About two decades back, the people living in community el Rosal realized that the promises made by the authorities to provide schools, clinics etc were all fake and no advancement was taking place. In an effort to change the societal structure, people came together and experimented with making different products, which they could sell in order to get money and thus, improve their lives. They started with making soaps from Aloe Vera, which grows in abundance in that area. Later, they continued to make other products, shifted to organic farming, started coffee plantations and eventually brought a sustainable change into their lives.
As a volunteer for this program, you will mainly focus on fieldwork, learn how-to live-in harmony with nature, and indulge in environmental care. Spend your days collecting fruits and vegetables, go for fishing and learn how to make coffee and soaps. You'd also get to learn how to make natural cosmetic products.
The project is located in the Intag Valley, a remote and mountainous region of the Andes, in the province of Imbabura, in the Cotacachi canton, very close to the province of Pichincha. This place is unique due to its beautiful landscapes, fertile lands and varied climate.
Volunteers must be 18 years or older at the time of joining the project, and must be ready to commit at least 2 weeks for this program. You need to have an open mind and a flexible attitude for working with the locals. The volunteer should bring energy and enthusiasm to make a difference. Participants must be fit and healthy at the time of joining the program and should be prepared to work outdoors and get their hands dirty. Participants should have no criminal convictions and should provide a clean criminal background check report. Knowledge of at least basic Spanish language will be preferable.
Volunteer Roles & Responsibilities
The tasks assigned to volunteers might differ from one season to another. Here's a short snippet of what you'd mostly be doing:
While working at the coffee plantations:
From May to September
• Collecting beans
• Washing and fermenting process
• Drying, selection & production of coffee (Coffee tea & Organic coffee supplies)
From October to April
• Maintenance of coffee
• Preparation of organic fertilizers
Volunteers engaged in making organic cosmetic products will be engaged in:
• Collecting Aloe de Vera
• Cutting, mixing and boiling the ingredients
• Preparation and packaging of organic products such as: soaps, creams, shampoo, etc.
Other activities include:
• Cleaning and cooking
• Harvest of fruits and vegetables is available all year, depending on the plants
Volunteering Solutions is an established name for volunteering placements abroad. We ensure that all our accommodation and living standards match the requirements and comfort levels of our volunteers.
Airport and Project Transfer
Volunteers would be picked up from the Mariscal Sucre International Airport by the VolSol staff or the in-country coordinator. Volunteers who are already present in Quito can arrive directly at the hostel accommodation.
After arrival on the next day, participants travel to the project location by bus. The ride from Quito to the project takes between 5 and 6 hours with public transport to Garcia Moreno community (around $5,00). At the square in Garcia Moreno the project coordinator will pick you up and brings you to the project (around 15 minutes from Garcia Moreno).
Upon arrival in Quito, volunteers are provided accommodation for a night at a hostel.. After transfer to the project in Intag Valley, volunteers joining this program will be staying at the in-country program coordinator’s house, where rooms will be provided on a sharing basis. There’s a shared bathroom with warm water available, and meals (thrice a day) will be provided to you at the accommodation. WiFi is available.
The local coordinator will provide a basic orientation and help you with the arrangements for your bus ride from Quito to Intag Valley. On-site, the program staff will introduce the volunteer to the project and the local project staff and help with basic induction.
Volunteers are provided with three freshly prepared meals directly with community products. A variety of grains, fruits, legumes, meats, etc.Participants with special dietary requirements can inform in advance.
During your Free Time
While at the project during free time volunteers get to explore the beautiful landscapes of the Intag Valley. Wi-Fi is available to volunteers during their free time as well however it can be intermittent.
Please Note: -An application fee of $199 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of £179 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of $299 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of €199 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment)
What are you Paying for?
- 24 hrs Assistance and support from staff
- Comprehensive Pre- Departure Information
- Quito Airport Pickup
- One night hostel stay in Quito
- Assistance in arrangement of transfer from Quito to Intag Valley
- Accommodation in host family
- Travel & Medical Insurance (Available at an extra cost)
- Certificate Of Completion (Upon Request)
What's NOT included?
- Bus ticket cost from Quito to Intag Valley
- Transfer to airport on departure day
- Personal Expenses
FAQ's Application and Program Details
We always recommend all our volunteers to apply in advance. This way they get time to prepare better for the trip. Applying in advance has perks like:
-Application Fee is valid for a year and you can choose to do two three programs in the same year without paying an additional application fee.
-You can make the payment for program fee in parts.
Also, we abide by the first come first serve policy.
Usually, it takes around 10-12 working days for the application to be processed and placement to be confirmed. After the application is accepted, your placement document shall be updated in your account online and you can view the information in your account. The application acceptance depends on the availability of seats in the project as well as the eligibility criteria of the program (age, skills and experience etc.).
Below are the necessary requirements to participate in the Quito volunteering projects:
Intermediate or Beginner Level of Spanish is required.
Volunteers must be 18 years or older at the time of joining the project.
