The Dominican Republic is a developing country facing the ongoing struggles of poverty. As a volunteer, you will be exposed to excluded and disenfranchised Dominican communities in which HOME works. We make a difference in the lives of hundreds of underprivileged children and families. Most of the communities we partner with have no electricity or running water – everyday things that many people take for granted.
As a participant, your efforts will be focused on long lasting permanent interventions. Among these interventions are medical fairs, educational and community infrastructures improvements in rural areas. As a volunteer you will be part of social community development projects.
HOME projects offer challenging, hands-on experience such as:
Travel across this tropical island in a non-stop culture and adventure program.
You will travel throughout the Dominican Republic, exploring limestone caves, coral reefs, lush canyons and rivers, the Dominican Alps, breathtaking beaches and laid-back beachside lifestyles on the North Coast and Southwest regions, in contrast with the historic cultural richness of the Nation’s capital, Santo Domingo.
Colonial Zone Tour
After completing your community project, we will arrive to Santo Domingo, the Capital of the Dominican Republic. Santo Domingo is the oldest city in the Americas. After checking into our hotel and conducting a mandatory Tour Orientation Meeting, we get ready to go out on the “Colonial Zone or Old Town”. Walk in the footsteps of pirates and conquistadors! Visit “El Alcazar de Colon” Diego Columbus’s (son of Christopher Columbus) house, built almost 500 years ago visit the first church (Santa Maria la Menor) and learn about Dominican History. Stroll the Pedestrian Street of the “Zona Colonial”, enjoy the local cuisine and soak up a vibrant and unique atmosphere.
With an early departure from Santo Domingo, you will head to Hato Mayor. This will give you a chance to experience the thrill of exploring one of the largest cave systems in the Caribbean. Take a short horseback ride followed by a moderate hike through “Los Haitises National Park”, rappel in huge caverns and finally swim through the underground canyons of this expansive cave system, while taking in the sights and sounds of an amazing underground world. Back in Santo Domingo, it’s a night out in the cosmopolitan “Zonal Colonial”.
This will be another exciting day. Travel West to pine-clad Jarabacoa, the mountain adventure capital of the Dominican Republic! The town of Jarabacoa is situated at 600 m (1,800ft) and next to the highest peak in the Caribbean, Pico Duarte (3,087 m / 9,261ft). On this action packed day, you will be Whitewater Rafting on the Yaque del Norte River. This is the best whitewater rafting trip in the Caribbean. You will go through technical rapids and beautiful scenery in one of the most remote areas of the Dominican Republic. Later that afternoon check into the Gran Jimenoa hotel and enjoy swimming at the hotel pool and the view a roaring river, or dance and sing the night away at the Karaoke of the Gran Jimenoa Hotel.
Free day/ Optional Activities
Get off to an early start and experience an unforgettable day of waterfall rappelling off a 150 foot wall and jumping off a 30ft cliff into the refreshing waters of the Jimenoa River. Or fly high above the mountain ridges of the “Cordillera Central” as you go paragliding in tandem with the very experience Hawk Paragliding pilots. Both These activities are a unique opportunity to get your adrenaline pumping while experiencing the beauty of a high elevation canyon in the Central Mountain Range of the Dominican Republic. Later that afternoon we travel north to Cabarete, the water sports capital of the Caribbean. This is a coastal tourist town in the North Coast of the island, very well known internationally for it`s great conditions for water sports such as Windsurfing, Kitesurfing, Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Surfing.
Canyoning at the 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua
Another adrenaline packed day as you go canyoning. At the 27 Waterfalls, you will be jumping into deep pools, sliding down natural water slides and hiking through the canyon. Be immersed in a beautiful jungle setting for this exciting activity. This is everyone`s favorite activity.
Surfing at Playa Encuentro
Get an early start and head to the beach for 2.5 hours of surfing lessons by local professionals on one of the best surfing beaches in the Caribbean.
For an enhanced Dominican experience, you can join our Optional River tubing activity, enjoy a relaxing afternoon while floating down the river and learn about Aquaponics and try some exotic fruits.
At the end of the day, take a boat down the Islabon River out to the Mouth of the Yasica River for last dinner and a Bonfire on the beach.
