From the Andes to the Islands
Contained within the borders of one small country are the headwaters of the Amazon, the snow-capped volcanoes of the Andes, and Darwin’s Galapagos Islands. Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world! It has a remarkable variety of habitats and is as rich culturally as it is geographically. Discover Ecuador firsthand as you meet the indigenous peoples of the High Sierra, trek through clouds in the high Andes, and celebrate the vibrancy of rural family life.
Experience Otavalo, an Andean mountain village famous for its volcanic crater lake and artisan markets.
Become an integral part of your rural Ecuadorian home, harvesting fresh bananas and cacao or playing soccer with your siblings.
Improve your Spanish as you work side by side with locals on the construction of a school.
Explore the world-famous Galapagos Islands; spot a famous blue-footed booby or a Galapagos tortoise, and snorkel alongside curious sea lions.
Travel north from Quito across the equator past dramatic Andean peaks to the high altitude mountain town of Otavalo. Hike through spectacular scenery up the steep mountainside of Fuya Fuya and around the deep blue crater lake of Cuicocha. Admire the beauty and culture of the Otavaleño Indians with frequent glimpses of intricately embroidered blouses and distinctive golden necklaces adorning the women. Spend your nights in an idyllic hostel nestled in the rugged terrain of the Andean countryside and your days visiting textile markets, trying your hand at tapestry weaving with local artisans, and playing outdoor games with schoolchildren.
Become deeply rooted in a remote rural village in Ecuador’s western lowlands as you live with a family in a simple home and personally experience Ecuadorian warmth and generosity. For three weeks you work with locals in the restoration of a school building or the construction of a salon comunal (community center). Your contributions are forever remembered during future village fiestas or school graduation ceremonies held within this building. Discover a new culture and improve your conversational Spanish as you make patacones (plantain chips) with your host family or challenge the local volleyball team to an informal tournament.
The Galapagos are on every traveler’s bucket list but few have the opportunity to visit the geological wonders of the Galapagos Archipelago, famed for the blue-footed booby, and the giant 500-pound tortoises that make their home here. A journey to the Galapagos sheds light on Earth’s history and future. Joined by bilingual naturalist guides, you visit several islands, each host to a unique set of seabirds, reptiles, mammals, and plant life. Spend a week exploring exquisite volcanic islands as you swim among playful sea lions, witness the underwater grace of giant sea turtles, and view countless exotic sea birds diving for fish.
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