Unforgettable Learning Journeys in Ecuador & Latin America Ecuador Phone: (593) 2-6013290
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Ecuador’s Natural Wonders

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Ecuador’s Natural Wonders

Duration: 13 Days / 12 Nights

Educational features: Environmental Science, Ecology, Conservation

Program overview

Explore the Amazon Rainforest and the Galapagos Islands, both considered Natural Wonders for the Humanity.

Learn about the amazing biodiversity of the Amazon Rainforest and the complex relationships between the local indigenous cultures. Explore nature at the Galapagos Islands, a living museum and showcase of evolution, named one of the underwater wonders on Earth. It is the largest Marine Reserve in the World and one of the remaining paradises on earth. Participate in community and environmental service activities, helping local volunteers on their current projects.

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Highlights

  • Lecture series by recognized local experts or professors of the most prestigious local universities.
  • Explore the Amazon rain forest accompanied by a native guide.
  • Work with kids of the Ahuano Community to improve their school conditions.
  • Environmental Service at Omaere Ethnobotanical Park.
  • Visit Fundar Foundation in Galapagos to assist local volunteers on their projects.

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Seasonality

No restriction. Program available all year round.

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Itinerary – Day by Day

Day 1: Arrival in Quito Welcome to Ecuador! Arrive in Quito and transfer to the Hotel.

Day 2: Exploring Quito.

Explore Quito’s historic center; the best preserved and least altered historic center in America. Learn about Quito’s rich history and artistic legacy. Admire the wonderful architecture of its colonial buildings and the uniqueness of religious art pieces from the famous Quitenian School of art, which combines European Renaissance and Baroque styles with indigenous and mestizo influences. Continue in the Middle of the World complex, built in 1979 to commemorate a group of scientist who had the hard mission to determine the Earth’s shape back in 1743 and to mark the point where, according to calculations used at that time, the Equator line crossed. Learn about the Geodesic mission and local scientist’s hard work to measure a meridian arc. Learn important facts about the Equator and confirm or dismiss related rumors that have fascinated people for centuries. Celebrate the ability to be in both hemispheres at the same time – a once in a lifetime experience! Return to the hotel to freshen up and be ready for an evening Lecture led by a local professor: Introduction to Ecuador´s cultural diversity, political and social situation. (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 3: Quito – Papallacta – Punta Ahuano.

Depart from Quito early in the morning for a 1 ½ hours of scenic drive descending the Eastern slopes of the Andes cordillera into the entrance of the Amazon basin. Arrive to Papallacta to learn about the hydrothermal value of these springs, its origin and restorative effects that you will be able to enjoy while spending the morning at the thermal pools. Lunch at Papallacta Thermal Springs. In the afternoon, continue your drive through the same route that the Spanish conqueror Francisco de Orellana took in 1542, searching for spices and gold (El Dorado search), which finally took him to discover the Amazon river. Arrive to Punta Ahuano , transfer by canoe to the Lodge. During the next days you will enjoy different activities that will introduce you to the Amazon Nature & Culture, activities will begin after an early breakfast, and will be led by both native and bilingual guides. (Meals: B, L, D)

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Day 4: Ahuano Cultural Visit and Community Work

Visit a local Quichua Indian family in the village of Ahuano. Here you will learn about several aspects of traditional Quichua culture: your host will show us how to make chicha, a typical beverage (passengers are allowed to help them make it and of course all may taste), and demonstrate the rituals still practiced today throughout the surrounding community. Finally, all may participate in a blowgun target-shooting contest – but don’t expect to beat the natives! After lunch visit a ceramic handicraft factory to learn the elaboration process, participate in the painting and making of the pottery. Next to the ceramic factory there is a wood carving where as in the ceramic, you will be able to participate in the elaboration of such handicrafts. Today you will also have a community work activity included while helping the members of the community improving some area of the local school. Visit a butterfly farm where you will see about 20 different species of butterflies and will learn about the metamorphosis process of the different stages of the butterfly. Return to the Lodge. (Meals: B, L, D)

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Day 5: Cosano / Amazoonico Animal Rescue Center

A 20 minute boat ride takes you to Cosano, a private property with primary forest on the Rio Arajuno. Walks of different lengths (1 till 3 hours) lead you through the dark world of the rain forest. From two different points of view you can overlook the Ahuano village, the Rio Napo and some smaller rivers that merge with it. Your local guide explains to you the amazing world of the plants that you encounter on your walk. After lunch you are invited to float downstream the Arajuno on a big inner tube. Don’t worry, the ride is peaceful and relaxing. Also located on the Rio Arajuno is the AmaZoonico Animal Rescue Center, its mission is to take care of injured or confiscated wild animals and if possible to set them free later. Learn from the local volunteers about their hard work to rescue and rehabilitate wild animals. This is also a great opportunity to observe animals living in the region, that are difficult to see in the wild. You will also hear from the Return to the Lodge (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 6: Ahuano – Puyo Environmental Service at Omaere – Baños.

