Conservation & Community support

25 Mar,2013

  • Cabañas San Isidro maintains a vital role as one of the front-runner son Ecuador 's east-slope with respect to tying to get her land acquisition and protection projects, serious biological research, community involvement and world-class nature tourism in one of the most ecologically sensitive and important zones that the country has to offer.

    San Isidro Lodgeserves as the major nexus in the Cosanga Valley that links the Antisana and Gran Sumaco Reserves by way of a wide and splendid flat montane forest reserve; flat forests in the Andes these days are hard to come by since much of this habitat type has been converted into pasture.

    San Isidro Lodge (throughthe Napo Andean Forest Foundation) works closely with local governments and the most influential local and international conservation organizations - including World Land Trust and Fundación Jocotoco - and has set in motion an alliance that is quickly turning the San Isidro/Cosanga region into a model for serious, large-scale Andean land and biodiversity preservation. More recently San Isidro has worked closely with Biocomercio and GIZ to help make the reserve more sustainable with community projects designed to benefit everybody involved: the lodge, the locals, and the forest.


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  • The key to the real success of any conservation or tourism project is community involvement. San Isidro employs locals from the nearby towns, which in turn serves as an on-the-job training process in many fields, from meal preparation

    and hotel operation, to naturalist and bird guiding. Cabañas San Isidro - with strong support from Biocomercio and GIZ - has been developing various projects to help reinforce its 1,900 hectare ecological corridor over the past year developing various projects to help reinforce its 1,900 hectare ecological corridor over the past year ; the keynote project being the creation of an interpretive trail on a portion of the reserve. The primary goal of the trail is accesible envirnomental education, to be made available to many groups, such as local school groups, and Ecuadorian and foreign tourists alike.

    Another equally important facet of the project includes indepth, multi-faceted training courses based at the lodge that involve not only the employees of the lodge, but also anybody from the surrounding communities. By hiring professionals such as chefs, bilingual naturalist and birding guides, artisans, the participants have the opportunity to learn from the best in their fields, giving them eco-friendly, alternative ways of making a living while raising their standard of life. Having also sponsored several training courses specialized in guiding, some of Ecuador's best known local guides have emerged from such efforts in recent years.


    It is our goal that these projects will work in symphony and offer important tools that increase the overall awareness level with respect to the need for conservation in the zone, as well as raise the living and service standards of the locals. At San Isidro, there has already been a noticable and fresh change in the all of these areas.

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    If you are looking to spend some quality time in Ecuador, immerse yourself a bit more into the Spanish language and local culture, and help out with one of the lodge’s many projects, our volunteer program might be right up your alley.

    Working Schedule: Eight hours per day, with two days in the middle of the week free. We need the volunteer to be the host/manager on weekends and holidays when our administrator has time off.

    Accommodations: Double room with shared bathroom. If there is no other volunteer at the time (usually not!), the room would be just for yourself.

    Meals: The volunteer will eat the staff meals which always include protein, vegetables and carbohydrates. If you wish to bring your favorite food, you are welcome to do so and prepare it yourself. Your bar bill will be calculated separately at a discounted rate.

    Tasks: Naturalist guiding when there are guests that require this service. If you have birding skills or training in tropical biology, even better!. Be the host/manager during weekends and holidays, help the administrator attend the guests, help us with any project such as monitoring the hummingbirds at the feeders, training antpittas, monitor the motion sensor camera traps, work in the orchid garden, etc. Teach basic English to the staff two hours per week, if possible teach English to the kids in the Cosanga school two hours per day (this depending on your abilities and desire to help the community, but we understand if your interest is mainly in natural history and would rather help only at the lodge. Other possible tasks depending on your abilities: Carpentry, general maintenance, garden and trail maintenance, reforestation projects, develop research projects, develop computer programs that might help us be more efficient, teach the staff computer literacy.

    Of course, we are open to suggestions as well, so if you have a special skill or talent that yout hink might contribute to our efforts, let us know!

Information for volunteers

In order for any stay to have a real impact, we are looking for volunteers who are willing to stay for a minimum of one month. We can only have one or two volunteers at a time, so it is better to apply for this if you are already going to be in Ecuador and not make a special trip for this, unless you are already familiar with what we do and where we are.

The cost for each volunteer is $200 per month. We require strong English and basic Spanish language skills; any other language skills might also come in handy a well. Applicants must be at least 20 years old.