Thanks for your interest in our work-stay program. Please read the following carefully to decide if we are the right farm stay for you.
TO BECOME PART OF OUR WORK-STAY PROGRAM, YOU MUST FIRST FILL OUT THE APPLICATION AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE.
TO BECOME PART OF OUR WORK-STAY PROGRAM, YOU MUST FIRST FILL OUT THE APPLICATION AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE.
A little about our farm:
We are an organic family farm established roughly 13 years ago. You can check out our past adventures on our blog, please contact us for the link. We are located in the wet tropics of Costa Rica where we get lots of rain, but it’s cool, we have an amazing rain forest on our property because of it.
So we have a massive property, nearly 600 hectares, well over half of it is rain forest and the other half we farm. We really wanted to be a dedicated permaculture farm at the beginning of this adventure, but we found sticking to that plan hindered our ability to cover the costs of operation. So, we try to apply permaculture design principles wherever possible/feasible. We honestly have a long way to go.
We support ourselves with various income sources like many family farms in the region. We have a rainforest in protection, backhoe and tractor for hire, full mechanical and wood working shop, rural tourism activities, sugar cane, livestock and bamboo. We try to grow most of the food that we eat; we would like to expand on this as well. We have a fruit forest, chickens, tilapia, and gardens already established.
We are looking for volunteers to help with the following:
An expansion on what I wrote above. We are looking for volunteers for our latest adventure, phase one of a sustainable tree plantation of roughly 10,000 trees. The project also includes the planting of native species for preservation. We are planting species native to the zone that are at risk of extinction, they will be selectively planted in different parts of our property where they will grow well, be protected and possibly help with erosion, but never be cut.
We need people who are interested in working on germinating seeds, caring for the seedlings and planting trees in the plantation and the native species in other areas.
Much further down the road, when the trees are established, our plantation will become dual purpose. We are planting two species of trees. One species will have cocoa planted below it and become a cocoa plantation as well. The other species will have pasture grass and serve as pasture for our livestock. Both secondary purposes should help keep the area maintained, a little ode to our intention to apply permaculture design to our projects.
We have guadua and other species of bamboo planted throughout the farm, we wish to expand on our bamboo to include curing our bamboo for furniture making. We are well read on the subject, but lack real life curing experience.
There are lots of possibilities for our rural tourism business to grow and we would even be interested in having volunteers help us with it.
As well as the above, volunteers should be interested in our regular farm life activities. We like to mix work up for our volunteers, doing the same thing every day really wears on people.
Everyone starts their day early on the farm, you will wake up about 5:00am, actual work begins at 6am and ends at about noon for volunteers, 5 days a week. Lunch is eaten after work. Weekends are yours.
What do volunteers get out of their stay?
We absolutely love where we live out here in the mountains on the road to nowhere. Life in the country side is good for the soul. Each person will have their own personal perspective of their time with us of course, but this place has lots of character to be found.
The first thing to be gained would be the experience of living surrounded by such natural beauty. We have tons of jungle and wildlife to be explored, over 22 waterfalls, a large river that comes through the farm, amazing views of the surrounding mountains, bird galore for birdwatching and on a clear sky day there is even a view of the volcano. Our 1,270 acre property includes primary forest in carbon credit protection, pastures for our livestock, sugar cane, bamboo, egg laying chickens, tilapia, fruit trees, gardens, rural tourism activities and plant nursery.
Our little village has roughly 15 houses and most of the people who live here are from the same large family. There is a small one room school house with maybe 6 or 8 students. There are more vehicles these days, but many of our neighbors still get around on foot and public transportation, we are in many ways in some semi time warp. I think all of the neighbors now have indoor plumbing at this point. We had to add bathrooms to our homes when we purchased them. Tromping through a downpour in the middle of the night to the outhouse was not going to work out.
There is an indigenous reservation way up in the mountains, they enter and exit via our farm. It’s an 8 or 10 hour hike for conditioned hikers, maybe 4 hours for the indigenous. We have some interaction with them as our farm has long been a staging area for unloading, storing and then loading materials and food to go up. We are more than happy to help. It’s tricky, you want to help, but not intrude on them. We have can arrange hikes up with the indigenous during the dry season, but’s only for the physically fit. Volunteers in the past have gone up to the reservation, it’s another world.
I will keep expanding on our profile as things come to mind that merit being mentioned, but there it is. We think it’s pretty neat for people to experience our life for a short moment in time. Here we are living in a rural agricultural village in the middle of this amazingly beautiful location. Working and living the farm life in paradise is pretty amazing all on its own.
Accommodations and Meals:
Through the wwoof and workaway programs exclusively, we offer a free work/stay exchange. We provide a tent area, tent & bag, plus meals as indicated below. The minimum stay is two weeks. We only accept those with a specific skill or experience level which would be of apparent value to the farm.
Through other programs, such as Helpx (or persons finding us through facebook, google, etc.), we offer a program with shared indoor lodging at $50 per week, with breakfast, lunch and dinner provided on working days. We can accommodate up to seven persons at any given point in time. The minimum stay is two weeks. Accommodations are rustic, but comfortable. Volunteers share a house, its public areas, bedrooms and bathroom. We have a no smoking, no drugs, no party policy. It’s a home, not a frat house.
We will provide three meals a day, fruit and homemade cakes for snacks even. Depending on the number of volunteers and the weather, you may be required to prepare at least one of your meals as a group. We are not vegetarians, but can accommodate them. Logistically we are not able to cater to vegans at this time. We will keep you well fed, but if you are accustomed to snacks and treats from home, we recommend that you bring them as we are in a remote location with no nearby stores or restaurants. We do not serve milk as a beverage, if you must have it, again you will need to supply your own and it is easily purchased in town, you can even get rice, soy and almond milk in town.
Free Time Activities:
Your weekends are yours to adventure on or off site. We can help you line up adventures to the beach and etc. if needed. While visiting our farm, you may enjoy participating in tours and small trips to various places in this beautiful country. There are adventure tours such as: rafting, canyoning (aka: waterfall rappelling), zip-lining, mountain biking and horseback riding. As well there are more leisurely tours including the: Golden Bean Coffee Tour, Guayabo National Monument (Indigenous Ruins), Butterfly Garden, Parrot Farm, Reptile Farm, CATIE Botanical Gardens, and Turrialba Cheese Tour. We are centrally located which makes quick trips to the beaches, volcanoes and national parks, very easy. Please let us know if you are interested in any of these activities and we will send you more detailed information.
June, July, August, September, November…, are our winter months. We have two seasons, low season, and high season, or they are sometimes called winter and summer. Winter is low and green. Our nights can go into the upper or mid 50’s. Days in the sun are usually warm, sometimes hot, throughout the year.
Wearing layers is a good idea. Long sleeves and long pants help you to protect your skin from irritating plants, bugs, and the sun. No matter how warm it is on the farm, we wear an old loose long sleeve shirt over a t-shirt and long pants. A hat or baseball cap is good protection for your head. We are close to the equator and the sun is intense. Other than the very “hot” look of your rubber boots, there is no such thing as a fashion show on the farm.
We are located in a primary and secondary mountainous rainforest. It rains here, sometimes very hard, often after 1pm, sometimes every day, and sometime all day long, sometimes for days at a time. We are blessed with about 300 inches of rain a year. Rain is part of our lives, Costa Ricans do not let the rain slow them down nor alter their plans much. The birds still sing, frogs start croaking and life goes on. Always think about the potential weather of the day and always carry an umbrella when going to town or rain gear on the farm. Please remember, it is a Rainforest, it is supposed to rain and the rain is vital to the health of the wild animals, forest, plants and waterfalls.
That sweet little nothing creek, can and will become a raging river in no time at all. Do not take risks when dealing with rain, run-off water, creeks and rivers and their potential for flash floods. You must respect the power of the water.
Taxis and buses are available for trips into town. A ride down the mountain to the nearest bus stop can sometimes be arranged with sufficient prior notice. A 4 wheel drive taxi from Turrialba one-way will cost around $18.00 or 9,000 colones. The bus one-way is about $1.00 or 500 colones, you will need to walk down the mountain to catch it.
In our little village there are no phone lines and although satellite cable to available in this country, these providers do not yet offer internet. So our internet is through a datacard receiver in an area that is not supposed to have coverage. Long story short, we have spotty slow internet. We will make internet available for a couple of hours in the evening so you can communicate with the outside world, but during the day it will be used exclusively for your hosts to conduct business. If you want your own internet all to yourself, you can bring or purchase your own datacard locally for $52. You will also need a sim card with an $18 monthly (no contract) pre-payment that will give you unlimited 3g internet service.
