Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Festival de la Soledad

On October 4th Hacienda Tranquila hosted a day long festival and rodeo event. We had an amazing turnout! This year we had more people come out than ever before. Despite a little rain, everyone came out and had a good time. The music was blasting while everyone cheered for their favorite team as the men and then the women played against each other in football matches. There was a plethora of food including empanadas, humas, chicken, rice, and soup. The food was so delicious and in such high demand that it ran out by late afternoon. Throughout the day there were several events in the main corral. Three local ladies rode in on horseback to the cheers of the crowd for a beauty contest. Dr. Green, the local veterinary organization in San Cristóbal, hosted several events including the judging of the bulls and cow milking. Afterwards, there was a bronc riding contest followed bull wrangling. The festival and rodeo was a great way to bring the community together. All the proceeds from the food will go to help raise funds for a Christmas feast and Christmas presents for the local children. The
festival was very successful in raising the funds this year. We hope that next year will be even bigger and bring in more for the local children.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


A BIG UPS to the volunteers that have been so awesome and integral in the work that Hacienda Tranquila does. Hacienda Tranquila is dependent on its volunteers to do the important conservation and community development work that is its mission. We could not do it without you!

Here are a few of the comments that volunteers have left us:

3 May 2010


Thank you so much for an amazing experience. I learned so much here and from the people I met here. This is a truly one of a kind project and I am grateful for that. Keep making a difference

<3 HT Volunteer, USA


14 July 2011

Hola Chicos,

Muchas gracias para el tiempo en la Hacienda. Se fue muy rapido y quiero regresar una otra vez...Gracias tambien para todos las frutas para su hospidalidad y para ensenar el trabaja. Aprende mucho aqui y disfrute mis vacaciones.

Muchos abrazos, HT Volunteer, country of origin unknown


8 June 2012

Dear Geovanny, Edgar and Carlos!

The last fe weeks have been amazing! I've learnt so much and had so many new experiences which I will remember for the rest of my life. Inseminating cows, hippo therapy, working with machetes, and PIZZA MAKING have all been amazing! What you do hee at the Hacienda is fantastic and I would love to come back here in the future.

I wish you all the best for the future, and thank you so much for this incredible experience here in the Galapagos.

Keep doing what you do best,

Ciao, HT Volunteer, England


27 September 2013

Dear Geovanny, dear Carlos!

Thank you so much for everything, we had an absolutely great and unique time here at the Hacienda, probably one of the best of our lives.

We have seen so much and met so many great people, have experienced so many amazing moments. We will always remember this tie and now fur sure will start volunteering also at other places. But this Hacienda will always be special to us and we'll always feel connected to the Galapagos Islands and this project. Thank you for doing this important work with such great passion and for these amazing weeks!

Best wishes for the future, HT Volunteers, Austria


26 January, 2014

Hey everyone,

This place is so great. I've really enjoyed my 4 weeks at the Hacienda Tranquila. Even though the work is hard at times you really feel like you are making a difference.

The people I've met are sooo great.

Hope everyone is going to enjoy there stay here as I did.

HT Volunteer, Denmark/Germany


7 February 2014


It has been a great stay here at hacienda Tranquila. We have been very happy to help and meet some nice people. We have seen and learned a lot about Galapagos and we hope that we will come back some day to see how far the progress has gone.

HT Volunteers, Denmark

Monday, April 14, 2014

Caracoles Terrestres de la Isla San Cristobal

As is well known, there is an incredible amount of biodiversity present in and around the Galapagos Islands; however, due to the introduction of invasive species, endemic biodiversity has declined immensely. Here on San Cristobal, one of the goals of Hacienda Tranquila is to control invasive species and support endemic species. Volunteers at Hacienda Tranquila have been working hard to do just this in the highlands of San Cristobal, specifically on the plot of land where Hacienda Tranquila is located. It is suffice to say that quite a bit of progress has been made.

Proof of this progress comes in many forms, but one of the most rewarding is when endemic fauna reintroduces itself into the endemic flora. One way that this is occurring is with land snails (caracoles terrestres). Since the volunteers at Hacienda Tranquila have been working to reduce and control invasive species and reintroduce and support endemic species, there has been a large increase of the amount and diversity of land snails that have reappeared on the Hacienda Tranquila property.

A study was conducted to chart this progress and found that six different species of land snails have reintroduced themselves into the now largely endemic environment surrounding Hacienda Tranquila since their volunteers have begun their work. This goes to show just how successful Hacienda Tranquila and its volunteers have been thus far in reaching their goal to revive the native natural environment. A BIG thank you to all of the volunteers who have helped in this endeavor!

Mi Mascota 2014

Martina Aviles, a student at Universidad San Francisco de Quito, coordinated and managed a project called Mi Mascota 2014 here on San Cristobal Island in the towns of El Progreso and La Soledad. For this project, she asked the children of these communities to draw a picture that showed how to take good care of pets (mascotas); accompanied by a brief caption. Aviles then compiled these drawings into a calander for 2014. This project was very ingenuitive, especially considering the large amount of pets - specifically dog and cats - that do reside on this island. In these pictures you can see just a few ways that the children of El Progreso and La Soledad have shown and explained how to take care of your pets!

