Farm Stay, Farm Work
Ovalle, Region of Coquimbo
Flexible start and end dates year round
Attention horse lovers! If you love horses and ponies, enjoy working with people, if you fancy sunny weather and are not afraid of physical work, then we have the ideal farm stay for you!
Our farm stay placement in the northern part of Chile takes you to a rustic, family-run pony farm about 400 km north of the capital Santiago de Chile. The rural area is semi-desert and rather sparsely populated. So if you like it quiet or need a break from hectic everyday life, this is the right place for you. However, that doesn't mean there's nothing going on here - just differently than usual:
The pony farm is run by Michaela and her son Sebastian. Michaela is a biologist from Germany and has lived in Chile since 1985. Together with a team of local employees, Michaela and Sebastian have been breeding Shettland ponies and the Chilean horses "Corraleros" since 2005. In addition to the own ponies and horses, other horses are are tamed and trained here.
Especially in the Chilean winter months, the main part of the tasks is working with the ponies and horses as well as maintaining the farm.
In the Chilean summer months there is a lot going on at the pony farm with day tourists, so the farm stay is also suitable for horse lovers with less practical experience. There are many different tasks to be performed at this time.
In addition to the stables and pastures, the pony farm has a pool, a playground, barbecue areas and many other animals such as hedgehogs, iguanas, turtles, rabbits and others. Overnight guests can spend a few nice days on the farm in cabañas (simple wooden houses). Many guests also come with their families for a day trip. The children can learn something about different animal species, can go pony rides or carriage rides and the whole family can cool off afterwards in the pool or play a game of table football while the food is being prepared.
The pony farm is also particularly popular for school excursions and among kindergarten groups. Visits like this are colorful and funny while most of the little guests immediately fall in love with the animals. Weddings, children's birthdays and corporate events also can be booked on the farm, so that there is always plenty to do during every season - not just with the horses.
The tasks on the pony farm are of course mainly about the ponies. Horse and pony friends will feel like a fish in the water here.
Since the farm also runs a small tourism business, this farm stay is also well suited for volunteers who like to interact with people and who do not have many experience with horses yet.
Michaela and her team will discuss the exact tasks with you directly on site. Depending on the season, booked events, number of workers, current needs, etc., there are different responsibilities. The working hours are based on the tasks. For example, you will be needed at weekends with events and when working with animals you have to adapt to their rhythm of life. As a rule, you work between Monday and Saturday, with two days off per week.
Your responsibilities may include:
- Bring ponies and horses to pasture
- Assisting in the care and training of the ponies and horses (feeding, saddle, ride, lead, groom, etc.)
- Cleaning and maintaining the horse stables, fences and equipment
- Helping with the care and feeding of the other animals
- Assisting in the organization of events
- In summer supporting the touristic activities (e.g. pony rides for children, attention to guests, etc.)
- Other tasks on the farm, with the animals or guests
Note: The tasks may vary. They depend on factors such as number of volunteers, weather, season, current needs of the project, as well as self-motivation. Not every volunteer may be fully involved in all these tasks.
During your farm work on the pony farm, you will be accommodated in a single room in a small wooden house (cabaña) on the farm premises. You may have to share the house with another participant if there is someelse around. The volunteers are responsible to keep order and clean their cabañas regularly. Each cabaña has its own fully equipped kitchenette.
The program includes full board. You will have lunch with the family. Breakfast and dinner will be served in your cabaña or you will also have these meals with the owner family.
There is no permanent internet on the farm. Internet connection via mobile phone is available though.
The pony farm is located about 400 km north of Santiago de Chile in the so-called "Little North" of Chile. This is the name of the region between the central region with the country's capital and the "Great North" with the Atacama Desert. The area is semi-desert and accordingly sun-drenched, with a few exceptions in the Chilean winter.
The farm itself is located in the middle of an agriculturally used and very sparsely populated area. The closest town to the farm, Ovalle in the Limarí Valley, is about 11 km away and is home to a little over 100,000 residents. There is everything for your daily needs, an interesting archaeological museum and even a casino.
La Serena, one of the most beautiful cities in Chile, is located about 90 km north of the farm directly on the beach and is definitely worth a visit. From there you can get to the "Valle del Elqui" to the east - a holiday region popular with the Chileans. Wine is grown there and pisco, the Chilean "national schnapps", is distilled. Some of the pisco distilleries offer nice tours for visitors. In addition, the Valle del Elqui is home to the Nobel Prize winner for literature Gabriela Mistral as well as many artists and craftsmen who work there. The Valle del Elqui is also a spectacular place to watch the night sky. Almost nowhere else in the world you may admire such a clear starry sky, what is why there are several observatories. As you can see, La Serena and Valle del Elqui are a must see and a great destination for a weekend getaway.
A little south of La Serena are the beautiful sandy beaches of Tongoy, Playa Blanca and Guanaqueros, which are ideal for swimming, sunbathing and snorkeling. There is a lively tourist activity during summer.
Those who are interested in history and culture or who enjoy hiking will also get their money's worth around the farm: 70 km to the west, right on the coast, is the Fray Jorge National Park, a UNESCO biosphere reserve. What makes the park so special? The coastal fog sticks to the hill chains of the coast and causes rainforest to grow in the middle of the semi-desert, which otherwise only occurs in the much colder and wetter southern Chile.
The area around Ovalle is rich in prehistoric sites. The Casa de Piedra (rock formation) is a mountain overhang that was used by indigenous people 10,000 years ago. There are dinosaur and fossil finds in the Monumento Natural Pichasca. In the Valle del Encanto ("Valley of Magic") 20 km south of Ovalle there is a prehistoric place of worship that is around 4000 years old.
There are also some reservoirs nearby and the Termas de Socos, hot thermal springs that invite you to relax, are located 33 km west of Ovalle.
Spanish at communication level. For optimal preparation for your farm work in Chile, we advise you to take a Spanish course before the program starts. This gives you the opportunity to slowly get used to the language, culture and mentality.
Pre-departure and in-country support
Before arrival, our experienced team will be at your disposal to assist you throughout the booking process and travel planning. With the booking confirmation you will receive our 24-hour emergency number, so that you can reach us 24/7 in case of emergency.
In addition to the assistance given by our office in Santiago de Chile you will be supported by an on-site volunteer coordinator.
Costs & Services
Our Farm Stay on the Pony Farm includes:
- Single or shared room
- Full board
- Professional English-speaking advice
- Translation of your application documents
- Farm Stay Placement in Chile
- English-speaking in-country support
- Country handbook Chile
- Intercultural guideline
- Insider tips Chile
- 24/7 Emergency number
- Information about suitable travel insurance
- Certificate of participation
Our tips (experience more + see more = save $$)
Is it difficult for you to decide between the many great projects? You want to see and experience as much as possible during your stay in Latin America? Then build your own itinerary - experience more & see more! Our program combination makes it possible!
All our stay abroad programs can be combined with each other: So, you can combine different volunteer projects in the same country or in different countries, or you mix Working Holiday with volunteer work or Farm Stay with Working Holiday ...and so on …
Your creativity knows no limits. The longer your stay abroad in Latin America, the greater the discount you get from South America Inside. Below you can see how much you can save:
Note: Language courses are excluded from this promotion. These discounts can not be combined with other promotions.
If you need assistance in putting together your personal experience abroad, then please contact us. Our experienced staff will help you to set up your tailor-made stay abroad.