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.  The Spring 2022 Ecuador program will run April 26 to May 25, 2022.

The tunnels in the Galapagos Islands

Detailed Itinerary: April 26 to May 25

April 26 to 27: 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 April 27, the team flies together from Miami to Ecuador, arriving in the city of Cuenca on the evening of April 27.

April 27 to May 3: Cuenca: For one 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 some free time and ample opportunity to explore with other team members 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 May 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.

May 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 May 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.

May 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 May 10, travel up river by boat to a rainforest reserve.  Along the way visit an animal rescue center.

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

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

May 14 to 17: Quito: Time for exploration of Ecuador’s beautiful capital city.  One day the team will trek to the peak of a sacred volcano perched over top of Quito.

On the morning of May 17, the team flies to the Galapagos Islands.

May 17 to 24: 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 May 24, fly from the Galapagos Islands back to Quito.

May 24 to 25: Quito: Further exploration of Quito and final program wrap-up and celebrations.

On May 25, the team flies together back to Miami and then onward individually to each team member’s final home destination.