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Sustainable Living Project Ecuador

POSTED ON 22 Feb 2024
placement Details

20 minutes away by car from the beach, deliciously healthy food and a tropical mild climate. This experience is perfect for those who want to discover a new way of living, based on the reconciliation between human habitats and nature.

You will be volunteering in a National Geographic endorsed farm, dedicated to sustainable agriculture, environmental education and alternative tourism. You will be getting getting first-hand experience on how to live in harmony with nature and cultivate an alternative and conscious way of living.

As a volunteer you will gain a huge amount of knowledge about the principles and processes of sustainable living, as well as how to implement these ideas into daily life. Be prepared to get your hands dirty – this is very much a ‘learning through doing’ project!

Main Goals

  • To make a tangible contribution to the rejuvenation of the planet.
  • To practice sustainable agricultural techniques and ecotourism in order to promote and disseminate these throughout the local and worldwide community.
  • To educate local communities about sustainable agriculture, promoting and supporting their involvement and its continued inclusion into their way of life.
  • To provide a space for interested parties from all over the world to learn about sustainable agriculture. 


This organic farm was established in 1990, in dry and barren land. Through sustainable agricultural methods, respect for nature and a lot of work, it is now a paradise of fauna and flora. It's a land is divided into food forests, gardens and orchards, pastures, agroforests and renewable energy areas, which follows a permaculture system throughout the year. The organization also works with the local community to encourage the practices of recycling and sustainable agriculture and provide education about environmental problems and solutions.

During your time at the project, you will participate in all organic farming, permaculture and sustainable living activities to learn through hands-on experience.

But what is Organic Farming and Permaculture?

Organic farming and permaculture complement one another. Organic farming nurtures both nature and us, the consumers. It treasures soil health as the foundation for sustainable farming practices, it promotes the use of natural fertilisers and optimises the natural carbon cycle. Permaculture involves design and planning to optimise the use of resources. Through permaculture you enable farms to be more efficient, put less pressure on existing natural resources, build soil health, enrich conservation efforts, reduce waste and improved the health of their consumers.

"You will be working outdoors, learning about revolutionary ways of food production. " 

You will be learning about agricultural methods that work within the natural structure and cycle of the soil, water sources, and animal and plant life, so as not to damage the earth, either now or in future generations.


Duties are split between the morning and the afternoon, the morning activities being based in the gardens and pastures, while the afternoon tasks focus on construction and maintenance, administrative tasks, and work within the local community.

Typical morning projects include: 

  • Sowing seeds and planting 
  • Weed and pest control 
  • Organic fertilizing 
  • Composting
  • Caring for the farm animals 
  • Recycling of organic and non-organic waste.

Afternoon may be:

  • Carpentry or construction tasks
  • Mural painting
  • Organization of information panels 
  • Maintenance of infrastructure (i.e. of bridges and water pipes)
  • Upkeep of paths, trails and garden design 
  • Production of jams and vinegars

You will be working from 8.30am - 4pm from Monday to Friday (including breaks). This is an example of a daily schedule:

Timings              Monday to Friday

6.15 - 7.00          Feeding the animals 

7.30                    Breakfast

8.30 - 12.00       Voluntary duties

12.00 - 13.30     Lunch

13.30 - 16.00     Voluntary Duties

18.00                  Dinner

19.00                  Free time


Apart from volunteering, you can also participate in the following programs which also involve theoretical learning and workshops.

They are only available on specific dates or can be organized for groups of minimum 4 people. They have an extra cost. If you are interested in participating in one of these programs, please let us know.


This rich and creative program blends local culture and agriculture: food, crafts, sports, recreation and adventure with some beach and free time to appreciate your surroundings. You will be experiencing the Montubio culture first hand, the ingenious, jovial people of the area with rich oral tradition.

This program is ideal to help us to learn to build cultural understanding, sustainable systems, and resilience as individuals and as a global community.

Some of the actvities you will be doing are the following:

From field to table

  • Local cooking - from farm to table 
  • Learning about coffee
  • Cocoa harvesting and chocolate making 
  • Cheese making
  • Bread making and baking
  • Harvesting tropical crops

Local crafts and activities

  • Crafts with seeds and local plants such as vegetable ivory and gourd.
  • Farm activities
  • Visiting local communities
  • Excursions to local sights: islands, monkey forest, waterfalls and beach days. 


The program looks at the sustainability models developed at the farm but hat are applicable in a global context: Circular economy, waste management, permaculture, agroecology, alternative energy, composting, bamboo construction, local ecosystems, traditional agriculture and how human habitats can be designed to increase the diversity and productivity of ecosystems.

The program includes some fun and adventure activities as well...chocolate making is a must while at the farm!

You will be learning about:

  • Principles of organic farming and permaculture 
  • Permaculture design and planning
  • The value of soil organic matter
  • Organic fertilizers
  • Natural insecticides and pest control 
  • Composting
  • Animal welfare and organic animal production
  • The local ecosystems
  • Reforestation
  • Food forests
  • Alternative energy: biogas, bicycle pump and rocket stove!
  • Building with bamboo 
  • Compost Toilets

You will also visit local communities, participate in farm activities, harvesting, and going to the beach!

Both programs last 2 weeks each. You can either combine any of the two with two weeks of volunteering, or combine both programs for a whole month of learning and activities (and then add a few more weeks of volunteering!)



During your time at the farm you will be living on the organization’s land in rural Ecuador, which offers shared dorm style accommodation. All accommodation comes equipped with either mosquito nets or screens, powerpoints, and either a shared or private bathroom consisting of a compost toilet and, in some, a solar-powered shower. Please be aware that, as you will be staying in the jungle, you may receive the odd insect visitor in your cabin!

