Culture and Service in Ecuador


Culture and Service in Ecuador


Grade: 8th

Travel Dates: July 14 – July 22

* All tour dates are tentative until flights are booked in spring 2017

On this trip, students will venture into the heart of Ecuador’s lush Amazonian rainforest, where they will experience one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. In Otavalo, they will experience the culture and heritage of the city, visiting the Mercados de los Ponchos—a famous market known for its local beautiful textiles—and learning how traditional crafts and meals are prepared when they visited a local family’s home. As students are immersed in the Quito and Otavalo cultures, they also put their hands to work: building and restoring local schools and promoting social justice.


You will work with the award-winning charity Free The Children to better understand the needs of each community and then focus projects on those issues. Themes include education, health, clean water/sanitation, alternative income/livelihood, and agriculture/food security.

Day 1: Arrive in Quito
Meet your Field Director at the airport. 

Day 2: Quito

·         Visit Yunguilla, a sustainable development community in the cloud forest.

·         Tour the Intiñan Solar Museum and witness the natural forces at work near the equator.

Day 3: Transfer to the Amazon Basin
Take a scenic drive through the Amazon Basin and canoe up the Napo River to the Minga Lodge. Settle in for community orientation.

Days 4-5: Service Project — Amazon Basin
As communities evolve so do their needs. Free The Children works to understand each community’s challenges and help plan service projects. Since projects are determined closer to your actual tour date, here’s a glimpse at what a typical day might look like: 

·         You’ll begin your service days in a nearby village, focusing on education, clean water and agriculture.

·         Afternoons are spent immersed in cultural activities.

·         Evenings are a chance to reflect, discuss events as a group, and draw connections between the day’s work and relevant global issues.

Day 6: Service Project — Transfer to Baños de Agua Santa
Bid farewell to the Minga Lodge. Travel by boat and bus to Baños de Agua Santa, known as the Gateway to the Amazon.

Day 7: Baños

·         Visit one of the 60 waterfalls that make Baños such a popular world attraction.

·         Explore the beautiful Pastaza river canyon and then return to Quito.

Day 8: Otavalo

·         Browse the local markets for local crafts and regional foods.

·         Learn the art of making ponchos at a workshop taught by a local family.

·         Visit Mercado de los Ponchos, a famous market where indigenous Otavaleños sell woven textiles like blankets and tablecloths.

Day 9: Depart for home
*Please note, some flights will depart late in the evening which will result in the group arriving back in the US on the following day.

Learn more about Ecuador


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