There are countless volunteering options in Ecuador. Programmes focused in the urban areas, such as Quito, revolve around caring for abandoned or disabled children, teaching English or Spanish, medical care, educating women, and so on.
The more remote areas of the country, such as the Amazon rainforest, the Andes, or various rural communities offer a wide range of volunteering programmes. You can volunteer to work with a local community in a sugar cane or coffee plantation, involve yourself in handcrafts projects, construction, and even marmalade production.
Given the fact that Ecuador is home to part of the Amazonian rainforest and that the country prides itself with its biodiversity, there are quite a few volunteering programmes that deal with ecological and conservation issues.
If you plan on volunteering in a more remote programme, you should have at least some knowledge of Spanish, as the locals are less likely to know any foreign languages. For projects in the larger cities, English might suffice. In general, there are few requirements for someone wishing to volunteer in Ecuador: over 18 years of age and a clear criminal record.
Lodging options will vary from one programme to another, but there are several organisations that will house you with a local host family, which will also take care of your meals. In exchange for the fee you will pay the volunteering agency, you will also receive orientation classes and, sometimes, Spanish courses may also be arranged for you. In addition, an international volunteering organisation can help you work out your visa arrangements.