Coffee Farm experience in UNESCO Geopark, Imbabura Province, Northern Ecuador




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 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    *️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️Please message us if you are already in country. As of March 17th Ecuador has closed its borders and imposed mobility restrictions so scheduling and setting up volunteers is currently complicated. May-Mid July will be the thick of our coffee harvest season and the majority of the work required each day. We will really need at least 2 volunteers during peak harvest***

    Our finca 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 13 & 15. Please note that though we are just off the main road this is fairly remote farm with all basic services except cellular signal or WiFi however you can check in online at a community 4k down the road if needed. We live 1.5 hours from the property but are there 1-2 x's per week and my employee is there almost everyday when volunteers are present. We can also assist you with transportation to and from the farm ideally on Saturdays or Sundays.

    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. On arrival day all groups meet us In Atuntaqui or Ibarra at 8 am or at Hosteria San Geronimo at 9:30 AM (11K from farm and searchable on Google Maps).

    Please message with questions!

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Language practice

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Learn the complete coffee process from pick to cup by working directly with our Ecuadorian Ag Engineer Don Guido to tackle 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.

    Don Guido's brother owns a commercial farm 5k down the mountain so if interested they would welcome you down for a tour to see how much work and effort goes into a commercial scale operation. Guido also raises fighting roosters and they periodically fight on Saturday nights near the commercial farm. Its a brutal pastime in our opinion but may be an interesting cultural experience if you are open to it.

    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.

  • Help


    Wide range of coffee farm activities including harvesting and post harvest processing of beans and general farm maintenance activities like 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.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, Spanish, Portuguese

  • Accommodation


    This is a remote farm that is right off a secondary road 10.5 km from the closest pavement. There is a 1BR farm shack that offers electricity, running water, toilet & electric hot shower, gas stove for cooking, microwave, dorm room 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 no cell service or WiFi available however you can pay locals a small fee for WiFi service 4k down the road. There is a separate covered open air space 40 meters from the house to hang hammocks or make fires additionally there is a covered porch on the house which has an outdoor sink and counter space with running water. 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 and our farm hands are around 3-5 days of the week. We can also come during the week if emergency supplies or materials are needed. Rubber boots are recommended and we keep a few sizes at the cabin but if you prefer your own or if we don't have your size they can be purchased prior to departure in town for $10.

    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. 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 or we can shop together prior to departing to the farm. You can also enjoy an abundance of limes and bananas/plantains usually available for harvest right on the farm. For groups of 3+ volunteers we ask for $20/week per extra person to help with food costs. We always cover all food costs for 2 volunteers.

    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 1700m. You can find the road on Google Maps

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    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 10.5Km 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 or play pool (billards) and pay a reasonably weekly fee for WiFi access.

    *The Ecuadorian government took over and seized an unregulated gold mine in early July near the town of Buenos Aires 2.5 hours past our farm that is accessed by our road so security checkpoints heading to the farm should be expected for the foreseeable future. I will need your full name and passport # at least a day ahead to write up an invitation so security will allow you access to the sector and you will need to enter the area accompanied by us.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Farm is located at center left of this photo, right off the road.
Front porch breakfast view.
Workawayers showing off their pick and clean.

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Host ref number: 599177644723