South America Program: Daily Itinerary
Colorado, USA: September 14 to 17
Sept. 14 to 17: Rocky Mountains:
For three days team members will live together in residence at the YMCA of the Rockies Conference Center in Estes Park, Colorado. In the midst of this spectacular Rocky Mountain setting, they will take part in a series of orientation workshops covering topics such as team building, health and safety, and cultural sensitivity, in preparation for their time abroad.
Sept. 17: Flight to South America:
The team will depart Colorado’s Rocky Mountains on the morning of Sept. 17. They will fly together from Denver to La Paz, Bolivia.
Bolivia: September 17 to October 18
Sept. 17 to 19: La Paz:
Time to begin exploring Bolivia’s largest, and perhaps its most colorful, city. Individual and group site-seeing and exploration of La Paz’s lively streets, extensive bustling markets, and many museums. On Sept. 19, the team will travel by bus from La Paz to Cochabamba.
Sept. 19 to 25: Cochabamba:
For one week the team will live in the city of Cochabamba, tucked in a picturesque valley in Bolivia’s beautiful central highlands. Everyone will live with a host family and attend intensive Spanish language lessons. Outings will also be taken to explore the many interesting sides of this lively Bolivian city. On Sept. 25, the team will move to Malcorancho, about 45 minutes outside of Cochabamba.
Sept. 25 to Oct. 7: Malcorancho:
For a week and a half the team will live with host families in this small rural village just beyond the outskirts of Cochabamba. Days will be spent helping to build a local school, as well as doing some teaching of the school children. Outings will also be taken to visit nearby sites of interest, including a day hike in Tunari National Park. Travel by bus to Uyuni on Oct. 7.
Oct. 7 to 11: Uyuni and the Southern Altiplano:
The team will arrive at the outpost town of Uyuni and then set out on a safari into Bolivia’s remote southern Altiplano. For four days, they will ride jeeps across spectacular salt plains and high mountain deserts, visiting volcanoes and flamingo lakes in one of South America’s most rugged landscapes. Overnight travel north from Uyuni to La Paz on Oct. 11.
Oct. 12 to 13: La Paz:
The team will have time to continue exploring La Paz. There will also be an optional day trip to visit the nearby ancients ruins of Tiahuanaco. On the morning of Oct. 13, the team will fly from La Paz, in the high mountain plains, down to the lush Amazon River Basin and the town of Rurrenabaque.
Oct. 13 to 17: Amazon River Basin:
A day to explore Bolivia’s northern frontier town of Rurrenabaque, followed by a three-day boat safari. The team will travel in simple wooden boats along rivers in the Amazon Basin, take hikes into the pampas, and camp overnight in cabins along the banks of the river. Fly back to La Paz on Oct. 17 and continue by bus to Copacabana.
Oct. 17 to 18: Copacabana:
Arrive by bus on the afternoon of Oct. 17 in Copacabana, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Time to explore this pretty little pilgrimage town by the border of Peru. Continue west by bus across the border to Puno, Peru on Oct. 18.
Peru: October 18 to November 7
Oct. 18 to 21: Puno & Lake Titicaca:
The team will have time to explore the small city of Puno, and then set off by boat on one of the world’s highest navigable bodies of water, Lake Titicaca, for two days. During that outing, the team will learn about island life and will stay overnight with host families on the small island of Amantani. Travel by bus northwest from Puno to Cuzco on Oct. 21.
Oct. 21 to 29: Cuzco:
This beautiful capital city of the old Inca Empire is tucked in an Andean Mountain valley in southern Peru. The team will live here with host families for more than a week. Days will be spent working on a variety of volunteer projects in Cuzco. There will also be two full days to explore Inca ruins in and around the city.
Oct. 29 to Nov. 2: Trek to Machu Picchu:
The team will set out on a four-day trek deep into the Andean Mountains, through lush vegetation and over snow-covered passes. On the fifth day, the team will explore Machu Picchu, “Lost City of the Incas,” deservedly the most famous historical site in South America. Return back to Cuzco by train and bus at the end of the day on Nov. 2.
Nov. 2 to 3: Cuzco:
Overnight back in Cuzco on Nov. 2. On Nov. 3, the team will fly from Cuzco to Lima.
Nov. 3 to 4: Lima:
Site-seeing and free time to explore Peru’s capital city, and sites such as the Church of San Francisco & Catacombs, the Central Market, and the National Museum. Depart Lima on the evening of Nov. 4, traveling by bus up the north coast to Mancora.
Nov. 5 to 7: Mancora:
The team will have some much-deserved time to relax on one of Peru’s most beautiful northern beaches, staying 2 nights in a beach-side hostel. On Nov. 7, continue traveling by bus up the coast into Ecuador to the city of Cuenca.
Ecuador (and Galapagos Islands): November 7 to December 6
Nov. 7 to 10: Cuenca:
The team will have time to explore the many museums, busy markets, and bustling streets, of this beautiful colonial city. On Nov. 10, travel by bus to Banos.
Nov. 10 to 12: Banos:
A day long white-water rafting trip. Time for exploration of this pretty little town, set in lush surroundings at the base of a volcano. Continue by bus to the rainforest on Nov. 12.
Nov. 12 to 19: Campo Cocha Village:
For one week the team will live with host families, in very simple conditions, in this small village on the edge of the rainforest. Team members will learn about village life in the Ecuadorian rainforest by living it themselves. Days will be spent helping host families with regular daily work and chores, as well as running educational activities for village children. On Nov. 19, the team will travel about 15 minutes up river into a rainforest reserve, where they will live for the following week.
Nov. 19 to 26: Rainforest Reserve:
During this week, the team will live in small cabins in the middle of the Ecuadorian rainforest. Here they will work on a variety of service projects with a local foundation dedicated to rainforest conservation. Some recreational and educational outings will also be taken into the rainforest and along nearby rivers. Travel by bus from the rainforest to Otavalo on Apr. 26.
Nov. 26 to 28: Otavalo:
Time to explore the bustling craft, food, and animal markets in this small city north of Quito. The group will also do a day-hike around the perimeter of Laguna de Cuicocha, a spectacular volcanic lake located in a nature reserve. On the afternoon of Nov. 28, the group will travel back south by bus to Quito.
Nov. 28 to 30: Quito:
Time for group, and individual, exploration of Ecuador’s beautiful capital city. On the morning of Nov. 30, the team will fly from Quito to the Galapagos Islands, located on the equator approximately 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador.
Nov. 30 to Dec. 5: Galapagos Islands:
The group will explore several islands within Ecuador’s Galapagos Archipelago. This is where Charles Darwin found some of the most important evidence in the development of his theory of evolution. The team will observe an astonishing array of mammals, birds, and marine life… from swimming with sea lions and penguins to walking within a few feet of giant tortoises, pelicans, and blue-footed boobies. The team will also have some time to enjoy the areas spectacular beaches, and begin reflecting on the entire trip in preparation for the return home. Fly from the Galapagos Islands back to Quito on Dec. 5.
Dec. 5 to 6: Quito:
Time for more group, and individual, exploration of Ecuador’s beautiful capital city. Final program wrap-up and preparation for returning home.
Dec. 6: Flight back to the U.S.A.:
The team will fly together from Quito to Miami, Florida, and then onward individually to each team member’s final home destination.