A BIG thank you to Martina for facilitating this project!

Friday, November 8, 2013

...And we're back!

Greetings to all! We have missed you all a lot and apologize for our absence from the blog. But we are back and have so much to tell you about, including projects new and old!

First we want to let you know that we have had a fantastic year, with 2013 bringing in the most volunteers to date...which means we have gotten a lot accomplished! To start with, the Hacienda is doing great...all of the property is continuously improving. To date, we have 20 cows, 3 bulls, 2 new calves, 6 horses, Ricky (our donkey), some pigs, and more chickens than we can count! Makes for a busy time here while we are not controlling invasives or working in the community.

Our gardens are thriving and we are in the process of expanding our nursery to accommodate more plants....but that's for another blog post.

Volunteers have been working hard and have achieved some amazing results. Over the past year, we have controlled over 12 hectares of invasive plants and planted over 2,000 endemic plants.

We have some great projects that we are working on and want to share with you. Some of these include updates on the water pipeline and related project of a reservoir to hold the water, planting of Bracaria grass, expanding our nursery and garden, future plans for a community center, and a brand new project called BookBus!

Whoa, we have a lot on our plate...but that is because we are serious about making positive impacts here on San Cristobal. We want you to know all of the details and keep you updated as things progress. So check back in with us each week, and be sure to check out our new Facebook page! Tell your friends! We have big plans here on the Hacienda, and whether you are near or far....we want you to be a part of it!

Thanks for your support and....

¡Hasta Luego, Amigos!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hacienda Tranquila branches out towards books!

Here at the Hacienda we’re always trying to find new ways to get involved and make a positive impact in the San Cristobal community. As we’ve had so much success eradicating invasive species in the highlands, we were looking for new opportunities around the island for volunteers to get involved in for the future. With this in mind, Hacienda Tranquila is pleased to introduce to blog readers their new project, a joint effort with The Book Bus, a UK based charity, which will work to help improve literacy on the island through providing increased access to books.

The Book Bus is an organization that works to create mobile libraries for rural areas whose inhabitants don’t have access to literary materials. They help create a “BookBus” that can travel around, giving remote communities access to a book exchange, and also create “Reading Corners” in schools and community places, so that everyone has the opportunity to learn to love reading. The Book Bus already has operations in Africa, India, and mainland Ecuador, and starting now, will be expanding their efforts into the Galapagos here in San Cristobal. Hacienda Tranquila is helping establish and coordinate efforts on the island, doing the initial fact-finding missions to send information back to Quito and the UK to get the process started. The plan is to have a “BookTruck” as our mobile library, and to set up “Reading Corners” both in local schools and in hard-to-reach communities in the highlands.

We are now a couple of weeks into the project, and have so far visited four different schools on San Cristobal, to introduce them to the project and obtain preliminary information from them about the number of students they have. This information was then sent off to the UK so that books can start being collected. All reports so far have been resoundingly positive, both from locals on the Galapagos and Book Bus personnel in the UK. Moving forward, Geovanny and Rachel (a Master’s student studying on San Cristobal and volunteering with the project), have a lot of work cut out for them as they start to create a budget for the project, and go to various communities in the highlands to drum up support for the project and to find the perfect locations for our community “Reading Corners.” If all goes according to plan, books should start arriving in December, school “Reading Corners” will be set up for the start of the next school year in March, and Hacienda volunteers will have yet an another amazing opportunity to help out in the Galapagos, reading with local school children. Hacienda Tranquila believes that learning shouldn’t be limited to lessons in school, but should be fostered through active learning and the search for knowledge; in this sense, the Book Bus is a perfect way to expand learning opportunities in the Galapagos.

Interested in learning more about our exciting new project? Check out the blog dedicated to the Book Bus in San Cristobal, and keep updated about new progress! http://bookbussancristobal.blogspot.com/
Hasta Luego Amigos!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What does the community say?

At Hacienda we take pride in our focus on both the environmental and social issues of the Galapagos. As one of the only organizations that addresses the problems of the people we want to be sure that the work we do is seen as an important contribution to the community. To better understand the community’s perspective on our projects we interviews two important community members. President of the community La Soledad, Nelson Francisco Sim Baño Ballesteros, said:
            “Personally, the Hacienda helps me through the exchange of ideas between the community and the volunteers. During the volunteer’s free time they interact with the community through dancing, soccer, and a little volleyball. These social interactions help us to learn English and how to socialize with people from outside our community. Our community has benefitted greatly from the Hacienda and the volunteers and we value their work.” 
President of the school in La Soledad, Angel Pallo, said:
“The Hacienda is the only form of help the farmers receive, and without the help of the volunteers the work that is being done would not be possible.”

We are very happy to know that our work is valued by the residents of La Soledad and are forever thankful to all of our volunteers for their dedication to bettering the community!