La Hesperia is a nature reserve and organic farm dedicated to the protection of the cloud forest and sustainable agriculture. The reserve welcomes researchers and volunteers alike, and the TVL program is designed for families who may only have a limited time to travel in Ecuador and want to maximize their experience. Activities available at La Hesperia are condensed into a 5 days package, however if visitors want to extend or reduce their stay they are more than welcome. As the name suggests, the program can be divided into 3 parts:
Travel- participants will be immersed in Ecuadorean culture and history and explore the tropical natural
Volunteer- program features hands-on activities such as organic farming and reforestation.
Learn-the experience is inherently educational, as participants will learn about cloud forests and conservation, organic farming and sustainable development, Basic Spanish, and Ecuadorean culture and history. Having twenty years of experience on formal and informal educational activities for children and adults our staff will ensure a significant learning experience.
Besides enjoying a family and peaceful atmosphere, visitors can taste our homemade food prepared with ingredients mostly from the farm, which families and volunteers help to grow and harvest. Also if they are interested they can learn to make the plates that they liked the most, such as empanadas, patacones, yucca bread, muchines, quinoa tortillas and hot chocolate prepared from the cocoa beans. In regards, to accommodation we have three options: Volunteer House, Hacienda House and the Family Cottage. Please ask for more details and availability in your application.
Arrival to the entrance of the reserve. Luggage can be left at the bottom of the reserve while the group will have a 30 minute uphill walk to the main house (luggage will be delivered up to the house by car). Upon arrival, participants will settle into their new accommodations. After lunch, a tour of the reserve will be given, discussing the organic farm, reserve, and various projects and facilities. One hour class of Survival Spanish.
After breakfast Survival Spanish Course, later the family will horseback ride (or hike if you prefer) through a forest trail and enjoy on a natural water slide at the Tupi stream. After lunch it is time to give back to the forest reforesting a degraded area with native species. Then participants will learn about Ecuador´s great diversity, culture, and history through a lecture. In the evening, the group will have a bonfire to bond with the local staff and volunteers.
After learning a little bit of Spanish, the group will focus on sustainable and organic foods. The participants will experience first-hand where their daily sustenance comes from and get a taste for a self-sustaining lifestyle. In the early morning, participants will have the opportunity to hand–milk goats or cows. The rest of the morning will be spent planting, weeding, and harvesting in the vegetable garden, where much of their daily food comes from. Participants will also help with the animal care. In the afternoon, participants will learn how to make chocolate and coffee from scratch. A lot of work can go in to a cup of coffee!
Hike to the highest point to appreciate the changes on the ecosystem and to collect seed of native species. After return the family will plant the seed and seedling in the tree nursery.
After learning Spanish. The family will have the option to decide what to do from a variety of activities from relaxing to camping. We will give you advises to make a worthwhile experience according to your particular interest. You can split the group or keep it together. Farwell dinner.
After breakfast departure to Quito or any other city. Luggage will be transported to the road by car.
Contact us for more information about availability and prices.