At the Hacienda in Cayambe we offer a place for volunteers who would like to train horses and join trail rides. The hacienda is located very beautifully in the slopes of the Cayambe volcano.


This is the first blog of our volunteer Elke

I am Elke, the volunteer for Ecua Horse Rides and am currently living at Hosteria Papagayo Norte in Cayambe.
Let me tell you something about me: I am 22 years old and a student in Groningen, for the past semester, I studied in Berlin and in February, I am finishing my bachelors degree in International Business at the university. As a child and teenager, I was always busy with horses and horseriding, when I moved out to study, I stopped with horseriding.
When I finished my studies in Berlin, I travelled for a month in Europe where I met a lot of interesting people and came to know about workaway.info, after this time Europe, I was looking for a adventure. I found the volunteering position in Cayambe on workaway.info and I took it! Three weeks after this decision, I landed in Quito where Rebecca picked me up from the aiport and now I am here.
On the first day, I immediately went on a horseride with the other volunteer tourguide Kirsten and three American girls and it was amazing: the view, the horses, the weather. Ecudaor is really amazing! Horseriding here is very different from what I am used to, the roads are terrible and sometimes very steep. But everything which is different from what you know, helps you grow and collect more knowledge.
The second day, I went with Kirsten and the manager of the Hosteria to Oyacachi, which is a indigenious village on the border of the Amazone and the Andes. We drove through an amazing national park to find fantastic, relaxing hot springs. We took our chance: for only 5 dollars we rented a bathing suit and got entrance to the hot springs!

This sounds all very fantastic, however the first week was not that easy as it sounds, apart from Canada, I have never been outside Europe and the fact that most people don´t speak English, made it hard for me to communicate and feel home. Also the altitude (3000 meters) took a lot of energy from my body. My body and my mind needed some time to adjust to the Ecuadorian life, which is ofcourse very normal.
Now I am here for almost two weeks and I love it! Communicating with all the people here is still hard for me, but I am learning! The different guests from all over the world make it such an interesting time here and above all, I am learning a lot about the Dutch culture: the Dutch people are for instance very direct, considered quite distant and maybe a bit rude which I never really realised until I was here.

In these two weeks I did several horsetours and I went with one moutainbike–downhill tour from the vulcano with also was really cool!
We have lot of guests staying at the hosteria who will climb the vulcano which is pretty hardcore! At this moment, I am fit enough to do this but maybe at the end of my stay here, I can try! Who knows!

Elke’s second blog

Four more weeks to go for me!
I already know for sure I am coming back to Ecuador, this country has something which I cannot describe but it makes me feel happy! The nature is amazing. I went to Banos two weeks ago and had the time of my life there. Did the crazy San Fransisco bridgejump which was definitely the most scary thing I ever did in my life but it was worth it, what an adrenaline rush! Furthermore I went canyoning, did the route de Cascadas where I saw the Rio Verde waterval which is breathtaking big and strong and so beautiful.
Everything in this country is just so beautiful that even sitting in the bus for 5 hours is nice to do.
We had a busy time with the horserides which is good! I went on a campingtrip in the middle of nowhere which was amazing! The horses were just walking around the tents all night and it was so cool to sleep under the stars.
The people love the horsetours it and for it is such an awesome experience to be a tourguide, people really depend on you being good at what you do, you have the responsibility to be calm, relaxed, attentive and informative. The best thing so far was a lady who was really scared of horses in general, in the end she was relaxed on the horses and it made her so happy. For her, it was such a big step to make and I am proud I could help her overcome her fear. I learn so much doing this job and I know this experience will be of importance for the decisions I will make in the future. I am so glad I decided to do this and I actually regret booking a round flight but hey, I am young and after my bachelors’ I am sure: I will come back to this amazing country.