ECUADOR SERVICE - 17 DAYS

SERVICE LEARNING PROGRAM

Trip Details
Destination: Ecuador
Length: 14 Days
Arrive / Depart: Los Angeles, CA
Tuition: $4,495 – Airfare included
Ages: 13 – 16
Dates: July 27 – August 9, 2019

Trip Highlights
Village infrastructure project
Spanish language class
Horseback ride the Chota Valley
Shop at Otavalo Market
Learn to cook traditional Ecuadorian foods
Mountain bike ancient Incan trails
Whitewater raft the Chota River

ECUADOR SERVICE- 14 DAY TEEN TRIP

The Ecuadorian Andes are one of the highlights of this diverse country, featuring Incan ruins, turquoise lagoons, potato crops, hundreds of species of orchids, indigenous towns and colorful markets. Our 14-day trip will focus around a service learning project in a small indigenous village near the town of Otavalo, where we’ll learn through cross-cultural exchanges with community elders. We will take advantage of the abundance of outdoor adventure activities surrounding Otavalo, including whitewater rafting, mountain biking and horseback riding. No experience required.

SERVICE PROJECT

Community members in highland Ecuador have no shortage of will and ideas for improving their communities. Communities want buildings as gathering places for events, meetings and workshops; storehouses for grain or cotton banks; fences for gardens and schools; and playground or sports equipment to invigorate community life and spirit. They are ready to work hard to achieve their goals. The Wild Traveler and the Tandana Foundation provide the funds and help necessary to complete these much needed projects.

Service-project
Service-2

HOMESTAYS

There is no comparison to the rich cultural experience of becoming part of a foreign family. Not only will you receive firsthand knowledge of daily customs and traditions, but you will experience music, local festivities, mealtimes, chores and holiday celebrations, just as if you were a true member of the family. Participants will be placed in one of our experienced, welcoming host families with another Wild Traveler participant.

Community-1
Community

ADVENTURE ACTIVITIES

Having so much untamed wilderness within easy striking distance of our base, Otavalo is a superb destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Horseback riding up dormant volcanoes, mountain biking across the beautiful Andes downhill tracks left by the Incas and whitewater rafting the Chota River are just a few of the adventures awaiting us.

Rafting-2
Rafting-1

OTAVALO MARKET

Visit Otavalo market and learn all about the culturally rich indigenous communities in this region of Ecuador. The village is world famous for its indigenous population, their artisanry, and Andean folklore music. People come from all over to sell their goods, and they come from even further to buy those goods. We’ll wander up and down the streets to see all the different handmade items and try our hand at bargaining for souvenirs.

Market-1
Market-2

SPANISH LESSONS

Learn and practice your Spanish speaking skills. You’ll spend time in the village classroom working on your language skills while also practicing with native speakers outside the classroom. You’ll learn Spanish words and phrases related to the work and activities you will be doing and basic words and phrases in Kichwa, the indigenous language.

DAY TO DAY ITINERARY

DAY 1

Your Wild Traveler trip leaders will meet you at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). We’ll fly as a group from Los Angeles to Quito, Ecuador. Once we arrive, we’ll load up our private shuttle, meet our local Wild Traveler staff and drive to our hotel in Otavalo where we’ll spend the rest of the afternoon getting to know each other, eating our first dinner together and exploring the quaint mountain town of Otavalo. Bienvenidos!

DAY 2

Today, we’ll meet the local villagers and receive a trip orientation and an in-depth introduction to Otavalo. In the afternoon, we will visit the famous market as a group and buy ingredients to prepare for our Kawsymi cooking class, the traditional cooking style of the highland region. We’ll conclude our first full day by savoring the efforts of our labor during a group feast and a discussion of Ecuadorian culture.

DAY 3

Today, we’ll begin language class! Each morning, you will have time to learn and improve your Spanish speaking, no matter what proficiency level you’re starting at. You will also have the chance to learn words and phrases in the indigenous language, Kichwa. In the afternoon, we’ll take a hike up to “las siete cascadas” (the seven waterfalls) for a picnic and cool off in the local swimming hole.