Wifi at the farm is limited to certain hours a day. The idea is to forget about the outside world for a while and reconnect with nature and yourself during your stay.

However, you can buy an Ecuadorian SIM card before arriving at the project which you can use for Whatsapp or other social media to be in contact with family and friends.

"You will be living in a rural environment with people that will make you feel like part of the family."


Three meals are served daily to all guests, and shared as a family. Most of the ingredients come fresh from the farm, although a few things are brought in from nearby towns. The majority of meals are vegetarian, although occasionally fish or chicken is served. Red meat, however, is not provided. The organization can usually accommodate any special dietary requirements; please advise them in advance.


During your free time and breaks, you can go and explore the tropical forest around the project, go to the beach, practice yoga, relax with the rest of the volunteers and play board games, read or share stories by the campfire at night.

Or you can go and visit the nearby beach towns during the weekend, hire a bike, learn to surf, body board, go dancing, visit local sites and islands and even go paragliding!

But please bear in mind that accommodation, meals or any activities outside the farm such as surfing are not included.


The nearest town is a couple of hours walk or a $10 taxi ride from the farm; from the town there are regular services to several of the main cities in Ecuador, as well as to nearby town and villages. All local transport is at your own cost. As standard, you will be met at the nearest town upon arrival and taken to the project (a journey of about half an hour). More information will be available in your Pre-Arrival Pack, should you choose to volunteer with us.


You should be up-to-date on routine vaccinations when traveling to any destination. Some vaccines may also be required for travel. Routine vaccinations include:

  • Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR). 
  • Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis. 
  • Polio.

Required travel vaccinations may include: 

  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis A
  • Yellow Fever

Check the country's requirements and please make sure that you have up-to-date with the vaccinations they ask for. NGO Taxi cannot be held responsible for the provision of vaccinations for their volunteers. It is the responsibility of the volunteer to ensure that they have followed up-to-date medical advice.


In Ecuador, you are granted a 90 day visitors visa upon entry to the country, and it is possible to get a visa for an extended stay (90 more days) once you are here only with your passport. If you want to stay more than 180 days, you have to get a temporary resident visa, as a volunteer, a student, or a professional. These require certain type of documents you will have to bring from your own country, so if you are planning on staying more than 180 days, you have to plan ahead.


Start Dates: 
1st and 3rd Sunday each month. 

Individual Start Dates:
+ € 150,00 – Start your placement any Sunday of the month.
+ € 250,00 – Choose your own start dates and change them up to 3 times before your trip.

€ 1099,00 – 1st month
€ 1049,00 – 2nd month
€   999,00 – 3rd month, and after.

There are special prices if you want to come and volunteer with a partner or friend. Please contact the organisation.


"This was an experience of a lifetime! From the owners to the local workers, kitchen staff, and other volunteers – the entire community is full of love and hard-working individuals. We volunteered for 5 weeks and learned so much! Harvesting in the garden, composting techniques, learning how to make jewelry from natural materials, and how to clear the fields ready to prepare for planting. Every day was different and exciting – we were able to go on a lot of hikes in nature and enjoy relaxing downtime, as well as working hard. The food was one of the best aspects of the entire visit! The all-organic and vegetarian-based food was incredible and showed us that we don't need to eat meat to feel satisfied. The ladies that work there are super nice and friendly, even letting us help bake chocolate pan, and make harvest salads all together. The accommodations were authentic – bungalows right in the middle of the jungle! Simple yet plenty of comfort. On the weekends, we would arrange a taxi to the beach for a fun beachside day or two. We surfed, ate ice cream, and went swimming in the waves. Overall, we highly recommend a volunteer stay here for anyone wishing to get a taste of alternative living, surrounding yourself with beautiful nature and people, and learning how to work with the land to produce and sustain our lives."

Ashley & Chris Drake, USA

"A holistic, sustainable, tourism experience! The entire area has been transformed into an oasis through years of work. Working as a volunteer/intern is very fulfilling as you are aware of exactly what you’re working towards. That can be work in the field or in the kitchen, accompanying other tourists, in the "office" or just where the owners need help. This project is probably unique in Ecuador. You are consistently valued for what you do there. You get along well with the employees who come exclusively from the village (which is social sustainability). I could write a lot more and rave about it, because I had a really good time there. And I recommend everyone who has the opportunity to volunteer at the farm!"

Christian Buthmann, Germany

During your time in Ecuador you will learn many things. You will find out how little you actually need to live simply and happily. There might be things you like and find interesting, but there may also be things you don’t like, don’t understand or that frustrate you. Don’t worry, it’s all part of your learning experience and of broadening your horizons. Make the best of it and see it as a wonderful opportunity for mutually beneficial exchange; you learn from others and they learn from you.

We at NGO Taxi hope your overall experience at your project will be a positive one and will give you a multitude of new skills to take into your future career.
You will find that in Ecuador, things don’t always go as planned and it can in general be very slow and disorganized. We would therefore ask that if you decide to take on this project with us you stay positive, patient, and flexible, and take it as a learning opportunity and a chance for you to become familiar with a culture so different from your own.

We look forward to receiving your application and hopefully, you can join us as a helping hand on one of our volunteer placements soon!


NGO Sustainable Living

NGO Taxi


Sustainable Living Project Ecuador


Community Projects


Community development, Farming & Agriculture

Included with this course
  • Food included
  • Airport pick up

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