Depart from Ahuano to the city of Puyo. Here you will have the chance to visit the Omaere Ethnobotanical Park and participate in reforestation activities, trail maintenance and contribute to the conservation and sustainable development of the region. After lunch, continue to Baños located at the skirts of the active Tungurahua volcano. Baños has a privileged location, it is a transition point between the Highlands and the Amazon. Enjoy a tour of this charming town, a visit to the balsa wood sculptures, and to the local toffee makers. Overnight in the area. (Meals: B, L, D)

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Day 7: Baños Waterfalls – Quito

Explore Baños; a charming town, surrounded by mountains and waterfalls with a nice tempered climate and medicinal hot springs. Enjoy a hike to one of the principal waterfalls while exploring the local cloud forest ecosystem. Banios offers opportunities to practice some adventure activities like canopy, biking or horseback riding. All these activities can be arranged directly in town (additional cost). After lunch return to Quito. (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 8: Flight to Galapagos.

Explore Santa Cruz Island: Santa Cruz highlands, Charles Darwin Station. Flight to Galapagos from Quito or Guayaquil. Arrive at Baltra´s airport and meet your local guide who will assist you with transfer to Santa Cruz Islands. Explore the highlands of Santa Cruz, characterized by its beautiful Scalesia forest and luxuriant vegetation. Visit the Gemelos volcanic depressions, known in English as the Twins. Continue to the Giant tortoise reserve where you will have the opportunity to observe these animals in the wild. Lunch in a local restaurant and continue to Puerto Ayora to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. Learn about the wonderful work the station is doing in conservation of the islands. Learn from one of its members more about Galapagos and its current situation. The rest of your afternoon is at leisure to explore Puerto Ayora town on your own. Puerto Ayora is the most populated and developed town in the Archipelago, it is also considered the operation center of the other islands. Continue to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (Meals: B, L, D)

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Day 9: Exploring one of the nearest islands (Boat Excursion)

Depart from Puerto Ayora to be transferred by boat to one of the nearest islands. Excursions will be led by a Naturalist guide who will introduce you to the Galapagos Amazing ecosystem, you will learn about the Islands formation, its flora and fauna. Among the Islands you can visit are: Bartholomew, Floreana, North Seymour and Bachas, Plazas Island, Isabela or Santa Fe*. In the afternoon return to Puerto Ayora for dinner and overnight. *The name of the island to be visited will be confirmed a two weeks in advance to the visit. This information is provided by the Galapagos National Park and is subject to change without previous notice.

Day 10: Community Service / Environmental Work

Visit Fundar foundation to learn about development and conservation. Fundar runs educational projects aimed at changing the behavior of the population towards sustainable livelihood and to support sustainable development projects such as social research, renewable energy, environmental protection, social and environmental ethic. Assist Fundar volunteers in one of their current projects related to Community service or Environmental Education (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 11: Half day Community Service / Environmental Work PM Tortuga BaParticipate the morning in Community Work or Environmental Educationa activities with members of Fundar foundation. In the afternoon visit Tortuga Bay, a beautiful white sand beach considered as one of the most beautiful beaches in Galapagos. It is also a favorite place for sea turtles (which gave the name to the beach), sea lions, marine iguanas, pelicans, flamingos and lava gulls. (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 12: Back to Quito Transfer to Baltra Airport for your flight back to Quito.

Once in Quito, be transferred to the Hotel. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to pack. At night, enjoy a farewell dinner in one of the local restaurants. (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 13: Departure Transfer to the airport for your flight back home.

Operational details

  • Program starts and ends in Quito.
  • Program operates with minimum 12 participants and maximum 20.
  • Program can be modified or adapted according to your specific study group.

The program includes:

Private transportation, local tour leader throughout the program, naturalist guide in Galapagos, accommodation (shared), meals according to itinerary detail (menu meals), excursions and activities as per itinerary detail.

The program does not included

International airfare, Air Fare to/From Galapagos, Galapagos Transit Control Card, Galapagos Park entrance fee, personal expenses, and gratuities. Travel or Health Insurance. Entrance to the Yasuni National Park US$25 per person

Ready to get started? Contact us to book your trip.

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See all our Ecuador & Galapagos Tours and more Academic and Student Travel options

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