DAY 4

The massive Andean mountains give rise to many rivers in Ecuador. These rivers make their way through spectacular gorges, canyons, valleys, and jungle, leaving behind miles of breathtaking world class whitewater that feeds into the powerful Amazon River. We’ll spend the day rafting the Chota River with the help of our professional river guides. In the evening, we’ll meet up with our local friends and learn the Latin art of salsa dancing firsthand!

DAY 5

In the morning, we’ll continue to explore the Chota Valley, but this time on horseback! After hopping off our saddles, we will head back to Otavalo, do some grocery shopping and meet our welcoming host families. Each host family will host two to three Wild Traveler participants, which will provide a great opportunity for language learning and cultural exchange. Try a new game, cook a meal with your host parents, or even watch an Ecuadorian film with your host siblings!

DAYS 6 – 13

For the next seven days, we will work with community members to build a village community center. We’ll spend the mornings working hard and the afternoons playing harder. Afternoon activities include hiking in the mountains, playing fútbol with local kids, bread baking, mountain biking, hot spring soaking, market shopping, and so much more.

DAY 14

We’ll prepare for our “despedida,” or farewell party, and celebrate with our new village friends! After our celebration feast and farewell ceremony, we’ll shuttle to the airport and take our flight back to Los Angeles International Airport. We’ll debrief our trip and exchange pictures, contact information, and final hugs before checking in to flights home to share stories of our once-in-a-lifetime adventure with our loved ones back home!

ECUADOR SERVICE GEAR

Getting your gear together as you get ready for your trip can be exciting. All of the items listed below are important and will be used during our trip, so please pack everything on the list. With that in mind, please resist bringing additional items, because space is limited.

You can find examples of items on our Gear Recommendations page.

Everything must fit in your large backpack and your daypack.

Label all equipment with your name.

Be aware that all of the items below may get wet, dirty, and/or stained.

Everything you need is either listed below or provided.

If you have any questions about the items on this list, please send us an email or give us a call. We can help!

 

 

ITEM DESCRIPTION
For your safety and comfort, please make sure you have the following:
Backpacking Pack This must be large enough to fit all of your items. A 50 liter backpacking pack should be large enough to fit all necessary items. Keep weight of fully packed pack around 30 pounds.
Sleeping Bag The Wild Traveler recommends a 0 to 15 degree Fahrenheit rated mummy-style sleeping bag. Synthetic bags tend to be a little bulkier, whereas goose down bags will pack down small – great when you have a limited amount of space.  Both work well.
Sleeping Pad Thermarest-style blow up mattresses or (less expensive) closed-cell mattresses both work great. The pad should be as long as you are tall.
Camp Pillow Must fit in backpacking pack.  Packing a stuff sack with clothes also makes for a great pillow.
Daypack Must be large enough to carry 2 water bottles, sunscreen, mask and snorkel, warm layer, and sack lunch.  Daypack must be comfortable to carry on an 8-mile hike. Most school backpacks work well.
Hiking Sandals Used for wet and muddy trails and stream crossings.  Sandals must have heel straps. Many find Chaco, Tevas, or Keens work very well.
Athletic Shoes Used for hiking upwards of 8 miles.  Make sure they are comfortable, sturdy and broken-in.  Must be closed-toed.
Flip-flops Any type of slip-on sandal works well.
Rain Jacket (with hood) and Rain Pants Waterproof / breathable: This type of performance rainwear prevents rain from reaching your skin while also allowing sweat to escape.  Ponchos are not acceptable.
Sweatshirt or Down Jacket 2 warm layers for chilly nights.
Pants 3 pairs of pants that can get dirty.
Hiking Pants 1 pair, synthetic
Shorts 3 to 5 pairs
T-shirt / long-sleeved shirt 5 to 7 shirts. Regular T-shirts and/or nylon / synthetic shirts work great.  Bring at least 1 long-sleeved shirt.
Swimsuit 1 swimsuit
Underwear / Sports Bras 5 to 7 pairs
Socks 4 to 6 pairs
Towel A lightweight “pack towel” is great to have for both drying off and to wear around wet swimsuits.  For that reason, the towel should be large enough to fit around your waist.
Bandana 2 cotton bandanas
Sun Hat This is very important for sun protection.  A baseball cap or broad-brimmed hat that covers the back of the neck is suggested.
Sunglasses UVA and UVB-protected sunglasses with strap that keeps them from falling off.
Sunscreen 2 large tubes of waterproof sunscreen.  Must be SPF 30 at minimum.
Lip Balm Should be SPF 30.
Water Bottles 2 one-liter water bottles.  Or, 1 two-liter “CamelBak” hydration type system AND 1 one-liter water bottle.
Headlamp Any headlamp style is fine.  Be sure to bring extra batteries.
Toiletries Toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, deodorant, feminine hygiene items
Stuff Sack or Laundry Bag Any type of bag to separate dirty laundry. 20-liter stuff sack works great.
Trash Bags and Ziplock Bags These are used to keep things dry.  2 large plastic trash bags and 4 gallon-sized ziplock bags.
Insect Repellent Any brand is acceptable.  Anything higher than 30% DEET is unnecessary.
Journal and Pen Bring a journal and a pen or pencil.  We’ll have colored pencils for drawing.
Corrective Lenses Contacts and/or eyeglasses.  For those who normally wear contact lenses, it is good to have backup eyeglasses in case of contact lens problems / loss.
Medications All medications must be listed on the Health Questionnaire.
Spending Money Spending money is for souvenirs and personal snacks / drinks during the trip.  Most participants bring around $50 per week.
Waterproof Camera Optional: You are welcome to bring a waterproof camera.  We will also have a group camera available for anyone to use.  All participants will receive pictures taken from our group camera at the end of our trip.
Paperwork Bring all original paperwork with you to Ecuador. Your trip leaders will collect it upon arrival.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Find out what you can expect with a trip with The Wild Traveler. Below are some of the more commonly asked questions regarding our Ecuador trip. Have more questions? Give us a call or send us an email.

