We have hosted some 45+ volunteer and almost all of them have been very happy indeed. Of these, we have had 6 that have come to revisit and more are planning to come back. This is incredible since most volunteers are travelling and could go anywhere. We think this says enough, but below are some written recommendations from some of our past volunteers left on HelpEx, or in our volunteer book on site:
Helper: Emily and Renato Date: May 13, 2013
From: United States; Rating 5/5
My partner and I had the privilege of being this extraordinary couple for the unfortunately short amount of time of one week. We worked hard for that one week, and we learned alot about the different jungle plants they are growing and how the are implementing permacultural principles into their homestead. These people are outstandingly generous and kind. For the little they have, they have so much to give. They also have THE biggest Cenote in the whole of the Yucatan peninsula. Its one of the nicest things in the world being able to jump into an oversized water well after a hard days of bush wacking! If you are in the area and have the time I HIGHLY recommend working and staying with these beautiful people. It would be more than worth your time. The lessons you will have learned and the fun you will have had will make you want to stay longer than you had originally planned. At least thats how we felt.
P.S. YOU WILL BE FED PLENTY c:
Helper: Jessica and Nicolas Date: October 25, 2012
From: Canada; Rating 5/5
We past three weeks there and it was very nice!! Olly and MJ are super friendly, patient, good cooks, super sweet and more and more. We felt directly that we were welcome, and also that they appreciated to receive volunteers and share with them their knowledges and passion. Fluke and Lola, their 2 amazing opposite dogs, made us laugh a lot and we already miss this cute family.
They have a little piece of paradise in the middle of the jungle, with their awesome open cenote and all the surroundings. There still a lot of work to do and to build, and for us it was a pleasure to contribute to their crazy project!! 🙂
If you are willing for hardwork under the sun, to jump into the cenote from 9meters or even 18m (impossible..lol), to sleep in hammocks every night, to meet local people, to discover animals from the jungle such as tarantula, to have a lifestyle in harmony with nature, to enjoy your day off by exploring the region,(etc, etc) it’s an experience to achieve in your life!!
Thank you for everything guys! Continue your good job, and we will try to come back in few years!! 🙂
Helper: Sean Meehan Date: June 24, 2012
From: Ireland; Rating 5/5
I have just spent a fantastic month here. Olly and MJ are excellent hosts who take time to learn what you want from your volunteer experience, and then do all they can to realise that whilst simultaneously moving the project forward.
The project is in it’s first year so it is an excellent chance for hands on people who want to get stuck in to planting, construction etc It is also a great insight into the planning stage of a project of this scale. It is not a holiday camp! – throw yourself into it and you will get the rewards.
Accommodation is rustic but very comfortable, all meals are excellent, work is interesting and varied. The surrounding area is also excellent, amazing Mayan ruins and lots of cenotes to explore, and of course the local Mayans themselves to meet!
I would recommend checking out the website – all the info I required before going was on there.
Thank you Olly & MJ and good luck!
Helper: Víctor Segura; Date: January-March 2013
From: Barcelona, Spain ;Rating 5/5
Local Mayans know a cenote is nearby when they see the bird Toh. They say the shortest a word is, the longer has it being in use. I´ve visited many cenotes during my stay in the Yucatán peninsula and I can tell you, none reflects the stars like the one in Lodgecol.
This young eco-communty is for those who truly believe and share the values of organic lifestyle and are willing to work hard to make them happen. There is an extensive and rich literature available for those interested in learning theory about permaculture, sustainability, humanure and clean energy. Do not hesitate to share your thoughts with the rest of the community, ideas and projects are well received if explained consciously and well designed. Duties are shared and there is always time to enjoy some drinks around the fire circle. The nature around is immensely beautiful: Iguanas that love to freak out and jump to the cenote, colorful woodpecker birds, gentle ducks, an amazing ceiba and the most amazing nopal. Bear in mind that this is an off the grid project so be ready to be patient, things might take longer. I also had a great time biking to the village and enjoying some time off with the locals, playing football or having relaxed conversations.
Definitely a place I strongly recommend, where I made good friends and where I know for sure I´ll go back to work, laugh, learn and lay on the comfy chair while Orion´s belt shines up there.
Mary Hatz, Portland, OR, USA July 2013
“A big thank you to MJ and Olly for hosting all of us volunteers. You have put your hearts and souls into this land and to us. Your welcoming smiles are greatly appreciated and your hard work and dedication are inspiring. Rodrigo and I could not have asked for a better experience…MJ your hospitality and selflessness made us feel very welcome, Olly your humour and energy are hard to compare and hard to keep up with. Take it easy so we can come back and see this place in full swing.”
Rodrigo Huerta, Portland, OR, USA July 2013
“Thank you for your inspiration to our path. It was truly and amazing experience. You are both so hard working and encouraging, we have learned a lot and loved every moment of the hard labor, humor, laugh and intelligence….”
