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Ecuador Community Immersion

Ecuador located on the equator on South America’s west coast. Is known for its diverse landscape that includes the Amazon jungle, Andean highlands, and the wildlife-rich Galápagos Islands. Quito, the capital, is known for its largely intact Spanish colonial center, with decorated 16th- and 17th-century palaces.

Highlights

  • 3 days teaching at Quintillano Sanchez School, Quito

  • 5 days with the Yunguillas community in the Cloud Forest

  • 4 days in Sinchi Warmi community in the Amazon

  • City tour: Mitad del mundo, visit the Equator, Compania Church and The Basilica

  • Teleferico Gondola ride and tour

  • Otavalo boat ride and market visit

  • Peguche waterfall

  • Quilotoa trip, hike the 3 mile wide water-filled caldera in the Ecuadorian Andes

  • Mindo: artisanal chocolate tour and waterfall visit

  • Papallacta Hot Springs

  • Salsa lesson

  • Cooking lesson

Cost

14-17 Teens:  $3213 per person

18-20 Teens: $3155 per person

Chandler Hilken 633198 Unsplash
Chandler Hilken 633198 Unsplash
Enjoy Relaxing At Papallacta Hot Springs In Their Themal Pools.
Octavalo Market
Octavalo Market2
Paddling
Quitlotoa
Vende Flores
Weaving
Yunguillo Women
Adriana Leon 578540 Unsplash

Sample Itinerary:  20 days

 Day  Activity

1

  • Arrive in Quito, Ecuador

2

  • Quito City Tour

  • The Equator, Ethnographic Museum Middle of the Earth

  • Orientation and survival skills, depending on time of arrival

  • Schools are in session 1/2 day.

  • Options to take Spanish in the evening for all levels

3

  • Quintillano Sanchez School
  • The Teleférico, cable car ride over the city

4

  • Quintillano Sanchez School
  • Salsa Lesson

5

  • Quintillano Sanchez School
  • Cooking class at a local restaurant

6

  • Quintillano Sanchez School
  • Lecture with local professor about the indigenous groups in Ecuador

7

  • Quintillano Sanchez School

  • Visit the Mindalae Cultural center

8

  • Travel to Otavalo

  • Visit the indigenous market and Peguche waterfall

9

  • Visit the communities close to Otavalo

  • 2 hr drive back to Quito

10

  Quilotoa Day Trip, drive to Yunguillo community

11

  • Yunguillo Home stay

  • Community Service

12

  • Yunguillo Home stay
  • Community Service

13

  • Yunguillo Home stay
  • Community Service

14

  • Yunguillo Home stay
  • Community Service

15

  • Mindo Cloud Forest, hiking,
  • Waterfall
  • Chocolate tour

16

  •  Dive to Sinchi Warmi
  • Introduction, orientation

17

  • Volunteer work at Sinchi Warmi

18

  • Volunteer work at Sinchi Warmi

19

  • Volunteer work at Sinchi Warmi
  • 2 hr drive back to Quito

  • Farewell dinner in the Old town

20

Depart Ecuador, Fly home

Community

Teaching in Quito at Quintillano Sanchez School
Volunteers are needed to help teach English in public elementary schools in Quito. Some schools have only one teacher per 200 students, teaching English grades one through seven every day. Besides the regular classes, volunteers may be asked to assist teachers in other subjects such as computers and art classes.

  • Monday to Friday 8:00 am to 12:30 pm
  • Assist the local English teacher with student´s vocabulary, pronunciation and conversation Help correct student’s daily homework
  • Organize activities using games and songs
  • Be available for English conversation with other teachers in the school
afterschool programs
Yunguillas community
Yunguillas community teens

Yunguillo Community in Calacali
The Yunguillo community is a small mestizo farming community located one hour northwest of Quito, in the district of Calacalí, in a cloud forest zone 8,694 feet above sea level. The community started a project to improve the quality of life through the appropriate management of natural resources and the development of activities that support sustainable development. Almost fifty families have joined forces to work in the production of jams and jellies from local fruits, cheeses, sustainable agriculture, reforestation, research and tourism. The community has also been active in developing the chain from planting the seed to selling the final product either in their own market, in Quito, or for exportation.

to growing tourism. Until recently, most young people couldn’t wait to try their luck in the bustling capital of Quito, where many of the jobs in the country are located. But as projects have expanded in Yunguilla, there are more roles and opportunities right at home.

  • Visit the main eco-tourism area “Tahuallullo”, a unique community property which includes a cheese factory, jam factory, arts and crafts workshop, orchid and tree nurseries, reforested pathways and organic vegetable garden
  • Participate in the production of cheese, jam, and handicrafts or get involved in forestry activities or organic farming.
  • Live with the families that reside within the community.
  • Hike on trails through the cloud forest and the visit “Los Culuncos”, Historic Pre-Incan routes.
  • Take guided walks through the forest and the community.
  • Observe the local wildlife and the animals that inhabit the cloud forest

Family stays in Yunguillas community. Accommodations include two or three students per house, double and triple rooms with private bathrooms. About 20 families have built additions for guests.

