Couple Wanted for Long-Term House and Property Management and Maintenance on our Homestead in Ecuador - San Pedro de Vilcabamba

Couple Wanted for Long-Term House and Property Management and Maintenance on our Homestead in Ecuador - San Pedro de Vilcabamba

Posted: 11/18/2019 - 6:47 pm

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Live rent-free (with very cheap utilities and food costs) in paradise, in exchange for your love of gardening/yardwork/property maintenance!

We are looking for a responsible, honest, tidy, reliable, independent and nature-loving couple to manage and caretake our property and house at Finca Oasis Verde beginning sometime in December 2019 or January 2020. This is an indefinite, long-term position, minimum 1 year but 2 to 5+ years is preferable. Candidates must have or get (on their own) some type of visa which allows them to reside in Ecuador long-term, and must provide solid references. Sorry, no pets allowed, and the house/property is not suitable for children. Please read everything thoroughly and only apply and ask questions if you meet all the criteria and are a very serious candidate, as we are very busy preparing to move our lives and gourmet restaurant! Thank you for your understanding.

We are a small ecological, organic homestead and permaculture farm on .8 hectares of land, located in a peaceful rural setting in the small town of San Pedro de Vilcabamba just outside of Vilcabamba in Loja province, Southern Ecuador. It is full of fruit trees, gardens and subtropical flora and fauna, and has gorgeous views of Podocarpus National Park to the East. It is located at approximately 1680 meters (5512 feet) elevation, in an ideal climate with no need for heating or air conditioning. There are two main seasons: dry, windy season from about July to September, and rainy season from December to May. The in-between months are lovely transitional months with a mix of sun, clouds, rain and rainbows. The temperatures are generally in the 60º’s F (15-20º C) at night and 70º’s to 80º’s F (20º’s C) during the day year-round.  Spanish is the main official language of Ecuador, and of course basic knowledge of Spanish would be very helpful.

The neighborhood is close to Vilcabamba (5-8 minutes driving), yet is set in the surrounding area where it is much more tranquil. In San Pedro, a 10-minute walk away, is a local BBQ spot on the weekends, where artisanal beers are made and served. The town of San Pedro also has a few tiendas (small stores) to buy the basics but shopping is better in Vilcabamba or Loja. There is a river and trails to explore, and a trout restaurant at the end of the road up the valley in the neighborhood called Sacapo. There is parking on the property for one vehicle so those with a vehicle are welcome, but it must be a 4x4. The driveway is very steep, as is the dirt road leading up to it. Otherwise local 4x4 taxis are plentiful and can provide your transportation for only $3-4 from the property to Vilcabamba.

The house is approximately 94 square meters (1012 square feet) inside, plus an extra approximately 45 square meters (484 square feet) of outdoor covered patio downstairs and upstairs balcony off the bedroom. It is natural rammed earth construction with wood and stone accents, staying cooler in the day and warmer at night. The house comes furnished with full-size refrigerator/freezer, full-size 5 burner stove and oven, queen size bed in the spacious loft bedroom, wooden wardrobes and shelves, living and dining-room furniture and a washing machine. There is a large kitchen, pantry, dining area, large living room with a fireplace, an extra curtained-off area that can be used as an office or (temporary) guest bedroom, and a full-size bathroom with shower/tub, and a dual compost toilet system (with urine diverter) that is low-maintenance. A solar hot water heating system with back up 220 electric provides hot water, and the property has high-quality, clean and good-tasting municipal potable water, and electricity. There is elegant but secure steel security bars on all doors and windows, a camera monitoring system, and a siren alarm with indoor panic buttons. The porch has hammocks and a couch. The house is only suitable for those appreciating and using eco-friendly/biodegradable home and body products, as the grey-water goes to the yard and gardens, and the entire property is organic/chemical-free and non-smoking. You don't have to be vegetarian/vegan but we prefer that you are, and ask for no cooking of meat in the house. There is rainwater catchment and a canal above provides water for irrigation via a sprinkler system as well.  

There is a separate guesthouse on the property which ideally we will rent to appropriate, long-term tenants. There is also a small cabaña and a covered camping area, both equipped to accommodate either a single person or a couple, which were used for our volunteer program for international exchange and extra help on the farm. Use of these spaces is flexible depending on the preference and needs of the caretaker.

**Please note: I estimate general duties can be done in about 15 hours each person per week. Minimum wage is less than $2.50/hour and the cost of living is very low, so this is a very good value exchange for the house and use of the gardens. If less work is desired, this caretaking arrangement can be adjusted by paying some rent and we will arrange a part-time worker to do the extra maintenance. We are also happy to have you continue the volunteer program for extra work hands as well.

List of general duties:

*Weeding all gravel paths, along rock borders and around trees/plants regularly, cutting back dead canna lilies, using weed material as tree mulch

*Weedwacking everything in between permanent plants

*Picking up fallen fruit to use or compost

*Managing sprinkler system (from high canal) during dry season, or watering from catchment cisterns if no irrigation canal water

*Paying your water bill monthly in San Pedro Municipal Building (should only be $2.50 per month with normal usage)

*Paying your electric (monthly automatic payment available), $10-25 average depending on your usage

*Managing your own propane (used for cooking only, a tank that lasts months is $3) and internet as desired

*Emptying your urine barrel when needed, and using (diluted 10:1) to feed the trees

*Meeting (and possibly helping) beekeeper to check on bees and harvesting honey when needed, every 3 months or so

*Skimming brown or extra water plants off pond when needed (pond should remain at least 1/3 uncovered water), use as mulch

*Keeping house in clean and good condition


*If you like, receiving and orienting volunteers (the work they provide greatly outweighs the oversight they require, giving you less work to do, and I can initially continue to coordinate their stays)    

*Ideally continuing to maintain and use garden beds and greenhouse, which will provide you with food

*Harvesting coffee, sun drying, and husking with grinder to get green beans or just selling dried beans

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