DAYS 1-2: Arrival to Quito
Surrounded by snow-capped volcanoes and standing at 2,800 meters above sea level, Quito is the second highest capital city in the world. You will tour the historic center of Quito, home to some of the best preserved colonial architecture in the Americas.
DAYS 3-6: Cloudforest Conservation
The quaint town of Mindo (2 hours from Quito) is surrounded by tropical Cloudforest, which is home to several endangered and endemic mammal, bird and plant species. Students will spend the following days in the Intillacta Reserve, volunteering with a community–initiated conservation project, and learning about ecological restoration, agro-ecological production and environmental education.
DAYS 7-11: Andean Family Homestay
The group will drive north to Cotocachi in the Imbabura province, known for its stunning scenery and pristine high altitude lakes. Students will stay with different host families who are part of the Runa Tupari community tourism project and will participate in their host family’s day-to-day activities including milking cows, working on family gardens and farms, harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables, and cooking meals together. Students will discuss community development priorities and fair trade.
DAYS 12-14: Social movements, protest and sustainable development
Intag is one of Ecuador’s most scenic Cloudforest regions, and its people represent the heart and soul the Ecuadorian grassroots social and environmental movements. The people of Intag have long supported ecologically responsible business and have formed agricultural and ecotourism cooperatives to advance their vision for sustainable development. Residents of Intag have also protested against large-scale mining projects in the area. Here we will meet community organizers, activists, environmentalists, farmers, small business owners, teachers and children who have united in their vision for an alternative form of economic development. We will visit an organic coffee farm and learn more about the world’s most popular bean
DAYS 15-20: Rainforest and wildlife conservation in the Amazon
Crossing the Andean mountain range, the group will travel to Tena, one of the most popular launching points for jungle, kayaking and rafting tours in the Ecuadorian Amazon region.
From Tena, the group will visit a wildlife rescue center where the group will receive an exclusive tour and learn about illegal wildlife trade, rescue, rehabilitation and release of wildlife, and efforts that their organization, partners and authorities are taking to limit illegal wildlife trade. After a visit to a private rainforest research reserve, the group will travel to the Tamia Yura community just outside of Tena where you will spend the next 4 days.
Students will volunteer on a variety of on-going initiatives and will learn about fair trade initiatives and coffee and chocolate production. Depending on the preference of the group, Greentrek can arrange an adrenaline-filled white river rafting trip, or a tour to the outstanding Jumandy Caves.
DAYS 21-24: Camping with the Waorani Indigenous People in the Amazon
The Waorani Indigenous people, also known as the Waos, are native Amerindians from the Amazonian Region of Ecuador who have distinct differences from other ethnic groups in Ecuador. The nearly 4,000 Waorani people in Ecuador speak Waoterero, a linguistic isolate that is not known to be related to any other language.
During our stay we will have the chance to get to know our Waorani hosts, and their unique culture and worldview. Jungle walks, hunting parties, fishing trips, weaving, bird-watching, working in farm plots, playing in the river with the children, or just sit and talk with our Waorani hosts during the stay. We will also discuss more generally some of the contemporary challenges that indigenous people face in terms of defending land rights, natural resource management, poverty alleviation and integration into western social and economic systems.
DAYS 25-27 Farewell Ecuador!
Flight back to Quito. Day off in the city and farewell dinner with Greentrek staff.
- Private ground transportation.
- Bilingual guides
- Lodging in 2x and 3x rooms
- Meals according to itinerary
- 24/7 Emergency contact
- Activities according to itinerary
- All airport transfers
- Travel insurance
- Extra beverages