Below is the itinerary for Spanish, Volunteering, Adventure and Galapagos
After landing in the city's capital, you will be driven to the exciting and fun Selina Hostel in Quito (you won't get bored here!), where you can check into your dorm and meet your fellow travellers. Later, you will enjoy your first dinner together, which will be a great opportunity to get to know one another.
Please keep in mind that you will be at a high altitude (2800 meters), so take it slow the first few days and cut back on the drinking and partying in order to avoid altitude sickness.
Today you will immerse yourself in historical antique buildings and sites, replete with (some of them pretty spooky) ancient stories, aside from learning that Quito was the first city to ever be awarded a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Later, your guide will take you to La Carolina, Quito's "Central Park," where you may explore this lovely green metropolitan site and explore more about the local culture. You will then head back to Selina, where you can unwind and allow these recent memories to settle in.
In the upcoming two days, you will experience the amazing Andean scenery, including the beautiful Cotopaxi volcano, Ecuador's most active volcano. After breakfast, you will leave Quito behind and make your way to the picturesque Lasso, where you will spend the night in a comfortable dorm at the charming Chuquiragua Lodge. Lasso is a small town in Ecuador's highlands that serves as one of the primary entrances to the Cotopaxi National Park. Your guide will take you to discover Cotopaxi’s basecamp of the second highest summit in Ecuador. Prepare yourself to experience what hiking at a high altitude feels like. Keep in mind to remain hydrated and wear warm, waterproof clothing. Eating a sugary snack while hiking can help you avoid altitude sickness. Furthermore, be prepared for one of the most adventurous moments in Ecuador while biking back down from Cotopaxi! Lunch and dinner will be provided for you on this thrilling day.
On your second day, you will first stop at Quilotoa, a stunning crater lake of the same-named volcano, before continuing on to Baños. Your visit to the highlands will undoubtedly leave you with a lasting memory due to its captivating hues and surroundings. Once you arrive in Baños, the portal to the jungle, you will check into Hostal Chimenea where you will once again be staying in a comfy dorm. Lunch will be provided for you today.
Prepare to polish your speaking and salsa dancing skills! We think you'll be able to speak a little bit and dance like a genuine Ecuadorian after spending four hours perfecting your Spanish and participating in some intense salsa classes for an hour. You'll be prepared to explore the exciting pubs and clubs of this energetic town in the evening.
After participating in a few more Spanish lessons in the morning, it’s time to leave the classroom. Pailon del Diablo, one of Ecuador's most astonishing waterfalls, and Rio Verde will be reached after an exhilarating mountain biking ride. Prepare to get wet!
After attending some morning Spanish classes you will be able to enjoy a free afternoon in which you can keep exploring the adventurous parts of town or relax in some of Baños’ lovely coffee shops.
Get ready to feel your heart pump today! On a Canopy Bridge excursion after breakfast, you will discover what true adventure and excitement are all about. Since tonight is your last night in Baños, you're going to put all those hours of Spanish and dancing lessons to good use by visiting one last time the fun clubs and bars of this amazing town.
After lunch you'll say farewell to Baños and head to Puyo. As you head into beautiful jungle vegetation, notice a difference in the temperature and thicker air, as you get closer to Yanacocha Animal Rescue Center, your home for the next two weeks.
This project was established in 2006 with the goal of conserving the Amazon region's wildlife through the rescue and rehabilitation of native flora and fauna. The center's animals are all survivors of abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Many of the animals were seized from families who had kept them in captivity, while others were saved from animal merchants who were trying to export the creatures. Some of the animals were orphaned when their parents were murdered by hunters.
Prepare to forget about the bustling outside world and lose yourself for two weeks in this crazy yet wonderful paradise packed with daily breathtaking sights and activities that you'll remember for the rest of your life.
Your first day will be spent getting to know everyone at Yanacocha, including its most vital members: the animals. You will quickly become accustomed to your daily duties; some examples of the activities are:
- Day to day care of the animals.
- Cutting up fruit, preparation of diets, feeding the animals.
- Helping new arrivals adjust to the center.
- General maintenance and cleaning.
- Construction work; repairing and building new enclosures.
- Cage and enclosure enrichment.
- Assisting the vet when necessary.
Other activities such as gardening, improving trails, making signs for visitors.
Meals are included in your stay at the Animal Rescue Facility. You will have free time on Saturday afternoon and Sunday to unwind in the center (without meals) or explore the exciting Amazonian town of Puyo.
You must be eager for some downtime at the beach after these past two weeks of rigorous work. After breakfast, we will travel to yet another very different area of Ecuador, the coast, and more specifically, to Montañita, the most well-known and enjoyable surfing location in the country. Prepare yourself for a long travel day today (around 9 hours) in which you will witness a fast and astonishing change in vegetation and temperature. Once arrived in Montañita, you will check into the fun and dynamic Hostal Casa del Sol.
Enjoy your first free day in this charming seaside town and take some time to unwind.
Two days of Yoga sessions (on the 24th and 25th, one hour a day), three days of surfing lessons (on the 24th, 25th and 26th, 2 hours per day), and leisure time at the beach: Can you think of anything more enjoyable? Feel free to sign up for any of the optional Spanish classes that are offered to you.
It's time to give back to the environment: Volunteer opportunities for the day at the Las Tunas community include beach cleaning, turtle nest monitoring, and a special mission. A beach called Las Tunas can be found 11.9 kilometers south of Manabi and Puerto López. It is a small community with about 1600 residents. Las Tunas beach is renowned for its unspoiled beauty, its pristine waters, its cuisine, and its welcoming farmers' and fishermen's community.