Helper: Charlotte, Belgium Oct-Dec 2013
Thank you very much MJ and Olly!
I enjoyed a lot my 2 months with you. I learnt many useful things, and I like a lot the way you have to share these things, as well the experiences of life every day. I hope that our work her serves you well and soon the trees are giving a lot of fruit! Im curious to see your farm in a few years with a house, the plantation in fruit, the garden, the chickens with eggs (☺ ) – it will be a paradise.
I am leaving tomorrow on my route through Mexico and I hope as well as my time here, and Ill let you know any idea that could serve you well here. I hope everything goes well for you. A special thanks for Olly for showing me the bees – I want to keep bees too now! And also to MaJo for showing me the plants! I hope that you will grow well in the garden! Thanks for inviting me to the Organic Campesino school too!
Helpers: Kosta, Elly and Hristiana
Thank you for your hospitality and for giving us the chance to learn more about organic farming. Good luck with all future projects and please let us know if the trees and sugar cane we planted survived!
Helpers: Sammy and Luke, Australia, February 2014
We <3 you. Thanks for the witty banter, the delicious food, the blisters, the camp fire, the cenote jump, the “anti-constipation” curry, the good vibes and for sharing your time, energy and knowledge. Bang on man! Sammy and Luke
Helpers: Beata, Dorota, Daniel, Dzadza, February 2014
Dear Mr Olly,
Thank you for sharing your space with us, for jungle adventures, your knowledge, for the option to spend the day digging in the moisture (manure), cooking and eating in the family circle and much more than that – it’s quite hard to explain with words! ☺ Muchas gracias! Beata, Dorota, Daniel, Dzadza – Poland.
Helper:Emily Carson, Washington DC, USA, June ‘14
I really did learn an incredible amount being here, even with my weakling arms. I really hope I gave back a reaction of the incredible gifts you gave to me. Keep a hammock warm for me because I’ll be back before you know it, whether or not you like it. Leaving your energy, humour, kindness, knowledge and way of life is absolutely devastating, and Ill cherish every second I spent here.
Helpers: Saul, Australia, Jan and Feb 2015
The only bad thing about this place was having to say goodbye!
We spent a month with Olly and his puppy Fluke and loved every moment. This wonderful Englishman does a great job of making you feel at home. There is enough to do here that it never gets boring. The giant cenote on the land is amazing for an afternoon swim and there is a small town nearby to use internet and get beers or snacks.
While we were there we learned so much including veggie gardening and tree growing, raising baby chickens and turkeys, making compost, how to build a solar dehydrator and lots more. We worked hard, we played hard and we ate like kings and queens
Read the website it will give you a good idea of what to expect. Olly is very upfront and honest and we couldn’t have asked for a better host or felt more at home. We hope we can come back one day to enjoy some more beers in hammocks by the fire.
Miss you already big fella!
Amy, Australia, Jan and Feb 2015
May you have many amazing years under the stars and the moon here in your beautiful paradise. Thanks for letting us call your place home fore a time on our crazy life journey. We will miss Flukey and the baby chicks ☺ Keep smiling and giving awesome hugs! I learned a lot from you and will treasure and use my experience here for the rest of my life. Lots of love. Amy.
Kat, USA Jan 2015
Love you and love this incredible place you have carved out of the jungle – it is true there is nowhere I would rather have been these past 2 weeks, shovelling shit, picking rocks and swimming in the cenote, eating, laughing and drinking and jelly shots! Thank you so much for creating this home and sharing it with us. Ill be tasting the oranges with crack salt (Tajin) in my dreams! I think what I love the most is that your just an ordinary guy who has made something extraordinary happen – your strength of will and attitude is an inspiration to me as I star my own farm. Keep an eye on my plum tree and Ill plant one for you in Wizco. See ya soon. Kat..
Andy, USA Jan 15
I had a great time, this is a dream worth going after here at Lodgecol. Keep making this your home and keep loving your life here. See ya again. Andy
Caro, Quebec, Canada April-June ’15
THANK YOU OLLY! Thank you for sharing your magical place. Thank you for your kindness. Thank you for your trust. But especially, thank you for your friendship!…… I’m in your team and always will be. I can’t wait to be back next year to see the progress of everything.
Natha, Reunion Island, France Dec ’15
I stayed 3 weeks in this amazing place and its definitely the minimum to stay if you want to learn and understand a minimum about all the things and permaculture. It’s more than just working on a simple farm. This place is magical, the cenote is definitely one of the most amazing place I have seen ! And you can swim and jump in every day after a hard day of work =). Oh and ask Oly to bring you to the other cenote in the wood. This one is unbelievable! !
Oly is an amazing guy, smiling,expressive, and he will make sure you have everything you need ! The accommodation was good and the meals tasty ! If a day I have to comeback in Mexico, be sure I’ll come there again.