Nature Reserve Conservationist

High­lights Require­ments What's Included Dates & Fees Rev­iews
founded in 2009
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Coordinator | Nicole
Coordinator | Nicole
Volunteers participate in all our daily work in the nature reserve and learn what practical conservation work looks like. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

Conservation work in the nature reserve

As a volunteer you will participate in all our daily work that is related with the conservation of our nature reserve and find out what practical conservation work looks like.

As a volunteer you will:

- build and maintain the trails in the reserve, this means building and repairing steps and cleaning the trails from leaf litter

- care for the organic garden; water, plant, sow etc in the garden and take care for fruit trees

- assist in bird monitoring, mist-netting and bird banding

- control camera traps and analyse mammal activity

- accompany us to local conservation workshops

- plan environmental education workshops for local kids

- clean and care for the bird feeding stations

- plant "living fences" trees and help in reforestation project

- write a blog post about the work in the reserve and share our wok on social media


How much do I have to work?

As a volunteer you work at Un poco del Chocó from Monday till Friday from 8 am until 1 pm. The afternoon and weekends are free.

The reduced costs for volunteers are based on your commitment and help. As a volunteer you are required to help us with our work on weekdays for five hours. Sometimes this also means to work in rain or hot and sunny conditions. We don’t want to scare you, as you also should have fun working with us. If possible, we try to give you work you like. You will also have a lot of free time. In the afternoon or on weekends you’ll have plenty of time to travel, explore the reserve or simply relax in one of our hammocks.

Should I get there at a certain time?

We prefer that students or volunteers arrive at Un poco del Chocó between Monday and Thursday, if possible before 8 pm.

If your flight gets in later or on the weekend, you should plan on staying in Quito for a night. Recommendations for hostels you’ll find below! Most hostels offer a pick-up-service from the airport (25-35$). But you can also take the Aeroservicio shuttle bus (one-way 8$, tickets online or on arrival at the airport) to the old airport in Quito city and then take a taxi from there (costs between 4-8$ depending on location of hostel).

To get to the bus terminal “La Ofelia” you can get a taxi or the Metro-bus, although we don't recommend the latter if you are travelling with a lot of luggage (pick pockets!).

What's the rainy season like? Does it rain all day?

The rainy season starts in February and lasts until May.

Although at the beginning we can also have some rain in the morning, in general the rainy season is characterized by a sunny or at least dry morning and (sometimes heavy) rain falls in the afternoon. 

Which vaccines do I need?

Which vaccines are necessary for visiting Ecuador depends on how you’re travelling and on the regions you’re travelling to. In any case you should check your tetanus and diphtheria vaccine protection and you should get a typhoid and a hepatitis A (and B) vaccine. You don’t need a yellow fever vaccine unless you’re travelling to the Amazon. It is not necessary to get a rabies vaccine or to take malaria prophylaxis pills for a stay at Un poco del Chocó. If you plan to travel to malaria risk areas you should bring a stand-by medication (e.g. Malarone). 

Typical day

Work schedule

The work schedule will be discussed on a day-to-day basis as the activities often depend on weather conditions etc. A typical day at the nature reserve starts at 7am. You will have breakfast with your house mates and then start to work at 8am. In the mornings first the fruit feeding station need to be filled. Then you will continue in the garden, in the tree nursery or on the trails. Usually you will be working for about 5 hours until lunch time. Some days you can help to prepare lunch as well. There will also be days when you will assist in the biological field work and that means to start as early as 6am. The afternoons are always free and you can enjoy your free-time with a hike through the reserve, a swim in the river, or simply a book in the hammock.

Free-time activities

For a weekend-trip we can recommend the nearby village Las Tolas. You can stay with a family and get an insight to rural Ecuadorian life. The community tourism project offers different activities. You can visit the ecological jewelry work shop, a coffee plantation, one of the waterfalls or the archeological museum in Tulipe.
Otavalo with its indigenous crafts market or Mindo with its different outdoor activities are also worth a trip.
You can generally start your weekend trip on Friday afternoon (or Wednesday afternoon, if it is a long weekend) and come back Sunday night.
Costs for weekend-trips have to be covered by yourself. There is no refund for not staying at the station.



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 English (basic level) or Spanish (basic level)
Required Documents
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:00 - 13:00

What's Included

Services by Un poco del Chocó

This includes food & lodging at the biological station, on-site transportation and taxes.


Interns will be lodged at the station house. On the upper floor there are four double rooms with bunk beds. Two rooms have bunk beds with a lower double-sized mattress, so we can also host couples. Downstairs you'll find the kitchen, dining area and a small laboratory. There are two warm-water showers right next to the main house. The toilets are outside: 10 meters away from the main house we have three outhouses. On the balconies, you can enjoy the view of the forest canopy.

Bedroom (Double)
Food & Beverages

We usually prepare lunch and dinner together from Tuesday to Saturday. All other meals (breakfast or food on weekends) you have to prepare yourself or with your house mates.

The food is mostly vegetarian. We cook typical Ecuadorian food (rice, plantains, legumes, yucca etc,) as well as pasta, potatoes and lots of vegetables. Costs for food include three meals. For those who like to eat sweets or snacks we sell a small variety at the station!

Internet Access
Limited 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

You can start your conservation internship preferably on the following dates in 2017:

March 8 
April 12, 19 or 26 
May 17 
September 6 or 13 
October 4 or 11 
November 8 or 15 
December 6

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)
$ 920
8 weeks
$ 1,700
12 weeks
$ 2,482
16 weeks
$ 3,263
20 weeks
$ 4,044
24 weeks (max. stay)
$ 4,825
Average fees
$ 216 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Un poco del Chocó 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 Un poco del Chocó 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
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Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
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Change your reservation at no extra costs
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We refund your fees if Un poco del Chocó cancels your trip
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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Un poco del Chocó.

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  Americas South America Ecuador  Las Tolas, Las Tolas

Nature Reserve Conservationist

Volunteers participate in all our daily work in the nature reserve and learn what practical conservation work looks like.


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