Sinchi Warmi

Located 1 hour away from Tena, Sinchi Warmi is an essential place to visit, an unforgettable experience, both for adventurers and those

wishing to calmly enjoy the lush surroundings. The project is an initiative of associated women from the local Quechua community, to prove

that it is possible to succeed as an indigenous woman, without leaving aside its culture.

The accommodation is composed of several traditional cabins surrounded by a typical Amazonian vegetation. Whether it is in a hammock or

perched in the mirador, you will be immersed in Sinchi Warmi’s tranquillity.

The famous Rio Napo is accessible on foot, river where you can sail in a canoe for a day or start a real journey in the Amazon. The site

combines cultural nights, traditional dances, Quechua courses, chocolate making and jungle tours. The community lives around the complex.

Visitors will be part of local life and participate in daily tasks.

Community housing – double and triple rooms for the students, 2-3 single room for teachers,

Sinchi Warmi Crafts
Sinchi Warmi river

Destinations

Quito
Quito runs along the beautiful “Cordillera de los Andes”, at the foot of Pichincha Volcano. It is a city of contrasts: Modern with large avenues, organized transportation, and modern buildings to hold the busy life of the Ecuador ́s capital city. The old face of the city shows times in history transforming Quito in a city Patrimony of Humankind.

Quito was once the land of brave indigenous warriors, the land of the Quitus with sacred temples were to honor the “Inti God”. After the Spanish invasion great churches, plazas, and parks were built, its architecture, sculpture, paintings reflected the flourishing times. Tour of the city and surrounding area

  • Visit the city’s main Basilica and its colonial-era structures and learn about the history of Ecuador
  • Ride the Teleferico and experience the panoramic views of the city from a 13,000-foot (4,000-meter) peak
  • The Ciudad Mitad del Mundo: a tract of land owned by the prefecture of the province of Pichincha, Ecuador. It is located 26 km north of the center of Quito. The grounds contain the Monument to the Equator, which highlights the exact location of the Equator (from which the country takes its name) and commemorates the eighteenth-century Franco-Spanish Geodesic Mission which fixed its approximate location;
  • Museo Etnográfico Mitad del Mundo, Ethnographic Museum Middle of the Earth, a museum about the indigenous
    people ethnography of Ecuador.
jungle
Enjoy relaxing at Papallacta hot springs in their themal pools.

Papallacta Hot Springs and Jungle Hike (or optional Rafting)

Papallacta Hot Springs Resort – soak in the divine thermal pools that range in temperature from frigid to half a dozen varying degrees of steaming. The thermal waters are rich in minerals, sulfates and alkaline, said to provide numerous health and skin benefits.

  • Hiking
  • Optional rafting or kayaking. Tena is the capital of the Napo province, an attractive and quiet city in the Ecuadorean lowlands.
  • Because of its location close to the Andean foothills, Tena has emerged as one of the top spots in Ecuador to go whitewater rafting or kayaking.
octavalo market
calacali

Mindo

Mindo (also known as the Mindo Valley) is a mountainous watershed in the western slopes of the Andes, where two of the most biologically diverse ecoregions in the world meet: the Chocoan lowlands and the Tropical Andes. In this transitional area, which covers an area of 103 sq miles and ranges from 3,150–11,290 ft above sea level. There are three rivers (Mindo, Saloya and Cinto) and hundreds of streams to irrigate the landscape, which is a patchwork of cloud forests, secondary forests, agricultural land, and human settlements.

  • Hiking
  • Waterfall visit
  • Artisanal chocolate tour

Otavalo

Otavalo’s beauty lies in its people and surroundings, the Otavaleños and the towering volcanoes that surround the Andean town.

The Otavalo Market, which makes this market town famous, is undoubtedly one of the most important and spectacular markets in all of

Latin America. The Otavalo market is attractive to visitors for both its outstanding shopping and its cultural significance. Local people use market day much the way their ancestors did during Ecuador’s pre-Colombian history. The Otavalo market is a fascinating way to experience traditional Ecuadorian culture and the traditions of the Andes.

By 6am, with the sun rising and the mountains casting improbable shadows over the town, the market is already alive with squealing pigs and clucking chickens. By the time the sun clears the volcanoes at 6:30am, much of the day’s business has already been done, and it’s time to head back into town to the artisan market.

  • Cuicocha lake boat
  • Peguche waterfall

Quilotoa

When the Quilotoa volcano last erupted in 1280, it left behind a gaping caldera 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) across, which is now filled with brilliant turquoise water. The word “quilotoa” comes from the local Quechua language, a group native to the central Andes region. At an elevation of around 12,467 to 12,795 feet, Ecuador’s Laguna Quilotoa is tucked within a rugged countryside, criss-crossed with well-worn hiking trails crawling all over the Andes mountain. The area is still home to many indigenous peoples, who make their living farming on the land much as they have for thousands of years.

The tiny town of Quilotoa sits nearby to the lake’s southwest, and is the best place to view the lake and begin the hike around its rim.

The hike along the rim of the crater is about 4.7 miles, offering four or five hours of views down into the deep lake.

Quitlotoa

Doing Community service was such a rewarding experience. Being able to connect with both the kids and adults in the towns where we worked was so incredible, the most amazing people I’ve ever met. Meeting them has changed my life forever.

-Julia

Julia -testimonial image

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