***We are riding out the rest of the pandemic here at the farm cabin while we work on the construction of more living space. This will help us provide better space for volunteers and better manage the farm. Please favorite us and check in for updates to see if we can possibly make a connection in the future.***
Our property is small-scale one hectare family owned and operated specialty coffee farm located at an ideal altitude of 1675m/5500ft in La Carolina Parish in northern Imbabura Province. Imbabura was the recently approved as a World Geopark by UNSECO. The farm sits along the banks of the cascading Cascajal River on the Western Andean Slope in an cloud forest climate. Visitors will enjoy the soothing sound of the mountain river and waterfall for every minute of their stay.
The coffee is mainly sold to the North American and European expat community in the Cotacachi area. We are a North American / Ecuadorian family living permanently in Ecuador. Our children are aged 14 & 15. Please note that though we are just off the main road this is fairly remote farm with all basic services including WiFi but no cellular signal. We live 1.5 hours from the property but are there 1-2 x's per week.
This is an ideal situation if you are looking for an opportunity that offers working in a tranquil retreat close to nature and learning all about the washed coffee process. If you don't have Host Feedback on you profile yet please send us some social media references from FB, IG, Twitter, LinkedIn to help us make a determination when you message us.
Please message with questions!
DIY and building projects
Help around the house
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
Learn the complete coffee process from pick to cup while tackling coffee and farm maintenance tasks. You will learn all about the coffee process even if its off harvest season and get a first hand experience of everything that goes into a cup of cafe.
Purchase raw milk from local and small scale dairy farmers that pass by the property every morning. Recommended to boil prior to consumption and make your own butter from the milk fat.
As a former Peace Corps volunteer we value the opportunity to give back and exchange customs and ideas with local communities. Spending time at the Finca is a great way to immerse oneself and learn agricultural tips from the locals as well as teach them about where you come from.
Wide range of coffee farm activities including harvesting and post harvest processing of beans and general farm maintenance activities including weed control, trail upkeep, garden maintenance etc. We also have unlimited ongoing construction and improvement projects that we need help with so carpentry and building skills are a plus especially during off-harvest months.
Our peak harvest season runs April-August.
This is a remote farm that is right off a secondary road 10.9 km from the closest pavement. There is a 1BR farm cabin that offers electricity, WiFi, running water, toilet & electric hot shower, washing machine, gas stove for cooking, microwave, full size fridge and full kitchen utensils. We can comfortably accommodate up to 4 volunteers during peak harvest (April-July) or 1-2 during off season. The cabin is set up with 1 full and 2 twin beds with optional netting to keep insects off you while you rest. Night insects are mostly moths and we seldom see mosquitos at 1650m but this is a subtropical cloud forest climate so there are many more bugs than in the highlands and as in most of Ecuador we have the no see um sand fleas that can bite during the daytime. Lightweight long sleeves are recommended for daytime and light jackets or rain gear at night.
There is a covered porch on the house which has an outdoor sink and counter space with running water making for a great place to lay in hammocks after a day of working . A 2-5 minute, 75-100 meter, uphill walk is required to reach the house from the parking area. All supplies, project materials, food and harvested coffee must be brought up to the cabin.
The climate is subtropical cloud forest so fog and damp conditions can roll in on you at anytime even during the driest months of July thru Sept and especially wetter months of Oct-June. The mornings and early afternoons are typically warm and sunny with clouds rolling in during the later afternoon. The evenings and night can be quite chilly so you will want a fleece type layer and or rain gear at night and sunrise. Due to this climate volunteers have indicated that drying your clothes can be quite a challenge so its recommended you come in fresh and dry.
We live 1.5 hours from the farm so much of the work and time spent would be done independently however we are there on weekends to replenish supplies. We can also come during the week if emergency supplies or materials are needed. Rubber boots are recommended and we keep common sizes at the cabin but if you prefer your own or if we don't have your size they should be purchased prior your arrival.
This is a great situation if you can handle 'glamping' (glamorous camping) conditions, don't mind working independently and love spending time in nature. There are an abundance of beautiful western slope Choco birds to admire and exotic insects will visit you at night being attracted to the shack's lighting.
FOOD: We provide potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, eggs, an abundance of fruits/veggies, filtered drinking water and of course roasted coffee from the farm (if in season). This will be delivered at the beginning of the stay and replenished as needed. We also provide basic cooking supplies and seasonings but if you want meat, cheese, milk, olive oil, alcohol, sweets or specialty items/seasonings you will need to purchase and bring those. You can also enjoy an abundance of limes and bananas/plantains usually available for harvest right on the farm.
We have a 1100 liter reserve tank of water that is harvested off a pristine mountain stream which is used for all your needs. For extended stays or if interested we can accompany you up the mountain 300m to the water source in the forest to learn how you'd maintain the reserve tank full if needed.
The farm is located on the road from San Geronimo to Buenos Aires in Imbabura Province. San Geronimo is accessed on the road from Ibarra to Lita/San Lorenzo. The climate is very similar to that of mountains around Mindo, Pacto, Nangalito or anywhere on the slopes at 1600-1700m. You can find the road on Google Maps by searching Hosteria San Geronimo and looking for the secondary road that goes south from there.
This is an ideal area for those who enjoy being in nature, bird watching or taking exploratory hikes with breathtaking views. The property features 100 meters of uncontaminated mountain stream and a 4m high waterfall so you are guaranteed to hear the soothing sound of rapids throughout the stay and even bathe in the river for those who like a refreshing dip on a warm day. Bus service is available on the main road two times per day in each direction and hitchhiking opportunities are scarce due to the mine takeover (*see below). It is 10.9 Km to the paved road where buses pass every 15 minutes to the closest major city of Ibarra. The small communities of Corazon de Guadual and San Geronimo are 5k down the road where you can purchase basic supplies.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
The wifi is via satellite signal but is strong enough to handle phone calls via VoIP and video conferencing as long as others aren't streaming videos.
We have ample parking for any sized overland van or vehicle. The space is mostly shade and currently uncovered but building a carport is a potential improvement project for future volunteers.
Any pet that can get along with our 1 year old farm dog Zeus. He is super friendly and loves pet visitors (especially other dogs). We ask that guest dogs overnight outside the house and especially kept out of the bedroom and beds.
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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