An authentic and worthwhile short-term experience for Families, this project is designed for families who may only have a limited time to travel in Ecuador and want to maximise their experience. Activities available are condensed into a 5-day package, however, if visitors want to extend or reduce their stay they are more than welcome to do so. The programme has 3 key features:
- Participants will be immersed in Ecuadorean culture and history and explore the tropical natural environment
- The program features hands-on volunteer activities such as organic farming and reforestation.
- The experience is inherently educational, as participants will learn about cloud forests and conservation, organic farming and sustainable development, and Ecuadorean culture and history. At the reserve we have over twenty years of experience in formal and informal educational activities for children and adults and our staff will ensure a significant learning experience.
Besides enjoying a family-friendly, peaceful atmosphere, visitors can taste our homemade food prepared with ingredients mostly from the farm, which families and volunteers help to grow and harvest. Also if you are interested you can learn to make traditional dishes, such as empanadas, patacones, yucca bread, muchines, quinoa tortillas and hot chocolate prepared from cocoa beans.
Ecuador is one of the world’s seventeen megadiverse countries. With forty-six different types of ecosystem, the country is one of the most diverse in the world with respect to its size. Ecuador also holds second place in the world for its diversity of orchids and amphibians. However, an average of 200,000 hectares of Ecuadorian forest disappears every year. Our most important goal is to protect part of this amazing ecosystem and to fight against deforestation. However, this fight is not easy and we need as much help as possible. Our ethos is that everybody should participate in conservation efforts, because conservation is a shared responsibility.
La Hesperia is located in the Pichincha province, 90 kilometers from Quito (capital of Ecuador) and is located up the hill from the community of La Esperie. The community is on the Aloag-Santo Domingo road, eleven kilometers past the town of Tandapi (sometimes called Cornejo Astorga on maps). We would advise that volunteers arrive in Quito on the Saturday or Sunday before the commencement of the project (which starts on the Monday), so that you can acclimatise in Quito and then travel to the nature reserve and start working on the Monday.
Accommodation is in the Volunteer House, in shared rooms (2 – 5 volunteers per room). There is running water, electricity, showers, internet, public telephone (you can buy a phone card in town or in Quito) and excellent views of the forest. The internet is free (wifi) and volunteers need to bring their own devices (laptop or phone). The internet is only available during some hours of the day (normally from 0700-0830, 1230-1400 and from 1700-1900). Bedding (pillow, sheets, and blankets) will be provided but a sleeping bag may be necessary if you are planning to travel to colder parts of the country or camping at the reserve. They offer a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals that includes traditional Ecuadorian food. Private rooms with en-suite bathrooms can be made available for couples/families if we are notified in advance.
Volunteers are needed for periods of 1 week up to 12 weeks. Families can stay for 5 days and up. Staying longer than 3 months is also possible, but then you will need to get a tourist visa in advance.