Time to say farewell or better yet, ¡hasta pronto! to the Dominican Republic and tell everyone about your amazing HOME experiences. Bus transfer to the Santiago International Airport for your group flight back home.
Improve your Spanish Speaking Skills!
Becoming bilingual is an important professional advantage. This will be fun and professional language lessons for beginners, intermediate and advanced-level proficiencies in Spanish facilitated by one of our partner Spanish School in Santo Domingo. By the time you reach your volunteer project, your confidence and ability to converse with the locals will have improved significantly!
Learn to Live Like a Dominican!
Staying with a local family, discovering Santo Domingo’s attractions, socializing with your fellow HOME volunteers plus included Bachata, Merengue and cooking lessons will give you a great start to learning to live like a Dominican, even before your HOME volunteer project begins!
Stay with a Host Family!
The highlight for most participants is the home stay. Families are experienced By Home, warm and friendly. Homes are safe and comfortable and located nearby to the Spanish School. Still not sure? Read this blog to gain more insight.
Make New Friends!
Start the process of making long-lasting HOME friends sooner by sharing this one week experience together; by the time your Volunteer Project begins you’ll already have 7 days and 7 nights living with a Dominican host family, including two meals a day in their home (breakfast and dinner)
Lunch on the days you are undertaking language lessons, Orientation Meeting and Santo Domingo Cultural tour, Full-day tour to the countryside, 20 hours of Spanish Language lessons for all levels, Latin dance lessons (two sessions), An authentic Dominican cooking lesson made close friends and loads of good times together in Santo Domingo.
Your Program Cost Includes
- Project fees as required by the host volunteer organization, i.e. project materials and supervision from host organization staff
- All accommodations and transportation cost during the HOME Program
- All meals during 2 Week Volunteer Project and at least half of meals during 1 Week Adventure Tour
- All the Adventure Tour activities
- National park entrance/user fees
- All program ground transportation in host country
- Orientation(s) in host country
- Program research, set-up and management
- Administration and recruitment costs
- HOME regional offices and local staff who provide 24 hour support while programs are operating
- Professionally trained HOME Project Leader(s)
- Professionally trained HOME Tour Leaders(s)
- HOME Travel Manual, Project Overview, Country Resource Document and additional HOME documentation to prepare you for the HOME Program
- HOME T-shirt
Your Program Cost Do Not Include
- Air transportation, air taxes and ticketing fees, and any country departure taxes (where applicable)
- All transportation and accommodation costs in your home country to and from the designated departure city
- Half of your meals during the Adventure Tour
- Medical and travel/trip cancellation insurance (required)
- Passports (required), travel visas (where necessary), and any vaccinations (if required by your physician)
- Academic credit (optional)
- Spanish Language Program (optional)
Begin your HOME Program in the Dominican Republic by immersing yourself deep within the culture of your host country though a 7 day homestay program with a local host family.
Since the vast majority of HOME participants travelling to your host country will participate in the HOME Spanish Language Program (regardless of their Spanish language skills), HOME assumes your participation and will add the cost of this option to your Program invoice. Any HOME participant who chooses to opt out of the Spanish Language Program must notify the HOME office via email.
All participants are expected to complete assigned tasks in relation to their volunteer project. Probably the levels of experience, knowledge and skill will vary greatly among the students, but HOME trusts that everyone will do their best according to their abilities.
ESSENTIAL EDUCATIONAL COMPONENTS
It is mandatory for all volunteers to participate in the discussions that will be organized by the HOME Project Leader (and in discussions that lead participants to obtain academic credits). Sometimes the leader can invite the staff of the Host organization to participate or lead a discussion on a specific topic related to the project.
All participants must keep a daily record of their work during volunteering, as well as the process itself and the reflections of their experience.
It is mandatory for all participants to abide by the HOME guidelines while in the program, especially those related to safety, alcohol, drugs and the projection of a positive image of HOME, the host organization and the program in general.
It is expected that all participants fill out a form where they evaluate their volunteer experience at the end of the project. These evaluations are sent to the HOME office. Host organizations are provided with a summary of the feedback from our participants at the end of each season.
All participants are expected to complete assigned tasks in relation to their volunteer project. Though the levels of experience, knowledge, and skill will vary greatly among the students, HOME trusts that everyone will do their best according to their abilities.