WHERE DO WE SLEEP?

We will be staying in hotels, community centers, and homestays for the entire trip.

WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING?

The Wild Traveler provides all of your gear except for a backpack and a day pack. Check out the pack list specific to our Ecuador trip. Please pack only the items on the list. Everything must be able to fit into your backpack and daypack. Space is limited.

CAN I CALL FAMILY DURING THE TRIP?

Participants will call home as soon as you meet their Wild Traveler leaders at Los Angeles International Airport, and again on departure day. Participants are welcome to call home at anytime during the trip. Parents are also welcome to contact their child at anytime during the trip.
Families can follow along with our summer teen adventure as it happens by logging into our trip log. Watch short video clips, look at pictures, and read about our adventure as it unfolds! Our trip log is updated every 2-3 days by our trip leaders.

HOW IS THE FOOD?

The food is great. Our participants and create the menu and cook meals together. We’ll also eat out at several restaurants throughout our trip. We have no problem accommodating most dietary restrictions.

HOW WILL WE TRAVEL?

We’ll travel mostly by private shuttle and public bus.

ARE FLIGHTS INCLUDED?

Yes, our Ecuador trips begin and end at Los Angeles International airport (LAX). Flights between LAX and Quito Ecuador are included in the price. Transportation between LAX and participants’ home are not included in the price of the trip.

DO I NEED TO APPLY FOR A VISA?

US citizens are required to have a passport valid for at least six months and 2 blank passport pages to enter Ecuador. US citizens do not need to obtain an Ecuador visa.

DO I NEED ANY VACCINATIONS TO TRAVEL TO ECUADOR?

If you are a U.S. citizen, you do not need any additional vaccinations to travel to Ecuador. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please check your local requirements on vaccinations for travel to these countries.

WHAT WILL GROUPS BE LIKE?

Your group is made up of 10-12 enthusiastic, positive, fun individuals (like yourself ) ready for an experience of a lifetime. They come from all over the country, and in many cases, from all over the world. Our groups are created with attention to age and a balance of male/ female participants in order to ensure the best possible individual and group experience possible. Your group will be led by 3 experienced and knowledgeable Wild Traveler leaders.