We provide a clothes washer and a dry house for hanging your laundry to dry, you must provide your own soap. You are responsible for washing your clothes in a timely fashion, it may take up to two days to dry in the rainy season. Please do not leave clothes in the washer as others will want to use it too. Don’t wait until the last minute to wash everything you own thus hogging up the drying area.
If you would like someone else to wash your laundry, laundry service is available for ($10 per load, hot air dried in the dryer). Give us a full day to get back to you – possibly longer if it’s more than a load.
Bedding is changed once a week, this is done every Monday. You will be responsible for stripping your bed and will receive clean bedding to make up the bed with when you turn in the soiled set.
Insurance Card*: Please make sure you have regular or travelers health Insurance. Have all needed information with you, and be prepared to present it in the case of an emergency.
What to bring/pack:
We have placed an asterisk (*) next to items that we feel are vital and a must bring.
Cell Phone, Laptop or Tablet for Communication
Flashlight, rechargeable or shake type preferably, if not, bring your batteries.
Reusable water bottle*
Rain gear or poncho*
Latin American Spanish/English dictionary if you are not already a fluent speaker.
Please bring at least a minimum 5 day supply* of each item of everyday clothing. To be eco and budget friendly, we line dry our laundry as much as we can. In the rainforest it can take a couple of days for your clothing to dry and with the rain, you may be changing your clothes more than once a day. Extra clothing will serve you well and keep you dry and comfortable. You will not be in a state of panic over, “what am I going to wear, everything is wet”. You will need the following for everyday use:
Long sleeve light weight shirts*
Long pants such as jeans*
Casual comfortable clothing, t-shirts*
Sweat shirt or medium weight jacket (it can go into the 50’s - 60’sF or 15’sC)*
Garden gloves and/or comfortable leather work gloves that fit you, for hand protection*
Rubber boots, you can purchase them here (a must have item, about $10.00 and up)*
A few old school red and blue bandanas, they are good for keeping the bugs and sweat off of your neck.
Something nice to wear, not fancy, just simple and nice (you never know)
River shoes for rafting and hiking in the river
Towels and wash cloths*
Toiletries, shampoo, cream rinse, deodorant, toothpaste…your favorite brands.*
A laundry bag or old pillow case for your dirty laundry*
*Special Note for LADIES: Your favorite brands of monthly hygiene products are not here, you want to come fully equipped. You may want to look into the now popular menstrual cups like the diva cup, they are fabulous for active women.
Bring your medications, allergy pills, prescription meds, Tums, headache pills, constipation meds, Imodium…, to meet your needs should problems present themselves. You never have these problems? Bring meds anyway, you’ll be glad you did. They may not be available here, they are not convenient to get when you need them, and medications are very expensive in Costa Rica. Most are sold one pill at a time. Come prepared for everything that could occur, so that you can solve your problems as needed.
Smoking: We wish for our volunteers to be smoke free. If you do smoke, we suggest that your visit to the farm may offer the perfect opportunity to quit smoking as you will be outside of your normal routine. If you must smoke, please confine your smoking to the designated smoking areas and take your used filters away with you.
Drinking: If you are age 18 and over, you may drink here. Should your drinking become a problem for others, you will be asked to leave.
Drugs: Drug use will not be tolerated.
Garbage & Recycling: We do not have municipal garbage pickup, we compost, sort, and do the right thing with our trash. Please bring a reusable water bottle, you can refill it at the farm with our pure delicious spring water. You will find the need to drink lots of water, we carry our bottles with us. Throw away plastic and batteries are a landfill problem and we do not want to contribute to the problem.
Reminders and Final Note:
Booking your flight:
Book your flight into SJO airport, San Jose, Costa Rica…others have experienced the error of accidently booking a flight to San Jose, California. Also, if possible, arrive in the morning as early as possible. Book your departure as an afternoon flight. It is a 3 hour drive if all goes well, to and from the farm. Many non-stop flights are available to SJO, they are often cheaper, safer and always faster.
Please confirm at least one week in advance which method of transportation you will be using to arrive at the farm from the airport. We suggest you take a cab from the airport to the Turrialba station in San Jose and then buy a ticket for the Directo bus to Turrialba. It leaves every hour on the hour and it is a 1 hour and 50 minute drive. From there you can take a 4 wheel drive cab to the farm. We cannot pick you up.
We require all volunteers to have regular health insurance or travelers insurance. Please confirm that you have one of the two before your visit.
We hope this information helps you to pack accordingly, land in the correct country, adjust to and enjoy to the fullest your new cultural experience in rural Costa Rica. We look forward to seeing you soon.