WWOOFing Ecuador – Tungurahua Tea Room

We arrived at the Tungurahua Tea Room in the afternoon on a bus and took a quick taxi ride to the edge of town.  This was to be our first time WWOOFing Ecuador and our second WWOOF experience in Total.  The farm is really only a 10-15min walk from central Baños, but with all our stuff it would have been a long hike.  The owner of the farm, Carol, a talkative Canadian ex-pat, warmly greeted us and gave us a quick tour.  The property is a skinny pieces of land located on a hill with a front wall of sugarcane and Carol’s house resting on the top.

WWOOFING Ecuador Tungurahua
Carol’s house with the volcano in the background

The Volcán Tungurahua looks down upon the house and is usually snow-covered in the mornings.  Near the front there is a citrus garden with several very nice lemon trees and about a dozen others that grow small tangerines of sorts.  As you walk further in you will find a small volunteers’ room with a bed, a tool shed, and a locked storage room.   Following these are an open air kitchen with sink, stove, and table, then a bathroom with toilet, sink and shower.  Near the kitchen is a very nice spice and tea garden containing basil, oregano, cilantro, rosemary, thyme, lemongrass, and other lemony things used to make delicious teas.  Past the herbs there is a “spiritual circle” surrounded by flowers and such with a fire pit in the center.  If you walk even further there are two shade structures with hammocks and between them a garden of large cactus.  Under one of these we placed our tent, with another tent already under the other.  Between our tents and Carol’s house we could also find anise, lettuce, green peas, spinach, and some red potatoes once we knew what the plants looked like.  Other than that there were a few plantain trees and several avocado trees (only available if you could beat the dogs to them).

WWOOFING Ecuador Tungurahua
Segundo, the gardener, and Zach, cooking lunch

The Work – WWOOFing Ecuador

Usually we would wake up around 7am and make breakfast.  There are two other yard workers that Carol employs whom would show up around 7:30.  Carol also has two large dogs who need walking so one of the workers takes them on a hike up the volcano every morning.  The hike is very nice and terminates at a natural spring with amazing carbonated mineral water produced by volcanic pressure.  Probably the best hike you will find in Banos, Ecuador.  After 2 hours of dog walking we had tea from the garden and sometimes a snack then after tea we went to work on Carol’s projects around the yard.  This work almost always involved randoms projects such as assisting in building walls, or sweeping dirt sidewalks, or weeding around the pathways.  Sometimes we felt like we were fighting the jungle for superficial reasons and I’m sad to report that at no time during our stay did we actually do any farming.  The work was really easy though, and no one was ever looking over your shoulder telling you to try harder.  It just wasn’t farming, and we weren’t really there to push rocks around.

WWOOFING Ecuador Tungurahua
Our “home”…we put our tent on top of that platform.

Overall – WWOOFing Ecuador

We loved the location, and the work was generally easy and laid back.  However, food was not included.  Yes, whatever you could find on the farm was yours (unlimited tea, herbs, and lemonade) but most our food came from money from our pocket.  This probably contributed to our underachievement, and eventual departure when our housesitting opportunity arose.  But the property is extremely beautiful and we had a whole lot of fun there.   Just know before you go that it’s not your “normal” WWOOFing Ecuador experience.  After working on only two farms, we will continue searching for exactly what that “normal” experience is!WWOOFING Ecuador Tungurahua

Enjoy this post about WOOFing Ecuador at the Tungurahua Tea Room? Check out our archives for other adventures! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and our subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

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Tungurahua Eruption Video

So, the eruption of Tungurahua is pretty much calmed down by now (knock on wood).  We haven’t had any ash or loud booming for several days, although the volcano is still technically in “active” mode.  I think, though, that it’s time to put the Volcano Tracker to rest.  It can stay here so it will still be on the website until the end of time, but hopefully we won’t need to update it again! check the bottom for our Tungurahua Eruption Video. 

This page is dedicated to updating the world on the situation with Volcán Tungurahua in Baños, Ecuador. ____________________________________________________________

The volcano hasn’t made it’s presence felt all day, and we are hoping that it is over!

