Day 1 – International flight to Quito
arrival in Quito you will be greeted at the airport by your Program Leader.
From the airport you will head to the center of Quito and settle
into your hotel. If
you arrive during the evening you will stop for dinner or a snack.
If you arrive with daylight to spare, you will visit the Panecillo Hill for a
spectacular 360 degree view of the city and its surrounding neighborhoods or you
will walk through various plazas and streets surrounding our hotel. If you have
time for a proper dinner tonight you will have your first traditional
Day 2 – Quito - Andes
After breakfast as a group, you will
have your orientation meeting. You will then take a theatrical walking tour visiting the principle plazas of
the old town and the Casa del Alabado Pre-Colombian Art Museum. You will learn
about the history of the oldest cultures of Ecuador and you will also begin
your scavenger hunt that will continue throughout your trip. Later, you
will return to the hotel to pick up your bags and start your trip to the Andes community.
the community, your host families will be waiting for you with a nice reception
and you will have a tour of the community. You will also have an introduction
to your volunteer service for the coming days.
At night you
will gather with the community members to present yourselves and share some
time with them before dinner.
Days 3-6 – Service Project
and Host Community
For the next
few days you will work on a much-needed community service project in your
Andean host town. The community projects are the heart and soul of your trip.
They bring an excellent means of bonding with your new friends through
of possible community projects include: reforestation, environmental education,
teaching basic English, development of organic agriculture and forestry
practices, development of solid waste management system, building trails
between the community and their natural attractions, and painting the
elementary school or other community infrastructure.
The time spent with the host family will be one of the
most significant experiences of the trip. Sharing familiar space and practices
with members of the host community will not only add significance to the work you
do, but will also provide us with a complete immersion experience into the
Our daily schedule will be as follows: Each morning
after breakfast you will gather together to work on your service project. You
will break for lunch with your host families, and head back to work after a
nice break. Each day you will work an
average of four to six hours. Once you complete the day’s work, afternoon or
evening activities such as
milking cows, preparing cheese, getting the horses ready for the next day,
playing soccer with the community members, playing traditional games with the
local kids, attending dance lessons or having traditional Ecuadorian cooking
lessons will round out your days. During your days in the community you will receive
clues and challenges to continue your scavenger hunt.
During your time
in the community will also take advantage of surrounding attractions and will
go for a horseback ride to the nearby mountains to enjoy the landscape and
local flora. Another option will be to visit the town of Machachi, known for
its local market.
During your days in the community you will receive clues and challenges
to continue your scavenger hunt. On your final night in the community you will have a community-wide farewell
dinner celebrating your project and your time shared together.
Day 7 – Cotopaxi
Volcano - Quito
breakfast you will say your bittersweet goodbyes to your host families and new
friends as you are off to your next destination, the Cotopaxi Volcano. This is
the highest snowcapped active volcano in the
world and here we will have the opportunity to learn about the high plateau
ecosystem and its flora and fauna. You will have a challenging hike up to a
shelter where you will enjoy a hearty snack.
Once finished your hike, you
will head for Quito. On the way you will stop at one of the most traditional
restaurants for a taste of Ecuadorian cuisine. The day comes to an end as you return to Quito for
dinner and rest before your trip to Amazon Region.
– Quito - Coca - Indigenous Lodge
You will wake up in order to take your domestic
flight to Coca City. The flight will take about a half hour.
Your destination is a lodge in the Amazon tropical
forest that belongs to the Sani indigenous community. This initiative started
12 years ago after the community struggled to stop a company from extracting
oil in their territory. Since then, the lodge has become an important economic
activity that complements community traditional economy. The lodge is located a
few kilometers away from the community and was built around a lake that is
protected from swamps. In order to reach the lodge, visitors travel along the
Napo River and then they take simple paddle canoes to move along the swamps
before reaching the lake and the lodge.
Upon arrival to Coca, you will join other visitors
traveling to the lodge at the Coca river port.
You will board a motorized canoe that will take you along the Napo River
for a little more than an hour and a half. While traveling you will also enjoy
a box lunch in the canoe.
Upon arrival to the lodge, you will be welcomed by your
local Sani guide who will provide an orientation with regards to the community
and the tropical humid forest. Following this introduction you will check into
After dinner you will do some walking in the nearby
trails while looking for insects and animals only visible at night.
– Chorongo Trail
After having a delicious early breakfast you will take
a 45 minute canoe ride across the lagoon enjoying the morning activity of
birds, monkeys and other species. You will arrive at a mainland site to start a
4 hour hike to connect with the Chorongo trail.
During the hike you will learn about the forest properties in medicine
and you will be able to identify insects and a few varieties of monkeys. You will have a hearty box lunch on the way
and then you will return to your paddle canoe to do some piranha fishing near
the Napo River.
You will return to the lodge for dinner and to rest.
10 – Canopy Tower Observation
After an early breakfast, you will have a 45 canoe
ride across the lagoon enjoying the morning activity of birds, monkeys and
other species. You will arrive to a mainland site for a short walk to the
observation tower. The tower is 37 meters tall and is built next to a Kapok
tree. You will stay about an hour at the tower to photograph the rich variety
of birds. Following this you will have a 3 hour hike. You will have a box lunch during your hike.
In the afternoon you will visit the Sani community.
Upon arrival to the center of the community, you will be welcomed by a group of
community women who will do a presentation about traditional indigenous food in
the area and traditional dance. You will also visit the local cacao project.
You will go back to the lodge in order to see the
sunset and perhaps spot some caimans in the lake. Then you will enjoy dinner
and have a night hike.
11 – Indigenous Lodge - Coca - Quito
Today you will wake up early for breakfast. You will
depart from the lodge toward Coca City. Upon arrival you will go to the airport
in order to catch your flight back to Quito.
Upon arrival in Quito, you will have lunch and will
travel back to your hotel. In the
afternoon you will visit a souvenir market and if time allows, view the city of
Quito from the teleferico, or cable car.
Tonight you will have a special dinner at a
quiteño family’s home to reminisce about the time you shared together in
Ecuador and to conclude your scavenger hunt. This will be a theatrical dinner
with a historical character providing reflection about the importance of
communities in Andean cultures. You will return to your hotel to rest.
Day 12 –
Today your Ecuador adventure comes to a close as you depart
early for your flight out of Quito.