WHAT WILL OUR DAYS BE LIKE?

Our Ecuador program is focused around a village infrastructure program where we work alongside other villagers to build their community center. We’ll have several afternoons for activities like mountain biking, horseback riding, bread making, whitewater rafting, and more. Each evening, your trip leaders will run evening program where your group talks, play games, tell stories, play music, and a whole lot of other fun stuff.

Still have questions? Let us know!

THE WILD TRAVELER REVIEWS

Check out our Wild Traveler’s trip reviews. After every trip, parents fill out our end of trip feedback forms. These are real answers from real parents. Do you want to hear more? You are welcome to speak directly to parents who sent their kids with us last summer. Just ask! We think you’ll be impressed with what you hear.


 

WHAT DID YOUR CHILD TAKE AWAY FROM THEIR EXPERIENCE WITH US?

“Our daughter gained more confidence within herself to socialize and work with others in her group.”
Laura – Mother – New York, NY

“Independence and a real sense of accomplishment. He loved the scuba diving, and also hiking volcanoes. And of course, the warm water!”

“Freedom!! He said that he finally felt like he’d gotten a taste of being on his own. A life without boredom!”
Marisa – Mother – Los Angeles, CA

“Confidence!”
Wendy – Mother – Rye, NY

“Franny has much more independence after this trip. Before the trip she was worried about how the other kids were going to be, but she loved all of them and didn’t want to say goodbye.”
Michelle – Mother – Signal Mountain, TN

“Increased independence”
Nan – Mother – Ventura, CA

“Scuba Certification! Knowledge and appreciation of camping. This was her first time flying without us so that was very big deal!”
Suzanne – Mother – Port Washington, NY

“He made new friends and saw many things he has never seen in his life.”
Andrea – Mother – Los Angeles, CA

“He feels like he has a lot more independence and wants to be more active.”
Nathaniel – Father – Brighton, MI

“Lexey feels very proud and accomplished from completing the scuba certification.”
Shanon – Mother – Anchorage, AK

“She liked challenging herself and learning new activities. She also enjoyed meeting new friends from around the country. Ellie really liked the trip and it was a great experience for her.”
Diane – Mother – New York, NY

 

WHAT DO YOU FEEL WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CHILD’S EXPERIENCE?

“The scuba diving and surfing were the most fun when we asked. Then it was the beautiful views and atmosphere of the whole experience.”

“It is so hard to say! She loved it all! One day I ask her her favorite part and she says Volcanoes National Park, the next she says scuba, the next surfing.”

“Franny always talks about how amazing the Manta Ray night snorkel was. I feel that was her favorite part.”

“Scuba, making new friends, hiking, and surfing.”

“The bonding and the shared group experience. Nice small groups!. Fulfilling her desire to go to Hawaii and to experience it as an insider. She loved the scuba and surfing!”

“He loved the diving, the lava, and the people.”

“The diving – totally. The preparation, training, and actual diving was the highlight. Second place was the hiking.”

“She made great new friends and had an awesome adventure! She learned that she can navigate through an airport on her own. She learned how to become a team with a bunch of people that she had never met before.”

“She gained some new skills and happy memories”

HOW WAS THE WILD TRAVELER AT PREPARING YOU AND YOUR CHILD FOR OUR PROGRAM?

“We were very prepared for the experience that was about to come our way.”

“Preparing was easier than we thought because the list was very clear of what we needed.”

“Responses were quick and thorough.”

“Fantastic! Ryan was so helpful and always got back to me immediately with answers to my questions. The packing list was completely perfect- nothing was unused.”

“Everything was very well laid on on the web site!”

“Great, we would do it again in a minute!”

“Great. All my questions were answered.”

“Yes, every questions and made recommendations for equipment to be prepared for the trip.”

“Great, anytime I would call or email I would promptly get a reply!”

HOW WAS THE WILD TRAVELER AT ADDRESSING QUESTIONS BEFORE AND DURING OUR PROGRAM?

“I could not have been happier with the info I needed to make me feel at ease.”

