Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions: a New Way to Vacation

Asako Maruoka's picture

One of the most important things that we, as travelers, can do is to take care of our environment. I am always interested in ecotourism, as well as preservation projects. Recently, I found an extraordinary organization that organizes volunteers and works on historic preservation projects. Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions is such a great organization that I just HAD to get more information for our wandering educators. I sat down and talked with Anne Hersh, President of the Board of Directors of Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions (CVE). Here's what she had to say...

Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions recruits volunteers from the US and Canada to work on historic preservation projects in the Caribbean. We work with local historic agencies, such as national trusts, on projects they identify needing help. Our work includes historic building surveys, historic cemetery inventories, actual light construction, measuring and documenting historic sites, and making recommendations for the restoration of historic sites. Our projects are generally one week long.





We have worked in the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, the US and BVI Virgin Islands, Anguilla, St Eustatius, St Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada, Tobago, Trinidad, Guyana, Surinam, and Honduras.



Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions was started in 1990, with one or two projects per year. In 1997, we became a host for Elderhostel, and now we have about 8 - 10 projects with over 60 volunteers each year. We run two types of projects- CVE and Elderhostel.



Our volunteers can be any age, but since many of our programs are through Elderhostel, which is open to people 55 years and older, most of the volunteers are older. On the Elderhostel programs, volunteers register with Elderhostel directly. For CVE programs, they register with our agency.  If you are a family with children, we can accommodate you on some of our trips. Please ask!



Some typical projects include:
1. Measuring and documentation of historic ruins- this includes drawings, photography, and descriptions.
2. Recommendations for preservation: includes reports, as well as documentation.
3. Historic cemetery inventories- includes photography, and filling out forms for each grave.
4. Historic building surveys- Photography and filling our firms relating to the attributes of the buildings.
5. Construction work. Includes painting, installing wood siding, landscaping, and the construction of a wattle and daub house in St. Eustatius.
6. Archeology- we work with archeologists on various projects

People can visit our web site: to see what we have done. Here's our upcoming schedule:

Elderhostel trips:
Brimstone Hill (St Kitts) fort archeology and repair Dec 14-21, 2008
St Kitts cemetery inventory Dec 7 - 15, 2008
St John, USVI preservation Jan 11-18 and Mar 22-29, 2009
St Croix preservation projects with Landmarks Society Jan 18-25, 2009
Restoration at Forts of Old San Juan for National Parks Service Jan 25- Feb 1, 2009
Brimstone Hill fort, St Kitts Feb 8 - 15, 2009
St Kitts cemetery inventory Feb 15-22, 2009
Wingfield archeology Feb 22- Mar 1, 2009
Archeology at San Salvador, Bahamas Mar 15-22, 2009

CVE trips
Historic building survey in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic- Jan 1- 6, 2009
Historic Jewish cemetery inventory, Jamaica March 15- 22, 2009


Volunteering on a CVE project is a great way to go to the Caribbean (especially in winter) and participate in a meaningful project, and meet local people.



WE: Thanks so much, Anne! I appreciate your taking the time to talk with us - and I have to say, we can't wait to come down and volunteer!

For more information on Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions, please see: