If you are interested in a working holiday you should consider this first.... for many of our working holiday visitors the emphasis is on the word 'holiday'... for us it is the word 'working'.
Volunteers must be 18 years of age or over and must have working holiday insurance. Visitors from the European Union should bring their EHIC card with them but working holiday insurance is still required.
What you will do: Much of the work is hard physical labour so a certain level of fitness and stamina is required, however, we also welcome those with particular skills and expertise. Spanish language teachers will find willing students here and an arrangement could be made for bed and board in return for some daily lessons. We always have projects in the pipeline which may require the assistance of expertise in carpentry, building, scything, general maintenance of engines (ride-on tractor; generator etc), fig harvest is in August for the fresh and September for the dried and the olives are harvested during December.
Other work could be pruning, grass cutting, general gardening, animal husbandry (chickens and geese at time of writing this), housework, cooking, making bread, preserving of produce (pickles jams etc...) and even shopping at the market for provisions or dog sitting. If you really are not suited to any particular type of work we wouldn't expect you to do it.
Volunteers are expected to work for 5 to 6 hours per day 6 days a week in return for bed and board for 7 nights. The hours of work are dependent upon the time of year for example, autumn, winter and spring starting around 9 am and working through until 2pm, the rest of the day being your own. During the summer heat you can start as soon as it's light and do a few hours until it gets too hot, returning in the evening to do another couple of hours when it is cooler. This allows time for a siesta during the hottest part of the day and also time for socialising or sight seeing during the evening. In Spain during summer the party doesn't get started until 10pm so these hours leave plenty of scope for getting to know the local hot spots!
English is the main language spoken on the finca although we can manage some French and our Spanish is improving.
Accommodation. AT THE MOMENT WE ONLY HAVE THE BELL TENT TO OFFER TO OUR VOLUNTEERS, THEREFORE THE NUMBER OF VOLUNTEERS WE CAN ACCOMMODATE IS LIMITED. Volunteers stay in the yurt, tipi or bell tent when we do not have guests.
Volunteers may be asked to vacate the yurt and asked to stay in the bell tent because family members or paying guests are coming to visit, if you are not prepared to sleep under canvas then you may not wish to volunteer with us.
We do have modern showers and toilets and a volunteers/visitors kitchen for self catering - or simply for that cup of tea late at night or first thing in the morning. We are NOT vegetarian. Food is generally of a wholesome family variety (main courses being along the lines of meat and bean stews) with salad and fresh fruit for lunch. Volunteers may opt to feed themselves, however, they would still be expected to do the full 5 hours daily work. There is a BBQ area which can be used by volunteers.
Volunteers are expected to stay a minimum of one week but two is preferable, should be able to work unsupervised and be interested in the aims and goals of the finca.
What to bring with you:
This is of course dependent upon the time of year that you come however a general guide would be...
Work clothing. Old comfortable clothes in which to work and get dirty and sweaty. Although it can be too hot for long trousers in summer we encourage people to wear something lightweight that can be tucked into socks. We have an amazing insect population on the farm but it isn't nice to find them crawling up your legs! Wellington boots are useful all year round or work boots (walking boots). Hats to shade from sun and protect head from branches etc. Lightweight waterproof jacket. Good quality gardening gloves - the leather kind are best and last longest. Sunglasses even in winter are a must. A personal waterbottle and bag to carry it. Off duty clothes suitable for the time of year. Your own towel. A torch and for those who are really here to see the birds... lightweight binoculors and a good camera.
Not everyone is the same - and this is a good thing! Overall we expect our visitors to behave in a respectful and tolerant manner towards all other visitors and volunteers no matter what their culture, religion or beliefs. Inappropriate behaviour is not tolerated.
Where we are: The village of Almoharin is about 40 minutes from the city of Caceres in the province of Extremadura in western Spain, quite close to Portugal. The nearest airport is Madrid at three hours drive or Seville at two and three quarter hours drive. Flight to Madrid and then train or bus to Caceres is the easiest route unless you are prepared to hire your own car and drive yourself. The last train to Caceres from Madrid leaves around 7.30pm so you need to arrange a flight to arrive earlier in the day... tickets can be bought for the train online. We will happily pick volunteers up from Caceres and return them there when it's time to leave.
The village is a leisurely 15 minute walk from the finca and the municipal swimming pool (open during school summer holidays) is situated at the bottom of the lane from the finca gates and stays open from 12 noon until 9pm with the bar open until midnight. There are numerous bars and restaurants in the village plus a few good supermarkets, bakers, butchers, chemist etc...
Occasionally we will go site seeing and can take a volunteer or two with us but this is rare, mostly you will be expected to amuse yourself during your time off.