Ecuador & the Amazon Community Service
- Explore Quito’s beautiful historic center
- Work with locals on community projects
- Immerse yourself in colors and crafts at the Otavalo market
- Canoe along the waterways of the Amazon rain forest
Community Service Projects
Students will spend an estimated 35–40 hours on service projects, working alongside community members on a variety of infrastructure, education, and sustainability projects.
Itinerary 14 Days
Beneath the snow-capped peaks of the Andes Mountains, Ecuador’s indigenous people proudly continue traditions that date back to their Inca ancestors. In a rural village in the Andean highlands, immerse yourself in everyday life as you work with community members on various service projects, such as painting a school, giving English lessons to children, or improving a public space. Then spend four days encountering wildlife in the jungles of the Amazon.
Quito2 days. Our program kicks off in the capital city of Quito. Built on Incan ruins nearly 500 years ago, Quito is a concoction of indigenous art, Spanish colonial architecture, and even Italian and Moorish flavors, a unique blend that has earned its historic center a spot on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Get introduced to Ecuador’s history and people as we explore the city’s cobblestone lanes. Head north on a day trip to Otavalo, a market town where locals have come to barter since before the Inca Empire. Delve into the colors and textures as you wander past stalls heaped with local crafts. Here, we’ll encounter the colorful Quechua culture, talk to artisans about their crafts, and sample comida tipica, or typical local dishes.
Community Service Village
7 days. Travel into the countryside and settle into a small village, where we’ll spend a week participating in a variety of service projects. Work alongside community members, building or painting public buildings, teaching English at the local school, or initiating environmental projects. After the workday is finished, spend time getting to know our hosts in the community and their way of life. Learn to make empanadas in a family home, take salsa dancing lessons, go horseback riding high into the hills, play fútbol with local youths, and volunteer at the local dairy farm.
During our time in the village, we’ll document our service projects through photographs, journal entries, and video. With the guidance of our trip leaders, craft a story about the challenges facing the community and the impact of your work.
4 days. We’ll make our way to a rustic eco-lodge deep in the Amazon rain forest. From here, set out into the jungle on day and night excursions with naturalists and indigenous guides, on foot and by dugout canoe, and discover tropical plants and jungle wildlife. Look for toucans, capuchin monkeys, and scarlet macaws in the forest canopy, and follow the trail of caimans and capybara. Go night-fishing for piranhas, and learn about the native peoples who have made their home in the rain forest.
Return to Quito for a final night and celebrate our adventure at a group dinner before heading home.