Summer Break 2018: Ecuador Community Service Adventure

Summer Break 2018: Ecuador Community Service Adventure

Trip Highlights

  • Quito colonial architecture
  • Hike in the Amazon rainforest
  • Immersion into a traditional Kichwa community
  • Relax in Andean hot springs
  • Service learning project in the Mestizo community located on a cloud forest

Trip Summary

This summer, in association with OCDSB International Certificate Program, join fellow secondary students and two teacher chaperones, to discover Ecuador’s cultural and biological diversity. This adventure is jam-packed with learning opportunities, adventure and service.

This service learning adventure contributes to Component Three of the International Certificate Program.

From Quito, the group travels to Tena, the adventure capital of Ecuador and the gateway to the Amazon. The group is immersed in a traditional Kichwa community to learn about their traditions and lifestyle, to see first-hand how chocolate is made on a cacao farm, and to experience traditional foods, dances and activities. We learn about the ecology and unique fauna and flora of the amazon during a hike, including a visit to a set of caves which are home to a colony of bats! We enjoy waterfalls, hot springs and more incredible rainforest views before heading to the highlands of Ecuador to complete service work in a community located in a cloud forest. The Mestizo people of the highlands will welcome your group to their community to work along-side them on the community farms, taking part in the processing of dairy products and enjoying some social and sporting events. The amazing adventure culminates in Quito.


LEVEL 2: Adventure touring

These adventure tours will often involve long journeys and rough roads. Sightseeing and optional day walks are often included. To enjoy these adventures we suggest you are reasonably fit, healthy, have a moderately active lifestyle and have a positive attitude.

* Suggested preparation: Two or three times a week, we recommend you walk on undulating terrain for an hour or more, for at least 3 months prior to departure.


The group flight departs Ottawa in the morning and arrives into Quito in the afternoon. Your group will be met at the airport by a World Youth Adventures representative and transferred to your hostel near the airport. Your group will meet in the hotel restaurant for a welcome dinner. Overnight in hotel

Meals:  Nil

Today you will travel to the gateway of the Amazon, the attractive city of Tena in Eastern Ecuador. Originally founded by missionary explorers, Tena has emerged as one of the top tourist destinations in the country. Tena is a popular launching point for jungle tours in Ecuador's Amazon. During the drive taken across the Andes to Tena you will witness Ecuador’s incredible diversity of micro climates and ecosystems. We will take lunch en-route. Overnight in hostel.

Meals:  B,L,D

During your stay at the a traditional Kichwa community called Shiripuno you will learn about their traditions and lifestyle. Activities include visits to their vegetable and medicinal gardens (chakras), lessons in the production of handicrafts using natural fibres, visits to the cacao farm to learn about the production of chocolate, cooking lessons of traditional meals using local produce, gold panning on the river, playing sports with the youth of the community, traditional dances with community members, bonfires by the river to share traditional tales from the amazon culture, visits to their handicraft showroom and more. Overnight in hostel.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today you will visit a biological reserve and research station where you will hike through pristine Amazon forest to learn about the ecology of the rainforest and discover unique fauna and flora. The reserve develops reforestation initiatives and agro-forestry alternatives with local farming communities and indigenous groups. There are opportunities to do some bird watching as we meander along the forest trails. We visit the plant conservation centre and botanical garden. Next we visit a unique set of caves that are home to a colony of bats and other cave dwellers. The day ends with a visit to a waterfall sanctuary with natural pools ideal for swimming. Overnight in hostel.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today you will begin the journey back to Quito, stopping on the way at beautiful hot springs set high in the mountains. Relax and enjoy the benefits of the thermal waters while taking in the unique Andean landscape around the pools. Arrival late afternoon to Quito. Overnight at Hotel.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we travel to the location where we will complete our service project, a 1-hour drive from Quito. On the way we stop by the iconic middle of world monument and visit a unique museum that features a number of interactive exhibits demonstrating events that occur only on the equator (including the complex Coriolis Effect, and the loss of muscle strength experienced when standing precisely on the line of the equator to name a few). Over the course of the next two days we will participate in project work that will benefit the community and will have us working alongside members of the community. Depending on the needs of the community the work may include: > Participation in community farms through “mingas” (voluntary communal labor) for the completion of tasks needed for the common good. This will be a great opportunity to share formal and informal spaces of socialization with the community. > Maintenance and production of the community´s organic garden, seed processing, weeding and preparation of beds, and everything related to the maintenance and production of the family´s organic garden. This will be a great opportunity to acquire knowledge and practical experience with organic agriculture. > Taking part in the processing of dairy products and jams among others. > There is also the possibility of participating in social or sports community events. Overnight in hostel.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we say farewell to our new friends from the community and return to Quito. Tonight we gather together for our farewell dinner at a Quito Old Town restaurant with great views of the city. Overnight at Hotel.

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast you will have time to pack and get ready. Today you will travel to Mindo a small little town in the cloud forest known for its beautiful natural surroundings, on the way you will visit the Pahuma waterfall sanctuary where waterfalls of different sizes can be observed. After this visit, you will arrive to Mindo and enjoy a delicious lunch and then you will visit a butterfly farm as well as an orchid garden. After a full day in Mindo you will return to Quito and travel directly to the airport to catch your international evening flight.

Meals:  B,L

Your flight arrives into Ottawa in the afternoon. End of services.

Meals:  Nil

What's Included

  • Meals as per itinerary
  • Private ground transportation
  • Bilingual local guides
  • Lodging in double and triple rooms
  • Airport transfers
  • All entrance fees and activities as per itinerary
  • 24/7 emergency contact with the main office in Quito
  • 2 x OCDSB teacher cheperones
  • All inclusive travel insurance with Allianz Global Assist
  • International airfares Ottawa/Quito/Ottawa economy flights - based on an estimate of $1580 per person

What's Not Included

  • Tips
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned in itinerary
  • Visa costs if applicable
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, phone calls etc


Duration:11 Days
Starting Point:Ottawa
Activities:Adventure Touring
Trip Code:SOG4333
Prices From:CAD$4690