Volunteering Abroad Shouldn't Cost the Earth

Volunteering in Nature Reserve in the Andean Chocó Ecuador



Settled in a privately protected nature reserve within the endangered tropical forest of the Andean Chocó Biosphere Reserve, our biological station promotes conservation, education, and research. In the reserve and at the field station there is always plenty to do. We are very happy to receive volunteers who want to support our work.

Volunteers will help us with the following tasks:

Our daily tasks

There are a couple of tasks that need to be done every day and volunteers can give us a hand with cooking, watering plants, feeding the chickens and keeping the station house clean.

Trail building and maintenance

In the past few years we have established several nature trails in the reserve. These trails are necessary to access the different parts of the reserve in order to realize field studies or simply to enjoy the forest and observe the diverse animal and plant life. The trail system already covers a length of about 5 kms! So you can imagine that there is always some maintenance work to do in order to keep the trails clean from vegetation or fallen branches. The steps and signs also need to be replaced every once in a while.

Organic gardening

With our organic garden we would like to self-supply the field station with different vegetables. Besides various fruit trees, we have also planted yucca (manioc), sugar cane, bananas and plantains. There is a small vegetable garden where we grow a lot of different vegetables, e.g. tomatoes, beans, peppers, pumpkins. You can help to water the organic garden and produce compost, to cultivate and plant saplings, to weed and care for the garden and finally to harvest.

Carpentry work

Professional carpenters or volunteers with manual skills are always welcome at the station. They can help with the maintenance and wood work around the station.

Taking care of fruit feeders for wild animals

We have established several fruit feeding stations for certain bird and mammal species in different parts of the reserve. With those stations we try to facilitate the observation of some (rare) species which would normally be very difficult to observe. At the same time these feeding stations are also used to monitor the bird and mammal diversity in the reserve. The banana feeders need to be cleaned and refilled twice a week.


Un poco del Chocó

Las Tolas, Gualea

Enthusiasm, love for nature and physical fitness. Basic knowledge of Spanish recommended, but not required.

Dates of program:
Year round

Duration of program:
4 weeks minimum

Age requirement:
Adults of both sexes 18+

The project costs US$125 per week which includes three meals a day and lodging at the station house.

Other information:
At our biological station we also offer internship programs and courses for (biology) students who are interested in tropical ecology and bird ringing/banding.


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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.