"I knew I wanted to go somewhere in South America, but had no idea where until I saw the Las Tolas website. That alone
convinced me that Ecuador was where I wanted to spend my summer! I ended up spending a month in Las Tolas and a
further month travelling around Ecuador, and had an amazing time. Living with a family in Las Tolas was wonderful - I felt
like I was really getting an insight into Ecuadorean life. I spoke lots of Spanish, tried loads of new things (not many of my
friends have actually milked cows!) and loved the cloudforest scenery. All in all, an incredible experience. "
Meg - UK
"This was such a fun experience, and I couldn´t believe that despite my lack of Spanish-speaking abilities I grew so attached to the area and my host family. I loved being surrounded by such beautiful scenery every day, new learning experiences every day and a charming community that was so willing to incorporate this simple Gringo (and that term was used often and affectionately) into their labors and lifestyle."
Gerald - USA
"Our stay in Las Tolas was fantastic! It made the last week of our travel perfect! Livio and Karina were really nice, and made us feel at home. The food was good, the work was varied, and the surroundings were absolutely beautiful."
Line - Norway
"My experience in Las Tolas was more than I could have ever hoped for. The people were incredible! For three weeks, I genuinely felt like part of the community - and part of the family - of Las Tolas. I never imagined that I would learn such profound lessons in compassion, sincerity and friendship."
Brian - United States of America
"Coming to the village of Las Tolas as my first time outside of my own country, was an experience I wouldn't trade for anything. I volunteered there for three months, and at the end of that time I felt as though I had a family there. Almost a year later, I still think about them, and call them once in a blue moon. I'm already thinking about when I'll be able to come back to Las Tolas to see the people there. I'll be the first to say that volunteering abroad for a large amount of time is not an easy thing, but my host family and the friends I made there really cared for me, and helped me through difficult times. I left Ecuador wondering whom had really been helping out whom. I recommend the village as a volunteer spot for anyone eager to experience something they will not forget."
Jesse - United States of America
Read Ivan's blog about his time in Las Tolas here:
"Las Tolas, Day 1
Ok, lets talk awesome. Woke up today at 5:55 to what I thought was the sound of children screaming in Jubilation. It turned out to be about a thousand roosters crowing at dawn. Pretty awesome. It was cold in the morning, but its not even 8 now and the temperature if perfect (hace fresco). What was the first thing I did? Even before breakfast? Learned to ride a motorcycle, on a dirt road, in the cloud forest. I don't think I can convey how awesome this was....."
Read Emma's insight into life in Las Tolas on her blog:
"Today I worked in the Artisaneas shop with Mariana and Rene. It’s a great story they have as to how the shop started – years ago Rene worked logging trees in the forest, apparently back then there was quite a bit of wealth in Las Tolas from the logging. One day Rene found a seed pod of tagua (which when you carve it looks and feels like ivory) and he took it home and carved a tiny shoe. From that moment on he decided that he would stop destroying the forest and instead dedicate his work to making jewelry and beautiful things from the seeds and wood that the forest has to offer..."