Volunteering with Condortrekkers
Condortrekkers is presently volunteer-managed and run, with the intention of transferring this to the paid Bolivian staff. We are always interested in hearing from people who feel that they have something to offer the project, and this is a guide to some of the ways in which volunteers can get involved, but it is by no means comprehensive. If you have some other idea for how you think you can help out, we’d love to hear your suggestions. Please contact us.
There is no need to apply formally to work with Condortrekkers; we don’t need references and CVs. Rather, send an email explaining why you want to be a part of the organization, and what exactly it is that you’d like to do. If you have relevant experience please do mention this, but we don’t demand that you are an expert in your field; enthusiasm and passion for the project are the most important qualities in a volunteer.
Having said this, the volunteers that are of greatest use to the organization are those who have experience in relevant fields and who can stay for longer periods of time. This is important for getting to know the tours we will do as well as the people we will be involved with.
You do not need to speak Spanish to work with Condortrekkers, but speaking at least a modest level of Spanish will open up a lot more opportunities to help out here. We can put you in touch with excellent Spanish teachers to help you improve your level.
Guiding and tourism experience are certainly an advantage however an outgoing personality and good social skills are sufficient and we will train you up on the rest.
Condortrekkers is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide financial support to other organizations in and around Sucre, and so does not pay any of its volunteers. We can help you find accommodation, Spanish classes and anything else you might want while in Sucre, but you will need to support yourself financially while working with us.
Volunteer Tour Guides
Every trek we organize will be accompanied by a paid Bolivian guide (this is a legal requirement, and more or less essential anyway as the rural communities we will visit speak more Quechua than Spanish), as well as at least one volunteer. These two guides will be responsible for ever step of the trek, from preparing gear before the hike to performing emergency first aid, should this prove necessary.
The treks we organize can be single or multi-day treks, and we carry everything we need, so you need to be in good physical health.
First Aid and especially Wilderness First Aid qualifications are extremely useful and highly recommended. We are not so concerned that they are up to date, but rather that you are aware of what to do should there be an incident. We hike in the mountains at altitude. Safety is by far the most important issue.
Some of the Bolivian guides speak only the most rudimentary English, so volunteer guides will need to be able to speak at least basic Spanish, although if you can make yourself understood with body language that is very helpful too.
It is extremely helpful for you to have your own camping gear, particularly a warm sleeping bag, wet weather gear and a bed roll or mattress. Obviously you will need decent shoes for hiking. We do have extra equipment, however it is intended for the clientele.
Volunteer guides pay the full price for their first trek (as they are essentially a tourist during this first trek). This fare can be refunded to the guide after they have completed two months of work with Condortrekkers.
Some training is required to be a guide, as you will need to learn our routes, our emergency procedures, as well as how to use and maintain all gear.
Volunteering For Less Than One Month
If you only have a short amount time to spend in Sucre there are a number of ways that you can help Condortrekkers out.
We’re always in need of more promotion, and need speakers of any and every language to spread the word. This can involve visiting hostels, or chatting to people in the plaza. Obviously this doesn’t just mean mentioning Condortrekkers in conversation, but selling the tours, explaining prices as well as the mission of the organization.
There is some preparation that goes into every tour, and we need behind-the-scenes people to buy supplies, pre-prepare meals, and clean up after the tours.
For anyone who likes to cook we are always looking for new recipes, especially easy-to-prepare, light-to-carry meals that we can take on our tours. If you know a few recipes we would love to learn them. We’re especially interested in recipes adapted from traditional Bolivian recipes or using traditional ingredients, so if you like experimenting with recipes we would love to sample the results (please note that all our meals on tour are vegetarian).
Most of our local guides speak only Spanish and Quechua. We would like to have volunteers on hand to meet with the guides regularly to offer language classes in English, French, German or other languages.
We are always collecting tourist information about Sucre. Our databases are far from complete and so we need people to update these by visiting hotels, restaurants, tour agencies, laundries, internet cafes etc. and collecting information.
One of the simplest ways to help the organization is to join a tour, take as many photos as you can, and then afterwards compile an album of images that we can use for promotions. Similarly, there is always a need for more descriptions of our tours, so anyone interested in writing could prepare short articles about the organization and the tours.