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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Conservation Volunteers International Program, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, International, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection, Philanthropy, Promotion of International Understanding, Voluntarism Promotion

Mission: Conservation Volunteers International Program is dedicated to helping sustain some of the world's greatest landscapes, cultural site and biodiversity. We accomplish our mission by providing opportunities for ordinary people to perform extraordinary volunteer services. Our projects include maintaining and building trails, restoring archaeological sites and protecting and restoring critical habitats.

Target demographics: people everywhere and future generations

Direct beneficiaries per year: the world's greatest landscapes, cultural sites and biodiversity

Geographic areas served: wonderful sites in the U.S. and abroad

Programs: Volunteer trips to Torres del Paine in Patagonia, Machu Picchu in Peru, Yosemite National Park in California, Alaska, the Galapagos Islands, the Scottish Highlands, Costa Rica and U.S. Virgin Islands.

Community Stories

37 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I simply love going on volunteer trips with this group. I have gone on three trips with them Machupicchu, Galapagos and Torres del Paine and have had the experience of a lifetime on every single one of them. The trip leaders are amazing guides and lead by example. They work just as hard as the volunteers and strive to make sure everyone has a positive experience. I will be going on more trips with this group as time and finances permit. I have recommended them to all my friends. Best group of people and I am proud to be associated with them!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been to the Virgin Islands and to Macchu Piccu with CVIP and will be working with them again in Scotland in September. I have been impressed with the knowledge and dedication of CVIP management, volunteer leaders and the special relationships they have developed at each of our worksites. ON each trip I feel we learned the importance and value of the work we were doing as well as building understanding of the culture of the area. Definitely time and money well spent!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We are so glad we found Conservation VIP and their Machu Picchu trip. I had always wanted to spend several days at Machu Picchu and to get a more intimate feel for the site and history. Conservation VIP has a great itinerary, allowing us to have enough free time to explore plus get to be into areas that needed work.
They had great trip leaders, who were experienced and made everything run smoothly and made our trip very fun. We had an amazing local guide who seemed to literally know everything about Peru and the people, past and present.
The other volunteers we met on our trip was really the icing on the cake. I felt like I was traveling with a group of long time friends, and right from the very first day.
I had always wanted to see Machu Picchu, but the work we did, the appreciation from the Peruvian people, our great leaders and guide and the friendships made, are what really made this a once in a life time experience. We are already looking at other Conservation VIP trips to take, we are hooked.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My Wife and I have taken 2 trips with this company. The first to the Virgin Islands in 2014, and the second to Patagonia in 2018. Their dedication and commitment to creating a sustainable situation for the environments they bring volunteers into through education and a great work ethic is fantastic. We found these trips to be well organized yet relaxed and team building oriented to create an environment of cooperation and "fun on the job". We learned a great deal about the places we worked and the culture we were helping to sustain. If you are looking for a trip to get you out in the world, make great new friends, and feel you have been part of taking care of this earth, then this is the trip for you. We look forward to our next one!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went on a work trip with CVIP in October of 2014 to St. John, Virgin Islands. I've never had this kind of experience before. As we cleared aged ruins and trails to be enjoyed by locals and travelers, I felt blessed to enjoy a new experience, to be making an impact in a beautiful location and to meet new people. We worked hard during the day and enjoyed great food and fellowship in the evening. Accommodations were great and the organization of the trip helped us to accomplish much during the 13 days we were there. It was a beautiful place to work and play and feel like we made a difference!

Mtrekker

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Have you ever PAID to volunteer on an International adventure trip at an ecologically protected site? I hadn’t, and I’ve been lucky enough to travel under a variety of circumstances over the last 35 years. Reading the online ConservationVIP trip description made me curious and a little excited. My spouse, the yang to my yin, had questions and doubts.

Hmmm….. Curiosity, excitement, doubt and the unknown. Sounds like the beginning of every great adventure. I decided to enroll in this non-profit 2018 trip to Machu Picchu.

Questions that arose at my house included:
Will food and lodging suffer due to focus on work schedule?
Will I get my money’s worth?
What kind of people take a trip to the sacred site of Machu Picchu in order to work?
Will I have adequate time to hike and explore the ruins and peaks along the Incan trail?
Will I get my money’s worth?
How good are the trip leaders at balancing logistics, group safety and quirky individuals?
How knowledgeable and reliable is the native Peruvian guide?
Will my volunteer time add measurable value to this ecological site?
And oh yeah, will I get my money’s worth?

I’m not an extremely frugal guy, just pragmatic and trying to get the most value from every dollar I’ve managed to save. So I’ll address each of my concerns below and when I’m done you be the judge of the money question.

First, the food was astounding and our ConservationVIP leaders guided us through a daily moveable feast. Excellent cafes and restaurants abound from Cusco – the ancient Incan capital where all volunteers meet - to Aguas Calientes – the park town at the base of the Machu Picchu Ruins. Try the Quinoa soup with any fish, meat or vegetable entrée for a taste bud delight. After eating like Incan royalty, you’ll enjoy the clean and comfortable lodging arranged by trip leaders that comes with a hardy breakfast buffet. The rooms are not frilly but you’ll only be sleeping and showering in them. They offer secure and ample space, clean bed linens and a good Wi-Fi connection. Bring ear plugs if you’re a light sleeper to offset occasional street noise or your favorite snoring roommate.

I know each trip will be populated by its own unique troop of volunteers, but I was surprised by how our group diversity ranged from business entrepreneurs and cubicle conquerors to work-at-homeys and retirees, both reserved and adventurous, who still ride road bikes and surf along the Pacific Coast highway.

After a warm welcome from our group leaders, we all gelled, regardless of individual backgrounds and life experiences, since we all had a common goal: take a magical 10 day sojourn to Machu Picchu and surrounding areas AND give back the best of ourselves through volunteer efforts by clearing Incan trails of invasive plants and debris strewn by the last flood stage along the Urubamba River.

Upon arrival at Machu Picchu, we took a guided tour that included free time to climb Huayna Picchu, the Sun Gate and the Incan Bridge. Four days were then devoted to the volunteer activities that added value to the countryside and to my life. We worked closely with the park biologist and his crew, safety first, and no volunteer performed trail duty he/she was not comfortable with. We gathered several dump trucks worth of debris and detritus. We stemmed the spread of aggressive plant species that choked native plants throughout the park.
Bring an extra pair of gloves to donate to the crew on the last day. Like any government entity, the Park crew have a tight budget and are grateful for all of our help. There is plenty of time to spend leisure time in the Ruins after work ends each early afternoon. Definitely check your camera batteries and memory card. Not one of us could get enough photos of this sacred site that is filled with colorful native people and docile llamas beside 15th century block walls climbing up Incan terraced mountainsides to misty granite peaks.

And still, this trip would not have succeeded without the unflappable ConservationVIP trip leaders, Janice and Karla along with our Peruvian guide, Santiago. They are so organized, they are so professional, they are so concerned about safely providing an unforgettable experience for the volunteers that it’s easy to take them for granted. The schedule and travel plan runs so smoothly that even when there are minor hiccups like the occasional train delay, it’s solved on the fly in alternative restaurants or on extended cultural tours. Logistics and entry permits for these trips are arranged and secured months in advance by these trip maestros – and it shows. All three should be sainted for performing daily miracles and always practicing the virtue of patience. YOU try entertaining 18 people while herding them down a crowded Cusco street, around the guinea pig vendors and relic shop keepers toward enlightenment at the Sun Cathedral. Janice and Santiago led the way while Karla picked up all the strays!

A special word about Santiago, our Peruvian guide; He secured a university degree as a Professional Tour Guide, meaning he is knowledgeable in every cultural site that we visited, along with the geology, biology, astronomy and gastronomy of every village, ruin, monument, church and native home we visited. He has a sort of mythical charm that may come from his own Quechuan ancestry. He didn’t just answer our questions, he seemed to anticipate them. Never lost, he had friends wherever we went.
I can’t say enough about him.