For more than ten years, the community has worked to manage and develop local tourist initiatives as well as to conserve and protect trees and their surrounds. Due to the peace and cleanliness of its beaches, sea turtles believe this region to be the ideal site to lay their eggs. Some examples of the activities are:
- Cleaning Las Tunas beach and cleaning the Ayampe river
- Reforestation plan of more than 100 hectares in a reserve in Ayampe
- Permaculture and development of recycling systems
- Direct interaction with the community, education programs environment for people in the community and for volunteers
- Watching and monitoring the turtle´s nest (If lucky you could see the eggs hatching)
- Compost making
Lunch is also being provided.
Did you know that the tiny island known as Isla de la Plata in front of Puerto Lopez imitates a part of the Galapagos Islands? It is well-known for its large number of marine birds, including Galapagos albatrosses and blue-footed and masked boobies. Get a taste of what the enchanted Galapagos Islands have in store for you! You'll have an extra incredible experience on this day trip to Isla de la Plata between June through October since you will most likely see humpback whales!
Humpback whales travel more than 7,000 miles from Antarctica to the coasts of Machalilla National Park in Ecuador. A humpback whale's length and weight can both reach 15 meters. It is the fifth-largest animal in the world. You will have the chance to locate the whale's active groups, where several males mate with the females since they are in a humpback whale breeding area.
All wonderful things in life must, unfortunately, come to an end, but luckily some of them can be honored with a lavish farewell meal and celebration. Before you must leave this magnificent place, take advantage of your final free day in Montañita and take in one final sunset.
You will be transported from Montañita to Guayaquil airport in the morning following breakfast in order to catch your flight to San Cristobal airport in the Galapagos (flight not included)**. Once you arrive in San Cristobal you will be brought to your lovely Hotel. Here, you will receive a warm meet and greet welcome. Later on, enjoy a walking tour of Baquerizo Moreno to get to know the island a little bit closer.
After lunch, at the beach between sea lions, a welcome activity awaits you which includes intention setting & a relaxing meditation session. Yoga by sunset is an amazing way to round off your first day in paradise.
** Please note:
Air ticket to and back Galapagos (San Cristobal Island), Galapagos National Park Fee 100USD per person (paid in cash only), and Transit Control Card 20USD per person are not included (paid in cash only).
In paradise, you will enjoy yoga classes in the morning and surf lessons in the afternoon. In the evening your local tour leader will show you have local life at Galapagos. However, since it's a Monday evening it will be quieter than on the weekends. Could things possibly get better?
Take part in some exciting surf lessons in the morning, relax in the afternoon, and then participate in a wonderful yoga session before bed in the evening to sum up a perfect day.
Have a delicious breakfast before setting out on an exhilarating day trip to Kicker Rock. Additionally, you'll get the chance to go underwater in a truly spectacular and once in a life time setting. With a small boat, you will set sail a lava formation in the middle of the ocean called Kicker Rock (or León Dormido in Spanish as they say it looks like a sleeping sea lion). First, you will circle the rock formation to observe the different bird species that use the rock formation as a resting or nesting place. Subsequently, the boat will anchor and you will jump off the boat to snorkel in the canal between the rock formation. Beware that the currents can be strong and that you will be snorkeling in open waters without being able to see the bottom. Here you will be able to spot different shark species (sometimes even hammerheads!), turtles, rays and more. In some seasons you might encounter jellyfish which can sting; however, a wetsuit will be provided when this is the case. After the snorkeling you will continue to Manglecito or a similar beach. This white coral beach offers the opportunity to walk around, relax and swim in shallow waters before returning to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. You will have a box lunch on board.
Today you will witness and experience a transformational experience; an empowerment workshop and a rewarding way to start your day. You'll feel even more inspired to take part in yet another surf session later in the afternoon.
Have you ever considered planning your day around yoga sessions in the morning and surf lessons in the afternoon, with live exhibitions of Darwin's theory of evolution sprinkled in between? You will become accustomed to this way of life in Galapagos. Remember to snap as many photos as you can to record this beauty so you can recall it in the future.
All wonderful things in life must, unfortunately, come to an end, but luckily some of them can be honored with a delightful farewell meal. Before you must leave this magnificent place, take advantage of your final free day in San Cristobal and take in one final sunset combined with a fun closing farewell activity.
Time to say goodbye. We really hope that you had an amazing and memorable time in this paradise called Galapagos and will always remember the special moments you had there. We appreciate your participation in this event and the opportunity to introduce you to the delights of this heavenly sanctuary.
Minimum age of 18
All foreigners entering Ecuador are obliged to have a valid health insurance
Basic Spanish is an advantage, but not required
Volunteers need to be flexible and keep an open mind concerning their placements as situations can arise beyond our control which could require you to be placed at a different project than the one you have initially chosen. We will of course always do our utmost to fulfill your initial wishes but do remember that where you are going is quite different from where you are coming and as such one should be prepared for things not always going according to plan.
Volunteering and intercultural travel share a common trait: the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. This program is designed for proactive individuals and groups that are prepared to adapt to the local environment and its current needs. Naturally, the scheduling and activities of our program are subject to change. Alterations in activities are mainly due to changes in local conditions, which we believe is part of what makes overseas programs the interesting adventure and incredible learning experience that they are.
Our projects range from 1 week up to approx. 30 weeks. Projects have a specified minimum stay, then it’s up to you how long you can commit. In our experience the longer you stay the more you will gain, as your understanding of the project broadens and you take on more responsibilities. Every volunteer will be given a certificate of appreciation at the end of their stay as a symbol of volunteering stay.