Sustainability & Ecotourism Internship in Ecuador


Help this indigenous Kichwa community develop an ecotourism center and break the cycle of poverty

Calling all business, sustainability, and tourism students and graduates! Come to Shandia, an indigenous Kichwa community in the Amazonian Rainforest region of Ecuador and help to establish an ecotourism center.

This is an exciting opportunity to work on a grassroot project providing this rural community with holistic community uplift. You’ll be working with Manna Project who have several initiatives in operation at this site (including the installation of a WASH system and development of education programs) and help to establish the community-run Shandia Lodge.

Tourism in the area includes an Eco-Lodge, a local artisan market, hosting several festivals throughout the year, and various hiking and cycling routes. However, many of these initiatives are in their early stages of development The Lodge is in its early stages of development so there is a lot of scope for interns to show initiative, bring their own ideas, and head up their own projects Furthermore, with the project being as grassroots as it is, interns can expect to work on different projects. This means you can move between departments and gain wide-ranging experience in different aspects of nonprofit work.


You’ll be working with Manna Project International. This nonprofit works to connect young talented advocates for social change with projects where they can serve disadvantaged communities and help break the cycle of poverty. Their mission is to enact social change through ‘communities serving communities.’

Their projects take a holistic approach to community development, developing systems for health, economic development, education and whatever else is needed. They’ve been working in Latin America since 2004, and their projects serve more than 3.000 community members a year and help to break the cycle of poverty.


With Manna Project’s operations in Shandia being at such early stages of development, interns can expect a start-up work style. This means they are encouraged to get involved with other initiatives going on in the settlement and should expect to work outside their academic focus on occasion.


  • Attending town meetings, building relationships with and supporting the community
  • Helping to establish and develop small businesses around the Shandia Lodge
  • Mapping out, signposting, and maintaining trail routes
  • Devising marketing campaigns for the Lodge
  • Creating content for social media and copy for blogs and web pages
  • Logistical planning of making the site accessible for tourists
  • Teaching English classes around ecotourism and tourism
  • Assisting with developing and/or conducting educational programs
  • Coordinating with WASH Engineers regarding their work


  • The ideal candidate will be studying towards or already have a business, sustainability, or tourism degree
  • Experience in media, social media content creation, or copywriting is a bonus
  • Open-mindedness and adaptability
  • An interest in community development and a willingness to learn about Kichwa culture
  • Your own laptop
  • Spanish is not essential, but it is requested that at least some effort is made to learn before coming as it will help build trust with the community


You will stay in one of two houses, both of which are within walking distance of the school and Manna’s centro. Both are well-equipped with Wifi, a full kitchen, and interior bathrooms.

Safety & Support

Safety & Support

Safety is seldom an issue and crime rate in the Napo province is much lower than in the rest of Ecuador. You will notice how safe these jungle communities are in comparison with other locations in Latin America. While unlikely that you encounter any issues, you should still implement safe travel practices such as paying attention to your surroundings, not wearing flashy jewelry, and being careful where you place your valuables. Make sure to visit your doctor and dentist for a check-up before your internship and to get all the recommended vaccines and/or medications necessary to stay healthy.



The accommodation and community center are connected to Wifi. It is also recommended to buy a local MOVISTAR SIM card upon arrival to Shandia so be sure your phone is unlocked for international carriers.



Bottled water jugs will be provided at both the accommodation and community center. All food is bought and shared communally on a weekly basis. Specific foods can be requested (though not guaranteed). Since you will assist with the shopping and cooking yourself, it is fairly easy to accommodate food allergies or dietary restrictions. Larger supermarkets can be found in Tena City, while Shandia offers a few small shops that sell snacks, drinks, and some produce.

Location details

Location details

Shandia is a small rural settlement of around 300 people situated in the Amazonian Rainforest region of Ecuador, a short distance from the town of Tena. The residents of Shandia are an indigenous Kichwa community speaking predominantly Spanish and the traditional language of the region, Kichwa — less than 10% speak English. Being the Amazonian Rainforest, weather is hot and humid year-round and you can expect a wealth of rivers, waterfalls, and outdoors activities in the area.


Fee Breakdown

Internships ideally start in January or July. If you prefer a different start date, please contact us and we can discuss it during the selection process.

What you’ll pay (valid until June 2024)

3 months USD 3,900

4 months USD 5,200

5 months USD 6,500


  • Careful matchmaking. It takes time to find the right internship for each person, and we take this process very seriously
  • Initial interview with one of our team to gauge your skills, interests, and desired learning outcomes
  • Project transport
  • Accommodation in shared house. You will share your room with 2-3 people. If you are interested in a single room, please contact us for availability and prices
  • Airport transfer
  • Three meals a day
  • Professional development training
  • Spanish classes
  • Assistance with your visa arrangement & other preparations
  • An orientation program with your supervisor
  • On the ground support during your stay
  • Regular check ins during your internship with you and your supervisor
  • Troubleshooting if needed
  • A reference letter at the end of your internship


  • Flights
  • Visa, medical and travel insurance costs for the duration of your placement – must include cover for repatriation
  • Drinks, snacks, and items of personal nature (f.e. curios, gifts, clothing)
  • Costs for additional excursions or activities


Some of our most commonly asked questions for programs in Ecuador.

What can I expect from an internship in Ecuador?

You can expect to work on your Spanish language skills while gaining hands-on experience in your preferred field. From exploring diverse ecosystems to engaging with local communities, your stay in Ecuador will provide you with insights into the country’s rich biodiversity, while the challenges and accomplishments that you experience will foster your adaptability and global perspective.

Will I have time to explore the country during my internship?

Yes! There is always time to explore the surrounding area. Our nonprofit partners are based around the country (and on the Galapagos Islands) and they can offer recommendations about which places are the best to visit! When you are based on the mainland, some of the highlights of Ecuador are, for example, the city of Cuenca or the Cotopaxi National Park. If you are based on the Galapagos Islands, there are great excursion options on the island(s) including fantastic diving. If you are keen to also explore the mainland of Ecuador, you will need to do so before or after your Galapagos internship because of the distance (and costs of the flight).

Does an internship in Ecuador qualify for university credit?

Yes, but you must ensure with your university that your supervisor approves this. It is also possible to purchase transfer credits that can be added to your internship.

Will I be paid during my internship?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to receive any kind of stipend while interning. As your internship with the nonprofit organization will be unpaid, you can check out ways to fund your internship here. The wealth of knowledge and opportunities for both professional and personal growth throughout your experience are invaluable!


LOCATION: Shandia, Ecuador
PROGRAM FOCUS: Community Development NGO
TASK FOCUS: Business Development, Marketing, Sustainable Tourism, Education
LENGTH: Min. 3 Months
COST: From USD 3,900


  • Work with a grassroots operation and get the chance to head up your own projects
  • Develop close relationships and play a role in an indigenous Kichwa community
  • Gain insight and experience in a range of nonprofit work
  • Join a global community of like-minded advocates for social change among the Manna Project alumni
  • Live and work in the Amazonian Rainforest region of Ecuador
  • Improve Spanish skills


If you’re ready to apply for this internship, here’s what to do:


Fill in the application form (it will show in a new screen) which includes sharing your CV to us.



We’ll set up a call with you to go through your application.


If we feel it’s a good match, we’ll set up a call between you and the supervisor for this internship.


If everyone’s happy, we’ll provisionally confirm your placement! We’ll then send you the invoice for the deposit, getting started with the booking process and all the info you need.


Only once we receive payment of the deposit your placement will be confirmed.


Or if you’d just like to ask us some questions about this internship first, just fill in the contact form below. We’ll be happy to assist!


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