Farm Stay, Farm Work, Nature Protection
close to Santo Domingo
Check-in at the project is always on a Monday.
Before heading to the project, there is a mandatory orientation session in Quito. So, please plan for at least 1 night in Quito. The airport pick-up in Quito and the overnight stay(s) in Quito are part of the program.
2 weeks +1 day
Hiking in the cloud forest, swimming under the waterfall, the sound of animals in your ears, making your own cocoa from tree to cup, growing your own food and getting to know the way of life of the locals. Slow down a bit and forget the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Welcome to our cloud forest project!
The private nature reserve is located west of Quito in the beautiful Cloud Forest at the foothills of the Andes. Nature conservation, tourism and ecological agriculture are combined here on 800 hectares. About 700 of the 800 hectares are protected forest, which should remain that way at the request of the owner family. In the rest of the area, the owners receive tourists in holiday homes and on a small campsite, practice sustainable agriculture and bring conservation closer to visitors.
The focus of this project is on protecting existing forests. Areas that were previously used as sugar cane plantations are reforested and environmental education shall raise awareness of the value of the forest. This work is also so important because the cloud forest has an incredible biodiversity.
Hundreds of different bird species live in this area alone, as well as many butterflies, amphibians and mammals. The latter include monkeys, deer, maders, weasels, wild cats, ocelots, agoutis, squirrels, peccaries, armadillos, skunks, sloths, spectacled bears, bats, and others.
The flora is also wonderfully rich in species. The project has a tree nursery where endangered local species are reproduced.
In this wonderful volunteer project you can learn how to operate tourism and agriculture in such a way that nature is not exploited and still enough for everyone is on the table. The local community is involved so that everyone supports this important development.
If you like to be outdoors in an amazing natural setting, if you love forests and are good in working hands-on, this project is the right place for you. You should also bring a good dose of curiosity, willingness to learn and a genuine interest in the local culture.
The tasks for the volunteers in the reserve are varied and cover different areas of interest: organic agriculture, forest protection & sustainable forestry, sustainable livestock farming, production of organic food, ecological construction methods and educational programs for visitors are the areas you can choose from.
Whatever your focus will be, you will work around 6-7 hours a day. So you have enough time to explore the area on beautiful hikes, learn Ecuadorian cooking or pursue one or the other of your own research projects.
Volunteers work from Monday to Friday, weekends are off.
Possible tasks in this volunteer project can be:
- Participating in reforestation
- Collecting tree seeds, tree cultivation in the tree nursery
- Maintaining hiking trails
- Organic farming
- Helping with planting vegetables and other crops
- Helping with composting and fertilizing
- Helping with natural pest control
- Participating in the harvest
- Construction and maintenance work
- Redesigning and attaching signposts
- Caring and rearing of farm animals
- Helping in the production of homemade food such as cheese, butter, yogurt, bread, coffee, chocolate, etc.
- Working in the medical garden
- Developing material for educational events
- Other tasks related to the operation of the reserve
Note: The tasks may vary. They depend on factors such as number of volunteers, season, current needs of the project, as well as self-motivation. Not every volunteer may be fully involved in all these tasks.
During your volunteer work you will live in the Volunteer House directly on the grounds of the nature reserve. Dormitories and shared bathrooms are available in the typical local wooden house. In addition, the cozy wooden house has its own kitchen, a dining room and an opportunity for hand washing, where you can wash your clothes.
And what would a stay in South America be without hammocks for a nice siesta? You can also find them in the Volunteer House, so that everything is provided for the right mix of work and relaxation.
The volunteer stay includes full board. Since a lot comes straight from the garden to the table, you will likely reap during your morning work what you find on your plate at lunch - a great feeling!
You don't have to worry about the preparation, the good souls of the farm staff do it. Alternative meals for those with special dietary needs can be prepared upon request.
In the reserve you live in a sensitive ecosystem. Due to environmental and water protection, we recommend using biodegradable personal cleaning products with minimal packaging.
Note: In Latin America, especially in remote areas where many of our volunteer projects take place, the cellular or internet connection is not always reliable and fast.
The nature reserve is about 90 km west of Quito in the foothills of the Andes. The terrain extends over altitudes between 1100 and 2000 meters. It is only about 100 km to the center of Quito, but due to the many bends in the mountains, despite the well-developed roads, it takes about 2 hours by car. However, the drive through the breathtaking mountain landscape covered with jungle is an experience in itself. For a weekend visit, Quito with its beautiful historical center (UNESCO World Heritage Site!), the many museums, pretty parks and plazas, nice restaurants and viewpoints on the high mountains is definitely the place to be, you shouldn't miss it.
The nearest town is Santo Domingo, about an hour's drive west of the nature reserve. With almost half a million inhabitants, Santo Domingo is the fourth largest city in Ecuador and an important economic center.
In a four to five hour drive through the Pacific plain to the west you can reach the Pacific coast with beautiful sandy beaches, night life (e.g. in the popular holiday resort Canoa), good restaurants and surf schools - also a great option for a few days off.
The climate in the region around the nature reserve is warm and humid all year round, with temperatures between 16 and 30 degrees. Instead of the four seasons, there is a dry and a rainy season. The rainy season lasts from December to April. Don't worry, it will rain every day, but not all day long. In the dry season between May and November it rarely rains, but the climate is always moderately humid.
Usually, the sun shines all year round in the morning and in the afternoon / evening clouds move over the forest, which is what the cloud forest owes its name to.
For optimal preparation for your volunteer work on the organic farm in Ecuador, 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 staff you will be supported by our volunteer coordinator based in Quito.
Depending on the day of arrival in Ecuador, the program includes one to two nights in Quito (including full board).
Before you leave for the project site, you will take part in an orientation meeting with our local team in Quito.
Costs & Services
Our Volunteer Work in the Cloud Forest Reserve in Ecuador includes:
- Shared room in Volunteer House
- Breakfast, lunch, dinner
- Airport pick-up in Quito and overnight stay in Quito*
- Advice from our experienced staff
- On-going support via WhatsApp, phone or mail
- Elaboration of your application profile in Spanish
- Your placement in the volunteer project
- Pre-departure information
- Packing list
- Country handbook
- Intercultural guide
- Orientation upon arrival
- On-site volunteer coordinator
- 24/7 emergency number
- Advice on travel insurance
- Certificate of participation
* The costs for the bus ticket to the project are not included.
Application fee: US$ 150
Program fee: US$ 830 (minimum stay 2 weeks)
Each additional week: US$ 140
Note: Full weeks are always charged at the project from Monday to Sunday. Please always add 1 night in Quito for introduction meeting.
Additionally, you can book:
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:
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.