It is a unique experience to anyone interested in learning about the beauty of the Chocoan Rainforest, its Nature and its Culture. Volunteers with Biology, Ecology or Agriculture background and those working on Research Projects are highly encouraged to join us. Itapoa have had undergraduate and graduate students from all over the world learning and contributing their energy to Rainforest conservation and recuperation.
It is one of the top hotspots noted for its biodiversity and one of the 50 for bird life. You will have the opportunity to learn about destruction of the rainforest and work in tandem with other volunteers to reverse the ravage on the ecosystem by reintroducing native plants to once clear cut areas while making detailed surveys of the animal and plant life of the area.
You will experience wildlife in its natural habitat and learn about its delicate existence in a jungle constantly threatened by logging and African Palm plantations. It is not often that one gets to say they actually had a lasting positive impact on the earth we live on. We are looking forward to having you make that impact and join us.
Directing Field Biologist Raul Nieto speaks English, Portuguese, as well as Spanish. There are also interns from other countries so there are virtually no language barriers to volunteering at Itapoa. Neither a degree nor education in Ecology or Biology is necessary, only your interest. Whatever you will need to learn, you will learn in the jungle, as we believe experiencing right in the field is best.
Itapoa Project has 5 areas of work. Three in Ecuador and two in Colombia
- CANANDE REGION: Our largest reserve300 hectare (700 acre) deep primary forest. Our main objective there is to make inventories of the living organisms in the area, as well as, mapping it and help other Field Biologists when necessary.
-PUERTO QUITO: Our a smaller reserve of around 12 hectares ( +/- 30acres) that contains part primary forest, secondary forest, tropical crops, and a botanical garden. In Puerto Quito we have a house, electricity, running water, shower, kitchen, and refrigerator.
The duties here, include the daily checking and maintenance of fences, gardening, clearing of weeds, planting, pruning, keeping the nursery, and the tracking of mammals and birds while keeping a record of encounters with them, their foot prints or other signs. We are building an inventory of every living organism in the 2 areas. Help maintaining the cacao and coffee trees, harvest them and dry them.
The nearest town is 2 Km. away (5 min by car or a 20 min. walk) and it has all the basic services, such as, phones, internet, doctors, pharmacies, and markets with all kinds of fresh food. The largest town where you could find a bank is 45 min. away by bus, and the closest major city is Santo Domingo one hour and a half away. It is, also, 4 hours away from the capital Quito.
Volunteers are only charged a US$50 per week which helps us to pay for gas, electricity and other expenses in the house of Puerto Quito. They are also responsible to buy their own food and can cook by themselves or together with the other volunteers, breakfast is provided in the mornings with the fee. There are, always, fresh fruits from the gardens, coffee and chocolate for the volunteers.
The amount of time you dedicate to volunteering is not important though it must be a two week minimum to show commitment. Of course we love continuity, but if you have to leave earlier, we understand. Remember, you do not need to be trained to show your love for nature. It is only important to get involved and love it.
-PUERTO LOPEZ:Work at the CHOCOLATE FACTORY and Hostel in Puerto Lopez. Duties include making chocolate and other products for the project and help us with the Hostel maintenance. We provide a room with breakfast included there is no fees but donations are welcome.
-TIMBIQUI -CAUCA:This is a community work, in a unique setting of the Pacific Coast of Colombia. The area is breathtaking because of its natural beauty and culture. Help the community planting cacao and producing it.
Help young local individuals to protect a recently protected area filled with mangroves and wildlife.
They will provide shelter and meals in exchange of donations to their projects.
-CALI: Help us at our Chocolate Shop in the most traditional neighborhood of Cali. The duties include baking, serving and explaining the project to costumers. It is meant for people already in town with few free hours a day to help. Some products are provided for free, donations are welcome.
Malecon Julio Izurieta - Puerto Lopez- Manabi
Carrera 6ta 3-30 Barrio San Antonio, - Cali Valle de Cauca