First Person Accounts

Many visitors and volunteers arrive at Los Cedros thanks to the encouragement of friends who have come before. For those without a personal reference, here are some accounts from other previous volunteers:

Off the Beaten Track

“I came to Los Cedros to experience living in a cloud forest, far off the beaten track. It certainly is remote: the mule trek up into the mountain is one that you will definitely remember! Apart from cutting trails through the forest, the volun­teer lifestyle at Los Cedros is quite relaxed and you will have plenty of time to catch-up on your reading and writing. The reserve director — Jose — is quite a ‘character’ and he won’t need any encouragement to expound upon his views of the oil and mining companies. The wildlife is amazing and if you’re quiet enough and patient enough, then seeing monkeys in the wild is some thing that you will never forget!”

Adrian Vincent, June 2009

Confessions of a Long Term Volunteer

“My first month in Los Cedros Reserve was an awesome shock to my senses. Finding my way around the web of trails, figuring out which plants were weeds of the greenhouses, discovering delicious jungle fruits, and participating in interesting projects while getting to know the people around me filled the first few weeks with adventure and amazement.”

Sable Rose, October 2001. Read more…

A Day in the Life/All the Life in a Day

“To try and explain, in any kind of detail, the life of a volunteer at Los Cedros would be an impossible task due to the incredible amount of new experiences and knowledge gained each day. However, to describe a single day in the life is just plain unfair to you, the reader. But here I go, attempting to sum it up in a few short paragraphs. Stating this as an impossibility does not mean that I discourage you to get the feel for it though, so please, read on.”

Gretchen “Sarita” Ferrell, October 2001. Read more…

Around the Web

Special Report: Los Cedros — Biodiversity and Community

“In this privileged country there are some places that are more privileged than others. Residents of Intag know that our area, part of Cotacachi County’s subtropical region, is one of those. And even here there is a hierarchy of privilege: places that are special, very special, and extraordinary, i.e., very close to paradise. One of these last is Los Cedros, a protected forest, located in the Manduriacos River valley, also part of Cotacachi’s subtropical region.”

Mary Ellen Fieweger and Mara Neef, Periódico INTAG. Read more…

Reserva Los Cedros: Cloud Forest Reserve in Cotacachi

“Los Cedros is a place for contemplation, research and study, observing nature, relaxation and volunteering …. Hiking trails are numerous. After a good meal, shower and rest in our cabin, we realized that one day in Los Cedros would not be enough. Gary and I settled down in our beds with good books, watching the misty clouds roll softly in to envelop us until it seemed like we were in a scene from “Avatar,” high up in the sky nestled amid riotous greenery.”

Linda, March 2010. Living in Ecuador Blog. Read part one, part two, and part three.

Los Cedros Reserva Biological

“Never had either of us even dreamed of being able to live in the fantastic Ecuadorian Cloud Forest and yet, here we were!”

Denny & Sally, Febuary 2009. South America 2009 blog. Read more…

In vollen Zügen die Schönheiten der Natur genießen…!

Es ist 6.00 Uhr morgens im Reserva Biológica Los Cedros, 60 Kilometer nordwestlich von Ecuadors Hauptstadt Quito. Langsam bahnen sich die ersten Sonnenstrahlen ihren Weg über die Höhenzüge der umliegenden Berge.
Die Tautropfen auf den Blättern brechen und reflektieren das Licht auf wundersame Weise und tauchen alles in einen glitzernden Schimmer. Die Natur erwacht. Mit ihr verstärkt sich das in den tiefen Nachtstunden abgeklungene Zirpen der Grillen und Zikaden, die Geräusche der zahllosen Insekten, welche nie zuvor an ein europäisches Ohr gedrungen sind und es erhebt sich ringsum in den Bäumen und Büschen der Gesang der Vögel.

Anselm Oelze, October 2006. Travel Tips Ecuador Tours. Read more…

Reserva Los Cedros

“Only about 4% of the original beautiful cloudforest is left in this part of Ecuador and it is a good job that Jose bought up this land and has fought over it because otherwise this figure would be even lower. The devastating deforestation has led to the drastic reduction of many animal species, but this pocket of paradise still allows many species to survive.”

