NW Ecuador Coffee Farm Experience in UNESCO Geopark, Imbabura Province, Ecuador




Favourited 225 times

  • rating

    Host rating

  • feedbacks



  • last activity

    Last activity


  • Last email replied

    Reply rate

    100.0 %

  • Last email replied

    Average reply time:

    within 1 day

  • Badges

    Super Host
Contact Register

 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    *️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️We are transitioning into a wetter weather pattern and will have micro coffee picks for the rest of the year. We also have year round building projects that need support with so please message us about the dates you may be interested in. We have a possible opening for the mid-late October depending on when our current volunteers can coordinate with their next host. Building experience and motivated self-starters preferred*️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️

    Our finca is small-scale one hectare family owned and operated specialty coffee farm located at an altitude of 1750m 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 ideal cloud forest climate.

    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 12 & 14. Please note that though we are just off the main road this is fairly remote farm with all basic services except internet or WiFi. 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 coffee process.

    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, clearing of fallen banana trees etc.. We also have unlimited ongoing construction and improvement projects that we need help with so carpentry and building skills are a plus specially 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. We have ample parking for vehicles if needed right on the property. There is a 1BR farm shack that offers electricity, running water, toilet & shower, stove for cooking and heating up shower water, microwave, dorm room fridge and full kitchen utensils. There is running water in the shower but its best utilized during the heat of the day. We set up 1 full and 1 twin beds with optional netting to keep insects off you while you rest. Insects are mostly moths though recent volunteers have mentioned seeing more mosquitoes lately than usual. There can also be no see um sand fleas during the day so pants and long sleeves are recommended.

    There is no cell service or WiFi available however our Ag Engineer is on the site almost daily if supplies or communication are needed and there is satellite phone service available 3 miles away. There is a separate covered open air space 20 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.

    The climate is 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 Dec-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, 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 plentifully 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 cooking and cleaning but not recommended for drinking unless you travel with a LifeStraw. You may accompany Don Guido up 300m to the water source in the forest to learn first hand how we harvest our water.

    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 etc.

  • 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 a copy of your 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.
Outdoor kitchen sink with a view.

These are extra optional ratings when members leave feedback. The average rating left for each option is displayed.

Accuracy of profile: (5.0)

Cultural exchange: (5.0)

Communication: (5.0)

Host ref number: 599177644723