We are an ecological retreat destination and learning center located in the lush subtropical cloud forest of Ecuador. We specialize in teaching organic farming, permaculture, sustainable building, and creative solutions for environmental challenges.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
Ecuador is a stunningly beautiful and remarkably diverse country that includes high sierra, subtropical cloud forest, tropical rainforest, and a varied coastline. Much more than a perfect climate and breathtakingly beautiful landscape.
Ecuadorian people are justifiably proud of their pre-Colombian history, their strong artistic tradition, their modern infrastructure of roads, parks, and transit systems, accessible and affordable health care for everyone (currently rated 13th in the world, well above the US and Canada), and ESPECIALLY their delicious and nourishing cuisine. The spectacular array of native fruits such as cherimoya, guanoabana, guava, and naranjilla are really special.
Our seven acres of land is in one of the most lush, peaceful--and accessible!--locations in Ecuador. We are only a 2.5 hour drive from Quito and Mariscal Sucre International Airport. Our canton of Pedro Vicente Maldonado is home to several rivers, stunning cascades, clear natural pools, and the Mashpi Nature Reserve, 1300 hectares of protected biodiversity including 650 species of birds, 200 mammals, 120 amphibians, 100 reptiles, and 20 types of butterflies. Inside the Mashpi are six smaller private reserves under the umbrella of Foundation Imaymana, dedicated to cultivating the native plants and fruits of the forests conserving wildlife, and preserving fascinating history of the pre-Columbian cultures who thrived here. A very short drive away from our land is the Mangaloma Nature Reserve, 200 hectares of protected forest with trails open for walking and observing the flora and fauna. There are concerted efforts in our area aimed at reforestation with native trees such as the nearby Anodas Viveros Forestal where we are purchasing baby trees to plant in our "back acres." We are very fortunate to have this wealth of opportunity to learn about the eco-system and we hope you take advantage of all our area has to offer during your stay!
Volunteering with us is a practical and enjoyable way to learn real skills to help you become more self-sufficient, confident, and able to tap your own ingenuity. Becoming more self-sufficient isn't about following orders or mindless busywork. It's about fostering independent, analytical, creative, and critical thinking. We are all about new and better ways of doing things and we want--we need--you to be part of the process.
Most of the tasks you will be helping us will involve helping us build structures from natural and/or locally sourced and/or recycled materials and cultivate our permaculture-style gardens. Want to add useful skills like timber-framing, earth and lime plastering, earthen floor construction, mud-mortaring, composting, and rainwater harvesting to your life resumé? we are the place for you.
While some of the tasks we ask you to do will depend on what projects we’re working on during your stay, we’ll also consider your interests and abilities. Some people love to get their hands in the dirt, digging and planting. Others excel at organizing and may find they have a passion for cataloging seeds. And while you probably won’t find everything you do here equally fascinating, be assured if you have a deep-seated fear of worms or power tools no one will *️️️️make*️️️️ you turn the compost or cut bottles. There will be plenty to do!
We offer basic cabin-style housing constructed of native and natural materials such as bamboo, eucalyptus wood, stone, daub, clay plaster, and palm leaves. We also use recycled and repurposed materials like grain and rice bags, wood pallets, crates, and glass bottles.
As a sustainable living center, we will strive to become a "closed-loop" facility, meaning as we take care of our land, our land takes care of our our needs. Our accommodations fit that model and include: outdoor showers with filtered rainwater, composting toilets, and community kitchen and eating area also constructed of native, natural, and recycled materials and outfitted with gas stove, earthen baking oven, and manual juice press. Kristen makes tasty, nourishing meals with home grown and local foods.
We also have a lovely clear spring and secluded lagoon where you can swim and bathe if you choose.
There is a small river on our land where we are constructing a low-impact natural lagoon. There are several larger rivers and cascades nearby for swimming and relaxing. In addition to the nearby Mangoloma Nature Reserve, there is also a Artisanal Chocolate Cacao Plantation which offers guided tours of the agro-forest and chocolate making process from farm to plate. For the adrenaline seekers, world class canopy zip lining is popular in Mindo, about an hour away by local bus.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week