Tropical Farm Work

This project consists of several tropical farms (called ´fincas´ in Spanish) that are situated in and around Puerto Quito, a village some 140 kilometres northwest of Quito. The area is a biodiversity hot spot and approximately 300 bird species can be found in the valley of Puerto Quito.  The farms are situated in an area of tropical forest close to the Caoní River.

You will have the opportunity to learn a lot about the local trees, flowers, plants, birds and fruits during your time working on the farms. You will also have time to relax and explore the local attractions including waterfalls, tasting different sorts of tropical fruits (arashá, zapote, papaya, piña, cacao, orange, pineapple and more) or even trying your hand at making your own chocolate from cacao.

You will learn all about the hard work needed to work on a tropical farm, living in a rural setting as well as learning all about the local people who work off the land and the hardships and joys that face small Ecuadorian farmers. You will also learn practical skills such as planting trees, grafting on fruit trees, how to swing a machete and harvest bamboo, bananas and pineapples amongst others.

The project is a partnership between small Ecuadorian farming families who often have too much land that they are unable to harvest properly or do all the work that is necessary as they do not have the money to pay for manual laborers. Volunteers help by allowing small farmers to be more productive whilst also forming a type of cultural interchange. A volunteer not only works but also learns a way of life, a type of culture and above all an affinity to nature.

Volunteer activities

Volunteers can choose whether to spend all of their time at one farm or rotate every week to a different farm.
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Finca “Luz de America”

Number of family members: 5

Number of hectares: 35

Location: 4½ km from Puerto Quito

Accommodation: This farm offers accommodation for 2 volunteers in a room within the family’s house.

Activities:

  • Pick different fruits, especially passion fruit
  • Harvest and clean the cacao plantation
  • Take care of the pigs, cows and other animals
  • Milk the cows
  • Clean out the area for the animals
  • Going to the market once a week to buy food for the animal

Finca “Tierra Santa”

Number of family members: 7

Number of hectares: 44

Location: 3km from Puerto Quito

Accommodation: This farm offers accommodation in one cabin with two rooms, for a total of 4 people.

Activities:

  • Make an inventory of the existing plants and species present at the finca
  • Collect seeds
  • Set up a nursery for trees and fruit plants
  • Cultivate greens, vegetables, medicinal plants, fruit and ornamental plants
  • Maintain and clean new cultivations
  • Feed the pigs and chickens
  • Look after the cows
  • Build cages for the animals
  • Improve and maintain infrastructure and paths

Finca “Montaña”

Number of family members: 4

Number of hectares: 15

Location: 8km from Puerto Quito

Accommodation: This farm offers accommodation in a separate cabin for up to 5 volunteers.

Activities:

  • Help in the small factory producing cheese, yogurt, marmalades, fruit pulps
  • Harvest and clean the cacao and coffee plantations
  • Maintain, clean and improve the trails
  • Cultivate greens, vegetables, medicinal plants, fruit and ornamental plants
  • Help in the compost area

Finca “Jardin de Chocolate”

Number of family members: 4

Number of hectares: 3

Location: 4km from Puerto Quito

Accommodation: This farm offers accommodation in a separate cabin for a total of 5 people.

Activities:

  • Make an inventory of the existing plants and species present at the finca
  • Collect seeds
  • Work in the plant nursery
  • Cultivate greens, vegetables, medicinal plants, fruit and ornamental plants
  • Maintain and clean new cultivations
  • Improve and maintain infrastructure and paths
  • Educational program: here it is possible to be a teacher at the school of ’24 de Mayo’ where you can teach English, environmental education or some other creative things such as theatre (plays), drawing / painting classes, handicrafts, etc.
  • Harvest cacao, make artisan chocolate

Finca “Yasuni”

Number of family members: 2

Number of hectares: 3

Location: 4km from Puerto Quito

Accommodation: This farm offers accommodation for a total of 4 people.

Activities:

  • Harvest cacao and yucca
  • Work in the plant nursery
  • Cultivate greens, vegetables, medicinal plants, fruit and ornamental plants
  • Maintain and clean new cultivations
  • Feed the pigs and chickens
  • Educational program: here it is possible to be a teacher at the school of ’24 de Mayo’ where you can teach English, environmental education or some other creative things such as theatre (plays), drawing / painting classes, handicrafts, etc.

Finca “Getzemani”

Number of family members: 5

Number of hectares: 5

Location: 4km from Puerto Quito

Accommodation: This farm offers accommodation in a cabin separate from the family house for a total of 3 people.

Activities:

  • Harvest African palm and cacao
  • Work in the plant nursery with tropical fruits
  • Maintain, clean and improve the trails
  • Cultivate greens, vegetables, medicinal plants, fruit and ornamental plants
  • Maintain and clean new cultivations
  • Feed the chickens and fish

Finca “San Sebastian”

Number of family members: 5

Number of hectares: 3

Location: 4½ km from Puerto Quito

Accommodation: This farm offers accommodation for one volunteer in a room within the family home.

Activities:

  • Harvest cacao, banana and other tropical fruits
  • Work in the plant nursery with tropical plants
  • Maintain, clean and improve the trails
  • Cultivate greens, vegetables, medicinal plants, fruit and ornamental plants
  • Maintain and clean new cultivations
  • Feed the chickens

 

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Work schedule

You will work from Monday to Friday for approximately 4 to 6 hours per day. You will have your weekends free to explore the local area.  Be expected to begin work early in the morning.

Days are long and hard and volunteers should be prepared for hot, physical and yet rewarding work.

Location

Puerto Quito is a small town located right in the middle of the Chocó cloud forest, located 140 kilometres northwest of Quito.

At the moment there are 9 different farms that you can work on, all located between 4 and 10km from the town center of Puerto Quito. Please be prepared for living and working in remote surroundings.