Ecuador attracts tourist with its vast natural beauty and cultural wealth. A small territory of this Latin American country offers mountain ranges of the Andes, long white beaches of the Pacific Ocean, Amazonian jungles and the unique fauna of the Galapagos Islands. Traveling to this exotic place may be even more exciting if you combine your vacation with one of the many volunteer programs. The main attention here is paid to the environmental and social issues. Therefore expect a lot of nature and communication.
Planet Drum Foundation
Planet Drum Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in the US in 1973. In 1999 Planet Drum Foundation along with some local activists and a city Mayor started a volunteer project in the resort town of Bahía de Caráquez. The main activity of the project is to develop revegetation of the Ecuadorian rainforest and raise awareness of the issues in the field of ecology to the local population. Nowadays Plated Drum Foundation uses its an office in the city of Bahía de Caráquez in order to support the project.
The foundation invites volunteers to help with the project implementation. The help is needed with planting forest trees, creating greenhouses and promotional activities to the locals. Volunteers work 20 hours a week for at least one month. Volunteers are recommended to have basic Spanish-speaking skills and be ready for an intensive physical work.
Participation in a volunteer program is free. Planet Drum Foundation provides accommodation in their office downtown Bahía de Caráquez for $100 per month. For this price, a volunteer gets a bed in one of the dorm rooms, Internet access, drinking water and an opportunity to use laundry machines and bicycles. You can clarify all the details and apply for the program by sending a request via the official website of the foundation.
Neverland Organic Farm
Neverland is a fantasy country, described by a Scottish writer James Barrie in his novel “Peter Pan”. The founder of the Neverland Organic Farm, Tina Marshall, decided to take this name due to her love for the main character of the fairy tale and the idea of “never growing up”.
Neverland Organic Farm unites farmers who are striving for a harmonious coexistence with the world of nature. The residents of the farm use biodynamic method of agriculture, created by the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner. In addition to planting fruit trees, locals are engaged in restoring soil fertility by irrigation and the production of natural compost.
Volunteering on a farm implies a complete immersion in the life of this place. Volunteers are not only involved in agricultural work but also participate in the construction of social infrastructure: kindergarten, church, sports grounds etc. All volunteers live a farmhouse. Food can be prepared in a large kitchen, which is shared with the permanent residents of the Neverland Organic Farm.
In order to volunteer, all participants need to pay a fee of $35 per each week of the stay. The minimum period is 2 weeks. In addition, a volunteer needs to speak English or Spanish.
Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve
Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve is located in the province of Pichincha in Ecuador, near the active volcano. This place is known for the unique geological structure and rich variety of flora and fauna. The reserve has a scientific and tourist centers, where you can participate in ornithological tours, try organic dishes in a local restaurant, enjoy horse riding and admire the scenic views while on a bike tour across the mountains.
However, you can visit Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve not only as a tourist but also as a volunteer. The volunteer program is extensive and includes working on a local organic farm, geology research, promotion activities, assistance in creating reserve’s maps and organizing tourist routes. Photographers can help with taking pictures of all the species inside the reserve: orchids, birds, butterflies, plants and more. People, who want to help kids, can be involved in the improving the welfare of the children in a small school inside the crater.
All volunteers pay a fee of $8 per day, which includes accommodation in a hostel and food. The standard shift is 8 hours of volunteer work per day with a day off every four days. During the spare time, volunteers may try different recreational activities, such as horseback riding trips, bicycle riding and even the use of Jacuzzi. In order to apply for the program, you need to send your CV to the email address listed on the reserve’s website.
There is a small town called Baños in Ecuador. It is located at the foot of the Tungurahua volcano. In recent years, the local authorities have repeatedly evacuated residents of Baños due to the major volcano eruption. But despite this fact, this area continues to attract tourists with its beautiful waterfalls, thermal springs and majestic mountains.
There is a chance to enjoy all of this beauty completely for free by participating in a volunteer program organized by the Erupcion Hostel. Volunteers are involved in different areas of the hostel activity. You might be welcoming guests, helping to plan social activities within the hostel or assist in the restaurant kitchen by serving the visitors.
Erupcion hostel is looking for volunteers who are open for a communication with the people of different backgrounds, independent, have an ability to make decisions and a desire to work in a tourism business. Volunteers should be 18 to 38 years old and have at least intermediate level of Spanish.
Volunteers usually work 6 and a half hours a day 6 days a week and have to commit for a minimum of 2 weeks. Participants have a chance to stay at the hostel for free. Erupcion hostel also provides Internet access, laundry services, delicious breakfasts and lunches for free. In addition, volunteers can use a fully equipped kitchen to cook food.
If you are interested in volunteering for Erupcion Hostel in Ecuador, contact the hostel member via email. An applicant has to indicate a full name, country of residence, age, preferred dates of arrival, a desired period of stay, write about his hobbies and attach a photo.