Rainforest Reserve

Welcome to the Rainforest reserve between Santa Marta and Minca! Since 1993, the NGO has been passionately fighting for the restoration of the tropical dry forest in Colombia. The project not only offers a variety of initiatives for ecological restoration, but also places great importance on the well-being of the people in the region. As part of the team, you will not only explore and experience nature, but also actively contribute to the protection of the forest. Collect plant seeds, raise seedlings and plant trees while supporting local communities in sustainable agriculture. The daily tasks range from tree care and reforestation to monitoring the Flora and fauna and the maintenance of the communal facilities. Those who choose to participate in this project are immersed in a vibrant community characterized by mutual respect, cooperation and a strong environmental awareness. This project offers a unique opportunity to experience nature intensively and make a sustainable contribution to the environment. Contribution to protect our Planets to perform.  

Quick Facts

Type of program
Nature conservation project
Program location
near Santa Marta
, Colombia
Working hours
approx. 5 hours per day, 5 days per week
Program start
Every 1st Saturday of the month
Minimum age
18 years
No knowledge
Openness, sense of community, closeness to nature, spirit of adventure
Jungle, Rural
Multi-bed room
German-speaking contact person via WhatsApp
Mobile Internet and WLAN subject to availability
Multi-bed room
Base price 1st program: 960,00 €
Extension month: 390,00 €

Project description

The NGO for the conservation of the forest in the mountain region between Santa Marta and Minca was founded back in 1993 on the initiative of several environmental experts. The vision of the project is the restoration of the special ecosystem: the tropical dry forest in Colombia. As a result of years of deforestation, some animal and plant species in the dry forest ecosystem are on the red list and threatened with extinction. The local foundation is dedicated to scientific research, nature conservation and environmental education in order to preserve the unique biodiversity of the region. The aim is to increase knowledge of local ecosystems, promote sustainable practices and raise environmental awareness in the surrounding communities. Every day, work is done to protect the local flora and fauna, promote high-quality scientific research and empower future generations to become passionate defenders of our natural environment. The project strives to create a world in which nature and human communities can live together in harmony, valuing and protecting the richness of life on earth. Through research, new and innovative ways to help both the local people and nature will be found. 

Since the organization's 30 years of existence, all kinds of projects related to ecological restoration have been launched, such as sustainable agricultural systems, environmental management plans, rural development projects, human ecology research, cultural anthropology, spatial planning for community development, tree planting projects and landscaping with native plants. 

However, it is not only the well-being of nature, but also the people of this region that is very important to the employees. They want to promote the exchange of knowledge with the local community and environmental education so that the locals receive help and methods on how they can farm sustainably and thus conserve water resources and soils. 

The NGO relies on the help of a few local employees and volunteers to take care of the major task of reforesting the forest with native species, launching educational projects and promoting research. Your support in collecting plant seeds, raising and planting trees is therefore needed! In the project, you can become part of a family community and get to know the dry forest ecosystem in all its facets. 

To take part in the project, you should love being outdoors all day and enjoy hiking. You will live in the middle of nature, away from civilization, but in a family-like community with the other residents. A harmonious community is very important, all decisions are made together and everyone has a say. You should also be open to an alternative and minimalist way of life, away from consumer society. Please be aware that you will spend most of your time outdoors and in nature. The physical work can be very strenuous and sweaty in high temperatures. In return, you can expect a warm community and an experience that you will certainly never forget! 


Your tasks in the Rainforest Reserve are varied and change depending on the season and day of the week. Depending on the season, tree seeds can be collected, grown and planted. For example, trees are usually planted in the rainy season (April to November). Once a week, the group decides which tasks will be carried out in the coming days. Of course, the volunteers also have a say in this and can contribute their own wishes and ideas.  

The volunteers' general tasks include collecting plant seeds and maintaining the tree nursery, Planting trees and reforestation (in the rainy season), monitoring of flora and fauna, Maintenance the hiking trails and facilities in the reserve. 

In the Nursery you can water the seedlings, germinate seeds, transplant and remove weeds to grow the plants until they can be planted. Also take part in the Self-sufficiency of the reserve. You will help with the cultivation of local fruit and vegetables and the processing of fresh food for cooking in the accommodation.  

In addition to the Observation and documentation the native animal and plant species, the recovery of the stream is also measured, for example. You can measure the water level, the water temperature and the humidity.  

In the Rainforest Reserve, the Community and all tasks relating to the project and the Household are done together. All employees and volunteers therefore devote around 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, to the tasks listed. In addition, there are around 3 hours a day for cooking, shopping, cleaning and washing together. It is compulsory for all residents of the reserve to take part in the housekeeping tasks. This includes, for example, transporting the shopping to the reserve. You have two days off per week, which are discussed each week. 

