Volunteer trips to Latin America


May 20, 2007|By Mercury News

My daughter and I are interested in a volunteer vacation to Mexico or Central America for less than $2,000 a week. Any suggestions?

Here are some projects that might fit your budget:

Global Volunteers (globalvolunteers.org) has work and tutoring programs around the world. You might be asked to teach English to adult students in any of several cities in Mexico, for instance, starting at $1,795 a week. A cheaper U.S. option: You could help paint or repair homes or mentor preschool students in the Mississippi Delta. That costs $795 a week.

Denver-based i-to-i (meaningfultravel.com), which connects people with projects in 23 countries, offers trips starting at $1,095 a week. You might help build homes and schools in the western highlands of Honduras or in Costa Rica. Projects also are available in Mexico, Guatemala and South America.

On its home page, Go Abroad (goabroad.com) has a list of several trips, including some to Costa Rica and Peru, starting at $748.

Remember, most program fees do not include round-trip airfare.

We're taking our daughter on NCL America's Hawaii cruise. Any ideas for things to see and do with a 3-year-old?

Make sure you sign up your daughter in NCL's Kid Crew program. It offers daily age-specific activities, including face painting, games, crafts and storytelling.

In ports, you should be able to find family-friendly excursions to keep your daughter's interest.

In Kona, for example, you can take a tour of a sea-horse farm or a nature cruise along the Kona coast.

In Honolulu, visit Sea Life Park and participate in a dolphin encounter (a parent's participation is required).

On Maui, take a horseback-riding adventure at Haleakala Ranch or a Haleakala Crater tour to the summit of the world's largest dormant volcano.

If all else fails, there's always the beach.

San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News

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