Volunteers participate in all our daily work in the nature reserve and learn what practical conservation work looks like.
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).
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.
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.
We usually prepare lunch and dinner together from Monday to Friday. 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!