During our summer months of December through April, we have limited openings for direct work-trade volunteer staff for people with applicable skill-sets. We have a four-month minimum stay for volunteers, starting on December 1 through the end of March. If you have one of the skill sets listed below, and feel that you would be a good fit, please fill out the form below.
Work and Learn With Us
We have had great luck and good fun with almost every one of our volunteers in the past, attempting to match our work needs with their abilities and interests. We aim to make the experience as healthy and rewarding as possible for all parties. Ranquilco is an out-of-time place, wonderfully remote, and the work offerings reflect the time-honored gaucho and ranching values.
Everyone participates in all aspects of community living, from helping with the horses, milking the cow, cooking and cleaning, and chopping firewood. We expect our volunteers to relax on the techno front, to respect our hard-working gauchos by working well alongside them, and to contribute to the community positively and proactively.
We do not operate on a fixed schedule; workdays fluctuate with the comings and goings of guest groups and the various happenings around the ranch. We do work long days, but follow the tradition of the siesta, often breaking for several hours during the hottest part of the day. Ranch activities sometimes dictate that we begin our work in the very early morning, or work beyond nightfall. Flexibility, motivation, and stamina are a must. We make sure the work is balanced by time off to rest, ride, and explore.
Volunteer staff will be housed in the rustic volunteer bunkhouse in a shared room, with a shared kitchen and bath. Meals will be prepared and shared communally. All volunteers bring their own sleeping bags and towels–a simple laundry machine is available at the volunteer house.
There are no phones and limited Internet at the estancia. We have a satellite email service that is available during certain hours and for a limited amount of time. We encourage you to plan on primarily being away from communication during your stay here.
Horse riding guides:
Horses are a daily part of life at Ranquilco. Applicants must have solid experience with horses, preferably with a background in guiding inexperienced riders. Outdoor leadership experience is a big plus.
We are looking for a skilled horse trainer to start 4 colts and continue work on a group of 3 year olds. These horses are a criollo-quarterhorse mix, and turning out really nice. Must have solid experience and provide references.
We have a few spaces open for skilled builders. Ranquilco is a fun and challenging place to work. We mill all of our own lumber onsite and work with many of the local materials which lend themselves to natural design and creativity. Must have construction experience.
What I Learned at Ranquilco
by Ethan Salwen, volunteer:
"How to get stuff done with less stuff;
- How to feel connected to energy usage, as in butchering a goat to eat to make energy to chop firewood to boil water to make a hot shower to clean up after butchering a goat;
- How people lived in 'simpler', 'more primitive' times, the gaucho-puesto lifestyle (and much of how we live being completely in keeping with how most humans have lived throughout most of human history)- How to build stuff from wood, starting with cutting down the tree! Yeeee-haaaa! Milling is awesome!;
- How to cook on a wood stove (yeah, you think it'll be easy, but you have no idea until you do it day in and day out, first it's a fun challenge, then it's a pain-in-the-ass, then it's. . .just what you do);
-How to bake bread (when it is the ONLY bread you'll eat, which totally changes your relationship to it);
- How to cook like a gaucho, asado and pucheros 24/7, never gets old, so many different tastes and textures from the same ingredients, always with total appreciation for the animal;
- How to eat like a gaucho, as a group, taking your time, THIS is what life is all about;
- How We Make Meat from Animals, a.k.a. participating in butchering, one of the coolest things I did at Ranquilco, changed my whole perspective about reality, really, and what it is to be alive and human, and how I want to eat and how I feel about society, and how I want to live.
- How to "buscar la vuelta" -- find the solution, in relation to working with limited tools and resources with major creativity and incredible patience and mellow perseverance, calmly knowing that it can be done, and that it doesn't need to be done 'great' or 'right', but it's just gotta work for today, and maybe tomorrow if we're lucky, 'gaucho style';
- and. . . How to cut the hole in that box of wine!"