An eco-tourism lodge
This volunteer project takes place in a lodge dedicated to ecotourism and conservation. The lodge is located in the Choco-Andean region of north-western Ecuador, a mountainous area of rainforest surrounded by mist. With over 1,500 species of tropical plants, including orchids, bromeliads and other epiphytes, this region is a global biodiversity hotspot. The region's characteristic fauna includes over 390 species of birds, as well as many other exotic animals, such as the spectacled Andean bear, currently threatened with extinction.
The lodge is committed to protecting biodiversity
Initially set up as an agricultural cooperative over 40 years ago, the lodge's main aim was to provide land for families who couldn't afford to raise livestock or grow crops. Over time, it became clear that the remote cloud forest mountains were unsuitable for agriculture, and would be more valuable if left untouched. The lodge is therefore committed to the protection and wise use of these natural resources. The development of ecotourism aims to offer local people a sustainable source of income, so that they can contribute to the preservation of the forest.
The role of the ecotourism volunteer
The work of ecovolunteers is essential to the growth of this ecotourism organization, as well as to other environmental and community projects. It plays a crucial role in the development of sustainable ecotourism and ongoing conservation and community awareness projects. Ecotourism is indeed a source of income for the community, making this project crucial to the protection and conservation of Cloud Forest Lodge. The work, support and enthusiasm of many ecovolunteers have helped to reinforce the value of the Cloud Forest and the importance of its preservation.
Working alongside the local community
One of the highlights of this volunteer program is that ecovolunteers work alongside members of the local community and gain a real insight into the daily life of the locals. The locals enjoy sharing the beauty of their cloud forest and the variety of wildlife that lives there. They also enjoy sharing their folk music and positive outlook on life with visitors from other countries.
In the heart of the cloud forest
As well as discovering the region's cloud forest and helping to preserve it, working alongside local people offers volunteers many opportunities to make new friends, learn about Ecuadorian culture and improve their Spanish. This volunteer project in Ecuador has been welcoming group and solo volunteers since 2000.
Example of tasks entrusted to ecovolunteers
- Trail maintenance: many trails require constant maintenance to prevent erosion and ensure easy access for visitors.
- Maintenance of lodge and cabins: general upkeep, cleaning of cabins and help with cooking.
- Work in agroforestry projects: coffee and sugarcane plantations, including traditional panela (sugar) production.
- General maintenance: other tasks related to the construction and upkeep of the lodge, as there's always something to repair or replace.
- You will work from Monday to Friday for 5 to 8 hours, starting at 8 a.m., after breakfast (subject to change). Hours may vary according to workload, weather conditions and unexpected situations. As an ecovolunteer, you have the opportunity to work in a variety of fields and gain a wide range of experience.
Nota Bene: tasks may vary. They depend on factors such as the number of volunteers, weather conditions, season, current project needs and personal motivation. Not all volunteers can be fully involved in all tasks.
- From 2 weeks all year round
Registration form: €150
Program cost: €605 (for a minimum 2-week stay)
Additional week: €185
Included in price
- Shared room in the volunteer house
- Breakfast, lunch, dinner
- Professional advice in English
- Translation of your application documents
- Volunteer internship in Ecuador
- English-speaking support in the country
- Manual Ecuador
- Intercultural guide
- 24/7 emergency number
- Information on suitable travel insurance
- Certificate of participation
Not included in price
- Airline tickets and insurance
You'll stay either in the volunteer house in the valley, or in the lodge, depending on which project you're actively involved in. The lodge is located in the heart of the cloud forest at an altitude of 6,200 feet (1,800 meters). It offers breathtaking panoramic views of the cloud forest surroundings. Further down, the volunteer house is also located in a charming spot.
Bed linen is provided. Hot showers and full board are provided in both accommodations. The lodge accommodation is cosy and comfortable. If you work at the lodge, you'll stay there Monday to Friday. On weekends, you'll stay at the volunteer house in the Nanegal valley. After a 90-minute hike, it takes 40 minutes by truck to get to the lodge from the volunteer house. It is also possible to walk the whole distance, but this would take several hours.
About two hours northwest of Quito, the country's capital, Nanegal is located in the province of Pichincha, in the heart of a stunning cloud forest. The village is easily accessible by public transport, and the scenic drive takes you through an incredible cloud forest with countless waterfalls and breathtaking wildlife.
The cloud forest captivates tourists with its lush green surroundings, diverse fauna, picture-book waterfalls and exotic animal kingdom. Nanegal's subtropical climate is characterized by an average annual temperature of 15 to 25°C and frequent rainfall.
Once the work is done and the weekend is over, you can spend your free time hiking, birdwatching, swimming, visiting waterfalls and enjoying festivals in nearby villages. You can also take part in community events or sugar and chocolate production. The province of Pichincha is well known as a tourist destination in Ecuador, with the famous Otavalo markets. You can go climbing or simply explore snow-capped volcanoes like Cotopaxi or breathtaking crater lakes like Quilotoa.
Le partenaire is an intercultural agency founded in 2003 by Marion, a German living in Chile. Marion specializes in organizing solidarity and participatory trips, ecovolunteer programs, language stays and educational programs throughout Latin America. This agency offers missions in Chile, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Ecuador... Whether you're a student, professional or retired, its trips are designed for those who want to experience Latin America in a different way from that of a simple tourist. All stays with South America Inside