My Name is Tamara (My friends call me Tammy), and I live in the beautiful island of San Andres, working in the tourism industry and as the Outreach Coordinator for a small organization involved in education and community development.
I have started small hostel in what used to be my family's Hotel with the help of amazing workaways from all over the world.
Hosting visitors is a passion of mine as well as education and community work, so I've wanted to combine my passion, and as such I have an ongoing exchange of volunteers on what we are calling the “San Andres Experience”. I am sure there are many more amazing people that want to come to the island and help out make this project real.
If you want to leave your Mark with a creative project, maybe building funky recycled furniture, designing and painting a mural, cooking a great recipe to be shared with others, sharing your story with the children from my community, taking part on a beach cleaning activity that builds many memories and loads of new local friendships, you name it... then This is the place for you.
My hostel is as much yours as it is mine and it needs to become a place to be shared and enjoyed by guests and especially by the volunteers who are the life of the place. I have a building that we have been adapting and fixing for over 1 year to host guests and is, of course, the SAN ANDRES EXPERIENCE Volunteers headquarters.
There are many ideas and plans. Your input is welcomed and valued. You will work mostly here or move around to other activities we get invited to participate etc. It will be up to you and you will have a choice depending on your preferences.
I have 5 dogs and 4 cats... ONLY ANIMAL LOVERS will enjoy staying here and I appreciate help with my pets. specially Musa, who is a bit shy and needs to be walked by leash... The others walk themselves.... you will see...
Any gardening experience? Bar? creative? woodwork? social media? graphic design?
Where will you be?
1 minute from the Best beach, The beach pathway, supermarkets, shops, restaurants, rentals, It Is all right outside the door... It is a great location.
What will you do?
We ask for 3-4 hours work a day, 5 days a week ( Max ) Flexible schedules. At the hostel work includes keeping the hostels social areas clean and organized, Giving a hand on a renovation project, gardening, The occasional front desk mini shift, grocery shopping, cooking, painting a wall, interior design, designing or painting a mural,) let’s not forget the community, sharing stories of your travels with our children, or other members of our community, help students practice and learn a new language by reading them stories, singing, dancing, guiding them on an artistic or physical activity, making conversation with them to practice or discussing a movie. etc. How about working along with other local volunteers of a beach cleaning activity or painting colorful murals on the front of old buildings or houses. etc. I am sure we will come up with many new things to add to this list. Just be open and flexible and remember that the idea is for you to enjoy your visit as much as it is to have your help to keep the SAN ANDRES EXPERIENCE and the hostel growing.
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
Helping with Tourists
Help with Computers / internet
First of all, you will be based in an amazing island of the Caribbean with a unique Culture. You will be able to visit the island, meet locals, and participate in whatever cultural events happening at the time of your visit. As a Local, I often host amazing get-togethers and can arrange for very interesting activities in many areas of interest. Best of all you will be able to relax and enjoy the 7 color sea because that's how this island is known... I can also arrange scuba lessons and certification (with discount ) for those interested or Kitesurfing lessons. Snorkeling tours, night diving, local cuisine tasting. I am sure it will be an amazing experience for us all.
Remember this is a tourist destination and is very expensive to live here. Don't be discouraged by that because it will be worth it. Volunteers on the San Andres Experience have lots of fun and most time is devoted to enjoy and explore.
I can use the help of people with some construction experience, Woodwork, plumbing and electricity, gardening experience or at least affinity with plants, artist for creative murals (you can help me design them) and overall general work such as cleaning, and basic maintenance to get the place ready and keep it tidy on a daily basis.
Do you have an idea for an activity to take to the community? arts, and crafts?
Cooking is welcomed and encouraged, You will be a part of a family. ( a very open and inclusive one.. you’ll see) .
There are no fixed schedules, we will come up with whatever needs to be done and define how to handle it. I come and go all day long, so you need to be very independent and proactive. you will have a very flexible schedule with much free time. We will all define the guidelines together and you won’t have someone supervising you (unless the task requires it). I appreciate people to be very supportive and proactive in finding ways to help out and taking initiative. Many times (many many many) I will insist on you going out to enjoy the weather and the beach. This is an amazing island and I want you to enjoy it as much as you can. FYI, Some of my Volunteers have found a very good diving school at an amazing discounted price for those interested to get certified.
LET ME SHARE A FEW IMPORTANT THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE APPLYING:
1. I have 5 friendly dogs and 5 cats. You MUST be comfortable with large dogs and cats., if you are not comfortable and even happy to be surrounded by Dogs, this will NOT be a good place for you. If you take one or two dogs for a walk every now and then we will all love having you. Ruffo, Herbie, and Blanca walk themselves and spend most of the day at the beach.. I let them go alone, Musa is very shy and very nervous to walk outside so she may go for 5 minutes and run back like a crazy scared puppy... Miley can't stand a leash so she does not go out for walks.
2. MEALS ARE NOT INCLUDED. We can go grocery shopping together, and we can agree on a general menu for shared meals- The idea is to help keep food cost as low as possible. remember that we work and live like a family and I have come to realize my volunteers appreciate the group/ family environment and prefer it to just each one doing their own thing. You will be expected to help in some way either by purchasing groceries to be shared for group meals and /or to help cook meals ( cook for the group).. someone always takes the initiative and we love helping and love trying new recipes... I foresee that each person needs to spend around $60 US per week on food when sharing meals. ( We are always revising this amount and making the best of it.) Water needs to be purchased. you CANT DRINK FAUCET WATER. I provide water in the kitchen for drinking and cooking but be prepared to spend some money on bottled water when you are out and about enjoying the island. Just so you get an idea, Beer is cheaper than water so leave some cash for water and other small personal necessities. The kitchen is open and available, and we will cook together and shared meals as much as possible to keep expenses down. Everyone needs to chip in. Also, I plan many activities and some require a fee so be prepared to have a budget for social activities such as movies,($3.50 US), eating out for special events such as birthdays or farewells, Pizza, Boat trips etc. NONE OF THESE ARE MANDATORY ... you can take part or not but these group outings strengthen the group bond.
This will be fun. You will be able to enjoy the island, maybe get some scuba lessons or go Kite surfing (at reduced prices) ... walk the beach with the dogs, cook, clean, paint, sing karaoke outdoors (a favorite among my friends), plant and care for some plants, install a door, have amazing movie nights, pool parties, share time with some students on a conversation club, help build a shed, make lots of new friends...
This is a great holiday experience where you will get a chance to be a part of a local community and participate in many interesting and fun activities. So if you are traveling and want to practice your Spanish and English, learn some local creole, and are willing to share your time and talents with people who will appreciate them, then THE SAN ANDRES EXPERIENCE IS FOR YOU!
Dorm room of 2 or 3 in a room with private bathroom and/a double bed for couples if available on your dates.
if anyone has any mechanic experience, I have a Gurgel waiting to get fixed and enjoyed... you will be in the best area in town, with the best beach right outside, walking distance to everything such as supermarket, shops, pharmacies, cash machines, gas station, public transport to other areas of the island just outside the door.
Now, about expectations... The idea is for you to enjoy the island as much as possible and devote some time to help out keep everything running. I don't have any fixed expectations other than people willing to be helpful, open, flexible and keep a positive attitude. Respect towards others and helping keep areas clean for everyone to be as comfortable as possible seems a good place to start. We can define hours and activities based on your preferences and abilities. You will have plenty of time to relax and enjoy yourself.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
15 hours/week-no food