Experience life in the cloud forest of Ecuador's Andes. Volunteer for biodiversity in a magnificent nature reserve. All volunteer programs in Ecuador here
An 800-hectare nature reserve in Ecuador
To the west of Quito, in the magnificent cloud forest in the foothills of the Andes, lies a private nature reserve hosting our partner's ecovolunteering program. Ecological agriculture and sustainable tourism projects are developed on 800 hectares. And of these 800 hectares, around 700 are designated as protected forest. On the remaining 100 hectares, the owner welcomes visitors to vacation homes and a small campsite. He sees this as a way of raising public awareness of conservation and involving visitors in the development of sustainable agriculture.
Saving the forest and raising public awareness
One of the main aims of the project is to safeguard existing forests and raise public awareness of the importance of protecting these biodiversity-rich areas. Reforestation efforts are underway in former sugarcane plantations.
This cloud forest boasts incredible biodiversity. In this region alone, there are hundreds of species of birds, as well as numerous butterflies and amphibians. Numerous mammals also inhabit this forest, including monkeys, deer, weasels, wildcats, ocelots, agoutis, squirrels, peccaries, armadillos, skunks, sloths, spectacled bears, bats... The variety of flora species is also marvellous. A nursery is used as part of the project to propagate endangered local species.
This project is ideal for you if you like to work with your hands in a beautiful natural setting, if you love forests and if you like to be active.
Volunteer activities in Cloud Forest
Hiking in the rainforest, swimming under a waterfall, hearing animals in the distance, making your own cocoa, growing your own food and discovering the local way of life are just some of the activities you can enjoy as part of this volunteer project.
Between 6 and 7 working hours
Volunteer tasks in the reserve are varied: you can choose from organic farming, forest protection with sustainable forestry, sustainable animal husbandry, organic food production, green building methods and visitor education programs. You'll work around 6-7 hours a day, whatever your field. Weekends are free.
Here are the main tasks entrusted to ecovolunteers:
- Participate in reforestation
- Collecting tree seeds, growing trees in the nursery
- Maintenance of hiking trails
- Organic farming
- Help with planting vegetables and other crops
- Help with composting and fertilization
- Helps fight parasites naturally
- Participate in the harvest
- Construction and maintenance work
- Redesigning and fixing road signs
- Caring for and raising farm animals
- Helps to produce home-made foods such as cheese, butter, yoghurt, bread, coffee, chocolate, etc.
- Working in the medicinal plant garden
- Developing materials for educational events
- Other reserve-related tasks
Nota Bene: tasks may vary. They depend on factors such as the number of volunteers, time, season, current project needs and personal motivation. Not all volunteers can be fully involved in all tasks.
- All year round
- 2 weeks minimum (+ 1 day for arrival in Quito)
- Program start : Arrival at the project is always on Monday. Prior to this, there is a compulsory orientation session in Quito. Please allow at least one night in Quito. Reception at Quito airport and overnight stay(s) in Quito are included in the program.
- Application fee: €150
- Program cost: €840 (for a minimum 2-week stay)
- Additional week: €150
- Note: Full weeks are always charged for the Monday to Sunday project. Please always add one night in Quito for the introductory meeting.
Included in price
- Shared room in the Maison des Volontaires
- 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
- Travel insurance
You'll sleep in the volunteer house. This wooden house is typical of the region. It has dormitories and shared toilets. The house also has a kitchen and dining room. As a stay in South America wouldn't be complete without a hammock for a good nap, the volunteer house has some available for you!
Full board is offered to volunteers from Monday to Sunday. You can harvest what you'll find on your plate at lunch while you work in the morning, as much of what is served comes straight from the garden. And you don't have to worry about preparing the food - the kind souls on the farm take care of that! On request, alternative meals can be prepared for those with special dietary requirements.
The nature reserve is located around 90 km west of Quito in the foothills of the Andes. The nearest town, Santo Domingo, is about an hour's drive west of the nature reserve. Santo Domingo is Ecuador's fourth-largest city and a major economic center, with just under 500,000 inhabitants. The altitude of the property varies between 1,100 and 2,000 meters. Although the roads are well maintained, it takes around 2 hours to drive the 100 km from the reserve to the center of Quito, due to the many mountain bends. The drive itself is an experience, however, as you pass through a breathtaking jungle-covered mountain landscape.
The region surrounding the nature reserve enjoys a warm, humid climate throughout the year, with average maximum temperatures ranging from 16 to 30 degrees. Mornings are generally bright and sunny throughout the year, and the name "cloud forest" comes from the afternoons and evenings when clouds move over the forest.
For a weekend trip, Quito is definitely the place to be. It boasts a breathtaking historic center (a UNESCO World Heritage Site!), numerous museums, pretty parks and squares, good restaurants and views of the high mountains.
The Pacific coast, with its beautiful sandy beaches and other attractions, can be reached in four to five hours by crossing the Pacific plain to the west. You'll find excellent nightlife and surf schools in the famous vacation destination of Canoa, which is an ideal place to spend a few days.
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