The Youth International Ecuador & Galapagos Islands program is a one-month experiential learning travel program in Ecuador, beginning with a 1-day orientation in Miami, Florida.  The Fall 2021 Ecuador program will run from November 27 to December 23.


The tunnels in the Galapagos Islands

Detailed Itinerary: November 27 to December 23

Nov. 27 to 28: Miami:  Team members meet up in Miami and begin a series of orientation workshops on topics including health, safety, cultural sensitivity, and team building, in preparation for their Ecuador adventure.

On Nov. 28, the team flies together from Miami to Ecuador, arriving in the city of Cuenca on the evening of Nov. 28.

Nov. 28 to Dec. 3: Cuenca: During this week, the team will live with middle class home stay families. Days will be spent engaging in a combination of Spanish language and cultural lessons, time with host families to learn about their lives first-hand, and completing workshops started in Miami.  There will also be several group outings and plenty of free time to explore the many museums, busy markets, and bustling streets and squares of this beautiful and culturally rich colonial city, of which the entire historic center has been honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

On Dec. 3 the team will say goodbye to their Cuenca host families, and travel by bus through the picturesque “volcano alley” of central Ecuador, to the town of Baños.  Along the way they will stop and explore “Ingapirca”, the most important Inca ruins in Ecuador.

Dec. 3 to 5: Baños: Time to explore this pretty little town set in lush surroundings at the base of a volcano. There will also be a white-water rafting trip, and time for a fun and relaxing dip in the local hot springs.

On Dec. 5, the team will continue by bus, following the “Route of the Waterfalls”, from Banos down to the Amazon Basin, and into the Ecuadorian rainforest.

Dec. 5 to 10: Village Homestay: During this week, the team lives with host families, in very simple conditions, in a small village on the edge of the rainforest. Team members learn about village life in the rainforest by living it themselves. Days are spent helping host families with regular daily work and chores, as well as running educational workshops and activities for village children.

On Dec. 10, the team will bid farewell to their village host families and will travel upriver by boat into a rainforest reserve.  Along the way they will visit an animal rescue center.

Dec. 10 to 14 Rainforest Reserve: The team will live in small cabins in the middle of the Ecuadorian rainforest.  Here they will work on one or more volunteer projects with a foundation dedicated to rainforest conservation. Recreational and educational outings will also be taken into the rainforest and along the river.

On Dec. 14, travel by bus to the capital city of Quito.

Dec. 14 to 15: Quito: The afternoon of Dec. 14 will be spent exploring the colorful and culturally rich old quarter of Ecuador’s beautiful capital city.  Overnight in Quito.

On the morning of Dec.15, the team flies from Quito to the Galapagos Islands.

Dec. 15 to 21: Galapagos Islands: For a full week, the team will visit multiple islands within Ecuador’s unique and incredible Galapagos Archipelago, where Charles Darwin discovered critical evidence to support his theory of evolution. During this time team members will go on several different safaris around the islands, boating, snorkeling, trekking, cycling, swimming, and on horseback to observe and learn about an astonishing array of mammals, birds, and marine life, as well as the islands themselves. There will also be ample time to enjoy the area’s spectacular beaches and to begin reflecting on the entire trip in preparation for the return home.

On Dec. 21, fly from the Galapagos Islands back to Quito.

Dec. 21 to 23: Quito:  On the team’s last full day in Ecuador, they will trek up the side of a sacred volcano perched over top of Quito.  There will also be time for further exploration of the capital city, as well as final program wrap-up and celebrations.

On Dec. 23, the team flies together from Quito back to Miami and then onward individually to each team member’s final home destination.

*Although unlikely, it is possible that the starting and ending point in the USA could change due to flight schedules and availability