Volunteer

Las Tolas

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Who can volunteer?

Do I need to be able to speak Spanish?

What is the minimum volunteer stay?

What will my home-stay be like?

Do I get free time?

What amenities does Las Tolas have?

Is the community safe?

What happens in case of an emergency?

What about special diets?

What will the weather be like?

What about the water?

What is the weather like?

What should I bring?

How much spending cash should I bring?

Where exactly is Las Tolas?

How do I get to Las Tolas?

What health preparations do I need to travel in Ecuador?

 

Who can volunteer?

Anyone can volunteer in Las Tolas. Solo travelers, groups and people or all ages and backgrounds are welcome in Las Tolas.

 

Do I need to be able to speak Spanish?

Las Tolas is a Spanish speaking community, so the more Spanish you know, the more you will get out of your experience. The community has hosted volunteers with all levels of ability.

 

What is the minimum volunteer stay?

The minimum stay is one week.

 

What will my homestay be like?

All volunteers are provided with their own room and bedding. Homes in Las Tolas have 110V electricity (the same as in the United States). Bathroom facilities are typically in a free-standing, separate room behind the house with running water, a sink, toilet, and shower or bathing area. Laundry is done by hand.

 

A telephone for international calls is available at a store in Las Tolas.

 

 

Do I get free time?

Absolutely. Weekends are always work-free, and your volunteer schedule during the week is very flexible.

 

What amenities does Las Tolas have?

Las Tolas has land-line telephones and receives cellular signal from service providers Porta and Movistar. There are a few family run stores with basic supplies, and one store has a telephone capable of making international calls (Cost: 40 cents/minute). There is a restaurant in town run by a wonderful woman named Hermenia, which is open at the weekend....trying the delicious pinchos is a must!

 

There is a nurse that lives in town, and a medical dispensary. The nearest hospital is in Nanagelito, approximately 20km from Las Tolas. Emergency vehicles have rapid access to Las Tolas, and there is an emergency police radio.

 

Las Tolas does not have a bank or an ATM, and the town is not equipped to accept credit cards. Make sure you bring enough cash, or make plans to travel to the nearest bank (more than one hour away). It´s also a good idea to bring plenty of small bills because most businesses in rural Ecuador cannot make change for large bills.

 

Las Tolas has Internet access - Rosario's Internet Cafe is located at the top of the main street and costs $1 per hour.

 

In Quito, you will find the full range of products and services that you would expect in an large, internationally-traveled, metropolitan city. Quito is about 2.5 hours from Las Tolas via bus.

 

What happens in case of an emergency?

There is a nurse that lives in town, and a medical dispensary. The nearest hospital is in Nanagelito, approximately 20km from Las Tolas. Las Tolas is equipped with an emergency police radio. Emergency vehicles have quick, easy access to Las Tolas.  The Las Tolas Centro Groupo de Tourismo, and your host family, do not legally accept responsibility for volunteers. Volunteers participate in all activities at their own risk.  We recommend that all volunteers have their own, comprehensive travel insurance.

 

Is the community safe?

In a word, yes. Crime is unheard of in Las Tolas, and the community is extra sensitive to the needs of international travelers. All volunteers accommodations are private, have locks, and are further safeguarded by the host family.

While the majority of people in Ecuador are extremely kind and helpful, like any other country in South America, volunteers should exercise caution when traveling in other cities in Ecuador – especially at night and in Quito where international travelers are often targets for petty theft.

 

What about special diets?

Vegetarian and lactose intolerant diets can be accommodated. Past volunteers have been very pleased with vegetarian and lactose-free meals in Las Tolas. If you have special dietary needs, please notify the community before you arriv

 

What will the weather be like?

The weather in Las Tolas is magical and always changing because you are in the cloud forest.  There are two main seasons:  Summer is between June and October and the temperatures are generally between 15 and 25 degrees; Winter is between November and May with temperatures between 13 and 20 degrees.   February, March and April are generally the wettest months.

 

What about the water?

Families that host volunteers are experienced, and conscious of the needs of international travelers. Ozonified (boiled) water is always available for the volunteer to drink, and all meals and beverages are prepared with ozonified water. Bottled water is also available for purchase at the store in town.

 

What should I bring?

• Flashlight

• Binoculars

• Camera

• Raincoat

• Rainboots

• Layers for hot days and cool nights

• Comfortable shoes or mountain shoes

• Hat or beanie

• Bag or small knapsack to use in the field

• Bathing suit

• Sandals

• Insect Repellent

• Toiletries and personal products

• Any special medication that you may require

 

How much spending cash should I bring?

$5 per day is plenty. You can definitely get away with less, or spend more if you go on day-trips to other communities or like to treat yourself to lots of snacks and beverages from the store. Use your best judgment. It´s also a good idea to bring small bills ($1 and $5 bills) because most businesses in rural Ecuador do not have enough cash on hand to make change.

 

Where exactly is Las Tolas?

Las Tolas is located in the Highlands of the Andes Mountains in the Cloud Forest. It is in the northwest region of the Pichincha province, 76 km from Quito, on Calacali- La independencia Avenue. The nearest town is Tulipe, 6km below Las Tolas on a steep, but well used dirt road.

 

How do I get there?

You should plan on starting your trip to Las Tolas in Quito. Take the Las Minas bus from the Ofelia bus station (also known as the “Mitad del Mundo” bus station) in Quito going to Nanagelito-Las Tolas. Any taxi driver in Quito can take you to the Ofelia bus station (typically about $5 from New Town). Your host family will be waiting for you at the last stop. There is only one bus per day. You can buy a ticket in advance at the bus station, or pay on the bus.

Bus Station: Ofelia (in the North part of Quito)

Bus Operator: Las Minas

Destination: Las Tolas

Cost: $2 one way

Departs Quito Everyday: 5:30 p.m.

Arrives in Las Tolas Everyday: 8:00 p.m.

Departs Las Tolas Everyday: 6:30 a.m.

Arrives in Quito Everyday: 9:00 a.m.

 

 

What is the weather like?

The average temperature oscillates between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius, which goes well with the warm humid climate that is characteristic of the Cloud Forest at 1,800 meters above sea-level. The weather here is temperate, but the UV rays are strong because of the elevation. Summer, or the dry season, is August through December, and winter, the wet season, is January through July.

 

What health preparations do I need to travel in Ecuador?

Consult your doctor or the International Health Clinic in your hometown for the most recent vaccinations recommended and/or required to travel in Ecuador. You may or may not need a malaria prescription, but please tell your doctor that Las Tolas is located at 1,800 meters above sea-level.

 

SDC18558_2

Do you know what this symbol represents?

 

This is the original mark of the Yumbo people.

Las Minas bus rucksack

Frequently Asked Questions