Ecuador Community Trip
Ecuador’s miles of Pacific coastline are home to a section of the Andes Cordillera and part of the Amazon rainforest, making it a place of grandiose landscapes and impressive natural and wild riches. Take your students to explore this corner of the world on a journey of encounters and exchanges with welcoming locals from a well-diverse people.
Flight to Quito and upon arrival, be greeted by your tour guide. Board your coach and travel to the historic center of Quito, the largest and best-preserved in Latin America and also the most modern place in the city. A must for travelers! Check into your Quito accommodation. Meal included: Dinner.
In the morning, explore the city of Quito, its historic center and 16th-century colonial center. Discover historical monuments, religious citadels and several museums. Then take the Pan-American Highway to the beautiful Andean region of Otavalo, popular for its traditions, indigenous crafts, volcanoes and lakes. Check in with families from an indigenous Otavalonian community with whom you can discuss and get to know them. Enjoy a typical dinner in their company, and spend a festive evening with legends and a musical group from the community. Meals included: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
After breakfast with the families, assist them in their construction, craft or farming work according to their needs at the time. Digging irrigation canals, participating in daycare work, sowing seeds in the fields, helping the ox-plow, milking cows, or making jewelry, are all examples of jobs students might do. After lunch at the community hall, visit a typical local cattle market as well as the famous Otavalo Indigenous Handicraft Market, the largest and most renowned in South America. Browse stalls for textiles and crafts from across the country, and shop for souvenirs. Then leave for Quito and settle into the historic center again. Meals included: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
This morning, move to Cotopaxi Volcano National Park. Its height of 5,897 meters makes it the second highest peak in Ecuador and one of the highest volcanoes in the world. Cotopaxi impresses as it is still active and has erupted more than 50 times in almost 300 years. Eat with a prepared lunchbox during your hike and in the evening, take part in a dinner in a community hall, all accompanied by a cozy fireplace. Settle in for the night in an eco-tourist hacienda, located at the foot of the volcano or in a mountain inn. Meals included: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Depart by coach through the Volcanoes Route to one of the indigenous villages of Zumbahua, Pujili or Saquisili. Located in the hollow of valleys and surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, you will find the local market where all the locals come to get their weekly supplies. It is therefore a market that is unlike the usual tourist markets and where you can observe the locals with their llamas carrying their food to their huts perched in the mountain. Then continue your drive to the beautiful Quilotoa crater lake, following the Alley of the Volcanoes. Along the way, you will see breathtaking scenery. Stop for a typical lunch at a community restaurant. In the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to walk around the lake or stay with the community to learn about painting and crafts from this region. End the day in the hamlet of Chugchilan, a small traditional Andean village with magnificent scenery. Ecotourism offers this village an additional source of income without affecting their lifestyle. Check into a typical country inn. Meals included: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
In the morning, meet a community of local farmers and learn more about their work. Then, set off for the charming little town of Baños, whose name (“baths”) comes directly from its main attraction: the thermal baths. Located at the foot of the Tungurahua volcano bordering the Amazon, Baños is one of Ecuador’s top tourist destinations. The volcano, not very active but rumbling regularly, heats pools of yellowish and sulphurous water with therapeutic properties. It is very pleasant to bathe in the heart of nature, with this view of the impressive volcano. Take advantage of the thermal baths and rest. Check into a city hotel in the evening. Meals included: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
This morning, head to the Gateway to the Amazon: the Misahualli region. Have lunch in an ecological hacienda, located in the heart of a botanical park and its orchid garden. Take a walk in the park and learn about its horticultural, agricultural and endangered varieties. If refreshment is in order, take a good swim in the river! Then continue your drive to the Puerto Misahualli area, directly on the Napo River. Misahualli is the closest city to the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle, where adventure travel and expedition enthusiasts meet regularly. Splendid landscapes, a diverse ecosystem and indigenous communities are present in this part of the country. Check into a Community Lodge where you will be greeted by the indigenous Kichwa women, who run the Lodge. The Kichwas live in a traditional way and have a culture and beliefs that are completely unique to them. Settle into the Lodge’s typical and rustic cabins after a good dinner there. Meals included: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
After breakfast, assist the women in community service. Depending on the needs of the moment, the students will help with the construction and maintenance of cabins, with the collection of materials from the beach of the river, and with help with the seeds of the vegetable garden. Enjoy a good lunch at the Lodge before leaving by coach to Cascada de Latas, a few minutes from the Lodge. Cascada de Latas is a charming little waterfall flowing into a small pool where it is good to swim. Take a short walk in the forest and bathe in the revitalizing water of the basin. At the end of the afternoon, help the locals prepare a dinner for you to share at the Lodge. In the evening, listen to tales of indigenous Kichwa legends and get carried away. Meals included: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Today, hike a few hours through the forest to learn about medicinal plants, trees and their uses, in addition to insects, birds and monkeys, to the banks of a river. See a demonstration of traditional artisanal gold washing, then return to the Lodge by canoe and bus. Enjoy a typical lunch before continuing the community work you started the day before. Meet a shaman, the Amazonian doctor, who will demonstrate his craft to you. Also meet the children and young people in the community and play games with them, such as a game of soccer or other sport. Finally, help the community prepare dinner and take part in a festive farewell evening with cultural dance, Kichwa musicians and dancers. Overnight in the community cabins. Meals included: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
After breakfast at the Lodge, take a tour of a community cocoa plantation, participate in cocoa harvesting and artisan chocolate making. Finally, transfer to the center of Misahualli where you can greet its inhabitants the monkeys. Indeed, Misahualli is a city shared between humans and apes. Capuchins are omnipresent in the city and socialize with men. However, be vigilant! Capuchins are wild animals and can therefore do so at any time. They are not afraid of men and have been able to adapt to them in order to take advantage of their presence to find food and even harmless objects such as your sunglasses. It will certainly be an extraordinary experience. At the end of the day, leave for Quito where you can share a last supper in Ecuadorian soil. Installation at your Quito hotel in the evening. Meals included: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Transfer to Quito airport for your return flight. Meals included: breakfast (to be confirmed according to the flight time).
- Round trip flight as well as airport transfers and taxes
- Coach transportation as indicated in your itinerary
- Local tour guide services
- Activities, visits and meals mentioned on your program
- Accommodation in indigenous communities, hotels, inns or hacienda depending on the city
- 24/7 emergency phone service
What’s not included
- Meals that are not mentioned on your program
- Personal expenses
- Optional activities
- Donations to host communities
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