la poza La Poza


RESERVA RIO GUAYCUYACU is a family farm at the junction of two rivers in the rainforested foothills of northwest Ecuador. Location:E 0º 13' N, 78º 55' W., elevation: 500-700 m above sea level, annual rainfall: 2700 mm.  Temperatures range between 16-31º C.  Our land includes 15 hectares of primary forest (with an adjacent 35 has. in our care, and  other large areas nearby), with remaining acreageÊin croplands, pasture and second-growth forest. The Rio Guaycuyacu flows down between steep forested cockscomb ridges, forming waterfalls and pools before it joins the Rio Guayllabamba.

Resident animals include monkey, ocelot, jaguarundi, kinkajou, tayra, agouti; spiders and snakes, butterflies and beetles. 200+ species of birds are on our list of sightings, among them four species of toucans. Characteristic plants include copal, rubber, pambil palm, tree fern, passion flowers and bromeliads.

The house
La Casa
ACCOMMODATIONS: Besides the main house there are two cabins, each with a living area and individual rooms. We have good drinking water from a nearby spring, and electricity from our small water-powered generator. There is a world-class swimming hole just 3 minutes from the house, see photo. We enjoy good food, mostly vegetarian. Meals feature farm produce, including chocolate, tempeh, and over 500 species of tropical fruits.

WHO WE ARE: We are a couple who have been living and farming in South America for 40 years. We love Ecuador and our isolated, self-sufficient lifestyle in the rainforest. We are also active in conservation and local community activities, founding members of the National Private Forests network (the "Red de Bosques")


ACCESS: From Quito, it's 3-5 hours by road in bus, then on foot or horseback to the Reserve.

Our Fruits Local Transportation


We have had scientists here doing research, and they are always our favorite visitors, giving us an opportunity to learn more about our area.

Outside the Reserve, larger areas of primary forest border us, generally at higher elevations, 500-800 meters. There is ample and comfortable indoor space for living, office work, and samples/equipment.

Cost is US$15 per day including meals.

Kids at (home) school Misty Forest

CONTACT us by using the APPRENTICESHIP APPLICATION FORM, below.  Scientists need not fill in most of those boxes, but do please tell us something about yourself and your specific field of interest here!   One of us comes to Quito about every 2 weeks. Except at those times thereÊis no way to communcate with us, so even an email response can takeÊthat long. Please contact us well in advance, and be patient.

La Madre Selva

Volunteers Making Chocolate


AGRICULTURE:Most of the 8 hectares of cultivated land at Rio Guaycuyacu is planted in fruit trees from all over the tropical world, over 500 different species. New species and varieties are constantly being added and propagated. Our interest is in sustainable agriculture, using cover crops, alley cropping, and selective regeneration. Besides the orchards and nursery, there is a vegetable garden, other subsistence crops, and ornamental, culinary and medicinal plants.

WORK: We would expect you to work in the mornings, usually with us, at farm tasks. The machete is the main agricultural tool, but farm chores are varied and include seed collection and processing (aka picking fruit and eating it!)orchard and nursery work, food preparation (making jams, vinegar, chocolate, bread, tempeh etc.), construction (often using native materials like palm and bamboo), crafts, botany and natural history, gardening. We encourage you to participate in both household and community life. Your stay could, if you wish, include some time spent living and working with any of several campesino neighbor families on their farms nearby.They raise cattle, pigs & chickens, and grow subsistence crops, and have much local knowledge and love of nature. You may also choose to work on your own projects, and you will have plenty of free time.

COMMITMENTis for a minimum of one month. Cost is $300 per month.


Sex: Male Female
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Farm or Rural Living Experience:
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Why do you want to come here?
Interests and skills:
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Date(s) you would like to come:

One of us comes to Quito about every 1-2 weeks. Except at those times there is no way to communcate with us, so even an email response can take that long. Please contact us well in advance, and be patient.