level. You will learn vocabulary specific for your work at the project site. 

The organisation encourages you to take this Spanish course (unless you already speak Spanish) because it will allow you to have a greater impact on the project, as you will be able to interact with local people and communities and share knowledge and skills with them. The Spanish course is catered to your project and will teach you specific vocabulary that you will need during the placement.

- Accommodation and food.
- Pickup from the nearest airport.
- Pre-arrival pack.
- Complementary t-shirt.
- FREE 20 hour intensive Spanish course.
- 24 hour support.
- Comprehensive introduction to your work and the local culture.
- Training, support and material.
- Ongoing mentoring.

Start Dates: 
1st and 3rd Sunday each month. 

Individual Start Dates:
+ € 150,00 – Start your placement any Sunday of the month.
+ € 250,00 – Choose your own start dates and change them up to 3 times before your trip.

€ 1479,00 – 1st month
€ 1429,00 – 2nd month
€ 1399,00 – 3rd month, and after.

There are special prices if you want to come and volunteer with a partner or friend. Please contact the organisation.


Want to surf and help in a local community on the Carribean coast in Colombia? 

NG Oimage

NGO Taxi


Surf & Community Development in Colombia


Multi Activity Gap Years


Community development, Conservation, Sports


1st and 3rd Sunday each month

Age restrictions

Minimum age: 18

Support in place

Training, support and material

Included with this course
  • Food included
  • Specialist equipment included
  • Airport pick up

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