Ecology & Sustainable Agriculture Internship

founded in 2021
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Coordinator | Joshua
Coordinator | Joshua
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Design & deliver a unique internship based on your career aspirations and local needs, supported by an experienced international team
Advance your career, develop your skills and improve your resume through a hands-on project, with 1:1 mentoring from a professional in the field
Make a meaningful difference to low-income populations who lack the education, support and resources to make the changes themselves
Immerse yourself in another culture and experience a different way of life through family homestays, cultural activities and life in a small rural community
Set off on adventures and make one in a lifetime memories with other interns/volunteers - climb mountains, hike through in the jungle and explore indigenous communities
Hands-on, personalised internship & help low-income, indigenous communities transition from deforestation & agrochemicals, towards sustainable & regenerative agriculture This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+


El Terreno is on a hillside in the little-known province of Bolívar, just outside of the quaint colonial town of Guaranda in central Ecuador. It's nestled in a valley surrounded by traditional farmland and indigenous communities, with a spectacular view of the majestic Chimborazo Volcano (the point on earth closest to the sun!)


Ecuador is the 8th most biodiverse country in the world, yet only the 74th biggest. The province of Bolívar, with ecosystems ranging from highland deserts (4,000m+) to the coastal tropical forests (300m) has some of the country's widest variety of flora and fauna. Although stunningly beautiful, the province is one of Ecuador’s poorest. There is a high rate of malnutrition, illiteracy and poverty. With few employment opportunities, most high-school graduates quickly leave to the larger cities and the indigenous language and culture is under threat. Most of the rural population work the land for a meagre income, with the recent rise in living costs and the reduction of fuel subsidies their real wealth has declined further.

Since the 1970's, the temperate valleys have relied heavily on agrochemicals to fertilise the soil and kill insects. This has degraded the soils and contaminated the rivers and drinking water. Native forests have been replaced with fields and eucaliptos trees; biodiversity has plummeted, water security is under threat and landslides are common. Since the war with Ukraine, the cost of agrochemicals has gone up significantly, but the sale price of the limited range of produce they grow (corn, beans, potatoes, grains) has remained similar. 


It is clear that something needs to change, but there is not the governmental support to make that happen. We are on a mission to bring diverse perspectives from around the world to design innovative solutions to these problems, so that we can stimulate socioeconomic development while also regenerating these delicate ecosystems. So come and bring your passion and expertise to help these local farmers work towards a more meaningful, prosperous and sustainable future through an internship.

Through your internship, you will learn about the regional challenges. Once you have selected one that excites you, you will receive support to dive deep into the problem to understand the underlying causes, impacts and possible solutions. Possible solutions may include ideas such as sustainable agriculture practices, water harvesting and filtration, eco tourism or natural building. If your research proves promising, will look for the resources to implement your project, and bring your ideas to life!


As a centre of cultural exchange and social innovation, we bring together local Ecuadorians and others from around the world through sustainable tourism, culture, education and ecology – to create a more meaningful, sustainable and prosperous world.

We’re working towards regenerating local ecosystems, building pride in indigenous culture, providing dignified employment opportunities, offer a wide variety of unique eco & community tourism experiences, and ensure volunteers like you learn new skills, meet extraordinary people and leave with unforgettable memories.

Typical day

  • 8am: Self-prepared breakfast in local family homestay
  • 9am: Independent working on project & a meeting with your professional mentor
  • 12.30pm: Cooked lunch with other interns & volunteers
  • 2pm: Meeting with the internship coordinator or enjoying the afternoon off

Imagine waking up to the cockerels at dawn as the sun rises over the horizon as you take in Chimborazo volcano over your morning coffee. After breakfast, walk down to meet your mentor, stopping to say hello to the friendly neighbours in the community as they take their cows to pasture.

​Spend an hour to talk through your plans with your mentor, deepening your technical knowledge and finding out how to implement it within the local environment. Then take a trip into the colonial city of Guaranda to do some shopping and stop at a café to do some more research. Get back in time for lunch, which you spend the rest of the team and workers from the local community, sharing stories and learning about the local culture. 

Meet with your coordinator in the afternoon, to plan your pilot project or present your findings to the local community, before joining other interns and volunteers to go and watch the sunset, go out to a local bar/restaurant or simply spend the evening learning more from your host family.

