Volunteer Tourism at Las Flores Resort
Volunteers assist in organic farming, assist our kitchen staff to prepare healthy recipes, work in permaculture and restoration, teach English in the local schools, help in the health clinic, work in our sustainability program, or take on any relevant personal projects in the community or at the hotel.
Our volunteer program is structured so that you get back what you put in. This is an opportunity for personal and professional growth; as such, we are looking for dedicated volunteers with an interest to fully contribute and make a difference in our local community and to our project.
+Is Volunteering Right For Me?
Are you interested in sustainable agriculture, permaculture, conservation, rural community development, health, nutrition, or simply helping to “make a difference”? Do you enjoy working outside, living in small, rural community, Salvadoran food and culture, and enjoy hot weather near the sea? If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, then volunteering at Las Flores Resort may just be the right fit for you.
Our volunteers are expected to work hard and carry themselves in a professional manner. As a volunteer, you are treated as staff, not a guest of the hotel. As such, if you’re looking to just hang out at the beach of the hotel, this experience is not for you.
+What type of work is available?
Volunteers have the choice of working in projects on hotel property (organic farming, permaculture, food preparation,) as well as in the community (teaching English or other skills, health and nutrition at the community clinic/kitchen, and working with our sustainability program).
Kitchen/Farm to Table: For those interested in cooking and passionate about making food have the option to work with our kitchen. Volunteers can just lend a helping hand or work with our chefs to create new and innovative dishes, work with the farm team and chefs to source more from our own garden and utilize the abundance that is produced on Las Flores Resort property.
Farming/gardening: Working with the gardeners/farm team will involve planting, sowing, sprouting seeds, weeding, mulching, making organic fertilizers and insecticides, tending to compost, some construction maintenance (e.g. greenhouse) and harvesting crops (and everything in between).
Permaculture: Working with the permaculture team will sometimes involve slightly more demanding physical labor such as shoveling, trail maintenance (involves working with a machete and can involve heavy lifting), removing invasive species, and cleaning/tending to water irrigation systems.
If you have another skill or knowledge that you believe would be beneficial to the community, please present your ideas to the Volunteer Coordinator. S/he will consult with community members to see what skills and/or knowledge is desired and can help coordinate your activity to see if it’s in demand (e.g. teaching yoga or another, computer skills, farming/building techniques, etc.).
Logistics about the Program
What is the schedule like?
The work day is scheduled in two shifts: from 7am to 10am and 11am to 2pm. Each volunteer has the option (not required) to develop a personal project, which can either be on the farm or in the community. These projects are to be completed after the morning break at 10am, and you can choose from a range of activities or bring your own specialized skills. Delicious Salvadoran meals are provided at 10am at the resort, and lunch is served at 3pm.
Do you host students or internships looking for research opportunities?
Yes! We have a few positions available for volunteers looking to receive professional development experience or academic credit in conservation, permaculture, ecology, or organic farming. Please email the Volunteer Coordinator for more information on these programs (email@example.com). High intermediate to advanced fluency in Spanish is required for these roles.
Do I need to speak Spanish?
To a certain degree, yes. We ask that volunteers have enough to “get by”. This means being able to have at least a casual conversation; i.e. you are comfortable talking about where you’re from, the weather, about your family, and can understand basic commands. Naturally, the more fluent you are the more you will get out of the experience.
What do I receive in exchange for my service?
Volunteers are provided with two meals per day at the hotel (5 days per week, and 1 meal on Saturdays, i.e. your working days) and shared housing with other volunteers in the town of el Cuco or some housing at the “Carpinteria” at the resort. Sunday is your ‘descanso’ (rest day) so meals are not provided at the hotel. The Volunteer House is a small house at El Cuco beach and “Carpinteria” is at the top part of the Resort property that accommodates 3-4 volunteers. Both are equipped with mosquito netting, fans for each volunteer, and a kitchenette (full-size fridge, and two electric burners for basic cooking).
How many other volunteers are there at one time?
The volunteer capacity is 4 volunteers at the same time. Depending on the season, you may be sharing the house with just one other volunteer or up to 3 others.
How much should I anticipate to spend during my service?
Cost of living at El Cuco is very low. For reference, a plate of three Pupusas is roughly about 1 USD and a beer about roughly 80 cents. The larger cities of San Miguel are naturally more expensive.
What are the benefits of serving at Las Flores Resort?
As a volunteer you will have the opportunity to contribute to a regenerative development project that is actively working to restore the land and the economic well-being of a community. You also have the opportunity for rich cultural exchange in which you can share the diversity of your home culture while also learning from the diversity of culture. Additionally, you will also learn about the diversity of your fellow volunteers and learn to respect differences while serving together. The benefits of this cultural exchange include improving language and other new skills, making new and lasting friendships, becoming acquainted with another country, its people, and its culture, and making a contribution to El Salvador’s economic development.
Is there a minimum time commitment?
Yes. We ask that volunteers commit six weeks to two months of service. (Only in some cases do we make exceptions for those with a certain degree of experience.) We found have that this is the minimum amount of time needed for both volunteer and hotel to get back what she/he put in (i.e. their return on investment). If you are taking on a special project, think about the amount of time you’ll need to complete it, and then double or triple that time (we are in Mexico, after all). Special projects are appropriate for volunteers who can commit to at least 3 months.
How do I apply?
To apply, please fill out our short online application. If you qualify, the Volunteer Coordinator (VC) will send you the info packet for prospective volunteers and other material for you to study prior to an online interview. The VC will also contact you to set up a mutually agreed time for a Skype or Google Hangout interview. After the interview you will be notified if you are accepted.
The amenities in town are basic, but we do have a small health clinic, internet connection, and public transportation to some of the larger cities.
If you have any further questions, please direct them to our Volunteer Coordinator:
Under general supervision, maintain horticulture and orchard areas at Las Flores Resort; perform general agricultural duties; and perform related work as required.
Typical Duties and Responsibilities:
Examples of key duties are interpreted as being descriptive and not restrictive in nature.
Prepare farm areas for planting.
Plant a variety of vegetables, herbs, and fruits following recognized organic growing practices.
Perform general horticulture maintenance such as weeding, watering, and pruning.
Assist with harvesting, washing and storing produce.
Assist others with various additional projects and work-related errands as needed
Be receptive to learning new methods of farming/gardening and sharing existing knowledge of farming/gardening
Develop and discuss alternative and innovative strategies for farm planting and maintenance which applies to intensive small-acreage farming
Typical Physical Demands:
This position requires typical physical demands for farm labor, such as walking, standing, reaching, stooping, squatting, lifting up to 50 lbs. and working indoors and outdoors in hot conditions on uneven surfaces.
Intermediate Spanish language ability is required. The volunteer should be able to function at a basic level in a 100% Spanish-speaking farm environment. Farm staff will assist the volunteer in improving his/her Spanish, but intermediate knowledge is necessary as a starting point.