Answers to some of your questions:
How do I apply?
Send us an email at email@example.com and we will send you a little more information and an application. After we receive your application we will conduct a telephone or Skype interview for those that wish to stay with us for longer than one month. The interview is our chance to get to know you and your chance to ask questions.
What happens next?
When we determine that you will be a good fit for our work, we will send an email with a lot of information about Ecuador and our work, policies, and procedures. There will be a contract to sign and a deposit to be made. Then you can start planning for your time with us.
How much is the deposit and why do you ask for it?
For long term volunteers the deposit is $200 and fully refundable on your arrival to Ecuador. For short term volunteers the deposit is non-refundable 50% of the cost of your stay. We ask for this to ensure that our volunteers are committed to their work with us, our work is volunteer run and we depend on you being here!
Is Ecuador dangerous?
We say no, Ecuador on the whole is not a dangerous country. Things happen all over the world and there is a lot of scary information out there about Ecuador. Our team has been living and working here for decades and we can say that the country is relatively safe. With that said we do caution volunteers to be careful in the big cities, like cities everywhere there can be some unsavory characters running around. Ecuador is a developing nation and thus carries some of the risks of such places, tap water is not safe to drink, landslides are frequent and when tragedies like the recent earthquake strike, they can be devastating. On the whole, Ecuador is a wonderful place for people to travel, the culture is rich, the people are friendly, and the food is tasty!
Do I need vaccines? or Which vaccines do I need?
Only you and your doctor know the answers to these questions. We cannot recommend the vaccines you may need for your trip. Consult with your doctor or a travel clinic and make your decisions based on your best judgement.
Do I need a visa, and how do I obtain one if so?
If your stay in the country of Ecuador is less than 90 days you do not need a visa. On entry to the country the immigration authorities will stamp your passport with a "T3" tourist visa that gives you 90 days in the country. If your stay is longer than 3 months you will need a visa. If the bulk of your stay in Ecuador is with Sustainable Roots we will be happy to guide you through the ever changing wonderful world of obtaining a volunteer visa. Toni has been through the process many times and knows all of the paperwork to get and hoops to jump through. The volunteer visa has a heavy price tag of $450 so prepare yourself for that.
How much money will I need?
This is a difficult question for us to answer. Some volunteers spend almost nothing outside of their stay in Cosanga, and some spend quite a lot! The list below is a rough guide for someone that will stay six months based on spending $200 a month. Cost of vaccinations, plane tickets, and travel insurance are variable.
Plane ticket $1000
Travel insurance $200
Travel associated with visa $50
Monthly spending ($200/month) $1200
What should I bring?
In the information package we will send a list of suggested clothing. We suggest you bring clothing for a variety of climates. In Ecuador the climate changes with the elevation. Cosanga is chilly and really wet. It rains 3-5 meters (9-15 feet) per year here so bring your rain gear and warm layers. You can purchase warm wool sweaters in Quito for $15-$20. In the volunteer house we don't wear shoes so it is nice to have a pair of slippers to keep your feet warm and cozy. Additionally, check out our wish list to see if there is anything you can help us out with!
How do I get to Cosanga?
We can help you get here by picking you up in Quito for a fee of $30. If you like to adventure you can go to the terminal Quitumbe in the south of Quito and take a bus headed in the direction of Tena. Ask the driver to leave you off in Cosanga. Once your in Cosanga just ask where you can find the "gringos" or Toni, someone will help you find the organization housing.