Plant a Garden in Belize
After arriving by boat via the Moho River, explore Mayan ruins and cacao farms surrounding San Felipe’s Cotton Tree Lodge (from $149; cottontreelodge.com). Request the Jungle Cabana, set off a quarter-mile into the rainforest, and it’ll be just you and the howler monkeys. When you’re ready to venture out, spend an afternoon in the field with Cotton Tree partner Sustainable Harvest: Volunteer projects include building a fuel-efficient stove for a local family, sowing cacao to support the fair-trade-chocolate industry, and planting a school garden.
Advance Sustainable Farming in Argentina
The all-inclusive lodge at La Confluencia (from $3,500 for eight days; laconfluencia.com) is located in the Rio Azul wilderness, about a two-hour drive from the airport in Bariloche and within spitting distance of Patagonia’s raging rivers and glacial peaks. Guests here can ride horses in the backcountry before taking a crash course in bio-intensive farming and then offering their newly learned skills to nearby communities. Volunteers have built footbridges, refurbished greenhouses, and harvested crops, among other tasks.
Build a House in Fiji
Voluntourists with several days to donate can join locals and other do-gooders to erect a home for a displaced Indian farming family. British outfitter Hands Up Holidays (from $3,500 per person; handsupholidays.com) will handle all the details, putting couples up in one of two pool-equipped hotels, arranging transportation to and from the building site, and crafting itineraries for every project. When work is complete, Hands Up can even help plan a cruise around the Yasawas.
Care for Elephants in Thailand
At Boon Lott’s Animal Sanctuary (from $260; blesele.org), guests can watch refugee pachyderm roam the grounds from the porch of their private teak cottage, an A/C- and TV-free zone modestly appointed with wall hangings and animal sculptures. Each day here is hands-on: You’ll feed, bathe, and hike with the elephants, which far outnumber the humans. A chef prepares authentic Thai dishes daily, but some honeymooners prefer to shop at the local markets or explore the temple ruins in nearby Si Satchenalai Historical Park by bicycle. Book in advance—the sanctuary has a six-month waiting list.