How do I get to Itacaré? Is it safe there? How do I move around the city?
The closest airport to Itacaré is Ilhéus (IOS) which is about an hour’s drive away. From there we can arrange a taxi pick-up service to bring you safely to the volunteer house! The closest international airport is Salvador and you can find cheap domestic flights to Ilhéus from there. (São Paolo also has flights to Ilhéus, Rio de Janeiro does not have direct flights to Ilhéus.) From Salvador you can catch the ferry boat (about 1 hour) then take the bus (about 5 hours) direct to Itacaré, however we would only recommend this option if you aren’t traveling directly from the airport and feel confident enough with your level of Portuguese to be able to navigate public transportation.
Generally speaking, Itacaré is indeed a tranquil, laidback place that has recently become much safer than it used to be. However, we do recommend taking precautions to avoid incidents such as not walking alone late at night and not leaving your belongings unattended at the beach. As long as you take reasonable safety measures - as you should in any place in the developing world -, you should be fine.
Itacaré is a very small and walkable town where you can walk across the city within 30 minutes. Having a bicycle makes everything easier, though, and you can buy a brand new one for about $70 US dollars. There are also moto-taxis, vans, taxis and buses that can take you to the nearby beaches/cities.
What if I don't want to stay at the Volunteer House
That's not a problem at all! Although we love to have everyone here and most volunteers and interns do prefer to stay with us, we can certainly help you finding accommodation elsewhere. Itacaré has plenty of housing options, from private rooms in beautiful pousadas to AirBnb options and more. Please note, however, that prices increase considerably during high season (December through February).
I'm Brazilian. Do I still need to pay the volunteer contribution?
Local Brazilians who live in Itacaré and decide to get involved in our projects are considered more like community members rather than volunteers, since they are stepping up to help make a difference in their own community. Therefore, they are not expected to pay a contribution.
We currently have several locals supporting us by offering fantastic programs such as capoeira classes, music classes and environmental trainings. It has been beautiful to witness their vital contribution to our organization and community, and we feel very thankful for their commitment.
Brazilians from other parts of the country are also not required to pay the volunteer contribution. They do, however, have to pay the one-time administration fee of $76, and if they want to stay at our Volunteer House they must also cover the appropriate rental fees.
What documents do I need to get into Brazil?
Brazil has a reciprocal visa system, which means that if your country of origin requires Brazilians to have a visa to visit your country, you will also need to apply for one when coming to Brazil. Please make sure to check official websites and also at the Brazilian embassy in your home country.
Generally speaking, however, most foreigners do not need to apply for a tourist visa, which allows you to stay for up to 90 days - renewable for 90 more in most cases.
Why should I pay to volunteer?
That is one of the questions we hear the most. A lot of people seem surprised to find out on our website that we ask for a Volunteer Contribution. “Why should I also contribute financially, if I am already willing to contribute freely with my time, skills and experience?”
Plain and simple, hosting a volunteer or intern costs us a good amount of money. In order to offer you sustainable, meaningful volunteer and internship opportunities, ETIV do Brasil needs to have a solid and effective administration and operations structure to make sure ours programs are running smoothly and having their expected positive impact.
Since we do NOT receive any sort of public funding, almost all the money we use to pay our staff and develop our projects come from your contribution*.
(*We have some partnerships with other international organizations; we are always looking for grant opportunities; and we occasionally receive contributions from generous donors around the world.)
Volunteering abroad is an enriching experience, both personally and professionally.
Although our main focus is to support and catalyze a positive change in our community, it is also our goal to give you the right conditions to expand and develop your skills through a hands-on experience. By volunteering or interning with us, you will learn and gain professional experience in a multicultural environment, which can certainly increase your employability and help you finding your dream job in the development sector.
Additionally, during your placement with us you will have one-on-one mentorship sessions with our staff members, what will give you the opportunity to find the right paths to grow your career.