Participants must have a Clean Police Record (Criminal Background Check).
Volunteers need to have an open mind and flexible attitude for working in a new and different environment.
The volunteers should bring energy and enthusiasm to make a difference.
Yes, you must volunteer in a group. In fact volunteering in a group has its own perks. You can get discounts on application fee and you can pool in for add-on tours and travel.
Arrival dates for all projects in Ecuador are on Saturdays. Once you land in Quito, you would be picked up by one of the Volunteering Solutions’ staff and you would be given a general induction. The volunteer coordinator will brief you about the history of the program, what the project currently is involved in, additional projects that might be going on at that time that volunteers can participate in, additional safety information, information on what to do during your free time, information on how to get there and around at the project. This is all presented in a booklet format and lasts +/- 30 minutes per volunteer.
On the first day of the project, our volunteer coordinator accompanies the volunteer to his/her project and shows how public transport works to and from the project. On the site, the coordinator will introduce the volunteer to the project and the local project staff and help with basic induction.
Flights and Visa
No matter wherever you travel to, make sure that your passport is valid for at least another 6 months upon arrival to that place. That is applicable for Ecuador too. On your arrival in Ecuador, you will get a T-3 Visa stamp. This Visa stamp is valid for 90 days. If you plan to stay longer than this, you should apply for 12-IX Visa at the Ecuadorian Embassy of your home country, before leaving. This Visa would be valid for 180 days then.
From the US to Quito, the recommended services are:
From Europe to Quito, the recommended services are:
Health and Safety
Safety is a concern for all the international travelers; however, Quito is a tourist friendly country and major incidents involving volunteers is unheard of. Both the accommodation of Host family and the Volunteer house are safe. Although, when you venture out for a visit try to be with your group. Consult your coordinator before you decide to wander alone, especially in the night.
Here are some guidelines from the project:
When using public transport keep your bag and valuables with you and not on the shelves or under the seat.
Do not bring things which are not required or are extremely expensive: jewelry, credit cards, more money than you're spending money for that day, etc.
When it gets dark, take a taxi, they are cheap here in Ecuador and will guarantee you a safe ride home.
Do not drink in the company of the strangers, until you are with your volunteer group or company.
You must visit your doctor 2 months prior to your overseas travel. As a precaution, carry your yellow fever certificate and vaccinations booklet to be produced at the border crossings, if need be.
Yes, for all participants it is mandatory to have a travel medical insurance.Volunteers have the option to purchase Travel and Medical Insurance at a nominal extra cost from Volunteering Solutions. To provide the best option to our participants, we offer comprehensive insurance coverage in collaboration with a leading insurance provider.
Accommodation and Living
A member of the local coordinating team will take you to your placement and introduce you to your project after giving you a basic orientation about the program/city/culture etc. You will be told about the directions to the project from your accommodation and the mode of transport you can use.
For accommodation, volunteers can choose to stay either with a local host family or in the volunteer’s hostel. Both the accommodation options are fully furnished and provide a comfortable stay to volunteers.
In Volunteer house, there is the provision of the fully functional kitchen but no meals. Volunteers can prepare meals for themselves. Meals are provided by the host family, thrice a day.
Yes, however, you must inform us in advance and also mention about any dietary requirement in your application form.
Volunteers typically work for around 5-6 hours in a day. Depending on the workload every day, working hours can vary. Evenings are free for the volunteers and volunteers usually get together and go out for social gatherings, eat out or just relax at the volunteer house. Quito offers a number of activities and attractions for the discerning travelers. Quito is surrounded by Cotopaxi volcano and Pichincha, Antizana, Cayambe volcanoes that make the Andean contour. Full of churches and majestic architecture and exquisite fine dining experiences, walking tour in this beautiful city is not enough. Galapagos is at a distance of half an hour from the mainland Quito by air and you can go crazy looking and experience the untouched wilderness there. Island hopping, swimming, and snorkeling are just a few of the perks!
Your program fee covers your Airport Pickup, Accommodation, Food and In-country Support.
You will need to cover yourself for your personal expenses, such as local transport, telephone, the internet, shopping, weekend trips etc. However, you should carry around $50 per week for your basic personal expenses. This amount can vary and you would need a higher amount if you go on weekend sightseeing tours.
Volunteers usually work for 5 to 6 hours a day depending on their program. You will have the weekend off so you can go to travel on weekends. However, volunteers need to be flexible, open-minded and understand that work requirements can change as well on certain occasions.
You will find a number of currency exchange counters and ATMs in the airport as well as the popular tourist areas of Quito. Your pre-departure booklet will have this information, your coordinator would also guide you with this information.
Connect with Past Volunteers
We encourage volunteers to get in touch with former Volunteering Solutions Quito program participants and also other program participants joining our projects. You are recommended to join the Volunteering Solutions Facebook Page or Facebook Group to communicate with other participants.
To read alumni interviews from past participants, visit the Meet a Volunteer section on our website.