Here you will find the answers to the most commonly asked question. They are classified into:
Is it possible to combine two volunteering placements?
Usually it is. It will depend on the length of your stay, the availability of placements, and on your profile.
Can I volunteer for 35 or 40 hours per week instead of 20 or 25?
Yes, especially if it is a requirement for your university. Still, you might need to combine two placements to be able to complete this number of hours.
Will I get a certificate of participation?
Yes, upon your request. If you want proof of participation, you need to let us know at least a week before your departure date. You will also sign a volunteering agreement upon your arrival, which is also proof of participation.
Can I contact previous volunteers?
Sure! If you want to get in touch with past volunteers, we will send you a few names and e-mail addresses. Sometimes you need to be patient though, as our previous volunteers not always answer back immediately.
Can I decide onsite the length of my stay?
Yes, as long as you are able to commit for the minimum length of 4 weeks.
I only have 2 weeks available, can I still participate?
Unfortunately, no. Organizing each placement takes time and logistics, and we all work ad honorem. Such a short placement takes too many resources and it is too short a period for you to make a meaningful contribution. We might consider a 3-week stay, depending on your profile, the availability of placements, and the time of the year.
I'm still not 18 years old. Can I still join the program?
Unfortunately not. Even if you bring an authorization from your parents, we are not able to accept you into the program if you are a minor.
I'm over 50 years old. Can I still join the program?
Of course! There is no maximum age limit to join the Patagonia Volunteer program. It is important, however, that you have no serious health issues and that you do not need special assistance. Bear in mind that you might need to walk a considerable distance (anything from 5 to 25 blocks) to get to your volunteering place, and that the weather in Patagonia is quite unpredictable and changing.
Do I need to get a visa?
Most nationalities do not require a visa to enter Argentina. No visa is required for citizens from the European Union, United States, Canada, Australia, Latin American countries. You will get a 90 days permit when entering Argentina. If you stay longer, you can easily renew your permit at the border.
Here you have a full list of nationalities with a detail of whether a visa is required to enter Argentina.
Do I need to get any vaccines or immunization?
You will not be required to present a vaccines certificate to enter Argentina and for Patagonia you won't need any kind of immunization. However, if during your stay in Argentina you plan to travel to the north, for example to the Iguazu Falls, or you will also visit Brazil or Paraguay, you should get yellow fever immunization.
I fly to Buenos Aires, then what?
From Buenos Aires (or Santiago de Chile if you got a better deal), you need to travel to Esquel. That's 2000 km..., and you can travel either by plane or by bus.
I arrive in Esquel, then what?
Usually we will pick you up at the bus station or airport, for which you need to send us your arrival details. We will take you to your accommodation and let you rest. If for some reason we cannot pick you up, you will need to take a taxi to the accommodation, and we will arrange for your host to be expecting you at home.
On the next day, or following Monday if you arrived during the weekend, we will pick you up for your orientation workshop.
Why shouldn't I arrive in June or July?
Mainly because experience has shown that volunteers who come during the coldest months of winter (and stay for a short period) do not have such a great time. And we want you to enjoy your stay, make the most of it and, given the right conditions, stay involved with the Mapu projects when you get back home.
June and July are tough months, quite cold, rainy, snowy and windy. Days are short, and there isn't much to do outdoors in your free time (unless you are a fan of winter sports). Probably you won't do much besides your volunteering activities, and, thus, you won't socialize much with the local people. So, your experience might not be as rich as it can be when the weather is friendlier.
However, if you are planning to stay past the winter months and/or you are tough and enjoy cold weather, then you are welcome to arrive into the cold!
Can I arrive at the end of December, during Xmas and New Year's Eve?
Usually yes. Still, bear in mind that you may then not start your placement immediately, as those weeks are full of holidays and many host organizations are closed.
Can I rent my own apartment instead of living with a host family?
Though it is possible for you to rent your own apartment during your stay, we recommend living with a host family for the benefits of socializing and adapting to daily life in Esquel. You will also save money by living with a host family.