So go, sign up for your own ConservationVIP experience at Machu Picchu and volunteer a little of your own effort to save this site and its trails for yourself and your fellow travelers. It was a stunning cultural and adventure trip, gift-wrapped with an environmental conscience. You’ll get MORE than your money’s worth. You’ll meet great people. You’ll eat incredible food. You’ll walk in the footsteps of Incan royalty. And you WILL gain more value in your life.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have taken 2 trips with CVIP, one in the U.S. and one abroad and both were excellent. The professionalism, content, attention to detail and the ability for volunteers to work outdoor assignments that are meaningful and different make these trips very special. In the Galapagos, we were assigned to take underwater pictures of the sea turtles to help the local university establish a sea turtle baseline. We also did habitat restoration and beach clean up. In Yosemite, we cleared trails including drain and scale and helped prepare CCC and NPS for the tourist season. CVIP engages with the local organizations and leaders allowing us to not only DO but also LEARN about the initiatives, concerns and projects. We are able to visit the place of the research and receive overviews from local scientists. In Yosemite we were teamed up with CCC youngsters allowing for a social experience in addition to the conservancy. So far the experience has been very positive. CVIP board members and leaders care and strive for a positive experiences for everyone. They all have a love for the outdoors and are experienced in resource management and conservancy. Their focus on safety, well being and group cohesion results in camaraderie and making a difference and provides for a very rewarding experience for the volunteers.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being a volunteer with Conservation Volunteers International Program (ConVIP) exceed my expectations. Having lost my wife, Carol, of 42 years to Ovarian cancer 9 months prior to this trip and I was searching for a new purpose in my life. I wanted to give back to a National Park system that provides me with so much joy and honor Carol's love of travel. I loved the daily challenge of the physical labor, learning new skills associated with building a boardwalk and the team work required. It helped me stay focused on the tasks at hand and not think about my grief. Our two leaders were extremely patient, enthusiastic, organized and skilled in motivating and teaching a diverse group of individuals and with limited building skills. Everyone had an opportunity to learn and contribute to every aspect of the project. In addition, we worked along side young Chilean men and women who volunteered through CONAF. What a rewarding experience meeting these young people who love their National Park and want to be part of the solution to environmental overuse. The comradery was immediate and genuine. And their love of their National Parks gives us Seniors hope that the future of our world's treasures are in safe hands. I'm proud of the boardwalk that we built and the fact that generations of hikers will enjoy the beautiful view of Los Cuernos del Paine that the boardwalk provides. On a personnel note, this trip provided me with a vision of how I could combine my love of nature, travel, backpacking and my need to give back by volunteering in future ConVIP trips.

Shelley Spencer S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an amazing organization that provides invaluable service to some of the worlds most precious places! When you volunteer with Conservation VIP, you not only give back, but you also get an opportunity to immerse in the area and culture of your project. You meet amazing people, travel to incredible locations and work along side others that value this work as much as you.
I have traveled to Peru and Costa Rica with Conservation VIP, and have every intent to continue my relationship and support of this cause!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My 1st participation with CVIP was last year (late May 2018) in Alaska for 11 days. I loved every minute of each day - the work, the shared meals with new friends, helping one another, laughing with one another all the time, learning from excellent team guides and the amazing forrest service staff as together we waded in streams to clear away fallen limbs, removing piles and piles of sticks and limbs along the trails collected over the months from work done to breakdown beaver damns, helping restore hiking trails, chopping wood with an axe and even learning how to operate a log splitter. Our group worked so well together - young and old, working skilled professionals and retired team members - all becoming friends along the way. I still share communications with several team members. I've registered for my 2nd CVIP to Machu Picchu this fall!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Truly an amazing experience with Conseevation VIP. Travel ignites the spirit and engages the soul! And, Conservation VIP takes care of everything.

