Testimonials

Bettina, Germany
I really enjoyed my experience on the Reserve a lot. Nothing can make up for the quietness and peacefulness in this amazing spot of Ecuador. The silence the sounds of nature, I still have them in my ears. I have enjoyed the diversity of the work I did a lot and I have been very well looked after. It was great to get to know this, the forest with its huge leaves, the amazing trees, the wildlife and new friendships. Wyndy and Luis have been lovely which rounded it up for me as a great time.

The Corbridge family, UK
Our family of 5 spent one week in July 2015 at Reserva Mundo Verde. Luis and Wyndi welcomed us into their home and we soon became good friends. We did a variety of work including milking cows, planting trees, hauling wood, digging a fish pond and picking coffee beans. Each day was different and the work was age appropriate for our 10 year old daughter and teenage boys.  After working each day we enjoyed our time in Las Tolas. We visited a sugar cane processing farm, went on a bird watching hike, and enjoyed practicing our Spanish with the people from the village. Our kids played soccer with the local kids almost every night and our daughter made several friends. The people are very friendly and we felt like family by the end of the week.  Luis and Wyndi are fantastic hosts and it was hard to say good bye to them when our week was over. I will enjoy watching their progress on their Facebook page. I am glad our family had this opportunity to volunteer at Reserva Mundo Verde.

 

Mai Trinh, Vietnam
I was a volunteer at RMV for three weeks in June 2015. The first week I was by myself, I was warmly welcomed by Wyndi and Luis (super loving and great-hearted young couple) as well as all the people of Las Tolas.  They introduced me to their day-to-day work, which was fascinating to me. I always enjoyed the morning motorbike ride to the Reserva, with amazing sceneries all along the way. And best of all, I now know how to milk cows! The working days varied, some were harder others easier, all depending on the work load. You just can’t get bored! Wyndi fed us with hearty meals of Ecuadorian starches with a Western twist…plus you get to enjoy lunches with beautiful views. I was lucky enough that for the second and third week, my boyfriend joined me; this made my time at RMV even more memorable! We started building the house on the Reserva that included a lot of hard work but were all very rewarding. During the weekend, we were free and went to the nearby Mindo, lot of fun! The time here for us flew by so fast, we cannot thank Luis and Wyndi enough for this opportunity! Muchas graciaaas!!!

 

Margot Vore, USA
I can not express how much I enjoyed my 5 weeks I spent helping Luis and Wyndi  at the beautiful Reserva Mundo Verde. Because the Reserve is in the beginning stages of being formed, there is so much that needs to be done so my presence was truly needed and welcomed. I planted about 200 trees, helped with the greenhouse, did trail maintenance in the forest, as well as many odd jobs such as moving fence lines or planting Yuca. I can’t believe that I was lucky enough to work for such a great cause! The area is so astoundingly beautiful that, once you have been here, you will truly understand why reforestation is so important in the area . Luis and Wyndi have such distinct goals for the forest and I hope to come back some day and see the progress that has been made.  This experience has truly changed how I look at the natural beauty around me and I hope to be able to share what I have learned here with those back home. This truly was an experience of a lifetime!!

 

Sara Kleinkopf, USA
I volunteered in Reserva Mundo Verde for 5 weeks in March and April, 2015. Everything about my experience was absolutely amazing! I accomplished more during my time here than I ever thought was possible. With one other volunteer, we planted nearly 200 trees, helped on the finishing touches of constructing the greenhouse, dug 4 beds for planting vegetables, planted more than 80 yucca plants, planted various vegetable seeds including lettuce, cucumber, bell pepper, zucchini, cilantro and spinach, cleared trails in the jungle and throughout the farm, and helped milk cows! Throughout my time here, I also got to know the community very well. I went to fiestas, attended soccer matches, and helped teach the local kids English. Finally, I could not have asked for more amazing hosts. Luis and Wyndi are fantastic people and made our five weeks here an incredible experience. Overall, Reserva Mundo Verde has a great vision for reforestation and ecotourism. It was an absolute pleasure to be a part of it!

 

Ryan Lenea, USA
Reserva Mundo Verde was one of the best experiences of my life. I’ve talked to many fellow travelers who have described their experiences with other, substantially more expensive programs in Ecuador that were far from fulfilling. My experience was phenomenal. This is an ideal place to go if you want to submerse yourself in the real culture of Ecuador, improve your Spanish, and appreciate a highly flexible schedule. For most of my time in Los Tolas I had a cold, and everyone was very happy to let me sleep all day if I chose to, take my meals, which were much better than what I’d had elsewhere, whenever I liked, and do whatever I felt like doing – even ride one of the villager’s motorcycles. All of the host families are extremely generous and friendly, with accents that are easy to understand if you’re working on your Spanish. The cloud forest is beautiful – I traveled around most of Ecuador and the scenery doesn’t compare to this. If you want to spend some time in South America this is the place to do it.

 

Catherine McLeish, Australia
I volunteered at Reserva Mundo Verde (RMV) for 2 weeks in January 2015. I came to RMV to do reforestation work, and together with Luis and Wyndi, and sometimes other volunteers, we planted saplings in areas that were previously cleared for dairy farming. The forest is beautiful and full of birds. Luis showed me an area of RMV that he reforested about 8 years ago, which looks almost the same as the virgin forest in the area. During my stay, I also helped with cows each day, which was fun. I stayed in the simple and friendly village of Las Tolas, which is close to RMV. My transport most days was riding in the back of the small trucks that collect each small farm’s milk each day, getting to know the other local farmers, or on the back of Luis’ motorbike – both of these were a good change from buses, trains and cars! Working in a very small team meant that I was part of the planning each day, and could suggest ways to work or ask to try things in the area that interested me, including cooking, trekking, visiting the more touristy nearby area of Mindo. The residents of Las Tolas made me welcome to experience their way of life, and Luis was a generous, knowledgeable and patient teacher. Luis and Wyndi were amazingly welcoming hosts, and it was a pleasure to work, live and learn with them. I recommend working with RMV if you want to experience a real, modest Ecuadorian farming life, live alongside lovely people away from tourism, and contribute to the reforestation of an incredibly beautiful part of the world, in a time when Ecuador as a nation is trying to contribute reforestation to the global efforts to face climate change.

