Our history

Our Team

People in the word are interconnected now more than ever, and La Hesperia is not the exception. Our work towards sustainable development and conservation efforts will not be possible without our family, collaborators, interns, volunteers, researchers, visitors and partner organization; therefore, our team is big, dynamic and amazing.


2021 marked 50 years of La Hesperia being in the hands of the Játiva family whose vision was always one of love and respect for nature even in times when the words conservation or ecology had no meaning in our world. It was this way of looking at life, as well as the tenacity of its owners, which allowed us to preserve a property of 800 hectares, of which around 600 hectares are primary forest.

La Hesperia’s journey has been long and diverse and there is still much to do. The reserve continues to re-imagine how to ensure the protection of the cloud forest and develop various concepts related to a sustainable life.

As we say here at La Hesperia, conservation has always been and will always be a shared responsibility.

La Hesperia as A School

From 2009 to 2014 , la Hesperia was a center for outdoor education from children from the neighboring town.

Despite not offering classes anymore, La Hesperia remains faithful to its commitment to be an outdoor classroom surrounded by thousands of species and years of wisdom accumulated in the evolutionary history of its surroundings.

La Hesperia as a Reserve

Currently, La Hesperia has formed several partnerships with foundations and organizations to finance educational and conservation projects.

Dozens of researchers, scientists and students from different places around the world have been to the reserve and have documented their studies in various publications.

In 1992, the first management plan was written and volunteers from all over the world began to join our cause to combat deforestation.

In 1988, the decision was made to protect the forests of La Hesperia forever to preserve wildlife, thinking that it was the best decision for the benefit of the world at large.

La hesperia as a hacienda

Since 1971, La Hesperia has been in the hands of the Játiva family, particularly Dr. Mario Játiva Cevallos who died in 2012, his wife and the families of their children. At the beginning, it was a time of consolidation of a property that was exploited since the beginning of the 20th century and that required priority attention to defining boundaries, facing the onslaught of agrarian reform, construction and improvement of access roads and agricultural exploitation in a small part of the property, which made it possible to meet these expenses.

La hesperia before 1971

Two foreign owners spent approximately two decades each facing the challenge of producing in the lands of La Hesperia, with the exploitation of what they considered best to be found in their lands: sugar cane, milling and distilling of brandy. It was a very tough task for both families.

The Czech doctor Karel Vohnout, born in Breno in 1895, arrived in Ecuador around 1930. Already established in Ecuador and in his middle age, he received from his wealthy father-in-law, the Italian Damián Miranda, a large subtropical property, La Esperie, The same that somehow passed from the hands of other Italians, the Liut brothers, to those of Miranda. In particular, Elia Liut, a veteran aviator of the First World War, is well known for being the first aviator to cross the Ecuadorian Andes on the Telegraph I.

Before them, and this by testimony of Vohnout himself, the lands of La Hesperia must have been part of large properties of those who first settled in Santo Domingo like the Frenchman Gachet.