I've been fortunate to participate in 3 trips so far and can't wait to see other places with this amazing organization.

Pictures from recent trip to Scotland!

Emilio C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've participated in three volunteer trips with Conservation Volunteers International Program (Conservation VIP). Each better and more fulfilling than the last, not because one is better than the other, but because the experiences and the feeling of doing good keep building on each other with each trip. My first was Galapagos! Such a special place and it needs our help and protection. Next was Torres del Paine National Park, in Chile. Stunning, and again, the park really needs volunteers in order to help maintain the trail network and infrastructure from overuse. Lastly, and most recently, Scottish Highlands. Scotland was once covered in forests..... not so today, but with the help of organizations like Conservation VIP and our allies, Trees for Life, maybe some day in the not too distant future, Scotland will again look like it once did. It is so rewarding to give back to the environment in all these wonderful places. Thanks Conservation VIP!!!

Barbara K.2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with ConervationVIP for about 5 years. I am so impressed by the absolute commitment if each person in the organization to volunteerism and natural resource conservation. The work that has been accomplished in Patagonia from long suspension bridges, boardwalks and trails is amazing. Trip leaders, themselves volunteers, are dedicated to make sure each volunteers has the best experience possible.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've done three volunteer trips with CVIP--two to Torres del Paine and one to Machu Picchu--and they have all been wonderful experiences. The leaders are not only knowledge about the work to be done, but also know how to manage volunteers so that everyone can contribute to the project in a way that feels significant. They do a tremendous amount of prep work behind the scenes, working with local partners to make sure each project meets the needs and expectations of the local organizations in a respectful and culturally sensitive way. The volunteers develop great friendships and teamwork skills, and most of us come away with a deeper understanding of the land and culture. We have the satisfaction of accomplishing something really special while experiencing truly extraordinary places in a way that very few people do. After doing a CVIP trip, it's hard to be "just a tourist." Not just idle words...I've already signed up for my fourth CVIP trip, and this time I've convinced a friend to come along too!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great group to work with. I have found that the folks who run ConservationVIP are dedicated, fun, knowledgeable, interesting....and they work hard. It's not easy to plan, prepare and pull off trips to Galapagos, Machu Picchu, Scotland...and more...all in the same year. I mean think about it. A group of volunteers putting together work efforts at all these place. And what we do with them means a lot. Torres Del Paine had no one tasked to maintain trails...and ConservationVIP and volunteers stepped in. At Machu Picchu we put "hands-on" where no outsiders have ever done. Plus arranging food, drink, lodging, travel... It's been great to work with them and I hope to do more with them in the future. A+

pauldadams2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ConservationVIP is one great organization doing real good and making a real difference around the globe! Every trip I've taken has been top shelf with the best leadership who are always safety aware, knowledgeable, and kind and thoughtful about all-things-conservation. The increase of awareness about the impact of tourism and importance of sustainability on their destinations is more than enlightening; it's life-changing! Volunteers take home more than a memorable experience. We take home vital principles of caring for our planet and making a difference that lasts. Whether oceans to land or to highlands to trails, appreciation for and the necessity of a healthy and thriving environment is job one for this org!

