1 – International flight to Quito
will depart as a group and fly to Quito, Ecuador where your Program Leader will
welcome you. From the airport you will head to the historical center of Quito
and settle into your hotel.
Tonight, due to your late arrival, snacks will
be served to the group.
Day 2 – Equator Monument and
breakfast as a group, you will have an orientation meeting where you will talk
about the journey ahead, safety, guidelines for cultural immersion as well as
the educational objectives of the trip.
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.
your first adventure you will head to the equator! You will visit the Quitsato
Project, a huge solar clock located on the equatorial line. You will have the
opportunity to stand in two hemispheres at one time and visit the museum to
learn about how early indigenous communities took advantage of astronomy to
organize their culture.
the equator visit you will head to Otavalo, where the largest indigenous market
in South America is located. You will have time to explore the famous market
and surroundings. You will find typical indigenous handcrafts such as hammocks,
bags, ponchos and necklaces among other more modern souvenirs such as t-shirts
and paintings. You will have a traditional lunch with the opportunity to try
the famous dish of “cuy” (guinea pig) which is a delicacy throughout the Andes.
time allows, you will visit the beautiful Cuicocha Lake before arriving in the
town of Cotacachi which is famous for its leather handcrafts. You will have a
chance to browse the leather offerings including purses, jackets, and shoes.
After this you will visit a workshop where the wool is hand-dyed and the
textiles are woven on traditional backstrap looms. These artisans will show you
the processes used to make their products and will share the importance of
keeping these traditions alive. You will then head back to Quito in time for
dinner. You will end the evening back at your hotel with time to reflect on the
Day 3 – Travel to the Galápagos
morning you will take the bus to the airport as your journey to the Galápagos
Islands begins. The flight takes approximately three hours (with a short
layover), and upon arrival to Baltra Island, your local Galapagos Guide will
greet you and accompany you on a boat across a small channel to Santa Cruz
Note: Your mainland Program Leader will travel
with you to the Galápagos Islands, and be with you throughout your time on the
on Santa Cruz, you will board a bus that will take you to the small city of
Puerto Ayora where you will be staying for the next few days. On the way, you will stop to see Los Gemelos,
famous twin volcanic craters.
arrival in Puerto Ayora, you will enjoy lunch and visit the Charles Darwin
Center. Here you will learn about the origin of the Galápagos Islands and the
ecological reasons for local marine and land biodiversity. You will learn about
the Darwin Center’s work on the islands, and you will have the opportunity to
visit the giant tortoise breeding center as well as some Galápagos land
iguanas. Next, you will settle into your family run lodging, where you will
have a warm welcome dinner. After dinner you will meet for reflection, and to
discuss the exciting days ahead.
Days 4-5 – Santa Cruz Island
the next two days you will work on a much-needed service project on the island
of Santa Cruz. On the first day you will meet in the morning to be briefed on
the project. Possible environmental service projects may include organic
agriculture, reforestation with endemic species and/or the removal of invasive
species. Other projects may include teaching basic English to elementary school
children or improvement of school infrastructure such as painting or the
construction of playgrounds. All
projects directly benefit the local community and are accompanied by
comprehensive discussions about the importance and impact of your work and the
local reality on the islands as it relates to these projects.
your service days you will work four to five hours. In the afternoons, you will take breaks to
visit nearby attractions such as a wild giant tortoise ranch, lava tunnels,
coffee plantations and small beautiful beaches. During the service project days
you will also learn about the most pressing problems the Islands are facing as
related to hosting local populations and food production.
evenings, time permitting, you will join local community activities. Some of
the activities may include sports with the community such as soccer or
basketball, salsa dance and cooking lessons or simply walking around downtown.
You will meet for your reflection at your lodging at a designated time during
Day 6 – Santa Cruz Island Bahía
Area and Tortuga Bay Beach
you will focus on the different conservation efforts in the Galapagos reserve
and the impacts of tourism in the Islands.
morning take a short boat trip to explore Camaño Islet, one of the best spots
for snorkeling around Santa Cruz! The boat will also take you to a site where
you will see large cracks in a rocky outcropping where sharks come to rest.
Your visit will continue to Dog Beach, well known for its huge marine iguana
population during certain months of the year. You will also visit the sea lion
beach, a favorite place for the local sea lions to come mingle.
will return to Puerto Ayora for lunch. In the afternoon you will explore
Tortuga Bay Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches on the islands with white
coral sand. Here you hope to see sea
turtles (from which the beach got its name), sea lions, iguanas, blue-footed
boobies and an amazing cactus forest.
you will return to your lodging to rest and have dinner. At night you will meet
for your reflection before going to bed.
Day 7 – North Seymour Island
you will focus on general theories of the adaptation of species, as well as the
impact of tourism on the local wildlife.
morning you venture by boat to North Seymour Island. The trip will take
approximately one hour and fifteen minutes. You will take an easy hike across
the island while you watch frigate birds and blue-footed booby nests. You will
also see finches, pelicans, tropical birds, an iguana colony and a sea lion
colony. After a hearty box lunch, you will board your boat again heading to
Bachas Beach to finish the day with some time to relax on the beach, explore
the coastline by foot, or enjoy great snorkeling.
will return to your lodging to rest and have dinner. At night, you will meet
for your reflection time before going to bed.
Day 8 – Floreana Island
You will leave early in the morning to take a
boat to Floreana Island. Upon arrival, you will take a chiva, a local open-air bus, up to the highlands of the
island. Here you will hike through the
National Park area, where giant tortoises from different islands have been
placed. From here you continue down to
the pirate caves and special sites that were home to the first inhabitants in
Galapagos. These first immigrants are now legendary and found a way to survive
on this island due to its fresh water spring. After visiting the spring, you
will continue to Areli Hill from which you will have an amazing view of the
island and its endemic vegetation.
After lunch at a local restaurant, you will
visit Black Beach, unique in Galapagos due to the mix of sand and volcanic
dust. Finally you will snorkel in a spot known as La Lobería, where you will
see schools of fish and keep an eye out for rays and turtles.
Upon arrival in Santa Cruz you will take a walk
down to the fisherman’s harbor to see what the catch of the day is. You will
have dinner at your lodging.
Day 9 – Travel to Quito
breakfast you will head to the airport on Baltra Island. Today you depart from
the Galápagos Islands and return to Quito. You will enjoy a hearty box lunch
before boarding your plane.
Upon arrival, you will visit the old town, also
known as Quito Colonial, to visit a convent that will be opened exclusively for
you. At the convent you will also have the chance to climb to a viewpoint from
which you will have an amazing view of the historical center all lit up at
will have dinner in a traditional restaurant in the historical center.
Day 10 – Hike in the Cloud Forest
After breakfast, you will head to the northwestern
part of the Andes, which is considered the transition region to the coast. Here
you will explore the cloud forest, considered one of most diverse spots in the
country. You will also have the opportunity to take an educational hike in the
primary and secondary forest in a private reserve learning about how
agriculture and reforestation with native species is possible in this region.
After lunch at the private reserve, visit Tulipe, a culturally rich and
mysterious archaeological site formed by several pools in different shapes that
were filled with water for astronomical and ritual uses.
Upon arrival to Quito, you will have time to rest and
re-pack your bags for your flight out in the morning.
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.
Note: Tulipe is closed
Mondays and Tuesdays. In this case a visit to an alternate archeological site
of Rumicucho will be offered.
Day 11 – International
Today your Ecuador
adventure comes to a close as you depart early for your flight out of Quito.