“Ryan did a great job preparing us for the trip and all the information provided on the website was very helpful.”

“Ryan was very responsive to answering my questions and concerns through out the prep and throughout the trip.”

“They always answered our questions respectfully and quickly.”

“My daughter and I were prepared.”

“Ryan was fantastic, kept me at ease from day one all the way through.”

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF OUR TRAVEL JOURNAL?

“I looked forward to it and was very thankful it was in place. As a parent it made me feel that my child was safe and in good hands. I loved to actually see what they were doing.”

“I checked it often and really enjoyed seeing the photos and hearing about the days!”

“Fun! Loved it, kept me feeling good about it all, especially being so far away.”

“Awesome! I felt like I knew what was going on all of the time! The trip log was so helpful! I must have checked it five times a day just waiting for new updates”

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE WILD TRAVELER OVER ANOTHER OUTDOOR COMPANY?

“I like the small group size, the lack of access to tech, the camping and cooking aspects, in addition to the fabulous locations and site that you visit.”

“Great value as well as the variety of activities. Most of the places I looked had a scuba trip, or a hiking trip, or a community service trip. Your trip was the only one that had a great mix of different activities.”

“The Wild Traveler had the option of scuba diving which is what Franny really wanted to do. Also we had some friends do this trip and they loved it.”

“The program sounded great and very comprehensive. Ellie got to do a number of new activities like surfing, camping and scuba. She also was able to experience the beauty and natural wonders of Hawaii.”

“Looked like fun, Ryan was reassuring and I trust him.”

“The small group and personal attention.”

“You offered the best combination of experiences, and reference checks with past customers were very reassuring.”

“We really liked the choices of activities!”

“After I spoke with Ryan I was convinced the program was going to be fun and safe!”

“Best location and program.”

ANY OTHER COMMENTS?

“You have exceeded our expectations! Thank you for taking care of our daughter and sharing such a wonderful time with her.”

“The trip was everything I hoped it would be for him.”

“I am so happy with the whole trip, Anna had the most awesome time, she lights up when she shares her experiences, its has given her so much confidence, and she loved all the different aspects of the trip, from scuba diving, surfing, hiking to beautiful waterfalls, seeing lava light up the night sky, camping on awesome beaches, Ryan did an awesome job choosing many great places to visit and stay!”

“It was a fantastic experience!”

“You guys did an excellent job!”

“Just keep doing what you are doing! It was a great trip. Aspen was happy to be home for about a day. Then she wanted to go back! 🙂 ”

“Thank you again for taking such good care of Cooper and for showing him how fantastic the big wide world can be. Ryan, Cooper hasn’t stopped talking about how fun you and Erinna were. Thank you.”

 

 

Read The Wild Traveler reviews. Would you like to get more reviews? Give us a call and we can put you in contact with parents from all over the country (and other parts of the world) who have sent their children on one of our teen tours! Click to contact us.

Reserve your spot today

 

WHAT PARENTS ARE SAYING

“Our daughter gained more confidence within herself to socialize and work with others in her group.”

Laura – Mother – New York, NY

“My daughter has much more independence after this trip. She made amazing friends and didn’t want to say goodbye.”

Michelle – Mother – Signal Mountain, TN

“He feels like he has a lot more independence and wants to be more active.”

Nathaniel – Father – Brighton, MI

“Freedom!! He said that he finally felt like he’d gotten a taste of being on his own. A life without boredom!”

Marisa – Mother – Los Angeles, CA

“He made new friends and saw many things he has never seen in his life.”

Andrea – Mother – Los Angeles, CA

“Scuba Certification! Knowledge and appreciation of camping. This was her first time flying without us so that was very big deal!”

Suzanne – Mother – Port Washington, NY

IT'S ALL INCLUDED

Flights round trip between Los Angeles and Quito
Ground Transportation
2 experienced Wild Traveler trip leaders, 24-hour supervision and 1 local guide
Accommodations - Hotels, Hostels, Homestays
Park entrance fees
All meals and snacks
All activities
All equipment
Professional instruction
And more!
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HAVE QUESTIONS?

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