K2Scotland

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have done two trips with CVIP - trail maintenance at Yosemite National Park in the fall of 2015 and conservation work with Trees for Life, Dundreggan Estate, Scotland, in the Highlands, September 2018. I chose this organization both times because this is how I vacation...by giving back to where I want to be, by being a positive influence. And, well, you can't beat Yosemite or the Highlands of Scotland for beauty in the wild. Both trips found me among amazing, kind, smart and collaborative folk who worked together like we had known each for years. Wondrous. The Scotland trip was perfection with the 'focalizers' from Trees for Life and our Leaders preparing and guiding the volunteers with finesse and enjoyment. I felt useful. I felt like I could now hang out in Scotland (which I did for a few days after) and feel like I had given something in return for all the hospitality and beauty. It is not simple for me to take trips like this. Money must be saved, traveling arranged, and time off work taken. I chose CVIP twice for going some place on earth I had not been and I would choose them again if the stars align. The organization has integrity and deep commitment to making a difference with their programs both to the land and to the people who are a part of each trip.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Machu Picchu was on my bucket list and when I saw the CVIP volunteer trip listed, I signed up! In addition to great leaders, the other volunteers were so interesting. We worked with local organizations to fix Inca trails, cleaned and reclaimed some Inca sites plus we got to hike parts of the Inca Trail!
After this great experience I went on CVIP trips to Torre del Paine, the Galapagos and Alaska. Each trip was different but basics were the same: great trip leaders, work with local organizations, interesting fellow volunteers. On each trip we learned about history and traditions of the area from experts. Plus we saw the positive results of our work and were thanked by locals for our work. I always left feeling a connection to the area that you never get with traditional travel.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went on a CVIP trail-building trip to Torres del Paine in 2007. I had the opportunity to work in a stunning physical environment with a wonderful group of volunteers and park staff. It was a truly memorable experience.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Conservation Volunteers International Program (CVIP) operates entirely with hard working board members who donate their time and money to lead trips of volunteers to help preserve and protect Yosemite National Park in California, Machu Picchu in Peru, and Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile. The work that the volunteers have performed in these parks have made significant improvements to the environment, enhancing visitor safety, and reducing the impact that heavy visitation has produced. This organization has been recognized by the US State Department as contributing to, and fostering, excellent relationships between our host governments and the US. Our volunteers take pride that they are acting as Goodwill Ambassadors while helping preserve three of the most incredible parks in the world.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I travelled to Torres del Paine with Conservation VIP and had the trip of a lifetime. The beauty of mountains and clouds in southern Patagonia is breathtaking. We worked full days repairing and rerouting trails to protect the popular park from erosion. Conservation VIP was well prepared with tools in place and a plans to make good use of volunteers with varying abilities. All the volunteers were friendly with common interests in the wilderness environment. I certainly enjoyed everyone on the team, as well as our meals and sightseeing time together.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered on a 10 day trip to Machu Picchu with Conservation VIP in November 2011. It was a wonderful adventure for me personally, because I had always, since childhood, wanted to see Machu Picchu and learn about the Inca and walk the Inca trails. The adventure aspect was enhanced greatly for me, however, by being able to spend several days right up at Machu Picchu itself working to preserve the rock walls from damage due to lichens and weeds. We worked around the sanctuary also for several more days doing trail work, planting trees, working in the orchid and butterfly sanctuaries and repainting monuments that help denote the sanctuary lands surrounding Machu Picchu. We were able to make a personal connection with the park rangers and local people and work side by side with those who daily maintain and protect the monument. When I look back on the trip I realize that the most important thing for me was not just seeing the city but being able to give something back to this world heritage monument and to play a small role personally to help in preserving it for the next hundred years. In our work we also were able to learn the history of the Inca civilization and to get oriented for working at Machu Picchu by seeing other ruins remaining in the sacred valley of the Inca. It was an eye-opener to me to see how much work needs to be done to protect the monuments and how little the local people have in the way of tools and money to accomplish major ongoing maintenance of these ruins and restoration of these Inca sites.

Mark38

Volunteer

Rating: 4

CVIP’s mission is to bring small groups of volunteers to work alongside park personnelto conserve natural and cultural resources in places like Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, and in Machu Picchu Sanctuary in Peru. In addition to trail restoration, volunteers at Machu Picchu work to clean the extensive stone walls and terraces of lichens, mosses, and grout-crumbling weeds. The Sanctuary is woefully understaffed to handle this work on its own. We spent five days scraping lichens and moss off the building and terrace walls and pulling weeds from the mortar between stones to slow the deterioration of this magnificent edifice. The tools are nothing more than wooden sticks and brushes. The work is tedious but the psychological and emotional rewards are tremendous. On a personal level, as I scraped and brushed smooth the rock, I couldn’t help thinking about the Inca hands that formed these walls half a millennium ago, and the sophisticated civilization that conceived of this fantastic place. At the end of the day, after all the other visitors had been bused back down the mountain, we volunteers were led on a private tour of the Sacred City. This is a much richer archeological and cultural experience than a half day visit with a tour group.