​Still not sure what a hands-on in the Ecuadorian Andes would look like? Speak to our team who will create you a personalised internship plan to give you a glimpse into the future, all free of charge.

Free-time activities


With your time off, you can take a walk around any of the beautiful local trails around the communities, down to the river or jump in a taxi to savor the spectacular could-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 most infamous 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. Bolívar really has it all (minus the tourist traps!).


We are at almost 3,000m (10,000ft) above sea level and the average temperature is 13°C (55°F). Below is a list of typical weather patterns throughout the year, though climate change is definitely throwing these off, so be ready for anything!

  • Summer (Jun - Sep, around Christmas): hot sunny days (leading to water shortages), colder cloudless nights and often a strong wind
  • Winter (Feb - Apr): Often dry mornings and heavy rain in the afternoon. Less day/night temperature change and no wind.
  • Spring/Autumn (May, Oct - Jan): Somewhere between summer and winter!

Due to the high altitude, the sun feels cooler but will burn you more easily - so be prepared with a hat and sun screen. The temperature is cool at night and Ecuadorian houses have no insulation/central heating, we have blankets and hot water bottles to help keep you cosey. Fortunately there are no mosquitos at this elevation!



In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak Spanish (intermediate level) or English (basic level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Our internships are best suited for pro-active, solution-focussed students who have a genuine desire to understand and meet the needs of rural communities. Strong people skills, independent working and a level of Spanish fluency is also required to make the most of your experience.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 08:00 - 16:00

What's Included

Services by El Terreno

What's Included:

  • Free Internship Discovery Call
  • Free Personalised Internship Plan
  • Documentation Support for Education Provider
  • Help to Acquire Academic Funding & Credits 
  • Support with Travel Logistics
  • Accommodation in Family Homestay or Shared Dormitory
  • Cooked Lunches Monday-Thursday
  • Weekly Mentoring with an Agricultural Professional
  • In Person Internship Coordination
  • Help Engaging with the Local Community
  • Internship Activities Budget
  • Open Use of Property for Pilot Projects
  • Free-Time Activity Recommendations​
  • Cultural Immersion in Indigenous Communities
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Written Personal Reference

What's Not Included:

  • Flights, visas, vaccines or any other expenses to reach us
  • Travel, health and work insurance
  • Other meals
  • Leisure time activities
  • Spending money

You have two options of where you can stay:

Casa Comunal:
The most social option is by staying in the casa comunal. There are two dormitories with a total of 8 beds, bathroom (with hot water) and a kitchen used exclusively for volunteer use (apart from the odd community event). It has fiberoptic WiFi and all the basics to help you feel at home. Washing can either be done by a neighbour, a laundrette in the nearby town or by hand.

Family Homestay:
If you would prefer to practice 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), only a few minutes walk away
Dorm Room Guest Family
Food & Beverages
We provide a cooked lunch Monday to Thursday in the casa comunal, cooked by our volunteers. We can accommodate most dietary requirements.

The remainder of your food you must cook yourself. There are basic shops in the village and nearby town (10mins bus/30 minutes walk) or supermarkets in Guaranda (30 minutes bus)
Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) in Quito. We assist you to find cheap flights to Ecuador.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Ecuador provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Ecuador you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Ecuador.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

We receive interns throughout the year and can be flexible about the time of year you arrive. We receive new people on a Sunday, so that you can receive a tour and get fully integrated on the Monday morning. You can stay anywhere from 4 to 24 weeks, or whatever is required for you to fulfil any internship requirements.

We are equidistant between Ecuador's two largest cities of Guayaquil and Quito, both 4-5 hours by bus. Travel is inexpensive and generally safe, though there are private car options available. We can help you decide where you would like to travel to and share the information of how to arrive. Once you arrive in Guaranda, you can get a taxi (maximum $5) to reach us.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
4 - 24 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
4 weeks (min. stay)
8 weeks
16 weeks
24 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$120 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. El Terreno will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with El Terreno during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if El Terreno cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by El Terreno.

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Ecology & Sustainable Agriculture Internship

Hands-on, personalised internship & help low-income, indigenous communities transition from deforestation & agrochemicals, towards sustainable & regenerative agriculture


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