Ecuador & the Galapagos

From the Andes to the Islands


Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world!

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.

I would definitely recommend Global Routes to anyone looking to go abroad for the summer. Before I went, I looked into a TON of programs, and decided that Global Routes was the best option, and I'm happy to say that it exceeded my expectations.
Julia, Ecuador
To say that I had an absolutely fantastic four weeks in Ecuador this summer would be a huge understatement…Going to Ecuador was the best decision I ever made and the best investment my parents could have ever made.
Emma, Ecuador
I really wanted to leave all of ‘home’ behind and gain perspective on my future and what kind of person I want to be. My leaders’ love and support made this goal easier than I ever expected.
Liza, Ecuador
I loved and enjoyed every part of the homestay. I loved my family, the children that showed us undying love, the work that made me feel accomplished, the very different culture that I have an overwhelming respect for, the fantastic food, and everything else.
Zoe, Ecuador
Program Details
Closed for 2022
Starting/Ending Point
Quito, Ecuador
Learning Goals
Outdoor skills, leadership, cooking, construction
Service Hours Earned
50-80 hours
Language Requirement
1 year of Spanish.
High 70°F, Low 50°F
Group Size
9-18 students; 2 U.S. leaders; 2 Ecuadorian Staff
Spaces Available
Fresh fruits and veggies, seafood, plantains, rice and beans
Program Fee
International & domestic airfare is not included in the tuition. Roundtrip airfare from New York to Quito/Guayaquil will be approximately $1,200. Round trip flights to the Galapagos will be approximately $550.
Hotels, Homestay, Rustic Cabins

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Your Journey

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.


Photos from Students and Staff

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“I would definitely recommend Global Routes to anyone looking to go abroad for the summer. Before I went, I looked into a TON of programs, and decided that Global Routes was the best option, and I’m happy to say that it exceeded my expectations. My homestay family was kind, warm, welcoming, and accommodating, my leaders were fantastic, and the places we visited were amazing.”

Julia, Ecuador Student Alum

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