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About Us

We are a growing team of local Ecuadorians and collaborators from around the world, brought together through a shared vision to create a meaningful, prosperous and sustainable life. Find out more about who we are and why we're on a mission to use cultural exchange in the Ecuadorian Andes.

Our Vision

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We want to see rural communities with access to quality education, healthcare and employment, while celebrating their culture and regenerating local ecosystems. 

And that these communities offer meaningful experiences to international visitors, who leave inspired to catalyse positive change around the world.

Our Approach

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As with a healthy ecosystem, we're creating a rich web of interrelated solutions to address the issues faced by this low-income region of Ecuador. Our hope is that, by creating a vibrant place to live and helping reinforce cultural pride, youth migration will reduce and the world can benefit from the indigenous wisdom of these people.

The business focusses on tourism, agriculture and pilot projects, while our foundation is works to create social and environmental impact within in the community.

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Core Team

Joshua Holmes
Founder & Director (UK)

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After falling in love with the people, culture and landscapes while back-packing ten years ago, Joshua returned to Ecuador in 2017 with a one-way ticket and a dream.


He brings 15+ years of experience in creative facilitation, eco-living, sustainable business and international project management to start El Terreno, in support of the rural communities surrounding Guaranda.

Karina Barahona
Operations (Ecuador)

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Trained as a national tour guide and bird watcher, Karina is passionate about sharing Ecuadorian culture to visitors and creating a welcoming environment during their stay.


She currently supports the project through running the kitchen and casa comunal, ensuring that volunteers and interns have full stomachs and a warm bed to sleep in.

Neiser Aguilar
Coordination (Ecuador)

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Neiser was born and grew up in Atandahua. He's passionate about helping his community take advantage of opportunities, as well as continue to grow personally.

He holds a bachelors degree from the Universidad Estatal de Bolívar (Guaranda) in business administration and several years running the family bakery!

Local Communities

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El Terreno is located 20 minutes outside of Guaranda in the village of Atandahua, which is the gateway to thousands of people in low-income, rural communities. What they lack in resources they make up for in friendliness, cultural heritage and ecological diversity.

We live and work alongside them to co-create solutions that can create long-lasting change to improve their lives and inspire visitors from around the world who are looking for more meaningful travel and educational experiences.

Professional Specialists

Sebastián Araya
Ecology & Development (Ecuador)

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Sebastián returned to his home province after many years studying around Latin America and working in other parts of Ecuador to share his knowledge to help develop the region.

He has a vast range of knowledge in ecology, agriculture, community development, and local history and culture, which he shares passionately with interns and other visitors.

The main thing that inspired me to work with El Terreno is to be in service to the interns, the communities we work with and the natural world."

Sebastián Calero
Architect Specialist (Ecuador)

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An architect who links independent professional practice with academic teaching and illustration, Sebastián seeks to rethink the relationship between architecture and landscape.


He supports El Terreno as principal architect in its restoration projects, as well as a professional mentor for sustainable construction interns.

“The province of Bolívar has been a school of training and discovery. On my travels, I have deepened my interest in discovering a map of local vernacular architecture.

Carolina Mayorga
Language Specialist (Ecuador)

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Carolina comes from the magical town of “Baños de Agua Santa” in the centre of Ecuador, where she discovered the importance of learning English to communicate with people from over the world 15 years ago.

Her passion for teaching has led her to know beautiful places and people. She now teaches weekly English classes to children from rural communities as well as Spanish to interns and volunteers.


“I am very grateful for being in this wonderful place, for its people and the children's'love that motivate me to continue my work as a teacher”

Sofía Lema
Adobe Specialist (Uruguay)

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Sofía us a ceramist from Uruguay who has taken her passion for clay into the world of construction to find new sustainable was of living and building.

She has been instrumental in the work with adobe which we have achieved both on El Terreno and the internship renovation projects in the community.

"My experience in El Terreno has transformed me. I learned other ways to share and live. The project has gifted me many good friends and lessons, and has planted a seed in me that change is possible."

Cristian Vargas
Engineering Specialist (Ecuador)

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Cristian's father is from Chimbo, not far from El Terreno. Living in Quito, Cristian has become a successful engineer with his own business that works in agriculture, construction, robotics and more.

He is involved with El Terreno to help the development of this low-income and deprived province.

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