Friday, December 9, 2011

8pm:  No sounds but it did clear up, showing the volcano to still be smoking.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

5:15pm:  BOOM!!!!!!

2pm: Some rumbling can be heard from the side of town close to the volcano.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

2:30 pm.  Some small rumbles but only for a few minutes.  Very dusty in town.

11am: Still no activity, some ash blowing in town.

9am: Woke to some mild rumbling sometime in the night, but as of now all is quiet and the ash has settled.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

7pm: Volcano has been calm all day, and hopefully will continue in this fashion!

12 NOON: Baños ash making it feel like the Burning Man festival.

11am: the mayor made everyone sweep this morning which made all the dust go down the street and into the air for the next person to sweep and breathe.

10am: volcano almost quiet, Baños still in a thick fog, moderate winds not helping.  dust starts to enter our house.

9am: walk to town and find everyone there sweeping off their houses and shops. piles of ash lining the streets and most people wearing surgical masks.

8am: loud rumbles, town is in a haze

7am: wake up, volcano quiet

Monday, December 5, 2011

Here’s a quick Tungurahua Eruption Video with some of our volcano footage.  Sorry the shot of the lava is so hard to see.  Shooting in pitch black+youtube video quality=pretty hard to see it!  But if you look closely you can see some red flashes!  Also, turn your volume up because the sound is one of the best parts!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkxbBUN83Lk&list=PL0Xwb22WBKHTtaN_0PEoUncq6JL-F8t2w&index=6
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Baños Rumbles More: Tungurahua, Part II

After spending one sleepless night with the volcán erupting we ran away to the jungle for two nights and anticipated returning to a more peaceful Baños.  Once back and talking to more people we realized this thing could erupt for weeks or months, probably without hurting anyone.  We had the opportunity to housesit on the other side of town, in an area “protected” (supposedly) from the volcano.  Since we weren’t ready to give up on Baños just yet, we took the offer to stay for 12 more days.  Eruption or no eruption, we committed to staying until the 13th.  All the work entails is taking care of the crazy German Shepherd and turning the lights on and off.  However, we weren’t needed immediately after our return, so that meant two more awful nights in a tent on the slopes of The BEAST.  Every night right around dusk, Tungurahua works itself into a frenzy and by the time the sky is dark you can witness the power of nature.   BOOM with the bass as the ground shakes and the windows rattle and shake, then seconds or minutes before the next BOOM and the ground shakes again.  The sky begins to clear and you see flaming balls of molten rocks as big as your house thrown over 1000 feet in the air.  Then you feel the thump as the lava lands on the side of the mountain. Repeat over and over: BOOM rumble BOOM rumble thump thump BOOM thump thump thump rumble rumble.  This continues until after midnight when it stays quieter until you are finally asleep, then wakes you before dawn with a CRACK rumble BOOM thump thump and you scream “Why are we here and when can we leave?!?”

Once the sun came up on Friday (5 days into the eruption) I picked some tea and noticed the leaves were covered in ash. Later when we walked to town we noticed that our eyes felt dry and irritated and a general haziness had crept up in the night.  Still all the locals went about their day as normal and laughed to hear us talk about how scared we were.  That night was more of the same, relentless and stressful.  We had to get off the side of the hill!

So we survived our last two nights sleeping out and made our way to our new temporary home.  We settled in and it was, as we had hoped, much quieter.  The very top of the peak is still visible but the floor hardly ever even shakes here.  With the rumbles minimized and the added safety of being out of the lava flow zone (so they say), we began to relax for the first time since returning to Baños.  The glow is still there at night, ash still falls from the sky sometimes, and occasionally we are woken by explosions in the night, but we are so much calmer.  We were even eventually able to get some sleep!

As of 17:30 Sunday, December 4th, 2011, the Volcán Tungurahua is still erupting as strong as ever with a continuous rumble and several larger reports throughout the day.  Recently there has been a small amount of ash rain and the sun has been hidden behind the volcanic cloud.  We continue trying to stay calm in our new, safer, house, although we are still vigilantly listening for the evacuation siren and at times wondering why we agreed to stay.

Do you think we’re crazy for staying?  Should we abandon the dog and book it out of town?

PART 1

Eruption Photos

Eruption Video

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