Program location

Santa Marta and surroundings

The project is remotely located in the middle of nature in the mountainous region between Santa Marta and Minca. The project site and Santa Marta are separated by a 30-minute drive through the forest. If you continue east along the coast from Cartagena, you will reach the small town of Santa Marta after just a few hours. In contrast to the hustle and bustle of Cartagena, Santa Marta is smaller and enchants with its very own colonial charm. It was the first Spanish city on the American continent to be founded by the colonial rulers and the cathedral is one of the oldest in Latin America. From the city, you have a great view of the snow-capped mountain peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, an imposing coastal mountain range that rises up to 5,775 meters, just 50 kilometers away. 

The mountainous region towards Minca enchants visitors with its relaxed atmosphere, breathtaking landscapes and diverse nature experiences. Located off the beaten tourist track, Minca offers a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the big cities and a return to nature. Surrounded by lush rainforest and spectacular waterfalls, the town offers numerous opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, bird watching and trekking. There you can discover the fascinating flora and fauna of the region and refresh yourself in the clear mountain streams and waterfalls. Participating in the project is a unique opportunity to experience the untouched beauty of the Colombian mountain landscape, far away from mass tourism and surrounded by fascinating diversity. Whether you are interested in outdoor adventure or simply want to enjoy the peace and serenity of nature, the region promises an unforgettable experience for anyone looking for a real getaway. 

From Santa Marta, you can take a cab for about 30 minutes towards the mountains. From the main road, the last stretch to the project site must be done on foot, as there is no paved road. It takes about 25 minutes on foot to reach the accommodation. Only horses and donkeys can help carry the luggage. So get ready for a very special outdoor experience! 


You do not need any special qualifications or experience to work on this project. It is only important that you have a desire to learn and are open to a special culture, people from all over the world and an alternative way of life. You should be motivated, work well in a team and be willing to share your living space with other people. You should also be in good physical condition, as you will be on your feet all day and hiking a lot in the mountains. In return, you can expect a unique community, a life in breathtaking nature and, above all, a lot of fun at work. You also live in the midst of nature, so the facility, which is far removed from civilization, only has simple standards and rustic accommodation. A true adventure! 


The national language in Colombia is Spanish. You need not mandatory Knowledge the Spanish languageto participate in the program. However, basic knowledge is extremely advantageous, as not all employees speak English and it is therefore easy to get lost.he communicate can. At the same time it is the perfect place to enjoy the language better, as you live very closely with locals. If you do not yet have any knowledge, we recommend that you, a language course at the beginning of the trip, which we are happy to organize for you. organize yourself. Especially during dinner, the Residents of the project mostly in Spanish and it will enhance your experience even more if you they understand can. Your language skills will also improve in a fun way on site.  

Accommodation and meals

You live in simple and rustic accommodation directly on the project site, in the middle of nature. The family that mainly looks after the project lives in the reserve and the house offers space for up to 8 other people. As a volunteer, you will sleep in a shared room with mosquito nets on the beds. The toilets and showers are located in separate huts outside. You have a direct view of the jungle from the toilet and shower. The kitchen and communal areas are also outdoors and only covered, so it is normal for animals and insects to be found there.  

The accommodation is very rustic and equipped with the bare essentials, but you soon realize how little you really need to live. The residents are encouraged to use as little water and electricity as possible in order to conserve resources. Electricity is generated using solar energy and there is Wi-Fi on the project site. 

Meals are included five days a week, but everyone in the project is expected to help with cooking, washing up, shopping and cleaning. The meals are usually vegetarian, but you can buy and prepare meat at your own expense. There is no washing machine in the project; washing is done by hand. 

To get to the reserve, you have to walk 25 minutes through the forest from the main road. It is a steep uphill walk, so you should be good on your feet and bring sturdy shoes.  

Contact person

Jan is German and has been living in Colombia for six years now. After a long journey through Latin America, he stayed in Cartagena. He has traveled all over the country, but Cartagena and the entire Caribbean coast are his jewel. He can't wait to welcome you there and show you the Colombian culture. His girlfriend is Colombian and originally from Bogotá. Jan has German roots, so he understands both cultures very well and speaks both languages fluently. Jan has been running the Café de la Mañana in Cartagena's old town for 2 years. Take a look, it's worth it! Jan also works in tourism and is therefore our local expert to show you the city, its history and all the highlights. He will be happy to answer your questions about the country and traveling in Colombia.
Jan will look after you during the introductory event in Cartagena. If you have any questions during your stay in Latin America, a German-speaking contact person will be available to you via WhatsApp in the same time zone.

Man who laughs

Services and prices

Multi-bed room
Base price 1st program: 960,00 €
Extension month: 390,00 €

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