 

Kirsteen Laing, Canada
I had the privilege of staying with Luis and his family for two weeks in June 2014. The family was very welcoming and hospitable. I loved getting up every morning knowing that I would be working outside and contributing in my own small way to the community. The work was varied, physical and always interesting. I also loved playing with the children when I came back from work each day. The community is situated on a ridge in the cloud forest and the views in all directions were amazing. Luis and his new wife Wyndi have been doing lots of work to develop Reserva Mundo Verde as I was able to witness when I went back to visit them for a few days at the end of November.

 

Miet Monard, France
I stayed in Reserva Mundo Verde for a week. Luis and his wife Wyndi were very welcoming and warm people. We stayed in a cute house right next to Luis’ parents. Lovely people! Just like the rest of the village. The trip to the farm every morning was an adventure. The views from the milk truck were stunning. Nature at its best! Gathering all the cows before milking was good exercise and lots of fun. We planted lots of trees and did everything at our own pace, enjoying the environment. I felt great during my stay in Las Tolas. Mentally and physically. It’s amazing how happy people can be here. Without any luxury, only the basics. We can all learn a lot from them.

 

Tina Li, USA
One of initial reasons I was drawn to volunteer in Las Tolas was that my help went directly to the community. There were no pricey international organizations facilitating the process (and taking your money). In addition, the variety of projects and the immersive experience was definitely more attractive than some of the more guided and structured programs in the region. I did not regret it – it was one of the best and unforgettable experiences I’ve had as a traveler and volunteer. Las Tolas is a small village about 2 hours from Quito and feels like a sanctuary. Situated in the middle of the cloud forest, it is often enshrouded in mist where you can’t see beyond a few houses down the road. If the setting alone isn’t enough for stay here, the projects and people are just as welcoming. Luis was the project leader and organized the volunteer schedule for the week, ensuring that we had a different activity each day. Projects ranged from farming, milking cows, making jewellery in the local artisan shop, and learning the traditional techniques of making sugar. If you want to get the experience of working directly with nature and help the community in the process, this is the perfect opportunity. Ever wonder what people do for fun in a small village in the mountains? Well, for someone who grew up in the big city, I had so much fun that I overstayed my initial project duration. What a place like this lacks in night on the town excitement, it makes up for in bonding with people who truly become your friends, who open their homes to you and make you feel like family. Hop on the back of the motorcycle to a nearby village dance or festival, weekend trips to a waterfall, a hike in the forest, a day trip to Mindo or Quito, Spanish and dance lessons, playing with the local children, all are possible here. Luis was excellent as a project leader and tour guide, often directing projects on his own farm and taking the volunteers on weekend trips. He is fun, friendly, and tireless and has the volunteers laughing the whole day, regardless of what language you speak!

 

Isiah Walker, USA
I wanted to get out and explore different parts of the world and Reserva Mundo Verde turned out to be the perfect place for me! Despite the late night arrival in Las Tolas, Luis welcomed me like family and I got started with work early the next day. My first morning there I remember waking up to the sound of roosters as opposed to the car horns like back home in Philly and thinking “What have I gotten myself into?” But the town, the people, the wildlife, and the nature all make Reserva Mundo Verde one of the most unique places to stay. I’ll always miss waking up to go milk cows and build the greenhouse along with the infectious smiles of the people. Luis is the man with the plan, and an ambitious one at that. He is a ton of fun to be around – teaching me how to dance, taking myself and other volunteers to fiestas, and playing in the community’s soccer games – but at the end of the day he never forgets his project, for he has a true dream of impacting the world and his community. Volunteering here, you feel like everything you do, no matter how small, makes a difference at the everyday level of the peoples’ lives and I enjoyed every minute of my stay. Shout out to Luis! Good luck to you bro!

Emma Swann, Australia
I volunteered with Luis in the community of Las Tolas in October 2010 and had the experience of a lifetime. Luis is a really special person and knows how to look after volunteers. He was always concerned about whether I was having a good time and how he could make my volunteer experience any better. It didn’t matter that my Spanish wasn’t at a high level, with his English and my Spanish we could communicate wonderfully. Luis is a true expert on his home environment and knows so much about the cloud forest ecosystem and it’s endemic species. His property is absolutely spectacular – a mixture of pasture and cattle and wild cloud forest. With Luis I learned how to milk a cow, build a house, clear forest paths with a machete, make cheese, work in the organic vegetable gardens, and dance salsa (well – I learned a little bit of salsa, Luis is seriously talented and a great teacher but I was a terrible student!) I also taught English to the gorgeous local kids and went on site seeing trips with Luis as a guide to nearby Mindo and the excellent indigenous museum in Tulipe. I really liked how flexible the volunteer experience was and I could choose whatever it was that I wanted to do. If you want to really get to know the locals in Ecuador and contribute to a truly worthwhile environmental project while helping the local community, I highly recommend volunteering at Reserva Mundo Verde.

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