Open and accepting volunteers now that travel has been re-opened in Colombia.
In 2019 I bought 4 hectares (10 acres) of land 2 hours outside of Medellin in a beautiful (and warm!) valley just outside of Cocorna. (1 direct bus from Medellin right to the driveway).
The property has waterfalls, streams, a natural swimming pool, fruit trees, avocado trees, chickens, dogs and a cat. The property is hilly - from the top it has excellent views across the valley. There are 3 basic cabins on the property, I'm slowly fixing them up, improving the land, adding a garden, a chicken coop, more cabins, and even a hot tub. The water is pure from natural springs on the property. The air is pure. There are hammocks. Loving dogs. Regular BBQs (veggie okay, meat okay, vegans - best talk to me first!).
In the area around there's paragliding, white water rafting and kayaking, horseback riding and one of the coolest little typical colombian towns you'll find with a lively town square and very few other extranjeros.
There are 3 big rivers nearby - rio melcocho - a favourite weekend destination for colombians where you can hang out on glass-like river, float, fish etc., rio Santa Domingo (just down the road), and rio Samana (with white water rafting).
I can point you in the right direction for paragliding and white water rafting if you're interested. There's also affordable white water kayaking just down the road available on weekends with a really great teacher. (I take lessons myself!) I can also point you in the right direction if you're interested in trying more life-expanding activities like ayahuasca.
This property is a little paradise, but it needs some work. I have spare cabins and beds (they are basic, but they work and you'll likely spend most of your time outside anyways), so I thought this seemed like it might benefit everyone.
This place is well suited for a relaxed and chilled stay. Bring a book (or two!) for your downtime. If you're into nature - you'll love it here. There are more birds, insects and plant varieties than I could possibly count. I have a Facebook page with lots more fotos and project updates. Message me and I'll send you the link.
About me, I'm Canadian, and have travelled extensively, and spent most of my life living in other countries. Former adrenaline junky, downhill mountain biker, kitesurfer, snowboarder. I'm a software engineer by profession that quit the corporate life a long time ago, now interested in health and wellness.
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
The area is as of yet still unknown to most foreign travellers (though a well-known vacation destination for colombians). The local town is as colombian as it gets. You'll never hear english spoken there. Basically, as soon as you set foot off the property - you're in a totally local, immersive, colombian small town experience.
If you're interested in experiencing an ayahuasca ceremony while you're here - I can recommend a couple of places where you'll be in safe hands. (On that note, alcohol & mind-expanding substances are welcome - in reasonable amounts AFTER work is done)
Help needed at the moment:
1. Renovations. If you know your way around a paintbrush, and ideally a few woodworking tools, you'll be put to good use. Currently almost finished renovating one cabin, about to start on a 2nd.
2. Physical labour (and natural building experience) - extracting clay, helping with building stone walls, cob walls and adobe bricks, that kind of thing. Also digging trenches, foundations, and there's trail building work too. It's hard work, but you will get into great shape! I've got some experience, but learning as I go, and would love it if you have some experience too, but it's not necessary.
3. Landscaper/Gardener/Permaculturist. Someone who really knows their stuff is welcome! You'll also need to be willing to do the physical work as there will be lots of digging and moving of dirt involved, but there's an ever expanding garden, and I would love to have someone who knows more than me (not that hard!) to consult with and make some improvements and extensions.
Usually we work pretty hard in the mornings before it gets hot, then knock off at noon, go for a swim, lounge around the pool for a bit (fully natural fresh water - no chemicals) and then the day is free to do what you like, relax, read, explore the property or nearby towns.
In general, be a decent person. If you want something, ask, don't take. Leave the place slightly better than you found it, and all will be good. You'll note the reviews vary widely. I've tried to be as honest as I can be with the description of the place and of the type of work required. Come here with those expectations, be honest, be willing to put in some hard work, respect the place and come hang out in a mini paradise. If you just want to get by with the minimum effort and enjoy the place without giving back, it won't be a good fit.
Minimum stay is 2 weeks.
The volunteer cabin is up the hill a little, a 5-10 minute hike to reach it. This is the primary accommodation for volunteers now, but if the recently renovated cabin below isn't rented out, you can stay there too. Both cabins are 2 bedroom cabins, with kitchens and bathrooms.
I live in a 3rd cabin.
Each cabin has a basic kitchen with stove, fridge, basic dishes, pots, cutlery etc. Wood BBQ is available, and I try to do a group bbq once a week or so. Some fruit available on the property. Bananas, platanos, avocados, limes, guanabana, papaya, mango and a few as yet unidentified species are available at certain times, depending on when they mature (and how willing you are to climb trees to get them!)
NOTE:: (2 important pieces of info!)
Food. There's no cook here, you are responsible for cooking for yourself, though mostly volunteers tend to rotate cooking duties and share meals. You will need to buy your own food in the local town. Fresh produce and meat available, and it's super cheap out here. Food shouldn't run more than a few dollars a day.
2nd - internet. It took 2 months, but internet finally has been installed. There is wifi in the bottom cabin. It's fast enough for most things - can watch youtube videos if there aren't too many people trying to do it at once. Video calls too, though sometimes at night the network can get too congested. If you need faster internet, or must be connected at all times, or if you are in the top cabin and need internet there (you are welcome to use it at the bottom cabin of course), then you will need to get a Claro sim card. Prepaid plans are 20 mil pesos (~$6) for 2gb/15 days and the tower is right across the valley so reception is great and speeds are usually pretty decent.
The whole area is beautiful, and there are lots of other activities available. I mentioned them above. Truth is, I'm still discovering them myself as well, so will update as I discover.
You can get to the local town (5km away) anytime - there's a local 'paid hitchhiking' system, generally costs about 3000 pesos to get a lift into town. From there you can get buses to Cocorna or anywhere else nearby you want to explore. To get to Medellin or Rio Negro/Marinilla you don't even need to do that - buses pass right in front of the property. Please note, the local town does not have an ATM. The nearest ATM is 30 minutes away by car, or about an hour by bus, so best to make sure you bring enough cash.
To get here - take a bus from Medellin to San Francisco (buy a ticket for Pailania - 14 000 pesos) and get off 5km past La Pinuela. They can literally drop you off at the driveway. It's a 2 hour bus ride, buses depart Medellin from the North Terminal. Buses leave Medellin at: 6:15 a.m, 9:00 a.m, 11:15 p.m, 1:30 p.m.
You can also get here from Bogota - just take a bus to Medellin and get off at La Pinuela. From there it's a 10 minute moto taxi ride.
Before you come we'll exchange whats app details and I can send you the exact location from there so you know where to get off the bus.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Have internet that's good enough for streaming, video calls etc. It's not the fastest, and it does go down, but there is claro 4g (the tower is across the valley, so reception is great) that you can use as backup. I work online as a software developer and have no issues.
More than two
4 hours/day, 5 days a week
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