Mike Jones, December 2006. Rucksac monologues. Read more…

Re: Los Cedros Reserva

“It’s a lot of swinging in hammocks and watching the toucans break from canopy to canopy through the cloud mist and listening to the howler monkeys and occasionally trekking out for a dunk under the cascada. If I went back I’d probably try to repair the water line to the old middle house and set up my homestead there. And I probably could, it’s a very do-your-own-thing scenario.”

Hugh Stimson, November 2008. Read more…

“Super séjour hors du temps. Accueil chaleureux de José. Danilo super guide. Touristes s’abstenir, assez sportif et magnif.”

detjSomme, July 2009. Review on Trip Advisor.

“I am very much in debt to Los Cedros for these incredible images and memories.
I volunteered there summer ’05 and found out what real environmental work was all about.”

Brian J. Gross. See his photos.

Orchid collecting expedition to Los Cedros Reserve, Ecuador

Morley Read, January 1993.

From the Big Blue Los Cedros Guest Book

Still some Paradise Left.
Paul Heury, U.S.A.

Nature here shows itself slowly, new suprises, new insights, greater knowledge, more wonderful every day. As my first look at tropical rainforest, this has done nothing more than make we want to see more!
Mika Peck, Cardiff University

What an absolutley excellent place to pass 4 months of my life.
Peter and Ruth Semple, England

Visiting Los Cedros for the third time in as many years. I look forward to returning to what is one of my favourite places in Ecuador.
Magnus Schoeman, Lundor University

I have forgotten street lights, telephone rings and alarm clocks, I lost track of time.
Heather Kelley, Canada

After three months here I am still impressed by this forest full of life. I really enjoyed every single day – the working days, which taught me so many things, and the weekends with lots of walking, swimming, parties and all the other activitied which were just great!…I hope there will be no more threats to that beautiful place in the future – and I wish you and Los Cedros all the best.
Ricarda Miller

I walked lots of excellent trails, sweated, got soaked, waded streams, walked through spider webs, saw giant millipedes & many other things, and I’m now in love with the forest.
Evelyn Underwood, England

Deep, deep time of memory and reawakenings… may this place remain in the womb, the garden, as a source of life as the industrial machine splutters and gradually transforms. To know there is such a place is to breathe hope.
Anja Light, Australia

Thanks to the Great Spirit for taking me to this Sacred Forest. I’ll bring these special experiences to Japan for carrying the message from you. I hope our love can save this forest, like we are healed by your love.
Chaco Takino, Japan

Gracias por una experiencia tan pero tan plena e inoluidable.
Valeria Guevara, Ecuador

Thanks for sharing this fairytale. I’ve never felt this rich before.
Jennifer Roberts, Sweden

El silencio de esta roche, queroes silencio, sin no el concerto de insectos. Los Cedros te da una experenza y energias para seguir su exemplo y hacer ulgo mas por el mundo.
Micada Pena, Ecuador

Thank you, Los Cedros, for everything. I came here to get intimate with some prime Ecuadorean rainforest, to learn a little about the plants & animals, and ended up getting intimate with myself and learning a lot about myself I didn’t know or expect. Expectations are a big part of the Los Cedros experience. Mine were spectacularly exceeded, so I leave deliriously happy, and of course sad at the same time…. My joys have far outweighed my fears in the past month and are far too numerous to list. However, edited highlights are… Luxury (completley unexpected)….The luxury of time….Good company balanced with healthy doses of solitude (and no one giving me sh*t for going off on my own!)
Holly, Australia

I have spent many hours alone here – working, thinking, reading, writing… It seems that the diversity of life here encourages a corresponding abundance of thought.
Erica Carpenter, USA

April 8?/9?/2000 I love that I don’t know the date!
Nicole Hamel, Canada

These three weeks volunteering here have been an experience of a lifetime. Every morning I’ve been waking up looking out of the window and going “iwow!”. I’m happy to know that at least a piece of this kind of nature is in good hands. And no less of an experience have been all the people here…thank you, thank you, thank you.
Sini, Finland