Nancy K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I learned of CVIP through my former employers newsletter, the National park Service morning report. I called CVIP and after a short conversation where they described what the program was about, I told them I'd participate. Not only did I become involved in almost every aspect of their field work; surveys, archeological stabilization, trail clearing, BUT I was tasked to help another volunteer who was involved with technical rescue back in CA. As I had mountain rescue experience in my NPS career (34 yrs) I worked with him and we taught these skills to some eighteen workers from three diffrerent agencies all having responsibility for Machu Picchu and surrounding areas ranger operations. In doing this we gave them a greater ability to help others (injured, stranded tourists and workers) and gave them the ability to more safely do their very dangerous jobs. This also is applicable to safeguarding archeological workers who must be rope-protected, belayed, while they explore cliffside ruins. We brought these agencies together to obtain greater capabilities. Our training allowed the whole community to better appreciate the skills, and abilities of the rangers, fire departments and police of MP and Aquas Calientes. Rick and Rich facilitated the donation of over $18,000 worth of donations of ropes, hardware, personal protection gear, etc. from three different major climbing gear companies. This equipment was left divided between the rescue agencies at MP which facilitated their repeated monthly practice sessions. In this way, increasing the protection abilities helps protect those who protect the visitor and the environment that we all enjoy.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I did two volunteer trips with CVIP to Tores del Paine in Patagonia, and enjoyed both outdoor trips. Being able to contribute in a meaningful way gave a purpose to my trips. Of particular interest was the fact that several hikers passing us by while we were working on the trails joined in for several horus of work themselves. Many gave us thanks for our work.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We volunteered to go to Torres del Paine to work on trails. Our experience was outstanding. We worked in conjunction with another group that was building a bridge. Our contribution was to develop the entrance to the new bridge north side from the existing trail. I was very impressed with the CVIP leader who schooled us on trail building that will last. I was proud of our 20 foot approach to the bridge and felt good that it would be there for a long time. Another notable contribution was the construction of a water diversion. Before our work a small stream was cascading down the trail causing a very muddy and erosive environment at the trail low point. We constructed a protected diversion lined with rock and a rock bridge over the diversion. By the time we finished the project the trail had dried out and other members of our crew had made the trail more accessible correcting erosion and overgrowth. Besides the great feeling of contributing to the park, we enjoyed daily outstanding vistas of this wonderful mountainous terrain. The overnight accommodations in the refugio were relaxing and allowed us to meet a number of international hikers. Overall a great way to volunteer and a wonderful experience.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization is lead by "real" people---people who are down to earth, know how to lead volunteers, and most importantly, know how to do the work that needed to get done. In fact, several of our crew leaders had spent years working for public land agencies in the US. I went on two trips--Torres del Paine and Machu Picchu. Both were wonderful. The settings were both world class. Getting to work with local ranges was pretty cool. But there just aren't words to describe the feeling of working on the Inca Trail, or under the towers at Torres del Paine. Memories of a lifetime, for sure. I have recommended these trips to several friends

