Volunteering Abroad Shouldn't Cost the Earth

Join a community of sustainable development pioneers in the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes Ecuador



Be a part of creating something meaningful: helping to create vibrant, prosperous and regenerative communities in the Ecuadorian Andes, so that migration can be a choice, not a necessity. We're looking for helping hands in our cultural exchange centre, to support the daily running of our socio-environmental programmes between international interns and indigenous communities.

The project is on a hillside in the village of Atandahua, just outside of the quaint colonial town of Guaranda in central Ecuador. We're nestled in a valley surrounded by rolling farmland and indigenous communities, with a spectacular view of the majestic Chimborazo Volcano (the point on earth closest to the sun!).

In our free volunteering programme, you'll mainly help with cooking, cleaning, and some manual labour/gardening. If you have any special skills we're also open to hearing what you have to offer!

Programme overview

We'll be honest, our free volunteer program focuses on the unglamorous tasks of cooking, cleaning and manual labour. It is designed for those who travel on a budget but still want the experience of living in nature and immersing themselves in a rural community. We are looking for people who enjoy hard work, living in a community, are optimistic and can work independently.

We will provide you the following in exchange for 5 hours a day Monday to Friday:

Typical workday outline

Professional skills

Our programme does not require professional skills, though you must value living in a clean space and feel comfortable helping to cook for a group. If you have one of the following skills we would also be interested in talking.


It's often said that the people make the place. In creating a positive, environment, experience shows us that we're looking for people who have the following qualities:


You have two options of where you can stay:

Dormitory Space: The most social option is in our brand-new dormitory space, with a total of 4 rooms with space for 20 people in total. We have shared hot-water showers, toilets and a communal kitchen, office and large living area. It has fiberoptic WiFi and all the basics to help you feel at home.

Family Homestay: If you would prefer to practise your Spanish, get to know the local culture and enjoy a little privacy, a family homestay is also an option. Rooms may be humble, in keeping with the lifestyle that people live here. However, all will include a private room, hot shower, shared kitchen, WiFi and a washing station (either by hand or machine). You will also have full access to the kitchen, bathroom, living and WiFi room of casa comunal (volunteer dormitory accommodation), 5-10 minutes walk away.

Free time activities

With your time off, you can take a walk around any of the beautiful local trails in the surrounding communities, down to the river or jump in a taxi to savour the spectacular cloud-covered sunset. There are regular buses into town if you would like to go shopping, try the local food or learn about Guaranda’s Carnaval - the best known in the country.

For a day’s outing, don’t miss hiking up to Chimborazo’s refuge and enjoying a hot chocolate at over 5,000m above sea level. Alternatively, take a tour around the salt mines and micro-businesses of the nationally renowned village of Salinas de Guaranda. If you prefer warmer climates, within an hour you can drop down to sea level and go hiking in protected virgin forests in the search of pristine rivers, tropical birds and immense waterfalls. Guaranda really has it all (minus the tourist traps!).


El Terreno


No qualifications required, just a great attitude and hard work!

Dates of program:
Year round

Duration of program:
2 weeks minimum

Age requirement:
Adults of both sexes 18+

This programme is free, which covers the costs of meals, accommodation, utilities and volunteer coordination.

Other information:


Patient, fantastic host, and inspiring project!
"Joshua was a great host, with an inspiring vision for El Terreno and making a difference in the community. It’s such a unique project that introduced me to so many concepts like permaculture, I’ve come away with a massively widened worldview. As for Josh itself, I was absolutely blown away by his incredible patience- after filming for hours and hours to produce the video, he never lost it at all. If anything, he only became more invested and passionate about the video project, generating tons of ideas and suggestion, and being incredibly cooperative and flexible in the process of giving time to complete it. The area is also very interesting - I was looking to get away from the touristy parts of Ecuador and in the countryside, you are absolutely getting a true taste of Ecuador! From hitchhiking on the camioneta pick up trucks into town to buying food on the side of the road in the village of Guanujo, to shopping in the nearby provincial capital of Guaranda, you can get a piece of all types of life. One thing though - if you come in the winter, beware, as it does get pretty cold! (50F) but other than that, it’s totally worth it!"- Jeffrey Yu
Wonderful Experience at El Terreno Project, Atandahua, Ecuador
"Our stay with Joshua and Karina was so far beyond my expectations. They - and their entire community in Atandahua - embraced us and shared their music, dancing, food, stories, adventures, and work. It is a truly special place and Joshua is kind, organized, communicative, and inspiring. The work is fun and very fair, the accommodations are comfortable, the community and the group of volunteers is lovely and easy to build friendships within. I highly recommend this project to anyone looking to experience this region in a real way, and to become immersed in a small, hard-working community with a beautiful vision for the future. I will be thinking about all that I learned here for a long time."- Kenzie W

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Web links / Other ways to help

If you visit and apply via the website please mention that you saw this project on volunteerlatinamerica.com.