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with Conservation VIP at Machu Piccu and Torres del Pines, in the south of Chile. My experiences far exceeded anything I would likely run into on a guided tour. The work was fun and the other participants interesting. Through relationships with locals, I was provided an insight that would otherwise be unavailable. I would heartily recommend, and would like to hear of further expeditions.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This opportunity opened my eyes on a local and global level. I befriended people nearby and around the world. We all were focused on the same goals, and thus, immediately formed family-like bonds. The people and the ideology behind CVIP are highly respectable. I greatly appreciate the opportunity I had to be a part a part of this team.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I participated in CVIP's March 2008 trail work trip in Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile. I assisted as one of the crew chief for one of teams. CVIP has forged a strong relationship with the Park, as well as the country's conservation/environmental authorities and has also done work in the parks of Santiago. The trip was well run and we as volunteers felt that our efforts were regarded as valuable and much appreciated. We had local Park personnel and Chile's director of environmental affairs working right alongside of us. I have not been able to go on a CVIP trip since 2008, but have been following their work and kept in touch with those I met. I also contributed toward a bridge in the Park that is a current project.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Through CVIP, I got to know the Torres del Paine national park in Chile far better than if I had just been a tourist. The group's logistics were smooth and culture was very welcoming to people of all abilities and fitness levels.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I always wanted to visit Machu Picchu in Peru, and Conservation Volunteers International made the trip even better by letting me "give back" to help protect this international treasure. We were welcomed as friends by the park rangers, instead of treated simply as tourists. We stood where the Inca craftsman stood 500 years ago, helping to protect Machu Picchu by removing plants from the stone buildings, planting trees, and repairing the Inca Trail. In addition, we visited many other archaeological sites during our ten day volunteer project. (And the food was great, too). Great trip. I hope to travel with this group again.

Celia D.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I originally became involved with this organization by participating as a volunteer on a trip to Machu Picchu in April of 2009. It was a life changing event for me and in October of 2010 was honored to become a member of the Board. There is such a feeling of pride and satisfaction when you can look at a photo of Machu Picchu and tell others that during your visit there you worked on trails, cleaned terraces and removed lichen and moss from the bricks. It will be a memory that you cherish forever! I have also participated as a volunteer in a second trip to Machu Picchu and two trips to Yosemite. Being a part of a group of volunteers who feel strongly about giving back and work so hard to make a difference is very special.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

My wife and I went down to Torres del Paine with this group a few years ago because we had always wanted to hike in the Chilean Andes, and this seemed like a good way to check things out. All volunteers, it was a great group of people, well-organized into teams for trail building and repair, and all interested in the outdoors. A lot of good work accomplished, as well as some outstanding day hikes with new friends on our free days. Appreciated having a hot shower and a decent (dormitory style) bed in a comfortable refugio after a day's work. Only criticism is that, even though the cost seems moderate by many standards, I think the price keeps a lot of younger people who would be interested from signing up. I understand that the organization is trying to figure out ways to get over that hurdle while still being able to cover its expenses.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've worked as an archaeologist in Peru for close to tweny years. I was honored when asked to join the board of Conservation Volunteers International Program because CVIP provides a wonderful vehicle for people who want to make a difference. By helping the Peruvians and Chileans protect and maintain their national patrimony, CVIP is helping to protect the cultural legacy of all of the people of this world.

Jeff29

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first impressions of Conservation Volunteers International Program were that the all-volunteer staff had a fantastic wealth of conservation, forest service and business experience. I began volunteering about a year ago, and have been completely impressed by what this small team gets done. From projects in Machu Picchu, to a bridge in Patagonia, the team provides the framework for volunteers to visit amazing places and actually make them better. I've cut down my time with a few other groups to focus on this one, and in the process I have joined the board. I believe in this group, and you won't find many small organizations that are this well organized with a sustainable business model for positive change.

1 Chris volunteers

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first volunteered with Conservation VIP in 2007, when I joined their volunteer trail maintenance group to Torres del Paine National Park in the Patagonia region of Chile. It was everything I had hoped for and more. I had a lot of fun with the other volunteers, and it was great to get to know the local park rangers. I felt I was able to really get to see the park, in a way that people just passing through never do. But the true reward was knowing that our work was helping to protect that incredible landscape. In fact, the experience was so rewarding that I volunteered again the next year, and the next, and . . . . Along the way, I joined the Board, and then last year I became the CEO. Since Conservation VIP is staffed entirely by volunteers, that just means that I am now a volunteer with a lot more responsibility. I continue to volunteer because I believe Conservation VIP makes a difference to some of the world's greatest landscapes and cultural sites.

Review from Guidestar